Dovecote Church

Magister Melias

The two cavalry figures at the end of the frieze seem to bear little relationship to the saints who precede them, and Jerphanion believes on the basis of the inscription beside this figure that rather than martyrs, these two horsemen represent donors who paid toward the establishment and/or embellishment of the Dovecote Church.

The inscription reads

which translates roughly as:"Lord, save your servant, Magister Melias" (Magister was a rank in the Byzantine hierarchy

Detail of the picture above, possibly showing mail rings at the neck

Detail of the scale klibanion. There appears to be protection for the upper arm of the same construction.

Melias wears a klibanion of what appears to be leather scale armour, with kremasmata of a similar construction. Close inspection suggests that, like the other mounted figure, mail rings can be seen at the neck, indicating that he is wearing a mail lorikion under the scale. However, the mural has been extensively damaged - I believe I can see one or two rings, but it is hard to be certain.

All three figures at the right-hand end of the frieze carry spears which Nicolle points out are made of bamboo. Those of the cavalrymen are much longer than the infantry spear, which is about 6 feet long - perhaps a javelin. All have quite small heads.

See an article on the possible identities of the two Dovecote Church horsemen

The two mounted donors are referenced on p.45, Byzantine Cavalryman c.900-1204 by Timothy Dawson (Author), Giuseppe Rava (Illustrator)
The fresco of the Forty Martyrs of Sevaste in the Dovecote Church at Çavusin in Kappadokhia shows both infantry and cavalry. The horsemen are armed with kontaria and protected by a mixture of lamellar and scale armour.

Back to Illustrations of Byzantine Costume and Soldiers in Dovecote Church, Cavusin, Cappadocia, Turkey