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Byzantine History Book?

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Byzantine History Book?

Postby annis » Tue Feb 10, 2004 12:24 am

Can anyone recommend an introduction to Byzantine history that a non-specialist has some chance of understanding and which is reasonably current? Emphasis on late-antiquity, early Byzantine by preference if such a focused work exists.
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Postby bingley » Tue Feb 10, 2004 6:31 am

You could try the first volume of John Julius Norwich's trilogy on Byzantium (Byzantium: The Early Years). It's a good overview of narrative history down to 800 AD. Followed by Byzantium: The Apogee (800 -1071), and Byzantium: Decline and Fall (1071-1453).
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Byzantine History Book?

Postby waraysa » Tue Feb 10, 2004 9:03 am

Agree with Bingley. Like Stephen Runciman (who wrote wonderful works on the fall of Byzantium and on the Crusades), Lord Norwich is one of the great English historians who writes in a very readable style without sacrificing proper academic discipline. Once you read Volume I, the Early Centuries, you will be sure to buy the other two volumes, it is such gripping stuff!! I think they are all available in paperback (although i have the third volume in hardcover.).

This trilogy was a recommended text for a Byzantine history course I did a few years ago. Another standard work used in undergraduate courses is A.A.Vasiliev, The History of the Byzantine Empire (two vols). It is very comprehensive but being a translation from the Russian is not so readable.

Good luck.
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Postby mingshey » Tue Feb 10, 2004 10:04 am

Byzantine is one of the big holes in my vague sense of history. I'll have check it out some day. 8)
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Postby PeterD » Thu Feb 12, 2004 7:05 am

Norwich's three volume set is excellent! There is also the abridged volume.

Very disheartening reading if your Greek, though. :cry: If only those walls did not fall. Let's not despair -- what Constantine gave, Constantine will take back.

PS: Never forget -- it's Constantinople not Istanbul. :wink:
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Postby PeterD » Thu Feb 12, 2004 7:06 am

Norwich's three volume set is excellent! There is also the abridged volume.

Very disheartening reading if your Greek, though. :cry: If only those walls did not fall. Let's not despair -- what Constantine gave, Constantine will take back.

PS: Never forget -- it's Constantinople not Istanbul. :wink:
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Postby Alundis » Thu Feb 12, 2004 9:28 am

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Postby Helen of Troy » Thu Feb 12, 2004 11:59 pm

"Byzantine civilisation" by Steven Runciman could the thing you need. Try also "Cambridge Medieval History", vol IV or anything by Bury. If, by any chance, you have a translation of "History of Byzantine" by Georgie Ostrogorski, I strongly recommend it.

Enjoy your ortodox version of Medieval Christianity 8) .

P.S. I've forgotten to mention a french author, Paul Lemmer (I think this is the write spelling). He wrote the shortest summary of the Byzantine history, but it is also a very good one.
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Postby annis » Fri Feb 13, 2004 12:13 am

Thank you all for the suggestions.

By chance a coworker has Vasiliev, so I'll start with that, but I'll look out for the Norwich volumes, too.
William S. Annis — http://www.aoidoi.org/http://www.scholiastae.org/
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