Byzantion and Constantinopolis were reborn under a third name. This name - the one that the great city still bears - betrays its timeless status as metropolis. What is the origin of ‘Istanbul’? It is the medieval Greek peasant’s answer to the typical question posed by a stranger anywhere near Constantinople. 'Where does this road go? Where can I buy food and wine? Where will I find lodging tonight? The answer was is tin boli, 'to the City, at the City’. This was, without rival, 'the City’.
—  Flavours of Byzantium, Andrew Dalby

Panel with a griffin

In the ancient world, the mythical beasts called griffins were symbols of royalty and protectors of the dead. They continued to play these roles for Christians. A legend popular in the Byzantine era told of griffins carrying Alexander the Great through the heavens so he could view his vast realm. Carved griffins such as the one illustrated here are found on later Byzantine tombs, where they may have been placed to identify the dead of royal status and to afford them protection. The design of the relief is similar to patterns on Byzantine and Islamic silks.


Sword Mounts for a Byzantine Sword

Editor’s Note: Traditionally sword types like this have been ascribed to the Islamic World. Professor Valeri Yotov disagrees (see links below), as do I. 

Date: 9th–10th century
Medium: Copper Alloy
Dimensions: (.1): H. 2 ¼ in. (5.72 cm); W. 2 13/16 in. (7.14 cm) (.2): H. 2 15/16 in. (7.44 cm); W. 2 5/8 in. (6.65 cm) (.3): H. 2 5/16 in. (5.87 cm); W. 2 1/8 in. (5.38 cm)
Classification: Swords
Credit Line: Purchase, Rogers Fund and Anonymous Gift, 1980
Accession Number: 1980.210.1-3

Professor Valeri Yotov’s excellent papers can be found here:

And you can find Sword-Site’s assemblage of images of Byzantine swords in art and from the archaeological record here (it’s the largest of its kind anywhere on the net or in print):

Looking for sword fittings? Sword-Site has a great list of vendors of sword fittings - pommels, crossguards and more that you can find here:
Pommels, Crossguards, Hilt Components, Scabbard Mounts & More

Read more:

Sword-Site - The World’s Largest Sword Museum