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A History of Byzantium: 306-1453 (Blackwell History of the Ancient World) Paperback – 7 Jan 2005


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Product details

  • Paperback: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Wiley-Blackwell (7 Jan. 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0631235132
  • ISBN-13: 978-0631235132
  • Product Dimensions: 17.3 x 2.8 x 24.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,226,845 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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Review

"[I] recommend this book heartily as an extremely useful textbook of Byzantine history." ( Ancient East and West, 2008) --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From the Back Cover

This book is a concise narrative of Byzantine history from the time of Constantine the Great in AD 306 to the fall of Constantinople in 1453. The author presents Byzantium as a vital society, important in its own right, but also one that served as a bridge between East and West, and ancient and modern society.


A History of Byzantium uses the chronological political history of the empire as a narrative frame, but balances politics with a consideration of social and economic life and the rich culture of Byzantium. Visual documents, such as photographs of art, architecture, and implements from daily life, are used alongside the text to raise questions about life in the Byzantine Empire. The book is based on the latest scholarship and discusses the major historiographical questions for each period. At the same time, it is written in clear, narrative prose, making this fascinating period accessible to a wide readership.


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First Sentence
The Byzantine Empire does not have a proper "beginning" since it was, in fact, the continuation of the Roman state, which had begun (according to tradition) in 753 BC. Read the first page
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By hist12 on 12 July 2007
Format: Hardcover
This book will serve to show to the wider public what a high level Byzantine Studies have finally reached. They have gone a long way from Gibbon's polemics (informed more by prejudice than facts and sound analysis) to become the highly sophisticated and interesting subject Timothy Gregory showcases in this book.

The book covers the period from 306 to 1453. It is interesting to note that Gregory sets the formal beginning of the Byzantine period at 306 rather than any of the more usual later dates. This allows for a better examination of the context within which Byzantium developed. On the other hand, Early Byzantine Period is here defined to be the period between 306-717, which is longer than that considered by other historians who often divide it into shorter periods. This is not just a technical point. It has to do with the controversial issue of the way the character of the Empire gradualy evolved (antique, Christian, "Byzantine" etc.). Allowing such a long time span for the Early Period acknowledges the complex nature of this evolution.

The first turning point in the history of Byzantium, namely the migrations of the 7th-8th centuries, is treated in an examplary fashion in the book, once again showing the maturity the subject has reached. Frequently exploited for political reasons in the Modern Era by an amazing variety of agents (including even the Communists during the Cold War!), this matter has been until recently presented in the most sensational and emotional way. Gregory though gives a dispassionate and rational account with more emphasis on cultural rather than less relevant ethnic issues. The conclusions of his approach will no doubt disappoint those who expect evidence of apocalyptic events and discontinuities which simply is not there.
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3 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Casagrande Luigi on 24 Oct. 2009
Format: Paperback
I was curious to know something more about the Byzantine empire, after the fall of the Rome. The book is easy reading and very factual, there are some interesting comments on religion and its influence on civil society. I think that the author could have gone deeper into the history of the city and the interaction with the eastern and western world.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 5 reviews
28 of 28 people found the following review helpful
An examplary history of Byzantium 22 Jun. 2007
By byz - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
This book will serve to show to the wider public what a high level Byzantine Studies have finally reached. They have gone a long way from Gibbon's polemics (informed more by prejudice than facts and sound analysis) to become the highly sophisticated and interesting subject Timothy Gregory showcases in this book.

The book covers the period from 306 to 1453. It is interesting to note that Gregory sets the formal beginning of the Byzantine period at 306 rather than any of the more usual later dates. This allows for a better examination of the context within which Byzantium developed. On the other hand, Early Byzantine Period is here defined to be the period between 306-717, which is longer than that considered by other historians who often divide it into shorter periods. This is not just a technical point. It has to do with the controversial issue of the way the character of the Empire gradualy evolved (antique, Christian, "Byzantine" etc.). Allowing such a long time span for the Early Period acknowledges the complex nature of this evolution.

The first turning point in the history of Byzantium, namely the migrations of the 7th-8th centuries, is treated in an examplary fashion in the book, once again showing the maturity the subject has reached. Frequently exploited for political reasons in the Modern Era by an amazing variety of agents (including even the Communists during the Cold War!), this matter has been until recently presented in the most sensational and emotional way. Gregory though gives a dispassionate and rational account with more emphasis on cultural rather than less relevant ethnic issues. The conclusions of his approach will no doubt disappoint those who expect evidence of apocalyptic events and discontinuities which simply is not there.

The second turning point (the sack of Constantinople in 1204) is also presented in a rational and impartial manner. Without being unduly apologetic on behalf of the West, the book examines the serious consequences this event has had for the future of the Empire, including the acceleration of the tendencies towards its transformation into something like a Greek "nation-state".

I warmly recommend this book to everyone interested in Byzantium, Rome or simply European History!
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
Excellent Textbook on Byzantium 23 Jan. 2009
By Tracee - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
I agree that it's not a casual read, but this book is excellent for anyone interested in learning a comprehensive chronology of the Byzantine Empire. Professor Gregory is a well-known archeologist/historian from Ohio State University, and this book showcases his expertise on the subject. The reading is well-balanced between listing every important name, date, and place while still telling the Byzantine story in a fast paced way that keeps your interest- over a thousand years in 400 pages. For those interested in historiography, this book also includes many relevant primary sources from the era's religious and political figures.
The book makes a admirable attempt at answering the questions that plague this field of study. What was the nature of Constantine's conversion? Why were the Arabs able to swiftly conquer the eastern parts of the empire in the seventh century? Was Byzantium a part of Western Civilization? In what ways did the empire reflect the Greek, Christian, Roman, and Islamic influences that it came into contact with?
9 of 12 people found the following review helpful
An Overall Beautiful Book 19 Oct. 2007
By PermaFrost - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
A well written, professional and easy to understand book about the Byzantine Empire (Eastern Roman Empire AKA Empire Of The Greeks). Great Author, Great Book, easily one of the better written and informative books on the topic.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Erudite 23 Jan. 2010
By Brian Smith - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Certainly a well-researched and well-written book that is meant for someone interested in in depth information. Casual readers may want to choose a different book.
If you're looking for something purely entertaining about early Byzantium you may try The Secret History of the Court of Justinian.
2 of 11 people found the following review helpful
Too intense 13 Oct. 2008
By Matthew Cunningham - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Too full of names and numbers to be useful to the casual reader interessted in Byzantium. It certainly is thourough, more appropriate as class room material.
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