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13 Local Warehouse World History- Medieval and Renaissance
12 Remote Warehouse World History- Ancient History

Lost to the West: The Forgotten Byzantine Empire That Rescued Western Civilization


Lost to the West: The Forgotten Byzantine Empire That Rescued Western Civilization Cover

ISBN13: 9780307407962
ISBN10: 0307407969
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Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

In AD 476 the Roman Empire fell-or rather, its western half did. Its eastern half, which would come to be known as the Byzantine Empire, would endure and often flourish for another eleven centuries. Though its capital would move to Constantinople, its citizens referred to themselves as Roman for the entire duration of the empires existence. Indeed, so did its neighbors, allies, and enemies: When the Turkish Sultan Mehmet II conquered Constantinople in 1453, he took the title Caesar of Rome, placing himself in a direct line that led back to Augustus.

For far too many otherwise historically savvy people today, the story of the Byzantine civilization is something of a void. Yet for more than a millennium, Byzantium reigned as the glittering seat of Christian civilization. When Europe fell into the Dark Ages, Byzantium held fast against Muslim expansion, keeping Christianity alive. When literacy all but vanished in the West, Byzantium made primary education available to both sexes. Students debated the merits of Plato and Aristotle and commonly committed the entirety of Homers Iliad to memory. Streams of wealth flowed into Constantinople, making possible unprecedented wonders of art and architecture, from fabulous jeweled mosaics and other iconography to the great church known as the Hagia Sophia that was a vision of heaven on earth. The dome of the Great Palace stood nearly two hundred feet high and stretched over four acres, and the citys population was more than twenty times that of Londons.

From Constantine, who founded his eponymous city in the year 330, to Constantine XI, who valiantly fought the empires final battle more than a thousand years later, the emperors who ruled Byzantium enacted a saga of political intrigue and conquest as astonishing as anything in recorded history. Lost to the West is replete with stories of assassination, mass mutilation and execution, sexual scheming, ruthless grasping for power, and clashing armies that soaked battlefields with the blood of slain warriors numbering in the tens of thousands.

Still, it was Byzantium that preserved for us today the great gifts of the classical world. Of the 55,000 ancient Greek texts in existence today, some 40,000 were transmitted to us by Byzantine scribes. And it was the Byzantine Empire that shielded Western Europe from invasion until it was ready to take its own place at the center of the world stage. Filled with unforgettable stories of emperors, generals, and religious patriarchs, as well as fascinating glimpses into the life of the ordinary citizen, Lost to the West reveals how much we owe to this empire that was the equal of any in its achievements, appetites, and enduring legacy.

From the Hardcover edition.


"Originally published in hardcover in the United States by Crown Publishers in 2009"--T.p. verso.

About the Author

LARS BROWNWORTH, a former high-school history teacher, is the creator of the podcast phenomenon “12 Byzantine Rulers” that iTunes named as one of the “podcasts that define the genre.” Brownworth and his podcast have been profiled in the New York Times, Wired, and USA Today, and were featured on NPR.

From the Hardcover edition.

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Average customer rating based on 2 comments:

sgerritson, June 28, 2011 (view all comments by sgerritson)
A very readable and coherent history of more than 1,000 years of the Byzantine empire - the Roman Empire continued in the east. What's more amazing is that this is hardly ever mentioned in western history books. The story comes alive with interesting anecdotes, yet keeps the big picture front and center. The one annoying aspect is the footnotes, in which the author seems to be showing off his knowledge of trivia.
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cyberhawk29, January 1, 2011 (view all comments by cyberhawk29)
Incredibly informative and amazing. We learned in school that the Roman Empire fell in the 4th century AD. Here we find that the Roman Empire went on for another thousand years, with its center and capital in Constantinople. This is the story of Byzantium, full of compelling characters and history I was never really aware of. I am currently reading this book for the second time and will no doubt read it again. It truly is a look at history with sharp similarities to what is happening to us right now!
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Product Details

Brownworth, Lars
Three Rivers Press (CA)
Middle East - Turkey
Ancient - Rome
Civilization, Western -- History.
Byzantine Empire History.
World History - Medieval and Renaissance
history;byzantine empire;byzantium;ancient history;non-fiction;byzantine;constantinople;byzantine history;crusades
Edition Description:
Trade paper
Publication Date:
Grade Level:
8 x 5.2 x 0.78 in 0.57 lb

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Related Subjects

History and Social Science » Middle East » Turkey
History and Social Science » Western Civilization » Byzantium
History and Social Science » Western Civilization » Medieval
History and Social Science » World History » Ancient History
History and Social Science » World History » Byzantium
History and Social Science » World History » Medieval and Renaissance
Religion » Christianity » General

Lost to the West: The Forgotten Byzantine Empire That Rescued Western Civilization New Trade Paper
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Product details 352 pages Three Rivers Press (CA) - English 9780307407962 Reviews:
"Synopsis" by , "Originally published in hardcover in the United States by Crown Publishers in 2009"--T.p. verso.
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