Bindings made in the tradition that was practised in the territories and period of the later Byzantine empire (A.D. ca 1000-1453) and that are also, for that reason, often referred to as Byzantine bindings, but the stylistic and structural features shared by such bindings may be found outside the strict geographical and temporal limits of the Byzantine empire. The term Greek-style binding usefully avoids the limitations of using the word Byzantine. The Italian term alla greca and the French à la grecque are used to describe bindings made in the Greek style in those two countries. The distinctive features shared by such bindings made in the genuine Greek manner must include unsupported sewing structures (which may be sewn in two sequences) and consequently smooth spines which are often heavily rounded, a sewn board attachment, projecting endbands sewn to the edges of the boards and bookblocks cut to the same size as the boards. Greek-style bindings will often also have grooves cut into the edges of the boards and fastenings in the form of double or triple interlaced straps laced through one board which are attached to ring clasps with which fit over edge pins in the edges of the other board.
Grooves cut into the edges of a board. Grooved edges are characteristic of Byzantine/Greek binding. They may stop short or run around the corners, and may be V-shaped or semi-circular in cross-section.
In a tongued mitre, the two turn-ins that meet at a corner are trimmed to leave a space between them which is filled by a strip, or tongue, of the covering skin which is pulled over the corner to lie between them. The covering skin was usually trimmed on the board, and this often leaves clearly visible knife-cuts in the board which allows the existence of tongued mitres to be identified even when the tongues, and possibly the turn-ins, have been lost. The tongued mitre was developed to allow relatively thick covering skins to be drawn neatly over the corners of thick wooden boards. Tongued mitres were a common feature of medieval bindings, and are found on Armenian and Byzantine as well as western European bindings. Their western-European use continued until the mid-sixteenth century, when they are found on books with both paper and wooden boards.
Grooves or channels used in a variety of locations on bindings to accommodate a number of different components. These include recesses cut across the spine of a bookblock to accommodate one of several structural processes. They may not all be of the same size or shape, and may be used for either sewn supported, sewn unsupported or adhesive structures, sometimes combining different functions within the same bookblock. Recesses could also be cut across the spines of bookblocks composed of single leaves to accommodate recessed supports in overcast groups of leaves and in oversewn bookblocks. V-shaped recesses were used in Byzantine bindings to allow the chainstitches formed by the unsupported sewing structures typical of such bindings to lie below the surface of the spine and so create the smooth spines which are another characteristic feature of these bindings. Recesses can also be found in wooden boards, to accommodate the thickness of clasp straps, metal chain shackles, pencils for early almanacs, etc.