Category Archives: Books

Mark Whittow obituary

The historian Mark Whittow, who has died aged 60 in a road accident, did much to encourage the teaching of his subject in universities from an increasingly global perspective. His book The Making of Byzantium, 600-1025 examined the early history … Continue reading

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Nine things you didn’t know about love and marriage in Byzantium

Byzantine civilization has long been regarded by many as one big curiosity. Often associated with treachery and superstition, their traditions and contributions to the ancient world are often overlooked. Referencing A Cabinet of Byzantine Curiosities, we’ve pulled together nine lesser … Continue reading

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Istanbul: A Tale of Three Cities by Bettany Hughes

The goddess is back with a remarkable history of our favourite city! Istanbul has always been a place where stories and histories collide and crackle, where the idea is as potent as the historical fact. From the Qu’ran to Shakespeare, … Continue reading

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Outlandish Knight: The Byzantine Life of Steven Runciman

By the time he died, in 2000 at the age of 97, Sir Steven Runciman knew that he was a “‘relict of a past age’”, the “embodiment of a…nearly mythical era.” Minoo Dinshaw’s brilliantly entertaining biography of the great historian … Continue reading

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New Book: Greek Fire and its contribution to Byzantine might

We have all heard of Greek Fire. We know of the contribution that it made to certain naval victories for the Byzantines, wreaking terrible destruction on those on the receiving end. Little however is known about the weapon. How was … Continue reading

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When Brothers Dwell in Unity: Byzantine Christianity and Homosexuality

This book was brought to my attention recently and I thought that it deserved to be shared with a wider audience. Same sex relationships are not an area that I feel at all confident commenting on, but what we all … Continue reading

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War and peace on the Byzantine-Islamic border

Given the current events on what was the much disputed border between Rome/Byzantium and the Sassanid/Persian empires this book may make interesting reading, but the sad fact is that visiting many of the areas under discussion is now impossible unless … Continue reading

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The Eagle and The Swan: A Modern Take on an Ancient Tale Launches

A new book about the ever fascinating Theodora. Following the pre-release of the first four instalments of the story, Erudition is pleased to announce that the complete edition of The Eagle and the Swan was launched on 7th November. It … Continue reading

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History of Byzantium by John Scylitzes

Full of beautiful Greek handwritten text, and lively, colourful images, this famous work by John Scylitzes is available to view digitally on the World Digital Library. If you are very brave you can download the full 138 Mb pdf. This … Continue reading

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Read Age of Spirituality: Late Antique and Early Christian Art, Third to Seventh Century online

Laura Diaz-Arnesto, who is the author of some of the most popular blog articles (see below) got in touch to tell me that the Metropolitan Museum of Art has made available the complete book – Age of Spirituality: Late Antique … Continue reading

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Historical novels from Marie Heese and Ross Laidlaw

I have just returned from walking Hadrian’s Wall – which I highly recommend – during which I decided to read some Roman historical fiction, and I thought I would share these books with you. by Tom Sawford I came across … Continue reading

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The Eagle Has Two Faces: Journeys through Byzantine Europe

Alexander Billinis is an American with Greek parents. He has travelled and worked all over the Balkans and now lives with his family in Serbia, writing about the region, in particular the trials and tribulations of the Greeks. This article … Continue reading

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Unlike art, icons are to be adored

All the icons in the Empire of Byzantium were burnt, smashed or whitewashed 1,200 years ago. Only a handful survived, from territory where the Emperor’s writ did not run. One, of Christ as the Ruler of All, (below) was kept … Continue reading

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Palestine under Persian, Byzantine and Arab Rule: 24 years, 3 empires, and 1 new faith

By Professor Isaiah Gafni and published in My Jewish Learning The following article is from A Historical Atlas of the Jewish People edited by Eli Barnavi and published by Schocken Books. The early decades of the seventh century C.E. comprised … Continue reading

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Kostash takes spiritual ‘journey to Byzantium’‎

Myrna Kostash has been a regular blog correspondent and has kept me in my place on occasions when I have published work or links that I should have checked more thoroughly. In late 2010 she published her most recent book … Continue reading

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