"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).

Monday, October 14, 2013

Middle Byzantine Historians and Texts

Set for release next month is the second in a series of books from one of North America's leading Byzantine historians: Warren Treadgold, The Middle Byzantine Historians (Palgrave, 2013), 600pp.

About this book we are told:
The Middle Byzantine Historians, which continues the same author's Early Byzantine Historians, is the first book to analyze the lives and works of every significant Byzantine historian from the seventh to the thirteenth century. Written for general readers as well as professional scholars, it describes forty-three historians who usually knew their emperors personally. Besides obscure but intriguing figures like the exiled Sergius Confessor, father of the Patriarch Photius, and the embittered monk Nicetas the Paphlagonian, author of a Secret History that denounced Photius, the historians include the authors of three of the world's greatest histories: the courtier Michael Psellus, who depicts the flawed personalities of the fourteen emperors and empresses of his time, Princess Anna Comnena, who makes a spirited defense of her father Alexius I, and Nicetas Choniates, a provincial who rose to head the whole Byzantine bureaucracy and told the story of his empire's decline from great power to destruction by the Fourth Crusade.

Also from the same period is a recent collection edited by R. J. H. Jenkins: Commentary on the De Administrando Imperio (Dumbarton Oaks Texts, 2012), 234pp.

About this book we are told:
The De Administrando Imperio, compiled by Constantine VII Porphyrogenitus in the tenth century, is one of the most important historical documents surviving from the middle Byzantine period, containing a wide variety of information on foreign relations and internal administration. The critical text of the De Administrando Imperio, edited by Gyula Moravcsik and translated by R. J. H.
Jenkins (Dumbarton Oaks Texts), is now joined by the commentary, written in 1962 by a team of eminent scholars led by Jenkins. Long out of print, the Jenkins commentary remains the most thorough and authoritative study of this significant medieval text, and it is now republished as a companion volume to the critical text and translation. In addition to extensive commentary on the historical, geographical, and philological nuances of the Greek text, this volume contains a bibliography, map, indexes, and genealogical charts.

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