A Short History of Byzantium and over 2 million other books are available for Amazon Kindle . Learn more
Buy Used
£0.01
+ £2.80 UK delivery
Used: Very Good | Details
Sold by reusabook
Condition: Used: Very Good
Comment: Product dispatched in UK within 48 hours. Thanks.
Have one to sell?
Flip to back Flip to front
Listen Playing... Paused   You're listening to a sample of the Audible audio edition.
Learn more
See this image

A Short History of Byzantium Paperback – 29 Oct 1998


See all 4 formats and editions Hide other formats and editions
Amazon Price New from Used from
Kindle Edition
"Please retry"
Paperback, 29 Oct 1998
£35.00 £0.01


Product details

  • Paperback: 480 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin; New Ed edition (29 Oct. 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0140259600
  • ISBN-13: 978-0140259605
  • Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 3.5 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (26 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 418,602 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

More About the Author

Discover books, learn about writers, and more.

Product Description

About the Author

Apart from his Byzantium trilogy, John Julius Norwich's books include THE NORMANS IN THE SOUTH, THE KINGDOM IN THE SUN, MOUNT ATHOS (with Reresby Sitwell), SAHARA, THE ARCHITECTURE OF SOUTHERN ENGLAND and GLYNDEBOURNE.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
Browse and search another edition of this book.
Browse Sample Pages
Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
Search inside this book:

What Other Items Do Customers Buy After Viewing This Item?

Customer Reviews

4.1 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

47 of 47 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 18 April 2001
Format: Paperback
Covering a thousand years of history in as many pages is a challenge but this 'Short History...' does a pretty good job of condensing the whole thing into a readable format.
A previous reviewer criticised the author for skimping on detail. But for a reader (like me) who's just interested in getting a flavour of the times, it's perfect. It's rather sensational at points, but more than once I found myself slack-jawed at the goings-on: plots, murders, adultery, intrigue...sometimes it's more like an extended soap opera than a history book.
So it's not for the serious academic then, but as an introduction to the subject it makes for a good read.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
22 of 22 people found the following review helpful By nicholas on 18 Oct. 2005
Format: Paperback
For all students of history, this is a great intro to a period that has been largely ignored in English schools, for hundreds of years.
It does seem a little rushed at times, but this is only to be expected from this edited version, and JJN apologises for this in the preface.
I enjoyed this so much, I am now reading the individual volumes. It's highly entertaining and a real page turner - not something one normally says about a history book.
Quite simply one of the best books I have ever read.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By James Gallen TOP 1000 REVIEWER on 14 Oct. 2007
Format: Paperback
"A Short History of Byzantium" is a condensed version of author John Julius Norwich's three volume work. It covers the Byzantine Empire from its founding by Constantine the Great in AD 330 through its final destruction by the Turks in 1453.

I began the book with little knowledge about the Byzantine Empire with which to place what I was reading in context. This may have handicapped me as I proceeded through it. Much of this book consists of a seemingly endless list of Emperors, Empresses and challengers. It contains relatively little about other pieces of the Byzantine puzzle, such as the economy, the arts and other social forces which contributed to the whole picture. I did find interesting the sections dealing with the relationship of Charlemagne to the Empire and the occasional attempts, usually the result of foreign pressure, to heal the breach in Christendom.

Overall, I was somewhat disappointed with this book. I finished it with little more understanding of Byzantium than I had when I started. It may be the nature of the subject itself, but I feel that I need to look elsewhere for a good initiation into the Byzantine World.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
29 of 30 people found the following review helpful By Neil Clough on 1 May 2002
Format: Paperback
JJ Norwich manages to condense over 1,000 years of history into a single volume and does it with style. The book is well-written and keeps the reader's interest from beginning to end. For me, this has certainly whetted my appetite for buying and reading the original 3-volume work and also other books on this amazing period in European and Asian history. It is amazing how much of our culture and knowledge is owed to the Byzantines and until you read about them, how little most of us know.
I can heartily recommend this book to anyone who has the slightest interest in understanding more about how religion, ambition, greed, courage, vice, weakness and many other factors intertwined to dictate the course of the Empire and indeed most of Europe and Asia Minor over such a long period of time.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Matthew Turner on 15 April 2009
Format: Paperback
This was a very exciting, and pacy, introduction to Byzantine history, from its inception in AD330 by Constantine the Great to Constantinople's capture by the Ottomans in 1453. True, this is not scholarship and only skirts over the surface of Byzantium's long and complex history, but I do not see any problem with that. The author states in the introduction that he makes no claim to scholarship.

What Norwich does provide though is an exciting chronological narrative of Byzantium. To fit over one thousand years of history into one relatively small book is an admirable achievement. As already stated, this book should primarily be used as a primer, or introduction, to Byzantine history, before moving on to more scholarly and in-depth studies. Norwich here provides a basic narrative, with little or no analysis. However, this is compensated by the pacy, friendly style of writing, in which the reader is given an endless list of emperors, patriarchs, battles and sieges (especially of Contantinople). Indeed, the overwhelming impression given is one of Byzantium's constant struggle for survival.

Highlights are the glorious reigns of Justinian, Basil II and Heraclius. I would have have liked more analysis of these interesting characters and their reigns, as well as the Iconoclastic Controversy of the eighth century.

All in all recommended as a good introduction to Byzantine studies.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Mr. S. A. Brown on 9 Dec. 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I had toyed with the idea of buying John Julius Norwich's three books on Byzantium and opted for this instead (simply because I figured it would take me too long to read the three books). I therefore really wanted to like this, but I genuinely felt as though so much had been edited out of the original work that it became quite difficult to read. Large chunks of history are whizzed through in a couple of pages and it's quite difficult to come out of it with a good understanding of the events being described.

You can't really blame the author for this. To take three books and condense them into such a short number of pages is an incredibly difficult task. A good effort has been made here - some sections are entirely readable - but overall it just falls a bit short of the mark.

I have read the first of his three books on Byzantium and thoroughly enjoyed it, so my advice would be to just stick with those. This book seems appealing on account of its length, but the merciless editing makes it a bit more of a chore to get through, even if it's a third of the length of his trilogy.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again

Most Recent Customer Reviews


Look for similar items by category


Feedback