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Byzantine style soldiers in

14th century wall painting, Church of Panagia Phorbiotissa, Asinou, Cyprus

Source: Sonia Halliday Photographs

The Betrayal of Jesus by Judas

Panagia (Church of Our Lady) Phorbiotissa of Asinou near Nikitari

Simon of Cyrene Carrying the Cross for Jesus, Church of Panagia Phorbiotissa, Asinou, Cyprus
Crucifixion, Church of Panagia Phorbiotissa, Asinou, Cyprus
Saint George, Church of Panagia Phorbiotissa, Asinou, Cyprus

     In the third quarter of the 14th c. the frescoes of Panaghia Phorbiotissa of Asinou, near Nikitari, Cyprus, show the soldiers arresting Christ armed in a mixed Eastern-Western style, brandishing spiked weapons and torches.71 They not only wear scale armours (Κλιβανια), but the group on the left is protected with scale, mail and organic padded corselets, while the group on the right is clad in corselets of small scales and chain-mail alternated again in different rows of iron and copper-alloy rings, as in the Kavalariana Church. The red and grey helmets are fitted with flexible mail aventails. The various specimens of represented armours were all still in use in the 14th c., so the artist did not borrow them from older prototypes, but copied them from real soldiers of his age. Also it is significant that the Chiliarchos is armed with a mace as symbol of command and further protected by a shield, and also the officer of the opposite troops is armed in the same way, but without shield.

71 Stylianou, Stylianou 1992, p. 575ff., Pl. 319.

Stylianou A., Stylianou J.A. 1992 The militarization of the Betrayal and its examples in the painted Churches of Cyprus

pp.88-91, Raffaele d'Amato The Betrayal: Military Iconography and Archaeology In The Byzantine Paintings Of The 11th-15th C. AD Representing The Arrest Of Our Lord

For more information & pictures of the Church of Panagia Phorbiotissa:
Cyprus Government Department of Antiquities
About Cyprus
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See also Barlaam and Joasaph, Byzantine, BnF Ms. Grec 1128, 14th century AD
Byzantine Mosaic Icon with Saint Demetrios and Reliquary, c.14th century
Other Byzantine Illustrations of Costume & Soldiers