FREE Delivery in the UK.
In stock.
Dispatched from and sold by Amazon.
Gift-wrap available.
Quantity:1
The Reluctant Emperor: A ... has been added to your Basket
Condition: Used: Good
Comment: Good condition throughout. Has a little marking to edges
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

The Reluctant Emperor: A Biography of John Cantacuzene, Byzantine Emperor and Monk, c.1295-1383 Paperback – 22 Aug 2002


See all 2 formats and editions Hide other formats and editions
Amazon Price New from Used from
Paperback
"Please retry"
£24.99
£20.25 £16.00
£24.99 FREE Delivery in the UK. In stock. Dispatched from and sold by Amazon. Gift-wrap available.


Product details

  • Paperback: 228 pages
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press; reprint edition (22 Aug. 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0521522013
  • ISBN-13: 978-0521522014
  • Product Dimensions: 15.2 x 1.3 x 22.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,318,493 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

Review

"Nicol tells the story well, and it is a story worth telling..." Mark C. Bartusis, The Catholic Historical Review

Book Description

This was the first biography in English of one of the most unusual Byzantine emperors in Constantinople who reigned from 1347 to 1354, and who subsequently spent thirty years as a monk. John Cantacuzene was unique in that he wrote his own memoirs and in his range of talents and interests as a soldier, scholar, and theologian.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
First Sentence
'THERE is not, and there never was on this earth, a work of human policy so well deserving of examination as the Roman Catholic Church.' Read the first page
Explore More
Concordance
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

4.7 out of 5 stars
5 star
2
4 star
1
3 star
0
2 star
0
1 star
0
See all 3 customer reviews
Share your thoughts with other customers

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Arch Stanton on 12 Jun. 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This excellent biography makes good use of the copious material that Cantacouzenos supplies in his autobiographical writings. In choosing this topic Dr. Nicol is dealing with a less publicized era in Byzantine history and demonstrating why he is one of the top scholars of the period. He understands the working of late Byzantine society very well indeed. And Cantacouzenos is an interesting subject indeed. At various times he was a general, politician, usurper, emperor and finally monk. Throughout he seems to have been utterly loyal to his friends and to have been a genuinely likeable man. His faults are also examined as he was gullible and overly trusting. That latter particularly was his greatest fault since he allowed the Turks to gain control of Albania and Northern Greece without a fight because he trusted them to keep their word. In fact, if I have a problem with this book it's that Nicol lets Cantacouzenos off too lightly. It isn't clear unless you read a history of Byzantium how much Cantacouzenos let the Turks control the north and how bad that was for the Empire. After his reign it was never a possibility that Byzantium would survive. Nicol explains why this happened but he doesn't emphasize the immensity of it.

As a biography of a Byzantine ruler it is able to go into unparalleled detail on its subject due to the material available. Unfortunately the work is rather short but it is packed with information as is usual from Nicol. I do wish he dwelt more on Byzantine society instead of focusing so hard on the details of Cantacouzenos' life but that's just me wailing about a tendency common in biography. Also mildly annoying is his decision to call Cantacouzenos Cantacuzene because it's a name that is "more familiar" while keeping every other name as a transliteration from Greek.
Read more ›
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
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By George Bellos on 28 May 2009
Format: Paperback
Interesting biography of John Cantacuzene, this unique character of the Byzantine world of the fourteenth century. It's a time when we see the emergence of the the Muslim world in Asia and their interaction with the Byzantines and Cantacuzene.We see him attempt to get the cooperation of the christians of the West to protect his fragmented empire from the Turks in Asia Minor but without surrendering his Orthodox beliefs.This book provides an accurate and detailed description of events of that fascinating era. You dont have to be a student of Byzantine history to enjoy it!
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
By Amazon Customer on 11 Aug. 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Loved this book. Can't recommend it highly enough. A very perseptive Man. Stepped out of the limelight after holding the Empire together, but could see it was doomed. Anyone interested in history (not novels) should read this book.
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 Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 2 reviews
11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
Enlightened Emperor / Mystical Monk 21 Aug. 2003
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
This epic study by Donald Nichol is a credible journey through a period of time when great changes were unfolding at the frontiers of Europe. The reluctant Emperor is a magnificent story of the political struggles of the time and the desire of the Romans to rebuild their diminishing empire. Donald Nichol covers a range of themes and currents with an expert analytical hand, respectful of the sensitivities of the key characters and the underlying forces at work.
He distinguishes himself in his awareness of the importance of the Orthodox faith to the Romans and their Emperor and the vital role of the Athonite elders and Patriarchal opinion.
His astute explanations are supported by other Greek texts. It is a pity that a genealogical tree was not included to show the lineages referred to in the text. Some additional mapwork showing the locations of various battles, key cities and other geopolitical states (emirates, principalities) would have helped with the context.
The writer conveys the frustrations Emperor Kantakouzinos experienced in dealing with circumstances that not only tested him, but his people.
I commend this study to all who are interested in history beyond the western european sphere.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Great Biography. Maybe Too Favorable? 12 Jun. 2011
By Arch Stanton - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
This excellent biography makes good use of the copious material that Cantacouzenos supplies in his autobiographical writings. In choosing this topic Dr. Nicol is dealing with a less publicized era in Byzantine history and demonstrating why he is one of the top scholars of the period. He understands the working of late Byzantine society very well indeed. And Cantacouzenos is an interesting subject indeed. At various times he was a general, politician, usurper, emperor and finally monk. Throughout he seems to have been utterly loyal to his friends and to have been a genuinely likeable man. His faults are also examined as he was gullible and overly trusting. That latter particularly was his greatest fault since he allowed the Turks to gain control of Albania and Northern Greece without a fight because he trusted them to keep their word. In fact, if I have a problem with this book it's that Nicol lets Cantacouzenos off too lightly. It isn't clear unless you read a history of Byzantium how much Cantacouzenos let the Turks control the north and how bad that was for the Empire. After his reign it was never a possibility that Byzantium would survive. Nicol explains why this happened but he doesn't emphasize the immensity of it.

As a biography of a Byzantine ruler it is able to go into unparalleled detail on its subject due to the material available. Unfortunately the work is rather short but it is packed with information as is usual from Nicol. I do wish he dwelt more on Byzantine society instead of focusing so hard on the details of Cantacouzenos' life but that's just me wailing about a tendency common in biography. Also mildly annoying is his decision to call Cantacouzenos Cantacuzene because it's a name that is "more familiar" while keeping every other name as a transliteration from Greek. I don't know about anyone else but I haven't heard so much about Cantacuzene that hearing him under a different name would confuse me. It's also harder to pronounce. Anyways, minor quibble. A good book, well worth reading.

Nicol's other book Last Centuries of Byzantium, 1261-1453 covers everything here in only slightly less detail. If you want to read a book that covers the whole period in stead of just one man then I'd recommend you get that one instead of, or in addition to, this one.
Were these reviews helpful? Let us know


Feedback