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Byzantine Emperor Alexander, holding the akakia in his right hand. Mosaic from the Hagia Sophia.

The akakia (Greek: ἀκακία, literally "guilelessness") was a cylindrical purple silk roll containing dust, held by the Byzantine emperors during ceremonies, and symbolizing the mortal nature of all men. It possibly developed from the mappa, the cloth used by the Roman consuls to start the races at the hippodrome.


  • Kazhdan, Alexander, ed. (1991), Oxford Dictionary of Byzantium, Oxford University Press, p. 42, ISBN 978-0-19-504652-6