Byzantium The Surprising Life of a Medieval Empire

ISBN-10: 0691143692

ISBN-13: 9780691143699

Edition: 2010

Authors: Judith Herrin

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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,Byzantiumreveals 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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Book details

List price: $22.95
Copyright year: 2010
Publisher: Princeton University Press
Publication date: 9/28/2009
Binding: Paperback
Pages: 416
Size: 6.25" wide x 9.00" long x 1.25" tall
Weight: 1.430

Judith Herrin was Stanley J. Seeger Professor of Byzantine History, Princeton University, 1991-1995 and is Director for the Centre for Hellenic Studies, King's College, London.

List of Illustrations
List of Maps
Introduction: A Different History of Byzantium
Foundations of Byzantium
The City of Constantine
Constantinople, the Largest City in Christendom
The East Roman Empire
Greek Orthodoxy
The Church of Hagia Sophia
The Ravenna Mosaics
Roman Law
The Transition from Ancient to Medieval
The Bulwark Against Islam
Icons, a New Christian Arc Form
Iconoclasm and Icon Veneration
A Literate and Articulate Society
Saints Cyril and Methodios, 'Apostles to the Slavs'
Byzantium Becomes a Medieval State
Greek Fire
The Byzantine Economy
The Imperial Court
Imperial Children, 'Born in the Purple'
Mount Athos
Venice and the Fork
Basil II, 'The Bulgar-Slayer'
Eleventh-Century Crisis
Anna Komnene
A Cosmopolitan Society
Varieties of Byzantium
The Fulcrum of the Crusades
The Towers of Trebizond, Arta, Nicaea and Thessalonike
Rebels and Patrons
'Better the Turkish Turban than the Papal Tiara'
The Siege of 1453
Conclusion: The Greatness and Legacy of Byzantium
Further Reading
List of Emperors Named in the Text
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