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The Byzantine Tarot: Wisdom from an Ancient Empire

The Byzantine Tarot: Wisdom from an Ancient Empire

John Matthews & Cilla Conway

Available October 2020

$34.99

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Drawing upon the rich heritage of art, lore, and the complex courtly world of the Byzantine Empire, this glittering new Tarot reflects the extraordinary, unique artistic style that flourished under the rule of the Byzantine emperors from the fourth to the fifteenth centuries.
As the Roman Empire grew old and corrupt, and was finally broken by attacks from beyond its Eastern borders, the seat of power shifted from Rome to the great city of Byzantium, where a new kind of court–affluent, self-confident, and powerful–arose. The Byzantine world, which lasted from 330 to 1453 CE, combined the elegance and power of Rome with the opulence and splendour of the Orient. This combinations brought about a richness in the world of art, literature, and spirituality that has seldom been equalled.
Today, few of us know much about Byzantium beyond its famous mosaics, glittering royal treasures, and the name itself. Yet it also has a mysterious resonance, and it is to the world of emperors and empresses, saints and sinners, courtly characters, and faith and miracles that the creators of this sumptuous new Tarot have turned, to discover Byzantine vision, magic, and enchantment.
Brought to you by best-selling tarot authority John Matthews and renowned artist Cilla Conway, The Byzantine Tarot faithfully echoes the iconography of the era, reflecting the ornate gilded mosaics and manuscript-art styles of the period. Myth, legend, and the hierarchical complexity of life in Byzantium make this deck a unique exploration of a period of of time in which the last echoes of the pagan world were being enfolded into the burgeoning world of early Christianity.
The Major Arcana cards are based on archetypal characters responsible for the daily activity of the Empire, while the Minor Arcana suits reflect elements central to the operation of the Byzantine court: the Swords of Power, the Cups of State, the Rods of Office, and the Coins of Empire. The presence of so many archetypal figures and roles within the imperial court suggests a link between the oldest forms of the Tarot and the wisdom that flourished at the time within this part of the classical world. Indeed, Tarot cards may never even have come into being, were it not for the eighth-century Byzantine empress Irene restoring the use of iconography, following a long period during which it was considered heretical.
The first deck of its kind to explore long-forgotten and misunderstood aspects of this rich kingdom, The Byzantine Tarot uncovers new layers of wisdom and meaning to thrill Tarot users the world over, and guide us in our lives today.

Size: box set 9″ x 5 1/2″ x 2″ | 78 art cards | 160 pp
ISBN13: 9780764360411 | Binding: box set

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John Matthews has produced a number of successful divinatory systems based on early spiritual beliefs, including The Arthurian Tarot (with Caitlín Matthews and Miranda Gray), the best-selling Wildwood Tarot (with Mark Ryan and Will Worthington), the Grail Tarot (with Giovanni Caselli), and the more recent Lost Tarot of Nostradamus and Steampunk Tarot (both with Caitlín Matthews and Wil Kinghan). He is widely known as the author of numerous books on the Grail and Arthurian legends and volumes of Celtic literature, myth, and belief. His book Pirates was a number one New York Times best-seller for twenty-two weeks in 2007. He has acted as an advisor on several motion pictures, including Jerry Bruckheimer’s King Arthur, and is currently engaged in a number of movie projects of his own. Visit hallowquest.org.uk. Cilla Conway is a professional Tarot counselor, writer, and artist with a particular interest in archetypes and mythology. Shortly after moving to London in 1971 she began designing the Tarot deck now published as The Intuitive Tarot. Since then, she has painted an oracle deck entitled the Devas of Creation and obtained an honours degree in Fine Art and an MA in Psychotherapy and Healing.