The Byzantine Emperor Welcoming Roussillon and Martel
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Loyset Liédet, illuminator; Pol Fruit, illuminator
Flemish, Bruges, 1467 - 1472
Tempera colors, gold leaf, gold paint, and ink on parchment
9 1/8 x 7 11/16 in.

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Richly dressed in an ermine-collared cloak and magnificent crown, the Byzantine emperor emerges from the city of Constantinople on a white horse, surrounded by members of his court. A religious procession, including a group of clerics singing from open books, precedes him. The emperor appears again in the background at the right, this time greeting the Europeans who disembark from their boat after their long journey. As the rubric just below the miniature explains, in the 800s Girart de Roussillon and Charles Martel went to assist the Emperor of Constantinople in his battles with the Saracens. When Loyset Liédet painted this miniature in the 1400s, the subject had a special resonance: the recent Turkish capture of Constantinople in 1453 recalled the Saracen incursions and prompted calls for European crusaders to rescue the city.