A History of the Byzantine State and Society

A History of the Byzantine State and Society

Paperback

By (author) Warren T. Treadgold

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  • Publisher: Stanford University Press
  • Format: Paperback | 1044 pages
  • Dimensions: 152mm x 229mm x 51mm | 1,383g
  • Publication date: 1 October 1997
  • Publication City/Country: Palo Alto
  • ISBN 10: 0804726302
  • ISBN 13: 9780804726306
  • Edition statement: First.
  • Illustrations note: 221 half-tones 18 maps
  • Sales rank: 242,759

Product description

This is the first comprehensive and up-to-date history of Byzantium to appear in almost sixty years, and the first ever to cover both the Byzantine state and Byzantine society. It begins in A.D. 285, when the emperor Diocletian separated what became Byzantium from the western Roman Empire, and ends in 1461, when the last Byzantine outposts fell to the Ottoman Turks. Spanning twelve centuries and three continents, the Byzantine Empire linked the ancient and modern worlds, shaping and transmitting Greek, Roman, and Christian traditions - including the Greek classics, Roman law, and Christian theology - that remain vigorous today, not only in Eastern Europe and the Middle East but throughout Western civilization. Though in its politics Byzantium often resembled a third-world dictatorship, it has never yet been matched in maintaining a single state for so long, over a wide area inhabited by heterogeneous peoples. Drawing on a wealth of original sources and modern works, the author treats political and social developments as a single vivid story, told partly in detailed narrative and partly in essays that clarify long-term changes. He avoids stereotypes and rejects such old and new historical orthodoxies as the persistent weakness of the Byzantine economy and the pervasive importance of holy men in Late Antiquity. Without neglecting underlying social, cultural, and economic trends, the author shows the often crucial impact of nearly a hundred Byzantine emperors and empresses. What the emperor or empress did, or did not do, could rapidly confront ordinary Byzantines with economic ruin, new religious doctrines, or conquest by a foreign power. Much attention is paid to the complex life of the court and bureaucracy that has given us the adjective "byzantine." The major personalities include such famous names as Constantine, Justinian, Theodora, and Heraclius, along with lesser-known figures like Constans II, Irene, Basil II the Bulgar-Slayer, and Michael VIII Palaeologus. Byzantine civilization emerges as durable, creative, and realistic, overcoming repeated setbacks to remain prosperous almost to the end. With 221 illustrations and 18 maps that complement the text, A History of the Byzantine State and Society should long remain the standard history of Byzantium not just for students and scholars but for all readers.

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Author information

Warren Treadgold is Professor of History at Florida International University. He is the author of, most recently, "Byzantium and Its Army, 284-1081" (Stanford, 1995).

Review quote

"A vivid story of Byzantium's existence over the span of 1,100 years... Drawing on the latest scholarship and written for both the general reader and the scholar, this work may well become the standard English-language history of Byzantium." - Library Journal "Fluently written for the general reader - few will tire of its 850 pages of text - its coherent account reflects the most up-to-date scholarship." - Los Angeles Times Book Review

Back cover copy

"A vivid story of Byzantium's existence over the span of 1,100 years. . . . Drawing on the latest scholarship and written for both the general reader and the scholar, this work may well become the standard English-language history of Byzantium."--Library Journal "Fluently written for the general reader--few will tire of its 850 pages of text--its coherent account reflects the most up-to-date scholarship."--Los Angeles Times Book Review

Flap copy

This is the first comprehensive and up-to-date history of Byzantium to appear in almost sixty years, and the first ever to cover both the Byzantine state and Byzantine society. It begins in a.d. 285, when the emperor Diocletian separated what became Byzantium from the western Roman Empire, and ends in 1461, when the last Byzantine outposts fell to the Ottoman Turks. Spanning twelve centuries and three continents, the Byzantine Empire linked the ancient and modern worlds, shaping and transmitting Greek, Roman, and Christian traditions--including the Greek classics, Roman law, and Christian theology--that remain vigorous today, not only in Eastern Europe and the Middle East but throughout Western civilization. Though in its politics Byzantium often resembled a third-world dictatorship, it has never yet been matched in maintaining a single state for so long, over a wide area inhabited by heterogeneous peoples. Drawing on a wealth of original sources and modern works, the author treats political and social developments as a single vivid story, told partly in detailed narrative and partly in essays that clarify long-term changes. He avoids stereotypes and rejects such old and new historical orthodoxies as the persistent weakness of the Byzantine economy and the pervasive importance of holy men in Late Antiquity. Without neglecting underlying social, cultural, and economic trends, the author shows the often crucial impact of nearly a hundred Byzantine emperors and empresses. What the emperor or empress did, or did not do, could rapidly confront ordinary Byzantines with economic ruin, new religious doctrines, or conquest by a foreign power. Much attention is paid to the complex life of the court and bureaucracy that has given us the adjective "byzantine." The major personalities include such famous names as Constantine, Justinian, Theodora, and Heraclius, along with lesser-known figures like Constans II, Irene, Basil II the Bulgar-Slayer, and Michael VIII Palaeologus. Byzantine civilization emerges as durable, creative, and realistic, overcoming repeated setbacks to remain prosperous almost to the end. With 221 illustrations and 18 maps that complement the text, A History of the Byzantine State and Society should long remain the standard history of Byzantium not just for students and scholars but for all readers.

Table of contents

Introduction; Part I. The Enlarged State and the Burdened Society: 1. The refoundation of the Empire, 284-337; 2. The state under strain, 337-395; 3. The danger of barbarization, 395-457; 4. The formation of Byzantine society, 284-457; Part II. The Interrupted Advance: 5. The eastern recovery, 457-518; 6. The reconquests and the plague, 518-565; 7. The danger of overextension, 565-610; 8. A divided society, 457-610; Part III. The Contained Catastrophe: 9. Two fights for survival, 610-668; 10. The war of attrition, 668-717; 11. The passing of the crisis, 717-780; 12. The shrinking of society, 610-780; Part IV. The Long Revival: 13. Internal reforms, 780-842; 14. External gains, 842-912; 15. The gains secured, 912-963; 16. The great conquests, 963-1025; 17. The expansion of society , 780-1025; Part V. The Weak State and the Wealthy Society: 18. Erratic government, 1025-1081; 19. Improvised reconstruction, 1081-1143; 21. A restless society, 1025-1204; Part VI. The Failed Restoration: 22. The successor states, 1204-1261; 23. The restored empire, 1261-1328; 24. The breakdown, 1328-1391; 25. The end of Byzantine independence, 1391-1461; 26. The separation of society from state, 1204-1461; Conclusion; Appendix; Abbreviations; Bibliographical survey; Endnotes; Index.