Search results for: writing-about-byzantium

Writing About Byzantium

Author : Theresa Urbainczyk
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Niketas Choniates was in Constantinople when it was burnt and looted by the soldiers of the Fourth Crusade and he wrote a history which has always been the mainstay for anyone wishing to learn about the Comnene dynasty and the Byzantine Empire of the twelfth century. Yet it is a very difficult and puzzling text and, given its significance for the period, is understudied. The author says at the start that he wrote his work hoping that even workers and women would be able to profit from it, yet he wrote those words, and the rest of the history, in a highly convoluted, literary and at times opaque style and language. This examination is an introduction to the history of Niketas, and to the author’s views of why this period saw such catastrophe for the Byzantines. It looks at Niketas’ thoughts about history-writing, the emperors, and the Comnene dynasty in particular, about the presence of God in man’s affairs, and the historian’s attitudes to the women of the imperial family.

Historical Writing in Byzantium

Author : James Howard-Johnston
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English summary: James Howard-Johnston, one of the best experts on East Roman-Byzantine historiography, gives and explains in the study submitted here, the revised and expanded Kiel Felix Jacoby Lecture of 2012, his view of the foundations, evolutionary conditions, historical contexts and characteristics as well as the reception of Byzantine historical texts from their beginnings to the conquest of Constantinople in 1453. Based on most recent historical and literary research, to which he himself has contributed considerably, the author is able to elucidate the diversity and uniqueness, but also the similarities and (internal) dependencies of the Byzantine historical tradition. German description: James Howard-Johnston, einer der besten Kenner ostromisch-byzantinischer Historiographie, gibt und erlautert in der hier vorgelegten Studie, der uberarbeiteten und erweiterten Kieler Felix-Jacoby-Vorlesung aus dem Jahre 2012, seine Sicht der Voraussetzungen, Entstehungsbedingungen, historischen Kontexte und Charakteristika sowie der Rezeption byzantinischer historischer Texte von den Anfangen bis zur Eroberung Konstantinopels 1453. Auf der Grundlage der neuesten historischen und literaturgeschichtlichen Forschung, zu der er selbst nicht unwesentlich beigetragen hat, werden die Vielfalt und Einzigartigkeit, aber auch die Gemeinsamkeiten und (internen) Abhangigkeiten der byzantinisch-historischen Tradition sichtbar.

Re writing History in Byzantium

Author : Panagiotis Manafis
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Scholars have recently begun to study collections of Byzantine historical excerpts as autonomous pieces of literature. This book focuses on a series of minor collections that have received little or no scholarly attention, including the Epitome of the Seventh Century, the Excerpta Anonymi (tenth century), the Excerpta Salmasiana (eighth to eleventh centuries), and the Excerpta Planudea (thirteenth century). Three aspects of these texts are analysed in detail: their method of redaction, their literary structure, and their cultural and political function. Combining codicological, literary, and political analyses, this study contributes to a better understanding of the intertwining of knowledge and power, and suggests that these collections of historical excerpts should be seen as a Byzantine way of rewriting history.


Author : Judith Herrin
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Byzantium. The name evokes grandeur and exoticism--gold, cunning, and complexity. In this unique book, Judith Herrin unveils the riches of a quite different civilization. Avoiding a standard chronological account of the Byzantine Empire's millennium--long history, she identifies the fundamental questions about Byzantium--what it was, and what special significance it holds for us today. Bringing the latest scholarship to a general audience in accessible prose, Herrin focuses each short chapter around a representative theme, event, monument, or historical figure, and examines it within the full sweep of Byzantine history--from the foundation of Constantinople, the magnificent capital city built by Constantine the Great, to its capture by the Ottoman Turks. She argues that Byzantium's crucial role as the eastern defender of Christendom against Muslim expansion during the early Middle Ages made Europe--and the modern Western world--possible. Herrin captivates us with her discussions of all facets of Byzantine culture and society. She walks us through the complex ceremonies of the imperial court. She describes the transcendent beauty and power of the church of Hagia Sophia, as well as chariot races, monastic spirituality, diplomacy, and literature. She reveals the fascinating worlds of military usurpers and ascetics, eunuchs and courtesans, and artisans who fashioned the silks, icons, ivories, and mosaics so readily associated with Byzantine art. An innovative history written by one of our foremost scholars, Byzantium reveals this great civilization's rise to military and cultural supremacy, its spectacular destruction by the Fourth Crusade, and its revival and final conquest in 1453.

A Companion to Byzantine Epistolography

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A Companion to Byzantine Epistolography offers the first comprehensive introduction and scholarly guide to the cultural practice and literary genre of letter-writing in the Byzantine Empire.

Byzantinum in the Year 1000

Author : Paul Magdalino
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One thousand years ago, the Byzantine Empire was reaching the height of its revival as a medieval state. The ten contributions to this volume by scholars from six European countries re-assess key aspects of the empire's politics and culture in the long reign of the emperor Basil II, whose name has come to symbolise the greatness of Byzantium in the age before the crusades. The first five chapters deal with international diplomacy, the emperor's power, and government in Asia Minor and the frontier provinces of the Balkans and southern Italy. The second half of the volume covers aspects of law, history-writing, poetry and hagiography, and concludes with a discussion of Byzantine attitudes to the Millennium.

Writing and Reading Byzantine Secular Poetry 1025 1081

Author : Floris Bernard
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In the mid-eleventh century, secular Byzantine poetry attained a hitherto unseen degree of wit, vividness, and personal involvement, chiefly exemplified in the poetry of Christophoros Mitylenaios, Ioannes Mauropous, and Michael Psellos. This is the first volume to consider this poetic activity as a whole, critically reconsidering modern assumptions about Byzantine poetry, and focusing on Byzantine conceptions of the role of poetry in society. It examines thevarious forms in which poetry reached its audience, paying attention to the visual and acoustic aspects of poetry, and exploring the ways in which poets presented themselves through their poetry anddefended their interests towards critics, patrons, and friends. Ambition, education, and competition are for the first time seen as important aspects of the social background to Byzantine poetry.


Author : Romilly James Heald Jenkins
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A student and general reader guide to the middle period, or the most imperial era, of Byzantium's history. Jenkins strives to provide a connected account of what actually went on in the East Roman Empire.

History as Literature in Byzantium

Author : R. J. Macrides
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Although perceived since the 16th century as the most impressive literary achievement of Byzantine culture, historical writing nevertheless remains little studied as literature. This book, devoted to literary interpretations of Byzantine historical writing and analyses of pictorial narratives, illustrates how analyses of texts and images from the 6th to the 14th century work hand in hand with an evaluation of the work as a document of historical value.

W B Yeats

Author : Thomas Parkinson
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This title is part of UC Press's Voices Revived program, which commemorates University of California Press's mission to seek out and cultivate the brightest minds and give them voice, reach, and impact. Drawing on a backlist dating to 1893, Voices Revived makes high-quality, peer-reviewed scholarship accessible once again using print-on-demand technology. This title was originally published in 1964.

Muthanna Mirror Writing in Islamic Calligraphy

Author : Esra Akin-Kivanc
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Muthanna, also known as mirror writing, is a compelling style of Islamic calligraphy composed of a source text and its mirrored image placed symmetrically on a horizontal or vertical axis. This style elaborates on various scripts such as Kufi, naskh, and muqahhaq through compositional arrangements, including doubling, superimposing, and stacking. Muthanna is found in diverse media, ranging from architecture, textiles, and tiles to paper, metalwork, and woodwork. Yet despite its centuries-old history and popularity in countries from Iran to Spain, scholarship on the form has remained limited and flawed. Muthanna/Mirror Writing in Islamic Calligraphy provides a comprehensive study of the text and its forms, beginning with an explanation of the visual principles and techniques used in its creation. Author Esra Akın-Kıvanç explores muthanna's relationship to similar forms of writing in Judaic and Christian contexts, as well as the specifically Islamic contexts within which symmetrically mirrored compositions reached full fruition, were assigned new meanings, and transformed into more complex visual forms. Throughout, Akın-Kıvanç imaginatively plays on the implicit relationship between subject and object in muthanna by examining the point of view of the artist, the viewer, and the work of art. In doing so, this study elaborates on the vital links between outward form and inner meaning in Islamic calligraphy.

Letters Literacy and Literature in Byzantium

Author : Margaret Mullett
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The studies in this collection look at general problems of reading Byzantine literature, at literacy practices and the literary process, but also at individual texts. Of major focus is the genre of the letter. Epistolography is examined from the point of view of genre, originality and communication and as evidence for political history. Other genres examined include the novel, historiography, parainesis, panegyric, and hagiography. The section on literary process includes essays on genre, patronage and rhetoric, and the section on literacy practices deals with both writing and reading.

Guide to Byzantine Historical Writing

Author : Leonora Neville
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Makes the study of medieval Greek historical writing accessible by providing fundamental orientation and information.

Writing in Gold

Author : Robin Cormack
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Writing in Gold is a bold and challenging statement about the importance of the visual arts in a largely illiterate society. Exploring the height of Byzantine society from the 6th to the 12th centuries through a survey of the period's surviving paintings, mosaics, and metalware, the book shows how these art objects molded attitudes and beliefs in the medieval world. The examples chosen cover the full range of Byzantine society from the sophisticated urban environment of Constantinople, where emperors used art to maintain loyalty and support for the system, to the life of a small community on Cyprus, where a recluse used art to glorify himself to his disciples. Written in a lively style, and drawing on new and original material throughout, Writing in Gold illuminates an intriguing period in art history.

A Companion to Byzantium

Author : Liz James
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Using new methodological and theoretical approaches, A Companionto Byzantium presents an overview of the Byzantine world fromits inception in 330 A.D. to its fall to the Ottoman Turks in 1453. Provides an accessible overview of eleven centuries ofByzantine society Introduces the most recent scholarship that is transforming thefield of Byzantine studies Emphasizes Byzantium's social and cultural history, as well asits material culture Explores traditional topics and themes through freshperspectives

The Ashgate Research Companion to Byzantine Hagiography

Author : Professor Stephanos Efthymiadis
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Hagiography is the most abundantly represented genre of Byzantine literature and it offers crucial insight to the development of religious thought and practice, social and literary life, and the history of the empire. It emerged in the fourth century with the pioneering Life of St Antony and continued to evolve until the end of the empire in the fifteenth century, and beyond. The appeal and dynamics of this genre radiated beyond the confines of Byzantium, and it was practised also in many Oriental and Slavic languages within the orbit of the broader Byzantine world. This companion is the work of an international team of specialists and represents the first comprehensive survey ever produced in this field. It consists of two volumes and is addressed to both a broader public and the scholarly community of Byzantinists, Medievalists, historians of religion and theorists of the narrative. This first volume covers the authors and texts of the four distinctive periods during which Greek Byzantine hagiography developed, as well as the hagiography produced in Oriental and Slavic languages and in geographical milieux around the periphery of the empire, from Italy to Armenia. Volume II addresses questions of genres and the social and other contexts of Byzantine hagiography.

Byzantium and the Arabs Late Antiquity

Author : Irfan Shahîd
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Ethnography After Antiquity

Author : Anthony Kaldellis
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Although Greek and Roman authors wrote ethnographic texts describing foreign cultures, ethnography seems to disappear from Byzantine literature after the seventh century C.E.—a perplexing exception for a culture so strongly self-identified with the Roman empire. Yet the Byzantines, geographically located at the heart of the upheavals that led from the ancient to the modern world, had abundant and sophisticated knowledge of the cultures with which they struggled and bargained. Ethnography After Antiquity examines both the instances and omissions of Byzantine ethnography, exploring the political and religious motivations for writing (or not writing) about other peoples. Through the ethnographies embedded in classical histories, military manuals, Constantine VII's De administrando imperio, and religious literature, Anthony Kaldellis shows Byzantine authors using accounts of foreign cultures as vehicles to critique their own state or to demonstrate Romano-Christian superiority over Islam. He comes to the startling conclusion that the Byzantines did not view cultural differences through a purely theological prism: their Roman identity, rather than their orthodoxy, was the vital distinction from cultures they considered heretic and barbarian. Filling in the previously unexplained gap between antiquity and the resurgence of ethnography in the late Byzantine period, Ethnography After Antiquity offers new perspective on how Byzantium positioned itself with and against the dramatically shifting world.

Heraclius Emperor of Byzantium

Author : Walter E. Jr. Kaegi
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Table of contents

The Byzantine Court

Author : Ayla Ödekan
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The proceedings of the Second International Sevgi Gonul Byzantine Studies Symposium held in Istanbul in June 2010 are published here under four headings: The first chapter includes seven papers on Byzantine palace architecture. Second chapter includes nine papers on the Byzantine court as the center of imperial power. Third chapter includes seven papers on the ceremonies held at the court and in the city. Last chapter on court culture and visual arts presents seven papers.