Top positive review
Good concise political history
on 21 November 2013
This is a condensed edition of the author's three-volume tome on Byzantium (Byzantine Empire). It is a concise and very readable book on the long political history - spanning over 1,123 years - of the empire. Its rise and fall are chronologically described.
Some maps of Constantinople, the Mediterranean world, etc. as well as family trees of various notable emperors are included. But, on top of these, maps showing the border of the empire at various times would have been very useful since the author frequently mentions its constantly-changing border as a result of military conquests and defeats. For these maps, the reader will have to refer to "The New Penguin Atlas of Medieval History" by Colin McEvedy.
Being political history focusing on the rulers (emperors, empresses and their regents) and their policies, the lives of ordinary people or its great art and architecture are not covered. For these, we have to turn to other books.
In summary, this book has opened my eyes to this fascinating, but generally overlooked, empire which passed the ancient Greek cultural legacy to Western Europe and brought religion to Russia and Eastern Europe.