Roland Betancourt. "Between Wonder and Omen: Conjoined Twins and the Mandylion from Constantinople to Norman Sicily." Gesta, volume 62, number 1 (Spring 2023): pp. 23–62.
In the year 944, two wonders arrived in Constantinople from the eastern borders of the empire: First, the Mandylion, a textile that Christ had miraculously imprinted with an image of his face, was brought to the city from Edessa. Second, to the awe of the city’s inhabitants, male conjoined twins arrived from Armenia. In this article, I focus on the depiction of both events in the Madrid Skylitzes historical chronicle (Madrid, Biblioteca Nacional de España, MS vitr. 26–2). My goal is to show how the multifaceted meanings of the conjoined twins and the Mandylion operated in the context of imperial rule, political intrigue, and religious authority, from the text’s origin in Constantinople to the manuscript’s illumination in Norman Sicily.