"Let books be your dining table, / And you shall be full of delights. / Let them be your
And you shall sleep restful nights" (St. Ephraim the Syrian).

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

A History of Byzantium

Interest in Byzantium, if the number of recent books in English is any guide, has never been higher. We have recently seen various studies on that ancient empire and its far-reaching culture, including the relationship between Church and state, and its artistic (especially iconographic) culture. Judith Herrin's Byzantium: the Surprising Life of a Medieval Empire, which I reviewed for Logos: A Journal of Eastern Christian Studies when it came out in 2009, is a very good and very accessible introduction for those with little background. 

Now along comes another new book, first published in 2005 and just issued in a second edition:

Timothy E. George, A History of Byzantium (Wiley-Blackwell, 2010), xviii+455pp.

In both form and layout, this reads and looks very much like a book that would be assigned as an undergraduate textbook. There is nothing wrong with that, of course, and the book has, judging by its going into a second edition as well as the critical comments that greeted the first edition, clearly met just such a need among educators.

Look for this to be reviewed in greater detail later this year in Logos: A Journal of Eastern Christian Studies.

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