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History of the Byzantine Empire, 324-1453: v. 2 Paperback – 15 Jun 2006

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Product details

  • Paperback: 478 pages
  • Publisher: University of Wisconsin Press; 2nd edition (15 Jun 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0299809269
  • ISBN-13: 978-0299809263
  • Product Dimensions: 14 x 3 x 21.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,131,557 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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"Vasiliev's survey of Byzantine history is unique in the field. It is complete, including a sketch of literature and art for each period, while all other works of the kind, even the most recent, either are restricted to a shorter time, or neglect some side of eastern civilization. . . . This widely known and highly prized "History of the Byzantine Empire" needs not the commendation of any reviewer. Written originally in Russian, it has been turned into English, French, Spanish, and Turkish. It has always been a favorite with students."--"The Catholic Historical Review"

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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Anita on 2 April 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Both volumes of Vasiliev's Byzantine History are excellent. Vasiliev is regarded as one of the top historians and this is well proved by his published work. I am happy I could find his Byzantine History through Amazon, for a good price as this kind of books is generally quite expensive.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 3 reviews
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
A classic 20th-century reference work on Byzantium. 7 July 1999
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Along with "History of the Byzantine State" by George Ostrogorsky (which I have also reviewed for Amazon.com), Alexander A. Vasiliev's two-volume "History of the Byzantine Empire" has distinguished itself as an oft-referenced work on the late-classical/medieval Romans (or "Byzantines" as more conventionally known). First published in 1928 and 1929 (volumes 1 and 2, respectively) as part of the "University of Wisconsin Studies in the Social Sciences and History" series, Vasiliev's classic resembles Ostrogorsky in its narrative and its preface which profiles Byzantine historical research since the 16th century. However, Vasiliev does not limit himself to a political and military history of Byzantium as Ostrogorsky does; he provides within his narration an abundant amount of valuable commentary on the work of other Byzantinists as well as a history of artistic, architectural, and literary accomplishments. Where opinions differ among historians as to the significance (or even veracity) of a specific event, Vasiliev presents these different opinions and his own for good measure. Now, if the reader is interested in pictures or maps, look elsewhere, for "History of the Byzantine Empire" includes neither. It does, however, include an outstanding bibliography and genealogical tables of the Byzantine dynasties from Constantine the Great to the Paleologi (not to mention the standard list of Byzantine emperors).
One point Vasiliev made very clear at the beginning of the book was that the "Byzantine" Empire maintained Roman government and civilization long after the loss of the western provinces to barbarian peoples during the fifth century A.D. He strongly reminds the reader that, following the death of Theodosius I in A.D. 395, the final partition of the Roman Empire into eastern and western sectors did NOT create separate Eastern and Western empires; the Imperium Romanum remained one whose government was shared by two emperors out of necessity. In addition, while the reign of Constantine the Great is generally regarded by most historians as the beginning of the "Byzantine" period of Roman history, Vasiliev points out that the administrative reforms under Constantine's predecessor Diocletian paved the way for an eventual Roman Empire centered in the East (if I am not mistaken, Ostrogorsky makes this point as well). Perhaps the one noticeable weakness of "History of the Byzantine Empire" is that its second edition was published almost 50 years ago, so it is likely certain information is dated by now. That, we must admit, does not take away the book's honored position as a classic of 20th-century Byzantine historiography.
6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
Good summary with length bibliography 9 Aug 2001
By Michael Green - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Like Bury's volumes which correct much of Gibbons' conclusions, this two-volume adds even more modern analysis to Roman and Byzantine history. Unfortunately, the panorama is so vast that two short volumes scarcely suffice for the subject. Vasiliev can barely get into a subject or even episode before he has to leave it for another. Sometimes he gives a longer biography of a cartographer or ancient traveler than to an emperor. If you'd like to skim over the Roman period from its founding to its overthrow, you'll find this light and interesting reading. If you'd prefer drama and greater detail, try Gibbon and Bury.
Good Reading 12 Sep 2014
By TBL - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Good Book with good subject matter.
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