Jonathan Harris
2015 |

The acclaimed author of Byzantium and the Crusades “offers a fresh take on this fabled but hidden civilization” across 11 centuries of history (Colin Wells, author of Sailing from Byzantium). For more than a millennium, the Byzantine Empire presided over the juncture between East and West, as well as the transition from the classical to the modern world. Rather than recounting the standard chronology of emperors and battles, leading Byzantium scholar Jonathan Harris focuses each chapter of this engaging history on a succession of archetypal figures, families, places, and events. Harris’s introduction presents a civilization rich in contrasts, combining orthodox Christianity with paganism, and classical Greek learning with Roman power. Though frequently assailed by numerous armies, Byzantium survived by dint of its unorthodox foreign policy. Over time, its sumptuous art and architecture flourished, helping to establish a deep sense of Byzantine identity in its people. Synthesizing a wealth of sources to cover all major aspects of the empire’s social, political, military, religious, cultural, and artistic history, Harris’s study illuminates the heart of Byzantine civilization and explores its remarkable and lasting influence on the modern world.

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The Lost World of Byzantium