Byzantium and Islam: Age of Transition

Byzantium and Islam: Age of Transition

by Helen C. Evans
     
 

This groundbreaking volume explores the epochal transformations and unexpected continuities in the Byzantine Empire from the seventh to the ninth century. As the period opened, the Empire's southern provinces—the vibrant, diverse areas of North Africa and the eastern Mediterranean—were at the crossroads of trade routes reaching from Spain to China.

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Overview

This groundbreaking volume explores the epochal transformations and unexpected continuities in the Byzantine Empire from the seventh to the ninth century. As the period opened, the Empire's southern provinces—the vibrant, diverse areas of North Africa and the eastern Mediterranean—were at the crossroads of trade routes reaching from Spain to China. These regions experienced historic upheavals when their Christian and Jewish communities encountered the emerging Islamic world, and by the ninth century, an unprecedented cross-fertilization of cultures had taken place.

This extraordinary age is brought vividly to life by leading international scholars, their writings accompanied by sumptuous illustrations of the period's most notable arts and artifacts. Resplendent images of authority, religion, and trade—embodied in precious metals, brilliant textiles, fine ivories, elaborate mosaics, manuscripts, and icons, many of them never before published—highlight the dynamic dialogue between the rich array of Byzantine styles and the evolving Islamic aesthetic. With its masterful exploration of two centuries that would shape the emerging medieval world, Byzantium and Islam provides a revelatory interpretation of a period with profound ramifications for the modern era.

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Editorial Reviews

New York Review of Books - Peter Brown
“Groundbreaking scholarship. . . has gone into the catalog. . . [it is] an outstanding introduction to the transition from late Antiquity to Islam.”—Peter Brown, New York Review of Books
The New York Times
“[An] important exhibition book.”—The New York Times
The New Criterion

“[The catalog is] a beautiful and quite sumptuous work of original scholarship.”—The New Criterion
Islamic Republic of Iran - World Book Award

Winner of the 2014 World Book Award in the field of Islamic Studies, given by the Islamic Republic of Iran.
Library Journal
Both from the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Evans (Mary and Michael Jaharis Curator for Byzantine Art) and Ratliff (Byzantine art research associate) edited this exhibition catalog, which is the last in a series of four that presents the arts of Byzantium. The purpose of both exhibition and catalog is to foster a better understanding of the transformations taking place between the seventh and ninth centuries in an area skirting the Mediterranean from Syria to Egypt and across North Africa to Spain. These transformations included the advent of Islamic rule in Christian communities in the southern provinces of the former Byzantine Empire. By the ninth century, these provinces were part of Muslim-held territory, yet Christian communities there maintained contact with Byzantium. The catalog achieves its goal of tracing the transformation of society, religion, and politics, through discussions and numerous in-text images of art and architecture, to measure continuity or discontinuity. VERDICT For serious scholars, students, and interested general readers of Byzantine and Islamic history and art. Recommended.—Nancy J. Mactague, Aurora Univ. Lib., IL

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780300179507
Publisher:
Yale University Press
Publication date:
04/24/2012
Pages:
352
Product dimensions:
9.60(w) x 12.30(h) x 1.30(d)

Meet the Author


Helen C. Evans is Mary and Michael Jaharis Curator for Byzantine Art in the Department of Medieval Art at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York. Brandie Ratliff is research associate for Byzantine Art in the Department of Medieval Art at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York.

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