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The Oxford History of Byzantiumby Cyril Mango
Synopses & Reviews
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.
Book News Annotation:
Richly illustrated with b&w and color plates, this volume provides an up-to-date overview of many aspects of Byzantine history and culture, making it a useful text for undergraduate courses as well as the perfect introduction for the popular reader. The topics include archaeology, art, daily life, courtly life, the impact of Islam, religion, the iconoclast controversy, Byzantine missions, and the fragmentation of the last centuries. Mango, a celebrated scholar in the field, is emeritus in Greek language and literature from Oxford U.; the other contributors are scholars in the US and the UK.
Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
Includes bibliographical references (p. 313-318) and index.
About the Author
Cyril Mango was Bywater and Sotheby Professor of Byzantine and Modern Greek Language and Literature at Oxford until his retirement.
Table of Contents
Introduction, Cyril Mango
1. The Eastern Empire from Constantine to Heraclius (306 - 641), Peter Sarris
2. Life in City and Country, Clive Foss
3. New Religion, Old Culture, Cyril Mango
4. The Rise of Islam, Robert Hoyland
5. The Struggle for Survival, Warren Treadgold
6. Iconoclasm, Patricia Karlin-Hayter
7. The Medieval Empire (780-1204), Paul Magdalino
8. The Revival of Learning, Cyril Mango
9. Spreading the Word: Byzantine Missions, Jonathan Shepard
10. Fragmentation (1204-1453), Stephen Reinert
11. Palaiologan Learning, Ihor Sevcenko
12. Towards a Franco-Greek Culture, Elizabeth Jeffreys and Cyril Mango
Excursuses on hierarchies, pilgrimage, commerce, and monasticism, Marlia Mundell Mango
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