The Oxford History of Byzantium

The Oxford History of Byzantium

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The Oxford History of Byzantium is the only history to provide in concise form detailed coverage of Byzantium from its Roman beginnings to the fall of Constantinople and assimilation into the Turkish Empire. Lively essays and beautiful illustrations portray the emergence and development of a distinctive civilization, covering the period from the fourth century to the mid-fifteenth century. The authors - all working at the cutting edge of their particular fields - outline the political history of the Byzantine state and bring to life the evolution of a colourful culture. In AD 324, the Emperor Constantine the Great chose Byzantion, an ancient Greek colony at the mouth of the Thracian Bosphorous, as his imperial residence. He renamed the place 'Constaninopolis nova Roma', 'Constantinople, the new Rome' and the city (modern Istanbul) became the Eastern capital of the later Roman empire. The new Rome outlived the old and Constantine's successors continued to regard themselves as the legitimate emperors of Rome, just as their subjects called themselves Romaioi, or Romans long after they had forgotten the Latin language. In the sixteenth century, Western humanists gave this eastern Roman empire ruled from Constantinople the epithet 'Byzantine'. Against a backdrop of stories of emperors, intrigues, battles, and bishops, this Oxford History uncovers the hidden mechanisms - economic, social, and demographic - that underlay the history of events. The authors explore everyday life in cities and villages, manufacture and trade, machinery of government, the church as an instrument of state, minorities, education, literary activity, beliefs and superstitions, monasticism, iconoclasm, the rise of Islam, and the fusion with Western, or Latin, culture. Byzantium linked the ancient and modern worlds, shaping traditions and handing down to both Eastern and Western civilization a vibrant legacy.

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  • Hardback | 352 pages
  • 184 x 248 x 38mm | 1,138.51g
  • Oxford University Press
  • OxfordUnited Kingdom
  • English
  • 24pp colour plates and numerous halftones
  • 0198140983
  • 9780198140986
  • 132,910

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Author Information

Cyril Mango was Bywater and Sotheby Professor of Byzantine and Modern Greek Language and Literature at Oxford until his retirement.

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Review quote

The illustrations and their captions add to the educative value of this book: well chosen and beautifully reproduced, they help to illuminate many of the points made in the text. The numerous maps are also clear and instructive ... a useful tool for students and lay readers at all levels, although it could also serve as an elegant gift for the coffee table. Sobornost (incorporating Eastern Churches Review) This is a book which succeeds in giving the reader an introduction to many different aspects of Byzantium and a sense of its long history and wide-spreading civilisation. Anglo-Hellenic Review ... fine collection of plates and maps. Anglo-Hellenic Review ... a high quality book of essays by a distinguished group of scholars covering the broad outlines of the period, together with interesting chapters on culture. Anglo-Hellenic Review ... essential reading for anyone who wants to look beyond the strictly 'classical' limits of our subject and in so doing to gain a greater insight into the medium through which the ancient cultures were transmitted to us. JACT Review ... consistently excellent level of scholarship ... surprisingly easy to read for a book of this type. Its accessibility is further enhanced both by the beautiful photographs which illuminate the text and which present a commendably broad range of images and by the seven 'special features' in which subjects such as Icons and Monasticism are singled out for focused attention. JACT Review This handsome book, which comprises twelve essays on the history and culture of Byzantium written by a luminary array of Byzantine scholars from Britain and America, deserves a place in the Classics section of every school and university library. JACT Review The essays are well worth reading for themselves, but taken together the reader can gain from them an excellent overall impression of the changing fortunes of Byzantium over its long and varied history. This is an attractively produced and readable book, beautifully illustrated and unencumbered by footnotes ... an appealing and enjoyable read, especially for non-specialists wanting convenient access to the whole chronological range of Byzantine history. Averil Cameron, The Anglo-Hellenic Review Gives readers new insights based on the latest research ... The wealth of illustrations helps to bring this lost civilisation vividly back to life. Contemporary Review A triumph... there is a deliberate attempt to get beyond the merely political to understand the deeper movements which sustained the empire. It deserves the warmest recommendation. Charles Freeman, History Today Full of insight and interest, clearly written and beautifully presented, this splendid book helps to open up a window into an extraordinary age. Michael Kerrigan, The Scotsman, A remarkable achievement ... Highly recommended not only for scholars and students of Byzantium but also for interested general readers. Robert J. Andrews, Library Journal

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