Byzantium: The Surprising Life of a Medieval Empire Read & Download ✓ 104

Summary Byzantium: The Surprising Life of a Medieval Empire

Byzantium: The Surprising Life of a Medieval Empire Read & Download ✓ 104 ð Byzantium was one of the greatest civilizations the world has ever seen A dynamic cosmopolitan melting pot of East and West Christianity and paganism its empire lasted for over 1000 years Judith Herrin tells its extraordinary stoByzantium was one of the greatest civilizations the world has ever seen A dynamic cosmopolitan melting pot of East and West Christianity and paganism its empire lasted for o. Too many people have this vague idea that in 476 the Roman Empire poofed out of existence taking with it all of its people most of its infrastructure and the Celts except for a few on the British Isles and then various Germans moved into the empty buildings converted to Christianity and just sat around doing nothing much except wait for the Renaissance to happen Maybe there's a vague awareness of the Muslim invasion of Iberia and possibly the Crusades but that's about itIn actual fact the Roman Empire had moved its capital from Rome to Byzantium redesigned and renamed Constantinople over a century and a half before and just continued to exist without interruption even as it lost control of the city that gave it its name They'd eventually reconuer Italy and lose it again and would continue to stick around as the Roman Empire for another millenniumObviously this book is about this It describes in impressive detail the transition from the classical Roman Empire to the medieval Christian Byzantium and the decay of its culture caused by conversion to that pernicious new religion; its rifts with the upstart bishops of Rome who felt they should really be in charge of this whole Christianity thing; how it provided Europe's most important line of defense against the Islamic Holy War first of the Arabs and then of the Turks; and its eventual destruction at the hands of traitorous Papists incessant civil wars and the Turks in roughly that orderDespite Western attitudes towards Byzantium both then and now its influence on the world around it cannot be overstated; everything from the symbolism of royalty to most Christian traditions to the shape of mosues to eating with forks was popularised by them At the same time it was a very alien civilisation with its eunuchs the third gender and its Roman and Greek traditions and its Orthodox Christianity Its complete disappearance without a clear successor state despite pretensions of Romania Moldavia and even Turkey only adds to the mystiueNot nearly enough people know anything about the second half of the history of the Roman Empire and the things they think they do know are often half remembered baseless caricatures by malicious twits like Montesuieu and William Lecky This book is a surprisingly excellent introduction that will certainly put to rest a whole host of misconceptionsAnd though it undoubtedly wasn't the intention it also illustrates very clearly the destructive effects of religion taken seriously

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Ver 1000 years Judith Herrin tells its extraordinary story afresh exploring aspects familiar and unfamiliar from the glorious church of Hagia Sophia to the secret of Greek F. This review was originally published in The Christian Science MonitorIt is spoken of in fiction and histories as an enigma a shrouded maze of privileged deception and perfumed deceit an insular ossified jewel encrusted court where guile and honeyed treachery reign supreme–a mediaeval Middle Eastern version of the Versailles of Louis XV It is Byzantium But that image as cinematically enticing as it may be is one of the most effective examples of disinformation the world has ever seen as Judith Herrin reveals in her remarkable new history Byzantium The Surprising Life of a Mediaeval Empire By the third century AD the Roman Empire had grown so large its distant borders so besieged that it was decided to split it between two or even four emperors who would govern jointly The plan was not a success The emperors fought each other for domination The western half continued to buckle under the constant pressure of tribal onslaughts Then in 324 AD Emperor Constantine moved his capital from Rome to build a fortified classical city a ‘new’ Rome in Constantinople modern Istanbul Though freuently threatened and over time its land base diminished still this devoutly Christian Byzantine Empire flourished for nearly another thousand yearsYet rather than treating us to another dry linear history about power struggles at the apex of this vast and varied empire Herrin takes a fresh approach and focuses on the manifold aspects of the Byzantine culture civilization and religion From Constantine’s conversion Herrin details the transformation of Christianity from persecuted sect to state religion She provides a fascinating overview of early Christian ascetism and the organisation and development of the first monasteries whilst paying special attention to those around Jerusalem Christianity’s holiest city Later she demonstrates the Byzantine openness of thought as when in the 9th century they encouraged the creation of an alphabet for the Slavic language which would enable them to communicate with the unruly and ungovernable Slavs; the emperor then supported the translation of the Bible into this newly invented Cyrillic language so that the Slavs could read the Bible in their own tongue and be converted Subseuently the Bible was translated into Russian and the Russian peoples similarly converted The translation of the Bible into the vernacular remained controversial and heretical within western Christianity until well past the 15th century Herrin also provides an unbiased look at the uneasy relationship between the western Church based in Rome and what became the Eastern Orthodox churchAs her position as Professor of Byzantine History at King’s College London would suggest Herrin’s scholarship is impeccable yet she writes like the very best of travel writers Her country is the distant past Nonetheless she paints vivid pictures of this prosperous and pious culture whose capital was a fortified city of sunlight glinting off the gilded church domes and spires surrounded on three sides by the shimmering Sea of Marmara and the Bosphorus From the first page of the preface the author embraces the reader in the love of her subject She entertains and captivates while throwing open the doors to her formidable treasury of knowledge with such examples of Byzantine artistry intellect and innovation as their legal separation of church and state the first encyclopedia a water powered organ their building of the colonies of Venice and Ravenna relations with such far flung places as Scandinavia and Iceland and their introduction of the fork to European dining She shows that far from being ossified the Byzantines were a highly educated society whose ancient and Christian heritages combined to give them enormous strength and resilience–a people who prized scientific and engineering excellence alongside their classical past with centers of learning in Alexandria and elsewhere where Plato and Aristotle as well as early Christian writers formed the core of the curriculum So technologically advanced were they that scientists are still unable to penetrate the mystery of the water borne incendiary Greek fire Moreover the governmental and economic structures were so sound that their gold standard was maintained without debasement for nearly 900 yearsYet in 1204 in a sustained bout of frenzied savagery the warring knights of the Fourth Crusade sacked Byzantium They desecrated churches burned the contents of centuries old libraries robbed and pillaged destroyed and slaughtered leaving “the greatest city in Christendomfull smouldering ruins” To justify this barbaric treatment of their co religionists and allies to prove that the Byzantines had ‘deserved’ it the myth of the treacherous deceitful Byzantine was invented Wonderfully now at last in Byzantium The Surprising Life of a Mediaeval Empire Professor Herrin brings us the thrilling and powerful rebuttal and beautifully redresses the balance

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Byzantium The Surprising Life of a Medieval EmpireIre from iconoclasm to eunuchs from the historian Anna Komnene to the humble fork In doing so she shows how Byzantium led Europe out of the dark ages and into the modern wor. I'm going to keep this short this is a good readOK I'll say a bit Some histories can be very dry and actually painful and this is particularly true of the history of Byzantium In many ways Byzantium although familiar because it is a continuation of the Roman Empire and had uite an impact on us via the Renaissance is uite an alien entity It hovers over there on the fringes of Europe almost in Asia It has had a number of names that alone would make one uite suspicious It is linked to Orthodoxy which is to the east again alien not European in the sense that didn't Europe end at the Iron Curtain If you have read any of those dry histories then all that really sticks with you are those weird names such as Comneni Murzuphlus and my favourite Palaiologos the Great Schism iconoclasm and of course the fall of Constantinople Judith Herrin makes this history interesting Don't be fooled by how apparently long it took me to read the book this is a book you can dip into read in short chapters leave alone and come back to This is a GOOD read Each chapter is a stand alone topic informative yet not dry The book as a whole is full of fascinating facts I loved the bit about the Western European condemnation of the Byzantine princess who used a fork for the very first time and wore silk Enjoy