After surviving the fifth century fall of the Western European Roman Empire, the Byzantine Empire flourished as one of the most powerful economic, cultural, and military forces in Europe for a thousand years.
In this Very Short Introduction Peter Sarris introduces the reader to the unique fusion of Roman political culture, Greek intellectual tradition and Christian faith that took place in the imperial capital of Byzantium under the emperor Constantine and his heirs. Using examples from Byzantine architecture, art and literature, Sarris shows how their legacy was re-worked and re-invented in the centuries ahead, in the face of external challenges and threats. Charting the impact of warfare with the Persian and Islamic worlds to the east, Sarris explores the creativity of Byzantine statecraft and strategy, as well as the empire's repeated (but ultimately forlorn) attempts to enlist aid from the Christian powers of Western Europe to ensure its survival.
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The Very Short Introductions series from Oxford University Press contains hundreds of titles in almost every subject area. These pocket-sized books are the perfect way to get ahead in a new subject quickly. Our expert authors combine facts, analysis, perspective, new ideas, and enthusiasm to make interesting and challenging topics highly readable.
a broad perspective on Byzantine history which will be useful for readers with some background in the topic who want to learn more. * Paul England, Medieval Warfare *
thorough and informative * Northern Echo, Stephen Craggs *
a brilliantly distilled introduction to the idea of Byzantium, its reality and its legacy. * Adrian Spooner, Classics for All *
1: What was Byzantium?
2: Constantinople, 'the ruling city'
3: From antiquity to the middle ages
4: Byzantium and Islam
5: Strategies for survival
6: Text, image, space, and spirit
7: End of empire