Although perceived since the sixteenth century as the most impressive literary achievement of Byzantine culture, historical writing nevertheless remains little studied as literature. Historical texts are still read first and foremost for nuggets of information, as main sources for the reconstruction of the events of Byzantine history. Whatever can be called literary in these works has been considered as external and detachable from the facts. The 'classical tradition' inherited by Byzantine writers, the features that Byzantine authors imitated and absorbed, are regarded as standing in the way of understanding the true meaning of the text and, furthermore, of contaminating the reliability of the history. Chronicles, whose language and style are anything but classicizing, have been held in low esteem, for they are seen as providing a mere chronological exposition of events. This book presents a set of articles by an international cast of contributors, deriving from papers delivered at the 40th annual Spring Symposium of Byzantine Studies. They are concerned with historical and visual narratives that date from the sixth to the fourteenth century, and aim to show that literary analyses and the study of pictorial devices, far from being tangential to the study of historical texts, are preliminary to their further study, exposing the deeper structures and purposes of these texts.
Using new methodological and theoretical approaches, A Companion to Byzantium presents an overview of the Byzantine world from its inception in 330 A.D. to its fall to the Ottoman Turks in 1453. Provides an accessible overview of eleven centuries of Byzantine society Introduces the most recent scholarship that is transforming the field of Byzantine studies Emphasizes Byzantium's social and cultural history, as well as its material culture Explores traditional topics and themes through fresh perspectives
Here, from New York Times bestselling author Robert Wernick, is the unforgettable story of the Byzantine Empire, which dominated the world for more than 1,000 years. Here, too, are the stories of the extraordinary emperors and generals who brought the empire into being and ultimately presided over its demise. We witness the glittering city of Constantinople from its rise to greatness through its deadly conclusion. Though Byzantium has faded away, its everlasting contributions to our world today are revealed in this fascinating history.
From the reception of imperial ekphraseis in Hagia Sophia to the sounds and smells of the back streets of Constantinople, the sensory perception of Byzantium is an area that lends itself perfectly to an investigation into the experience of the Byzantine world. The theme of experience embraces all aspects of Byzantine studies and the Experiencing Byzantium symposium brought together archaeologists, architects, art historians, historians, musicians and theologians in a common quest to step across the line that divides how we understand and experience the Byzantine world and how the Byzantines themselves perceived the sensual aspects of their empire and also their faith, spirituality, identity and the nature of ’being’ in Byzantium. The papers in this volume derive from the 44th Spring Symposium of Byzantine Studies, held for the Society for the Promotion of Byzantine Studies by the University of Newcastle and University of Durham, at Newcastle upon Tyne in April 2011. They are written by a group of international scholars who have crossed disciplinary boundaries to approach an understanding of experience in the Byzantine world. Experiencing Byzantium is volume 18 in the series published by Ashgate on behalf of the Society for the Promotion of Byzantine Studies.
Meet Pyat: Tsarist rebel, Nazi thug, continental con man and reactionary counterspy. He is the dark and dangerous antihero of the legendary Michael Moorcock's most controversial work. Published in 1981to great critical acclaim - then condemned and unavailable in the United States for thirty years - Byzantium Endures is the story of a cocaine addict, sexual adventurer and obsessive anti-Semite whose journey from Leningrad to London connects him with those from Trotsky to Makhno, and whose career echoes that of the twentieth century's descent into Fascism and total war.
This volume addresses a theme of special significance for Byzantine studies. Byzantium has traditionally been deemed a civilisation which deferred to authority and set special store by orthodoxy, canon and proper order. Since 1982 when the distinguished Russian Byzantinist Alexander Kazhdan wrote that 'the history of Byzantine intellectual opposition has yet to be written', scholars have increasingly highlighted cases of subversion of 'correct practice' and 'correct belief' in Byzantium. This innovative scholarly effort has produced important results, although it has been hampered by the lack of dialogue across the disciplines of Byzantine studies. The 43rd Spring Symposium of Byzantine Studies in 2010 drew together historians, art historians, and scholars of literature, religion and philosophy, who discussed shared and discipline-specific approaches to the theme of subversion. The present volume presents a selection of the papers delivered at the symposium enriched with specially commissioned contributions. Most papers deal with the period after the eleventh century, although early Byzantium is not ignored. Theoretical questions about the nature, articulation and limits of subversion are addressed within the frameworks of individual disciplines and in a larger context. The volume comes at a timely junction in the development of Byzantine studies, as interest in subversion and nonconformity in general has been rising steadily in the field.
"Insanity and Sanctity in Byzantium aims to understand how the use of psychological abnormality functions in deep societal transformations, producing a major shift in the religious, cultural, mental, and social aspects. The book examines a particular set of religious phenomena, in a broadly defined period and area - the Eastern Mediterranean and the Near East between the birth of Christianity and that of Islam - and seeks to reach conclusions on the nature and function of abnormal behavior sanctified by society. Taking as a starting point a particular type of saint of Orthodox Christianity, the holy fool, the person who feigns madness, and investigating other types of saints who portray abnormal behavior, such as the martyr and the ascetic, the book reveals the ambiguous character of the boundary between sanity and insanity. It explains the significance of this ambiguity to the religious experience as a motor of social movement, and sets it at the core of the socio-religious transformation that changed the Antique civilization into a world of medieval societies."--
Anthologized here for the first time, the author's five novellas give testimony to his groundbreaking career, including the title story, which won him a Nebula Award. Original.
In 330 AD, the Emperor Constantine consecrated the new capital of the eastern Roman Empire on the site of the ancient city of Byzantium. Its later history is well known, yet comparatively little is known about the city before it became Constantinople, and then Istanbul. Although it was just a minor Greek polis located on the northern fringes of Hellenic culture, surrounded by hostile Thracian tribes and denigrated by one ancient wit as the "armpit of Greece," Byzantium did nevertheless possess one unique advantage--control of the Bosporus strait. This highly strategic waterway links the Aegean to the Black Sea, thereby conferring on the city the ability to tax maritime traffic passing between the two. Byzantium and the Bosporus is a historical study of the city of Byzantium and its society, epigraphy, culture, and economy, which seeks to establish the significance of its geographical circumstances and in particular its relationship with the Bosporus strait. Examining the history of the region through this lens reveals how over almost a millennium it came to shape many aspects of the lives of its inhabitants, illuminating not only the nature of economic exploitation and the attitudes of ancient imperialism, but also local industries and resources and the genesis of communities' local identities. Drawing extensively on Dionysius of Byzantium's Anaplous Bosporou, an ancient account of the journey up the Bosporus, and on local inscriptions, what emerges is a meditation on regional particularism which reveals the pervasive influence that the waterway had on the city of Byzantium and its local communities and illustrates how the history of this region cannot be understood in isolation from its geographical context. This volume will be of interest to all those interested in classical history more broadly and to Byzantinists seeking to explore the history of the city before it became Constantinople.
"Among medieval Christian societies, Byzantium is unique in preserving the text of a church ritual for 'brother-making' (adelphopoiesis), in which two adult men are pronounced by the prayers of a priest to be 'brothers.' They are expected to remain on friendly terms, and have access to one another's households as quasi-family members. Both the ritual and its application are well attested from the late eighth century to the 15th century and beyond. This phenomenon was at the center of John Boswell's highly controversial and publicized book Same-Sex Unions in Pre-Modern Europe (1994). Although most critics dismissed Boswell's claims that these 'unions' represented church-sanctioned homosexual marriages, his book introduced readers to a poorly-understood Byzantine institution. Claudia Rapp's project will be the first ever book-length study of the ritual brotherhood in medieval Byzantium. Her main objective is to contextualize the tradition in other kinship relationships of Byzantine society and to trace its origins back to early Byzantine monasticism. Rapp will draw on new material on the structure of the ritual and its appearance in the manuscripts to show its proximity to rituals of Christian initiation, such as baptism and entry into the monastic life. She will also consider parallels to male-male relationships in pagan antiquity. Her book will make a timely contribution to an ongoing debate which has lost some of the heat since the aftermath of Boswell's book, but which remains of intrinsic interest to medieval studies, church history and the evolution of social institutions"--Provided by publisher.
Nikephoros Bryennios' history of the Byzantine Empire in the 1070s is a story of civil war and aristocratic rebellion in the midst of the Turkish conquest of Anatolia. Commonly remembered as the passive and unambitious husband of Princess Anna Komnene (author of the Alexiad), Bryennios is revealed as a skilled author whose history draws on cultural memories of classical Roman honor and proper masculinity to evaluate the politicians of the 1070s and implicitly to exhort his twelfth-century contemporaries to honorable behavior. Bryennios' story valorizes the memory of his grandfather and other honorable, but failed, generals of the eleventh century while subtly portraying the victorious Alexios Komnenos as un-Roman. This reading of the Material for History sheds new light on twelfth-century Byzantine culture and politics, especially the contested accession of John Komnenos, the relationship between Bryennios' history and the Alexiad and the function of cultural memories of Roman honor in Byzantium.