501 Treasures of Byzantium: No. 41-50.

The History of the Byzantine Empire


No.41: Troyes casket with emperors and hunters, 10th century, Catherdral of Troyes, France.

This surprising treasure resides in the Cathedral of Troyes, in France. It is believed that it was brought from Constantinople to Troyes, by bishop Jean Langlois, after the great city was sacked during the Fourth Crusade in 1204.

Despite some obvious cracks in the lid and end panels, the Troyes casket is incredible. It is made entirely from sculpted ivory panels that were once originally held together by ivory pegs. Today the casket is held together by small pieces of metal, but that doesn’t seem to diminish its beauty.

Wonderful sculpted scenes of emperors and hunters are featured on all sides of the casket. The lid features two emperors carrying spears on decorated horses on either side of a walled city. The people in the city appear to sing the praises of the emperors with arms outreached…

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