Pub. Date:
A New Herodotos: Laonikos Chalkokondyles on the Ottoman Empire, the Fall of Byzantium, and the Emergence of the West

A New Herodotos: Laonikos Chalkokondyles on the Ottoman Empire, the Fall of Byzantium, and the Emergence of the West

by Anthony Kaldellis


Choose Expedited Shipping at checkout for delivery by Wednesday, September 29


This companion to the two-volume Dumbarton Oaks Medieval Library edition and translation of The Histories by Laonikos Chalkokondyles is the first book-length investigation of an author who has been poorly studied. Providing biographical and intellectual context for Laonikos, Anthony Kaldellis shows how the author synthesized his classical models to fashion his own distinctive voice and persona as a historian. Indebted to his teacher Plethon for his global outlook, Laonikos was one of the first historians to write with a pluralist’s sympathy for non-Greek ethnic groups, including Islamic ones. His was the first secular and neutral account of Islam written in Greek. Kaldellis deeply explores the ethnic dynamics that explicitly and implicitly undergird the Histories, which recount the rise of the Ottoman empire and the decline of the Byzantine empire, all in the context of expanding western power. Writing at once in antique and contemporary modes, Laonikos transformed “barbarian” oral traditions into a classicizing historiography that was both Greek and Ottoman in outlook. Showing that he was instrumental in shifting the self-definition of his people from Roman to the Western category of “Greek,” Kaldellis provides a stimulating account of the momentous transformations of the mid-fifteenth century.

Related collections and offers

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780884024019
Publisher: Harvard
Publication date: 12/08/2014
Series: Supplements to the Dumbarton Oaks Medieval Library , #1
Edition description: Supplement
Pages: 324
Product dimensions: 5.60(w) x 8.40(h) x 1.00(d)

About the Author

Anthony Kaldellis is Professor and Chair of the Department of Classics at The Ohio State University. He is the author of many books, including The Christian Parthenon, Hellenism in Byzantium, and The Byzantine Republic, which have been translated into French, Greek, and Russian.

Table of Contents

Preface and Acknowledgments ix

1 From Nikolaos to Laonikos 1

The Life of Nikolaos Chalkokondyles 1

Laonikos the Athenian 15

A Note on the History of the Text of the Histories 18

2 The Marriage of Herodotos and Thucydides 23

The Structure and Contents of the Histories 24

Style and Approach: Thucydides 30

Modalities and Templates: Herodotos 38

Laonikos's Manuscript of Herodotos 45

3 Geography and Ethnography 49

Narrative Structures 50

Geography 58

Neo-Herodotean Ethnography 63

The Functions of an Archaic Political Landscape 70

The "Illyrian" Question and the Origin of the Slavs 78

Laonikos's Sources for the West 85

Florence and Venice: Sources and Politics 91

4 Religion, Islam, and The Turks 101

Laonikos's Religious Outlook 102

The Representation of Islam 114

Laonikos as an Early Ottoman Historian 126

4 Religion, Islam, and the Turks (continued)

Ottoman Institutions and the "Raiders": Gazi or Akinci? 147

East and West, Asia and Europe: The Turks as Barbarians 153

The Classical Tyranny of Mehmed II 162

5 Between Greeks and Romans 171

Greeks and Romans: A Reading of the Preface 171

Who are Laonikos's Romans? 177

Hellenocentrism vs. Helleno criticism 188

The Intended Audience of the Histories 197

6 Plethon, Laonikos, and the Birth of Neohellenism 207

Master and Student: Plethon and Laonikos 209

The Colonial Imposition of a Greekldentity on Byzantium 216

The Modern Legacy of Late Byzantine Neohellenism 229

Epilogue 237


Appendix 1 Laonikos of Athens Was Not Laonikos of Chania 243

Appendix 2 Laonikos's Knowledge of Fourteenth-Century Athenian History 249

Appendix 3 Herodotean Expressions in Laonikos 253

Appendix 4 The Known History of Laur. 70.6 between 1318 and 1480 259

Abbreviations 263

Bibliography 265

Index locorum 289

General Index 295

Customer Reviews