Byzantium: The Surprising Life of a Medieval Empire

Byzantium: The Surprising Life of a Medieval Empire

5.0 1
by Judith Herrin
     
 

ISBN-10: 0691143692

ISBN-13: 9780691143699

Pub. Date: 09/08/2009

Publisher: Princeton University Press

Byzantium. The name evokes grandeur and exoticism—gold, cunning, and complexity. In this unique book, Judith Herrin unveils the riches of a quite different civilization. Avoiding a standard chronological account of the Byzantine Empire's millennium—long history, she identifies the fundamental questions about Byzantium—what it was, and what special

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Overview

Byzantium. The name evokes grandeur and exoticism—gold, cunning, and complexity. In this unique book, Judith Herrin unveils the riches of a quite different civilization. Avoiding a standard chronological account of the Byzantine Empire's millennium—long history, she identifies the fundamental questions about Byzantium—what it was, and what special significance it holds for us today.

Bringing the latest scholarship to a general audience in accessible prose, Herrin focuses each short chapter around a representative theme, event, monument, or historical figure, and examines it within the full sweep of Byzantine history—from the foundation of Constantinople, the magnificent capital city built by Constantine the Great, to its capture by the Ottoman Turks.

She argues that Byzantium's crucial role as the eastern defender of Christendom against Muslim expansion during the early Middle Ages made Europe—and the modern Western world—possible. Herrin captivates us with her discussions of all facets of Byzantine culture and society. She walks us through the complex ceremonies of the imperial court. She describes the transcendent beauty and power of the church of Hagia Sophia, as well as chariot races, monastic spirituality, diplomacy, and literature. She reveals the fascinating worlds of military usurpers and ascetics, eunuchs and courtesans, and artisans who fashioned the silks, icons, ivories, and mosaics so readily associated with Byzantine art.

An innovative history written by one of our foremost scholars, Byzantium reveals this great civilization's rise to military and cultural supremacy, its spectacular destruction by the Fourth Crusade, and its revival and final conquest in 1453.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780691143699
Publisher:
Princeton University Press
Publication date:
09/08/2009
Edition description:
New Edition
Pages:
440
Sales rank:
309,219
Product dimensions:
6.10(w) x 9.30(h) x 1.10(d)

Table of Contents

List of Illustrations ix
List of Maps xii
Introduction: A Different History of Byzantium xiii

Part I: Foundations of Byzantium
Chapter 1: The City of Constantine 3
Chapter 2: Constantinople, the Largest City in Christendom 12
Chapter 3: The East Roman Empire 22
Chapter 4: Greek Orthodoxy 33
Chapter 5: The Church of Hagia Sophia 50
Chapter 6: The Ravenna Mosaics 61
Chapter 7: Roman Law 70

Part II: The Transition from Ancient to Medieval
Chapter 8: The Bulwark Against Islam 83
Chapter 9: Icons, a New Christian Art Form 98
Chapter 10: Iconoclasm and Icon Veneration 105
Chapter 11: A Literate and Articulate Society 119
Chapter 12: Saints Cyril and Methodios,'Apostles to the Slavs' 131

Part: III: Byzantium Becomes a Medieval State
Chapter 13: Greek Fire 141
Chapter 14: The Byzantine Economy 148
Chapter 15: Eunuchs 160
Chapter 16: The Imperial Court 170
Chapter 17: Imperial Children,"Born in the Purple" 185
Chapter 18: Mount Athos 192
Chapter 19: Venice and the Fork 203
Chapter 20: Basil II,"The Bulgar-Slayer" 212
Chapter 21: Eleventh-Century Crisis 220
Chapter 22: Anna Komnene 232
Chapter 23: A Cosmopolitan Society 242

Part IV: Varieties of Byzantium
Chapter 24: The Fulcrum of the Crusades 255
Chapter 25: The Towers of Trebizond, Arta, Nicaea and Thessalonike 266
Chapter 26: Rebels and Patrons 281
Chapter 27: "Better the Turkish Turban than the Papal Tiara" 299
Chapter 28: The Siege of 1453 310
Conclusion: The Greatness and Legacy of Byzantium 321

Further Reading 339
List of Emperors Named in the Text 354
Chronology 357
Maps 363
Acknowledgements 375
Index 377

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Byzantium: The Surprising Life of a Medieval Empire 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
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