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Modern representation of Theophilos' choice
1882 painting of Tsar Alexis of Russia choosing his bride in 1648. Painting by Grigory Sedov.

The bride-show (Greek: δείχνουν οι νύμφες, romanizeddeichnoun hoi nymphes; Russian: смотр невест, romanizedsmotr nevest) was a custom of Byzantine emperors and Russian tsars to choose a wife from among the most beautiful maidens of the country.[1][2] A similar practice also existed in Imperial China.[citation needed]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Bushkovitch, Paul (18 March 2021). Succession to the Throne in Early Modern Russia: The Transfer of Power 1450–1725. Cambridge University Press. p. 61. ISBN 978-1-108-47934-9.
  2. ^ Martin, Russell E. (15 June 2012). A Bride for the Tsar: Bride-Shows and Marriage Politics in Early Modern Russia. Cornell University Press. pp. 23–27. ISBN 978-1-5017-5665-8.

Further reading[edit]

  • Afinogenov, D. "The Bride-show of Theophilos: Some notes on the Sources", Eranos 95. 1997, pp. 10–18.
  • Rydén, Lennart. "The Bride-shows at the Byzantine Court - History or Fiction?" Eranos 83, 1985, pp. 175–191.
  • Treadgold, W. T., "The Bride-shows of the Byzantine Emperors", Byzantion 49. 1979, pp. 395–413.
  • Bourboulis, Photeine, “The Bride-Show Custom and the Fairy-Story of Cinderella.” In P. P. Bourboulis, Studies in the History of Modern Greek Story-Motives. Thessalonike, 1953. Pp. 40–52.