Families of sufficient means would endeavour to acquire one or more icons, which would be venerated regularly. When the youthful Leontios (future patriarch of Jerusalem 1176-85) stayed in a private home while en route to Constantinople, he engaged in private devotions after dinner, singing hymns 'in the place where the divine images were kept' and praying for an uneventful journey.47 On Cyprus, devotees of St Sabas the Younger had his image painted on wooden boards and venerated these icons in their homes with candles, perfumed oil and incense.48 Michael Psellos's famous description ofthe emotional attachment of the empress Zoe to her icon of Christ Antiphonetes gives us some idea ofthe importance of holy images for private devotions. As he writes, 'I myself have often seen her, in moments of great distress, clasp the sacred object in her hands, contemplate it, talk to it as though it were indeed alive, and address it with one sweet term of endearment after another.'49 Icons were also viewed as tangible assets and passed down through the generations. They are listed in records of the synodal court, inventories and wills, sometimes with their prices, and an heirloom icon would take pride of place in a dowry contract. Particularly valuable icons, with silver revetments for example, might be stored in a clothes chest, rather than kept on display.50
Articles ofpersonal adornment protected the body as well as the spirit. Both men and women wore enkolpia, pendants bearing a sacred image and worn on a chain around the neck. The pendants were made of a variety of materials, from enamel and gold to wood; some enclosed relics, thus increasing their value. Finger rings, as well, frequently bore sacred images and abbreviated prayers, such as 'Lord, help thy servant' or 'Bearer of God, help thy servant'. Such rings were made for both men and women, and the quality of the materials reflected the status of the wearer. Cameos and precious stones carved with images of Christ, the Virgin and saints offered spiritual and physical protection and were often inscribed on the reverse side with a second saint or narrative scene, with invocations or with crosses. The material from which the amulet was made was significant; lapidary prescriptions attributed healing powers to
47 D. Tsougarakis, The Life of Leontios, Patriarch of Jerusalem [The Medieval Mediterranean 2] (Leiden: E.J. Brill, 1993), §5, 36.1-16.
48 Tsames, 0iAo6sou KwvaTaVTivovn'oAsw;, 214.
49 Michel Psellos, Chronographie, ed.EE. Renauld (Paris: Belles Lettres, 1926; reprinted Paris: Belles Lettres, 1967), 1, 149; Michael Psellus. Fourteen Byzantine rulers, trans. E. R. A. Sewter (Harmondsworth: Penguin Books, 1966), 188.
50 Miklosich and Muller, 1, 538-9, a synodal act from 1370 describing a thief who stole a revetted icon of St John the Baptist from a private house, kept the precious silver covering, and threw away the icon. See N. Oikonomides, 'The Holy Icon as an asset', DOP 45 (1991), 35-44.
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