11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
An Endless List of Emperors...,
This review is from: A Short History of Byzantium (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.