Collection Guide


Abstract: The Byzantine Musical Instruments project is an ongoing project by Koç University Stavros Niarchos Foundation Center for Late Antique and Byzantine Studies (GABAM) and the Friends of Music Society (Athens) to create a digital database and an image repository of the musical instruments that were present and in use in the Byzantine Lands.

Institute: Suna Kıraç Library, Special Collections and Archives

Creator(s): Dr. Antonios Botonakis

Date Range: 200 – 1600

Extent: Digital-born collection

Language(s): Greek

Access and Use

Digital Access

Inventory of visual representations of Byzantine musical instruments from a wide range of contexts, publicly available online


Visual materials represented in this project are for display purposes only, for which the permission is obtained from the housing institutions, and they fall under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0) International Public License. Images excluded from this scope have only bibliographic information and access to these images is restricted. If you need to request and obtain high quality, original images and other types of permits contact housing institutes since they are the copyright owners. For more information, questions or remarks, please contact

Preferred Citation

[Identification of item], [Identification of housing institution, cited in the item page], Byzantine Musical Instruments Collection [Reference URL for digitized copies]


Administrative/Biographical History

The core of the database is made up of artifacts found across 136 different cultural institutions. The database includes more than 400 copies of images that are attached to descriptive metadata of a wide range of artefacts, such as bowls, caskets, icons, miniatures, plates, reliefs and wall paintings.

Scope and Content Note

Byzantine Musical Instruments project is the first research study to bring together a vast array of visual representations of Byzantine musical instruments from a wide range of contexts. Encompass the rich variety of the instruments used in the Byzantine times, some recurring images have been eliminated from the database to make room for other non-recurring, unique images. Since research was conducted by a Post-Doctorate researcher who is a musicologist, not only does the database created present the iconography, but it also provides a unique classification of instruments. In addition to instrumental categorization, the database includes several filters to help researchers make in-depth research by narrowing down several advanced search options such as geographical area, historical period and artefact type.

Processing Notes

Digital copies

More than 400 visual representations of musical instruments, located today at about 136 institutions, spread over 27 countries worldwide were brought together during the Byzantine Musical Instruments project, along with their descriptions. To obtain high-quality, original images, researchers should directly contact with the housing institutions which are copyright holders as cited in the metadata of each item displayed in the collection.