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Monday, January 30, 2012

Siamese twins in the Middle Ages

As I mentioned in my last post, I've been traveling in Greece writing a new series for Gadling called Our past in peril: Greek tourism faces the economic crisis. The first in the series is here.

I've always been more interested in Byzantium than Classical Greece and so I spent a lot of time exploring Byzantine sights, including Mistra, a Byzantine ghost town overlooking Sparta. On one of the signs there I came across this strange story. The image above is from a Byzantine manuscript owned by the Biblioteca Nacional in Madrid and the caption reads:

"In the time of Romanos Lekapenos (10th cent.) a pair of Siamese twin boys were brought to Constantinople from Armenia and they 'stayed in the city for a long time and everybody went to see them as if they were some kind of curious monster; and then they were expelled from the city because they were thought to be an evil omen."

There's a story in the making. . .


  1. That IS an interesting story in the making! Those poor boys, treated as animals and then discarded.

    I found the story of Chang and Eng, history's most famous Siamese twins, to be fascinating. With two wives and 21 children between them, I can't help but wonder ... oh, let's not go there.


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