MASTYKOVA А.V. Women’s Costume of German Origin in the Funeral Context of Early Byzantine Cities of the Northern Black Sea (5th–6th Centuries)


Anna V. Mastykova

Doctor Habilitat of Historical Sciences, Leading Researcher,

Institute of Archeology, RAS,

D. Ulyanova St., 19, 117036 Moscow, Russian Federation

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Abstract. This work is devoted to burials containing elements of a female costume of East German origin, discovered in the urban necropolises of Chersonesus and Cimmerian Bosporus in the 5th–6th centuries. Burials with German objects are most often in the same collective tombs and in the same necropolises as the burial of the urban Hellenized population. The appearance and resettlement of the eastern Germans in the cities of the Northern Black Sea Coast is attested by written sources only for the Cimmerian Bosporus. About 400 Goths could even occupy a dominant position here. This explains their integration into the Bosporus ruling elite, as evidenced by the existence of rich graves with German implements in the tombs of the local nobility. Later, Cimmerian Bosporus is under the rule of the Huns, and in 534 the military expedition sent by Justinian returns the region to the power of the Empire. Written sources directly indicate the presence of Gothic federates from Minor Scythia as part of the Justinian assault. Therefore, the researchers explain the appearance of a new series of East German things in the Northern Black Sea region by the arrival here of the German soldiers with their families. On the other hand, the violent deportation of barbarians to the Crimea is also possible – a practice well known in the Justinian era. This is how you can explain the appearance here of Italo-Ostrogothic and Gepidic things. In Chersonese German things could fall and as a result of various contacts with the Goths from the country of Dori, in the South-Western Crimea. However, despite the various historical destinies and different statutes of the Germans, in the north-Pontic cities they sooner or later come to be absorbed by the local environment, which reflects the finds of the items of female clothing in urban necropolises.

Key words: Byzantine Empire, Northern Black Sea Coast, Great Migration period, women’s costume, early Byzantine necropolises, Cimmerian Bosporus, Chersonesus.

Citation. Mastykova А.V. Women’s Costume of German Origin in the Funeral Context of Early Byzantine Cities of the Northern Black Sea (5th–6th Centuries). Vestnik Volgogradskogo gosudarstvennogo universiteta. Seriya 4, Istoriya. Regionovedenie. Mezhdunarodnye otnosheniya [Science Journal of Volgograd State University. History. Area Studies. International Relations], 2017, vol. 22, no. 5, pp. 239-251 (in Russian). DOI:

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Women’s Costume of German Origin in the Funeral Context of Early Byzantine Cities of the Northern Black Sea (5th–6th Centuries) by Mastykova А.V. is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

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