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A History of Byzantium (Blackwell History of the Ancient World) Paperback – 18 Dec 2009

2.0 out of 5 stars 1 customer review

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Product details

  • Paperback: 480 pages
  • Publisher: Wiley-Blackwell; 2nd Revised edition edition (18 Dec. 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 140518471X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1405184717
  • Product Dimensions: 17.2 x 2.3 x 24.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 2.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 156,109 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

Product Description


“I welcome this expanded second edition of Timothy Gregory′s useful introduction to the growing field for Byzantine studies. It will be a great help to students and teachers, especially for its greater coverage of archaeology and its guides to web resources and primary sources in translation.”
Averil Cameron, University of Oxford

“Professor Gregory’s deep knowledge of archaeology, historical geography, and the original Greek sources infuses his lucid history of Byzantium with insights into the unexpected connections between the medieval and modern world.”
Linda Jones Hall, St. Mary′s College of Maryland

"Gregory’s book is the only proper textbook for Byzantine history.  It is also an admirable scholarly survey which brings to bear Gregory’s substantial experience as an archaeologist and historian on the rich history of the Byzantine East."
William Caraher, University of North Dakota

“Gregory’s work presents in a concrete and original way the political history, the institutions, the art, the architecture and the socioeconomic factors that shaped the often misunderstood Byzantine Empire. The book appeals to the academic as well as to the general public.”
Taxiarchis Kolias, University of Athens , and The National Hellenic Research Foundation

From the Back Cover

This is a new edition of Gregory′s widely praised narrative of Byzantine history from the time of Constantine the Great (AD 306–337) to the fall of Constantinople in 1453. Gregory uses the chronological political history of the empire as a narrative frame, but balances politics with a consideration of social and economic life and the rich culture of Byzantium. Visual documents, such as photographs of art and architecture, are used alongside the text to illustrate discussions about life in the Byzantine Empire.

This second edition provides a deeper insight into social and economic conditions of the time, with more emphasis on how ordinary people lived during the history of the Empire. New research has been incorporated – much from archaeological sources – and there is fuller coverage of the middle and later Byzantine periods. A wider discussion of the relationship between Byzantium and the broader world has been added, as well as an annotated, extended bibliography, new photographs and maps, and a guide to Byzantine web resources.

Based on the very latest scholarship, and written in a clear, narrative prose, this fascinating volume is an ideal introduction to Byzantine History.

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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.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: HASH(0x9195f378) out of 5 stars 10 reviews
17 of 17 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x919a0084) out of 5 stars Ambitious in its scope and covers a vast topic without becoming tedious at any point 10 Mar. 2014
By Malleus Maleficarum - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
It's difficult to do justice in a few short lines to a book like this which has such a staggering scope in every conceivable measure - time, geography, personalities, socio-economic trends; one can probably best characterize it as an enormous wine cellar - taste it in small sips to fully savour the taste rather than go in for a weekend binge. The author brings the Byzantine empire to life in the course of this book - starting from the introduction itself where 2 of his sentences caught my eye immediately - firstly that the Byzantines were basically the unbroken continuation of the Roman Empire of Antiquity and secondly that they viewed themselves as God's own Holy kingdom, as the community of believers setup on Earth till Christ himself would come and establish his glorious rule. With these two sentences in the back of my mind, I could get a better grasp of how and where the Byzantine empire fits in the annals of world history and gave me a better understanding of some of the driving forces behind the social and political trends in Byzantine society. The author starts his story more than a century before the founding of Constantinople - with the crisis of the 3rd century afflicting the Roman Empire and how it spurred the chain of events that led to the Eastern half of the empire as an administrative entity that later became the Byzantine Empire and ends it soon after the fall of Constantinope in 1453 to the army of Mehmet II. In between, the reader is taken through a tour de force comprising everchanging dynasties (the Isaurians, the Amorians, the Macedonians, the Komnenoi, the Palaeologans among others), religious movements (iconoclasm, iconophilism, monasticism, the Photian schism, the union..), major battles (Adrianople, the Arab siege and Greek fire, Pliska, Varna, Manzikert) and a cast of emperors, empresses, patriarchs, monks and layfolk who tried their best to live a temporal life with in an imperfect world while trying (in their own minds) to adhere to the high principles of Christian living. It'll be difficult for any beginner to understand, much less retain the nuances of the Byzantine empire in just one reading of this book, but one will retain enough to get a broad picture of the life of this most extraordinary of Empires.
The book by itself is fantastic - the author covers almost all important aspects and provides sufficient emphasis where necessary without yielding to too many dry details so that the book reads more like a novel and less like an academic tome. I'm deducting one star because I felt at times there was too little detail about some of the changes happening around the Byzantine empire and a straightforward section on the same would have been useful (for example, where did the Bulgars come from and how did they establish a kingdom to the North of Byzantium? What about the Slavs? How did the Magyars suddenly setup the kingdom of Hungary)
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x91cb5780) out of 5 stars A Rare History Book Gem That Keeps Me Up Way Too Late Way Too Often 30 Dec. 2014
By AlkiVista1 - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I am reading and re-reading this excellent book. Every repeat I discover more gems I missed before. I am not a teacher or writer but am only a fan of the Roman Empire. So after immersing myself in the part that ends with "the fall of the Roman Empire" in 476 AD, I went looking for more on what happened in the East. I found the answer in this book which gives an excellent lead up to the period before 476 AD, when the Eastern part became defined separately from the Western while remaining unified. This leads smoothly into the transformation of the remnant in the east into the Byzantine Empire after the disintegration of the West. A fascinating coverage of the "rest of the story" so to speak, which is incredibly eye-opening, for us in the West who have been led to believe it all ended in 476 AD. In fact it kept going for another thousand years. And every bit of this story is contained in this well written and easy to read book. I find the focus boxes to be invaluable in gaining perspectives in special nooks and crannies of the big picture. Illustrations are also very helpful and enjoyable, especially for types like me who agree that a picture is worth a thousand words. My one main wish would be for a little more detail in the time lines, especially for those that begin each section, but also for the consolidated one at the end of the book. In any case this could be your one source if that is what you are looking for.
7 of 10 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x91bae204) out of 5 stars Highly readable dialogue of a difficult subject 28 Jun. 2014
By ABWST - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Unlike many other attempts to read and understand the history of the Byzantine world, this actually does the job for a beginner like me! I found that like other books of this kind the key problem is the variation in the names of places, and geographic features.
I still had to look elsewhere to find out where Palmyra was and also the Orontes river. Also, the Tayetos and Pindos mountain ranges were not shown on any map I could easily find in the book.
But considering the number of look ups I had to do reading other books of this kind, this was only a small problem!
I have not yet read much of the book, but I am impressed with the quality of thought which has gone into the text so far, and I give it a first rate recommendation; --- especially when told as an interesting story like this!
0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9194fbac) out of 5 stars The way the book is organized is easy to read and Gregory did a goRod job in ... 31 Mar. 2016
By Sandra - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The way the book is organized is easy to read and Gregory did a goRod job in maintaining my interest.
13 of 24 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x91936ca8) out of 5 stars Excellent text! 16 Jan. 2011
By T. Corsico Piccolino - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I am thoroughly enjoying this textbook. It's very clear and well-written and explains a particular period in history that has been difficult to understand. I highly recommend this book to anyone beginning a journey in the Byzantium.
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