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by Archaeology Newsroom

Dance in Byzantium

In late antiquity, Christians dance both in saints’ festivals and in older pagan celebrations. The so called “hand on wrist” dance step often depicted in the illustrations of ancient dances in a ring, is repeated in the Byzantine and post Byzantine period. The people of the Byzantine Empire dance the syrmos, kordakos, pyrriche, geranos and ornos, not only in church but in a secular environment. The dances are accompanied by flutes, guitars, percussion and pipe organ. In the post Byzantine period a usual subject for illustration is the dance of the Thanksgivers (Ainon) which has a possible soteriological content. This dance charmingly expresses the joy of life in the Church and is an euphoric show put on by the faithful in Paradise.