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52 of 55 people found the following review helpful
on 25 November 2002
Excellent presentation, fantasic pictures, the clarity of the text was outstanding, all the authors are world renound experts in thier particular fields. The sections from Mango himself were a particular treat, brillianty written and as awlays he never assumes that the reader knows to much, or in some casese to little. The last section on the Paiologan dynasty, was as good, if not better than anything that Nicol could have written.The oxford history will once and for all cast off the shadow left by Gibbon. In short this is SUPERB. This is a book for specialists and those with only a passing intrest in the subject. BUY IT NOW
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
TOP 500 REVIEWERon 15 January 2014
This really surpassed my expectations. It's a concise book and, on your first quick flick through, it'll be the (very beautiful) illustrations that will first catch your eye. In fact this could easily be mistaken for a trite TV tie-in, or maybe a text-heavy coffee table book for the smaller coffee table. Don't be deceived! The essays in this book together provide a really good, properly scholarly but also very approachable introduction to the history of the Eastern Roman Empire.

The book's structure subdivides into four broadly chronological sections covering (i) Late Antiquity (ii) the dark and crisis-wracked years of the seventh and eighth centuries (iii) the empire's medieval revival and (iv) its rather ignominious post-1204 afterlife. Each section starts with a fairly quickfire 'who did what when' chapter to give the reader their bearings, and then subsequent chapters within each section dive a little deeper into the major themes of the era (eg Iconoclasm, monasticism, heresy, diplomacy etc). Each of these themed essays is written by a different specialist, with Cyril Mango probably contributing the best of the lot with his gripping account of the empire's changing cultural beliefs in the 4th to 6th centuries. It's a structure that succeeds brilliantly, layering successive insights and perspectives into a well-rounded and surprisingly rich overview of over 1000 years of Byzantine history.

I'd recommend this to any undergraduate coming to Byzantine history for the first time, as the perfect warm-up before tackling George Ostrogorsky's magisterial History of the Byzantine State. More experienced readers will also purr with pleasure over the condensed, considered scholarship on display here - as well as over Professor Mango's waspish, donnish wit. It seems foolish to recommed a book about Byzantine history to the general reader - general readers don't as a rule tend to pick up books about Byzantine history, even ones as good as this - but anyone with an interest in early Medieval history will find much to divert and entertain them in this handsome, well-illustrated and thoughtful book.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on 29 August 2013
The title is misleading. This is actually a collection of essays by different authors about various aspects of the title subject. No references are given and most essays are simply condensations of the more authoritative texts quoted in the bibliography.

The opinions expressed in the final essay regarding the influence of Byzantine culture on modern Greek and Russian Orthodoxy are naive to say the least. Almost nothing is written about the influence of Byzantium on modern Greece - a very strange omission.

The obtuse language used in many of the essays would negate any appeal to the lay reader expecting a readable introduction to this very complex subject.

Printing quality and illustrations are first class.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 27 January 2014
This book is just what I expected!! A clear and precise rendering of the history of the Eastern Roman Empire from 300-1453. Great quality book with magnificent illuatrations both B/W and colour - numerous maps and drawings, and text touching upon both the political, economical and military Development during the period.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 16 June 2012
The essayes written by different experts elucidate Byzantium and its history. The Byzantine Empire is the much neglected cousin of the Roman Empire and had an enormous influence on European history. For a thousand years it protected our eastern border against Muslim armies and allowed European states to grow after the collapse of the Roman Empire.
All in all a very readable history.
I also liked The Secret History of the Court of Justinian.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 7 July 2014
A good book. Easy to read, for a history book. Lots of pictures. I have the Kindle edition and the pictures and captions are actually almost next to each other: that's good. Most Kindle books with illustrations - the illustrations are all the wrong size and not placed near the relevant text - but this book was (typeset) done very well.
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One should ot expect massive detail after all its an empire that covers the bones of 1,000 years but it is a decent introduction to the subject
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 2 April 2012
Cyril Mango's experteese always guarantees the best result. This book, the Oxford History of Byzantium that he edited, is indeed very interesting and helpful.
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on 14 May 2015
Beautiful book
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21 of 40 people found the following review helpful
on 26 June 2004
This book is intended for everybody who is interested in byzantine history,(maybe for an early student of byzantium as well)but not for specialists.
Written in an academic language by Cyril Mango, i had some unknonwn words. The language of the other historians writing in the book is quite flawless. The book contains many information on both culture and military history of byzantium and is superbly illustrated(emphasis given to hagiographies). My rating is 5 stars for all above; but what made it a 5 and not a 4 is the sincerity of the writers as to religion(christianity). Patriarchs, priests and followers of christianity arent seen as holy persons(*Julius Norwich* for example did exactly the opposite in many cases); instead, they are judged in the same way as islamists or the pope or western christians are.
I find his objective judgement very important because, although we know that he killed his wife and his son, *some* try to hide these informations in order to remain 'perfect' in the eyes of followers. It's good when historians write history as it is, and not the way some would like it to be...
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