Drawing upon the rich heritage of art, lore, and the complex courtly world of the Byzantine Empire, this glittering new Tarot reflects the extraordinary, unique artistic style that flourished under the rule of the Byzantine emperors from the fourth to the fifteenth centuries.
As the Roman Empire grew old and corrupt, and was finally broken by attacks from beyond its Eastern borders, the seat of power shifted from Rome to the great city of Byzantium, where a new kind of court--affluent, self-confident, and powerful--arose.
The Byzantine world, which lasted from 330 to 1453 CE, combined the elegance and power of Rome with the opulence and splendour of the Orient. This combinations brought about a richness in the world of art, literature, and spirituality that has seldom been equalled. Today, few of us know much about Byzantium beyond its famous mosaics, glittering royal treasures, and the name itself. Yet it also has a mysterious resonance, and it is to the world of emperors and empresses, saints and sinners, courtly characters, and faith and miracles that the creators of this sumptuous new Tarot have turned, to discover Byzantine vision, magic, and enchantment.
Brought to you by best-selling tarot authority John Matthews and renowned artist Cilla Conway, The Byzantine Tarot faithfully echoes the iconography of the era, reflecting the ornate gilded mosaics and manuscript-art styles of the period. Myth, legend, and the hierarchical complexity of life in Byzantium make this deck a unique exploration of a period of time in which the last echoes of the pagan world were being enfolded into the burgeoning world of early Christianity.
The Major Arcana cards are based on archetypal characters responsible for the daily activity of the Empire, while the Minor Arcana suits reflect elements central to the operation of the Byzantine court: the Swords of Power, the Cups of State, the Rods of Office, and the Coins of Empire.
The presence of so many archetypal figures and roles within the imperial court suggests a link between the oldest forms of the Tarot and the wisdom that flourished at the time within this part of the classical world.
Indeed, Tarot cards may never even have come into being, were it not for the eighth-century Byzantine empress Irene restoring the use of iconography, following a long period during which it was considered heretical. The first deck of its kind to explore long-forgotten and misunderstood aspects of this rich kingdom, The Byzantine Tarot uncovers new layers of wisdom and meaning to thrill Tarot users the world over, and guide us in our lives today.
Nic from Altar. says -
Now if you know me.. you know that I have a real soft spot for tarot decks that really take their guide book as seriously as the deck itself and this deck is one of them!
Not only does this deck come with a full size guidebook - this guidebook really delves into the historical context of Byzantine life and culture and how these aspects have been represented throughout the imagery of the deck. A really cool cultural exploration to such a beautiful deck!