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Byzantium: The Surprising Life of a Medieval Empire

Byzantium: The Surprising Life of a Medieval Empire

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Key Metrics

  • Judith Herrin
  • Princeton University Press
  • Paperback
  • 9780691143699
  • 9.1 X 6 X 1 inches
  • 1.41 pounds
  • History > Europe - Medieval
  • English
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Book Description

Byzantium. The name evokes grandeur and exoticism--gold, cunning, and complexity. In this unique book, Judith Herrin unveils the riches of a quite different civilization. Avoiding a standard chronological account of the Byzantine Empire's millennium--long history, she identifies the fundamental questions about Byzantium--what it was, and what special significance it holds for us today.

Bringing the latest scholarship to a general audience in accessible prose, Herrin focuses each short chapter around a representative theme, event, monument, or historical figure, and examines it within the full sweep of Byzantine history--from the foundation of Constantinople, the magnificent capital city built by Constantine the Great, to its capture by the Ottoman Turks.

She argues that Byzantium's crucial role as the eastern defender of Christendom against Muslim expansion during the early Middle Ages made Europe--and the modern Western world--possible. Herrin captivates us with her discussions of all facets of Byzantine culture and society. She walks us through the complex ceremonies of the imperial court. She describes the transcendent beauty and power of the church of Hagia Sophia, as well as chariot races, monastic spirituality, diplomacy, and literature. She reveals the fascinating worlds of military usurpers and ascetics, eunuchs and courtesans, and artisans who fashioned the silks, icons, ivories, and mosaics so readily associated with Byzantine art.

An innovative history written by one of our foremost scholars, Byzantium reveals this great civilization's rise to military and cultural supremacy, its spectacular destruction by the Fourth Crusade, and its revival and final conquest in 1453.

Byzantium: The Surprising Life of a Medieval Empire

Author Bio

Judith Herrin is professor emeritus in the Department of Classics at King’s College London. Her books include Ravenna: Capital of Empire, Crucible of Europe; Byzantium: The Surprising Life of a Medieval Empire; Margins and Metropolis: Authority across the Byzantine Empire; and Unrivalled Influence: Women and Empire in Byzantium 

Herrin worked as an archaeologist with the British School at Athens and on the site of Kalenderhane Mosque in Istanbul as a Dumbarton Oaks fellow.[5] Between 1991 and 1995, she was Stanley J. Seeger Professor in Byzantine History, Princeton University.[6] She was appointed Professor of Late Antique and Byzantine Studies at King's College London (KCL) in 1995, and was Head of the Center for Hellenic Studies at KCL.[4] She retired from the post in 2008, becoming Professor Emeritus.[4] She was president of the International Congress of Byzantine Studies in 2011

Research interests
 

  • Byzantine archaeology and other fields including women in Byzantium and Byzantium in relation to Islam and the West.

Source: Princeton University Press and King's College, London 

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