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3 of 6 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Below average ..., 4 April 2012
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This review is from: A History of Byzantium (Blackwell History of the Ancient World) (Paperback)
Extremely disappointed !!! You all know that wikipedia shows a [citation needed] sign each time that an "orphan phrase" is presented. This book needs the sign [citation needed] in almost every single phrase. Gregory provides a well detailed and dense narrative of Byzantine history. Yet never mentions his sources. The reader has a statement without knowing if it is based in some primary source (and which primary source that is)or if it is the interpretation of a certain scholar. Views of modern scholars are presented anonymously as "Some scholars now believe ...". In all the book I haven't found a single endnote. To all this I must add a few errors like, for instance, in page 252 where Gregory writes "the Magyars, a Turkic people". Everybody interested in the medieval history of southeastern Europe knows that the Hungarians/Magyars were (and are) an URALIC speaking people that was described as 'Tourkoi' by the Byzantines because they were nomads who had come from the steppes, LIKE the Turkic (aka Altaic-Speaking) Huns, Bulgars etc. yet THEY WERE NOT a Turkic people.

As a conclusive summary, I'll say that it is a well informative book in presenting you with Byzantium through out its +1000 year history, yet as I said the presented information is not referenced.

I bought this book after having read Paul Stephenson's "Byzantium's Balkan Frontier", John F. Haldon's "Byzantium in the 7th century: the transformation of a culture", Averil Cameron's "The Byzantines", Florin Curta's "Southeastern Europe in the Middle Ages 500-1250", Anthony Kaldellis "Hellenism in Byzantium" and Stephen Mitchell's "A History of the Later Roman Empire: AD 284-641".

I immediatelly underline Paul Stephenson's "Frontier" and Mitchell's "Late Roman Empire" as exemplary and gold standards.

After reading all these books Gregory's book seemed more like a wikipedia article than a book written by a specialized Byzantinist. I hear that Gregory is an excellent field archaeologist, so, the only conclusion I can make is that he wrote this book during a period when he was too bussy in the field.

If you want to obtain a clear picture that integrates the narrative of Byzantine history as it is seen by referenced primary sources and as it is seem by constructively debating referenced modern scholars ... THIS IS NOT THE BOOK you're looking!

If on the other hand you're simply interested for a dense narrative, then this is the book for you !
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A History of Byzantium (Blackwell History of the Ancient World)
A History of Byzantium (Blackwell History of the Ancient World) by Timothy E. Gregory (Paperback - 18 Dec 2009)
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