Byzantium Novum invites you to join in our virtual celebration of the founding of Constantinople on May 11. Byzantium Novum is a micro-nation dedicated to the rebirth of Byzantine culture and civilization which was formed to become a small, legitimate successor state to the Byzantine Empire. We exist as a micro-national sovereignty project, working to bring Byzantine civilization to life in the modern world as much as is possible. Our goal is to establish a physical, symbolic and administrative world capitol of 100 acres or more, where the Byzantine State may have a real-world existence and coordinate Byzantine interests around the world. This year, we celebrate 1681 years since the founding of “The City.”
Citizens of Byzantium Novum will be celebrating in a variety of ways. From cooking period foods in the modern kitchen to speaking with the Senate in a chat room online, May 11 will be a celebration of the rejuvenation of Byzantine culture. To chat, just go to http://tinychat.com/byzantiumnovum. Signup on tinychat.com is free, and this will be the permanent home of our chat sessions. Join Senators Baduila Chalkeus and Amma Doukaina, along with Count Ulfr the Varangian and others from 7pm-9pm EST.
There are many ways to celebrate this auspicious occasion with us, despite our distance in the real world. There is a wonderful documentary about Byzantium here that you can watch for free: http://topdocumentaryfilms.com/byzantium-lost-empire/
Interested in eating like they did during the Empire? Although this year the Greek Orthodox Church will be fasting (wine is allowed) on May 11, it is a wonderful opportunity to try your hand at the foods of the Eastern Empire! If you follow the Greek Orthodox calendar, Agiozoumi and fresh bread are a wonderful option for fast days, Wednesdays and Fridays. This is a simple, but delicious, soup. Here’s a small menu to get you started for a non-Orthodox meal. Have baskets of crusty Greek bread available throughout your meal!
Appetizer course: Dried and fresh figs, citrus fruits, walnuts, almonds, fresh melon and Mizithra cheese. A bowl full of melitzanosalata is delicious dipped with that crusty bread! Caviar or roe as well as brined capers were popular in Byzantine times for those who could afford it, also.
Main course: Fish dishes would include any of a variety of Mediterranean fish and shellfish either fried in olive oil or boiled gently with leeks and lots of dill. Kippered sardines and herring were commonly eaten also. There is a lot of room for you to be creative and use the type of seafood you like. Consider adding in mussels or eel to your dish!
Fresh omelettes called sphoungata, served with delicious ingredients like Feta cheese; chichees (chickpeas) cooked in olive oil and salted water with lots of fresh cloves of garlic, stuffed peacocks and turtledoves, and a variety of resined wines, called retsina, would also be served as part of the main course. You can order retsina from many companies online, and may be able to find it in your local wine market.
Meat dishes would include roasted pork basted in honeymead, and many companies today make mead in varying levels from very dry to very sweet. For meat, you’ll want to find a dry or semi-dry version. You could roast a leg of lamb with spearmint and rosemary, as well! Be sure to serve a sallet, similar to a modern salad, at the end of the meal. Arugula, watercress and other wild greens tossed very lightly with some olive oil and herbed vinegar make a wonderful end to the meal (yes, they ate salads at the end!). This cleanses the palate in advance of dessert and was believed to aid digestion.
For dessert, serve kopton, of course! Kopton was very similar to the baklava we know today. Sweet, rich honey with layers of nuts and perfect phyllo dough is absolutely the best way to end any meal! You can easily purchase baklava at your local Mediterranean restaurant or local bakery. Fresh honey along with apples, pears, figs and other fresh fruits can also be served to add variety!
Exarch Matyas offers a prayer for the day: O God of Heaven, Father, on this day of commemoration, from your son Jesus to the first called of His apostolic patriarchs; Saint Andrew, send your Holy Spirit to the people who follow your sacred traditions, Lord we are your servants, give your holy power to your sacred traditions, as they have survived forever. We do this in remembrance of your glory. Amen.
And from the Chaplain of Megalopotamia, this prayer: Show us your mercy, O Lord, and grant us your salvation. Clothe your ministers with righteousness; let your people sing with joy. Give peace, O Lord, in all the world, for only in you can we live in safety. Lord, keep this nation under your care, and guide us in the ways of justice and truth. Let your way be known upon earth, your saving health among all nations. Let not the needy, O Lord, be forgotten, nor the hope of the poor be taken away. Create in us clean hearts, O God, and sustain us with your Holy Spirit.
Let us bless the Lord. Alleluia. Alleluia. Thanks be to God. Alleluia. Alleluia.
May the God of hope fill us with all joy and peace in believing through the power of the Holy Spirit. Amen. -Romans 15:13
On this day of commemoration, we celebrate our Byzantine heritage! It is our desire to encourage our citizens and potential citizens by showing real-world options for bringing Byzantine history to the modern day. Please join us by celebrating, and let us know what you’re doing! Send photos and details to AmmaDoukaina@gmail.com, and be sure to look around on our website!