Recent Acquisitions

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Recent Acquisitions

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1surly
Nov 24, 2007, 4:24pm

Just got the two volume History of the Byzantine Empire, 324-1453 by Alexander A. Vasiliev and Belisarius: The Last Great General of the Roman Empire by Lord Mahon. Anyone find anything else to add to the to-buy list?

3DaynaRT
Feb 1, 2008, 7:02am

>2 surly:

That's been on my wishlist for months!

4marieke54
Mar 9, 2008, 1:52pm

My last acquisitions were last autumn, I think, not so very recent: The Byzantine economy by Angeliki E. Laiou and William Rosen's Justinean's Flea: plague, empire and the birth of Europe.

5CSL
Mar 21, 2008, 5:06pm

Just this week I managed to find and grab a now ancient copy of The Age of Justinian and Theodora by William Gordon Holmes - but only the second volume.

6marieke54
May 6, 2008, 1:27pm

Today I purchased Sailing from Byzantium by Colin Wells, about Byzantium's great influence on the West, the Islamic and the Slavic world.

7CSL
May 7, 2008, 7:19pm

That was a fun little book - read it at the start of the world.

8surly
Edited: Apr 21, 2009, 9:29pm

Just got The Byzantine Wars. Looks like a pleasant albeit brief read.

9marieke54
Mar 29, 2009, 3:09am

Constantinople: capital of Byzantium by Jonathan Harris (in which one of my heroes, bishop Liudprand of Cremona, collides with customs over some silk clothings).

10bookworm2109
Apr 9, 2009, 9:56am

I just bought A History of Byzantine State and Society by Warren T. Treadgold. Everyone tells me that is the successor to History of the Byzantine State by George Ostrogorsky. Vasiliev is good, if a bit dated.

11rcss67
May 12, 2009, 7:30pm

I liked the John Julius Norwich trilogy on Byzantium as an introductory read. other authors are Michael Angold and Cyril Mango as well as Treadgold of course. Steven Runciman's book on Constantinople is still a hard book forme to read, i so wish they had won! some periods are liek that for me, i hate to read about people or civilisations losing still!

12shikari
May 24, 2009, 7:29am

Well, this season's must-have is probably Oxford's new Oxford Handbook of Byzantine Studies edited by Elizabeth Jeffreys with (as it says) John Haldon and Robin Cormack. It's divided into four sections on the discipline, the physical world, institutions and the world around Byzantium. I particularly like the articles on literature (treated by genre by Elizabeth Jeffreys, Michael Whitby etc.), on Byzantium and its neighbours by James Howard-Johnston, on military (and other) topics by John Haldon and several articles on literary subjects by Nigel Wilson. Not cheap, but worth going to the library for if you can't afford it.

13prplcatz58
Jun 4, 2009, 11:20am

I'm interested in the Comneni dynasty, specifically Anna Comnena. I just ordered Anna Comnena: A Study by Georgina Buckler.

Does anyone have suggestions for other good books on this topic?

14surly
Jun 5, 2009, 12:10pm

There is always The Alexiad of Anna Comnena written by the lady herself.

15surly
Jul 1, 2009, 8:20pm

16shikari
Jul 5, 2009, 8:57pm

Byzantium, its triumphs and tragedy: is that yet another general history of Byzantium?

17surly
Jul 6, 2009, 8:46am

16:
Generally speaking, yes. It's from the 50s and is lacking the now expected footnotes but is an interesting read.

18shikari
Jul 7, 2009, 11:41pm

Interesting - is it worth looking out for? You might enjoy - from the same era - Jack Lindsay's Song of a Falling World, a discussion of culture in Late Antiquity (but before the word Spätantike was introduced to English).

19surly
Jul 8, 2009, 10:18am

I got it as a first edition (English translation) with a clean cover more because I was on vacation and saw Byzantium in the title than due to its scholarship. I'd save your money.

20rcss67
Jul 8, 2009, 3:16pm

The Lost Capital of Byzantium by Sir Steven Runciman just bought and started to read it, already love it. The last 200 hundred years of Byzantium, what a fascinating time, to know in your heart that your civilization is about to be wiped out to a large degree.

21webadr31
Jul 8, 2009, 11:47pm

Been gathering primary sources myself. Picked up Three Byzantine Military Treatises and really enjoyed it.

What I have been trying to find is a translation of the Book of Ceremonies by Constantine VII Porphyrgenitus but so far it seems there isn't one.

22cemanuel
Jul 10, 2009, 6:50am

Egypt in the Byzantine World by Bagnall - looking forward to reading this one. I also just received Economy and Society in the Age of Justinian and Plague and the End of Antiquity which I assume is going to have a substantial Byzantine focus.

I've also been picking up a lot of 5th-7th century sources - Theodoret, Sozomen, Socrates Scholasticus, Pseudo-Joshua, etc.

23shikari
Sep 1, 2009, 6:37am

Egypt in the Byzantine World, Economy and Society in the Age of Justinian and Plague and the End of Antiquity are all excellent books. Almost anything by Roger S. Bagnall is worth reading (he's just edited the new Oxford Handbook od Papyrology) and this - though an edited volume - is well worth while. Peter Sarris' book (Economy and Society) has a strong Egyptian bias, naturally enough as that is where our documentation is. If anyone has Rosen's Justinian's Flea, give it away and read Little's edited Plague and the End of Antiquity whose papers are so much more interesting than Rosen's account (I'm assuming the reader knows something about the Justinianic period - if not, Rosen might be a good bet).

24cemanuel
Edited: Sep 1, 2009, 8:10am

Is Egypt in Late Antiquity still worthwhile? I have it on my wishlist - but it's nearly 15 years old. I'm working my way through Sarris right now but I have to be in the right mindset because of the detailed examination of source material. I love those types of books but you have to be willing to take your time with them and my time for reading is always limited during the summer.

25shikari
Sep 1, 2009, 1:10pm

I have to admit I've not read it, Cemanuel. Egypt isn't my field, really (though oddly I was there last week). Perhaps s.o. else can comment. Roger Bagnall is an excellent speaker though, if you get the chance to hear his lectures.

26shikari
Sep 3, 2009, 12:05am

Having browsed Bagnall's Egypt in Late Antiquity I'd urge you to buy it. It's available on the ACLS site if you have access to that (individual subscriptions are $35/year) but paper is always easier to read (for over-forties, at any rate) and I've put it on my medium-term list. It's complementary to - and seems to have a certain overlap with - his Reading Papyri, Reading Ancient History. Or so it seems to me.

On ACLS, I see some interesting forthcoming books, including John Haldane's Byzantium in the Seventh Century: the Transformation of a Culture, Bowman's Egypt after the Pharaohs, 332 BC-AD 642: From Alexander to the Arab Conquest and Marincola's Authority and Tradition in Ancient Historiography. And their current list is great - well worth the $35, I'd say.

27cemanuel
Edited: Sep 15, 2009, 10:00pm

I just finished Economy and Society in the Age of Justinian and I can heartily recommend it - just added a review saying as much. However you may want to read chapter six before chapter two.

29marieke54
Oct 18, 2009, 2:35am

As a fantastic birthday present I received The Oxford Handbook of Byzantine Studies by Elizabeth Jeffreys. Also bought De Byzantijnse geschiedenis in een notendop by Hein van Dolen, volume in a Dutch series of "nutshell histories"

30shikari
Oct 18, 2009, 8:21am

Hope you like the Handbook! Who publishes the Dutch histories? Is there a Late Antiquity volume? If anyone's interested, OUP has commissioned a Very Short Introduction to Late Antiquity, but I have no idea when it will be ready or who the author or authors might be (I'm rather hoping James Howard-Johnston).

31jmnlman
Oct 18, 2009, 6:42pm

28: when you get a chance to read it I'd like to know whether he actually managed to show some causality. Something that he totally failed to do with his book on the western empire.

32marieke54
Oct 19, 2009, 4:12pm

>30 shikari: shikari

Very!

The much smaller Byzantine history in a nutshell” was published by Bert Bakker, Amsterdam. Author Hein van Dolen made in 1995 a beautiful Dutch translation of Herodotos’s Histories, Het verslag van mijn onderzoek.
No late antiquity, but the publisher also did nutshells on classical antiquity, Greek mythology, Roman myths and histories, Islam, the Middle East etc. etc. (they even published an ”Obama in a nutshell”). See:
(http://www.uitgeverijbertbakker.nl/index.php?option=com_pac&view=boek&li... )

We don't have many books about Byzantium translated in Dutch. Although, last year Judith Herrin’s Byzantium: The Surprising Life of a Medieval Empire was translated (published by Bulaaq).

33shikari
Oct 22, 2009, 6:54am

Ah, Bulaaq, who do that excellent Arabic-Dutch dictionary. I must look at their list.

34shikari
Nov 30, 2009, 8:31pm

This message has been deleted by its author.

35shikari
Edited: May 21, 2010, 10:47am

An important book is due out in June (admittedly pricey, so use the library):
James Howard-Johnston's Witnesses to a World Crisis: Historians and Histories of the Middle East in the Seventh Century (Oxford: OUP, 2010) 576 pages (ISBN 978-0-19-920859-3). Price: £90.00

The publisher's blurb:

* A groundbreaking study of the period when the final struggles between the empires of Rome and Persia, and then the explosion of Islamic warriors, transformed the political and religious world
* Unlike other histories of early Islam, makes systematic use of the non-Islamic as well as the Islamic sources

James Howard-Johnston provides a sweeping and highly readable account of probably the most dramatic single episode in world history - the emergence of a new religion (Islam), the destruction of two established great powers (Roman and Iranian), and the creation of a new world empire by the Arabs, all in the space of not much more than a generation (610-52 AD). Warfare looms large, especially where operations can be followed in some detail, as in Iraq 636-40, in Egypt 641-2 and in the long-drawn out battle for the Mediterranean (649-98). As the first history of the formative phase of Islam to be grounded in the important non-Islamic as well as Islamic sources, Witnesses to a World Crisis is essential reading for anyone wanting to understand Islam as a religion and political force, the modern Middle East, and the jihadist impulse, which is as evident today as it was in the seventh century.

36Swanduchess
May 25, 2010, 8:16pm

The Taktika of Leo VI
Leo VI (Author), George T. Dennis (Translator)

Although he probably never set foot on a battlefield, the Byzantine emperor Leo VI (886–912) had a lively interest in military matters. Successor to Caesar Augustus, Constantine, and Justinian, he was expected to be victorious in war and to subject barbarian peoples to Rome, so he set out to acquire a solid knowledge of military equipment and practice. The Byzantines had inherited a voluminous series of military treatises from antiquity on nearly every aspect of warfare, from archery to battle formations and the art of besieging or defending. Leo intended to review all this, summarize it, and present an elementary handbook for his officers on how to prepare soldiers for war and how to move them on campaign and on the battlefield. He included a chapter on naval warfare and he explained Saracen (Arab) methods of war and how to defeat them. The Tactical Constitutions, or Taktika, were the result. Painstakingly prepared from a tenth century manuscript now in Florence, this is the first modern critical edition of the complete text of the Taktika and includes a facing English translation, explanatory notes, and extensive indexes.
About the Author
George T. Dennis is Emeritus Professor of History, Catholic University of America.

37timspalding
May 27, 2010, 1:10pm

Just got T. C. F. Hopkins's Empires, Wars and Battles, a general history of the middle easy from antiquity to the early modern and so covering Byzantium a fair amount. It's absolutely terrible. (Reviewed it here http://www.librarything.com/work/3520362/reviews/59802218)

38cemanuel
May 27, 2010, 3:00pm

Tim - Forge Books? Don't they usually publish SF/Fantasy/Horror?

39timspalding
May 27, 2010, 3:22pm

Right. The author is a fantasy author of theirs, under a pseudonym.

What can I say, I'd never heard of the author, and it was on the remainder table at the Harvard Coop. What a disaster.

40michelarch
Jul 6, 2010, 9:15pm

Just finished reading the book a few months ago! A GREAT read!!
Hope you enjoy it as much as I did!! Another book I read at the same time was 'Lost to the West' by Lars Brownsworth- a terrific read as well- a faster and shorter history that I wished I had read before I struggled through Norwich!!

41shikari
Jul 14, 2010, 6:22pm

Just got my hands finally on James Howard-Johnston's Witnesses to a World Crisis: Historians and Histories of the Middle East in the Seventh Century. I've not started it yet, but the first half (two thirds) is devoted to an exploration of the major contemporary sources (both Greek - George of Psidia, Chronicon Paschale - and Eastern - the History of Khosrov (Patmunt'iwn Sebeosi), the Khuzistan Chronicle, etc.), supplementary sources, later Greek sources (Theophanes, Nicephoros) and Eastern sources (Chronicle of Seert, the Qur'an, Tabari), and then closes with his own analysis of the Seventh Century. Looking forward to it!

42shikari
Edited: Sep 15, 2010, 10:36pm

Not quite new acquisitions (yet), but some things of interest to Byzantinists.

As reported on the Ancient History group, Dumbarton Oaks are releasing a new series of medieval books, including Byzantine Greek works:

http://www.hup.harvard.edu/collection.php?recid=594

The format seems to be the same as the I Tatti series, 5.25"x8", rather than the Loeb series' 4.25"x6.75". I do hope that they release Gemistos Pleithon's works, which would nicely parallel the Ficinos in the I Tatti.

Dumbarton Oaks already do do some Byzantine Greek, as most will know, things like Constantine Porphyrogenitus' De Administrando Imperio and various Byzantine military manuals.

Also finally released in an affordable paperback is Treadgold's Early Byzantine Historians, which should perhaps be on every Late Antiquarian's bookcase. Not as detailed or wide-ranging as Marasco's Greek and Roman Historiography in Late Antiquity: Fourth to Sixth Century A.D., but that's scarcely affordable by libraries!

43surly
Edited: Oct 14, 2010, 12:27pm

This message has been deleted by its author.

44surly
Oct 14, 2010, 12:28pm

I picked up Byzantine Empresses - Biographical Portraits of Thirteen Notable Women Who Helped to Shape the Medieval World when in New York for a niece's wedding. She was off to Istanbul for her honeymoon and I thus thought this book was preordained for my collection.

45shikari
Apr 30, 2011, 4:59am

A pre-acquisition question - has anyone yet read Alan Cameron's latest, The Last Pagans of Rome? Impressions?

46cemanuel
Apr 30, 2011, 9:08am

This is no help to you but I'm hoping Oxford has it at their booth at Kalamazoo so I can pick it up with the conf discount.

BTW, The ODB has been available for about $170 USD.

47timspalding
Edited: Apr 30, 2011, 4:49pm

That's great. No Byzantine works yet, though.

It's worth wondering if these projects make sense in the ebook age. Why not just release "layers" of data--books that fit with books? Or, better, why not release metadata that correlates two or more texts. You don't need to edit the text and translation, just release a key that links them.

48shikari
May 1, 2011, 12:23am

Where's the Oxford Dictionary of Byzantium available, Cemanuel?

49cemanuel
May 1, 2011, 7:58am

If you're on OUP's Spring Sale List (I picked one up by being on their fall sale list) from their US website: http://www.us.oup.com/us/?view=usa

I don't know how you get on that list exactly, but if you are, it's discounted from $495 to $173.25.

To find out how to get on the list I'd start by calling the customer service number at: 800-445-9714

50cemanuel
May 27, 2011, 1:25pm

I did pick up Cameron's The Last Pagans of Rome at Kalamazoo (thank you conf discounts). Haven't read it yet but I'll post my impressions here once I do. Just finished Rousseau's Transformations of Late Antiquity and it's OK - a series of articles, some are insightful, others pretty basic. Not as good as I'd hoped but not a waste of time either (other than a couple of essays). It does primarily have an Eastern focus.

51shikari
Dec 26, 2011, 9:26am

Cemanuel, did you ever get on to The Last Pagans of Rome? I'm about a hundred pages into it at the momen. Most interesting: I'll certainly treat church historians with a bit more care in future!

52cemanuel
Edited: Dec 28, 2011, 6:52am

I've finished it. Can't say as I care for Cameron's system of argument; "If it's a source which might remotely support my argument I'll spend 10 pages telling why it's reliable, if it's a source which disagrees with my argument, even if it's relatively solid, I'll spend 10 pages using some pretty big logical stretches trying to discredit it."

I agree with his thesis overall - actually I haven't read anything which says otherwise. But I don't care for his use of evidence. Though it is nice to see discussion of so many sources.

One of these days I might put up a review.

53shikari
Edited: Dec 28, 2011, 4:41pm

While I hesitantly agree with you, cemanuel, I am enjoying the detailed examination of the sources, few of whom I am familiar with at first hand. I must go and open that new Loeb Macrobius when I get off the ship, and read something of Claudian other than the Rape of Proserpine.

54cemanuel
Dec 29, 2011, 1:26pm

#53 He definitely dives deeply into the sources, which is great. Keep an eye out for circular arguments and, in particular, how desperately he tries to speed up conversion, including statements such as it being virtually impossible to imagine a pagan achieving high office in the early 5th century (despite fairly frequent examples such as Rutilius Namatianus and Gabinius Pompeianus to the contrary).

Whole lotta mansplaining going on there.