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Royall Tyler to Mildred Barnes Bliss, August 16, 1936


Par Arnay-le-Duc

(Côte d’Or)


Bill has had a dazzling report from Smolezanski,Dr. Léon Smolizanski (1882–1944), author of L'albumine dans les crachats des tuberculeux (Paris: Jouve, 1911). dearest Mildred: S. says that no specialist, even armed with radiography, could detect that Bill had ever had TB trouble. He adds that he is confident that Bill can resume normal work next Jan.—but not in N. Y. We are in hopes that a G.T.Guaranty Trust. job in London may materialise, for greatly tho’ Bill would prefer Paris, London is far better from the point of view of his career.

Hayford arrived here two days ago, for a short stay, and we are hard at work on the knock-out for Vol. IV.L’art byzantin. A difficult job, considering the wealth of the material. Hayford has had a marvellous bit of luck—he has come upon (and acquired) a gold coin of Romanus IIRomanos II (938–963), a Byzantine emperor. This coin (BZC.1948.17.3117) is now in the Byzantine Collection at Dumbarton Oaks. For an illustration of this coin, see “Solidus of Romanos II (959–963),” The Byzantine Emperors on Coins, Dumbarton Oaks Research Library and Collection, accessed October 5, 2015.—the only one known, not only in gold but even in silver—and it is an overwhelming confirmation of our thesis about the Cab. des Méd. ivoryChrist Crowning Romanos and Eudoxia, ca. 945–949, ivory, Département des Monnaies, Médailles et Antiques, Bibliothèque Nationale de France. The dating of this ivory was debated in Royall Tyler’s time as well as in more recent times. Ioli Kalavrezou-Maxeiner questioned the dating to the reign of Romanos II and his wife Eudokia (d. 949) and reattributed it to the reign of Romanos IV (1068–1071); see Ioli Kalavrezou-Maxeiner, “Eudokia Makrembolitssa and the Romanos Ivory,” Dumbarton Oaks Papers 31 (1977): 305–25. Anthony Cutler and others have questioned this dating and identified the emperor as Romanos II; see Anthony Cutler, “The Date and Significance of the Romanos Ivory,” in Byzantine East, Latin West: Art Historical Studies in Honor of Kurt Weitzmann, ed. Doula Mouriki et al. (Princeton: Department of Art and Archaeology, Princeton University, 1995), 605–10. and the existence of a highly characterized style, identifiable with Const. Porph.’sConstantine VII Porphyrogennetos (905–959), Byzantine emperor who reigned from 913 to 959. own physical features (which his son Rom. II also possessed). I think we’d have been able to refute MoreyAmerican art historian Charles Rufus Morey (1877–1955) was a professor and chairman of the Department of Art and Archaeology at Princeton University between 1924 and 1945. In a review of Goldschmidt and Weitzmann’s Die byzantinischen Elfenbeinskulpturen (published in The Art Bulletin 17, no. 3 [September 1935]: 398–400), Morey and A. S. Keck refute the tenth-century dating of the Romanos ivory in the Cabinet des Médailles, Paris, and date the ivory to ca. 1070 in the time of Romanos IV. Royall Tyler and Hayford Peirce delivered the talk “Two Landmarks in Tenth-Century Byzantine Art” at the Deuxième Congès International des Études Byzantines in Belgrade on April 14, 1927. The talk was published as “Deux monuments dans l’art byzantin du Xe siècle,” Aréthuse 16 (July 1927): 1–8. even without this coin, but with it . . !! Morey knows nothing about coins—a great weakness where Byz. is concerned. Even SpinkSpink & Son, London, an auction house that principally deals with coins and paper money. slipped up on this coin, as he offered it to Hayford as Rom. III,Romanos III Argyros (968–1034), a Byzantine emperor who reigned between 1028 and 1034. which it can’t possibly be.

Dearest Mildred, please, a word of news, even if it can’t be a long letter. I so badly want to see a line of your writing.

Much love to Robert, and a hug to you.

R. T.

Associated People: Hayford Peirce; William Royall Tyler
Associated Things: L'art byzantin