What is Everyone Reading?


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What is Everyone Reading?

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Aug 27, 2011, 12:36pm

Although it is not history but alternative history fiction I love Harry Turtledove's Agent of Byzantium.

Aug 27, 2011, 1:13pm

> 3 Agreed.

Aug 27, 2011, 3:07pm

I'm reading Ostrogoths at the moment. Currently The Ostrogoths from the Migration Period to the Sixth Century. Got a bunch of Byzantine stuff in the to-read pile though - 14 based on my LT list but a bunch of my Christianity stuff always ends up being Byzantine (got 40 of those).

Aug 28, 2011, 3:39pm

I did read - or start - Turtledove's Justinian on Justinian II. Good, but I ran out of time and never restarted it. I'm just rereading Agathias, my favourite East Roman historian.

Aug 29, 2013, 2:52pm

Shikari: Where can I find a translation of Agathias into English? My sources and resources are a bit limited, but, still I'd like to know?

Dec 13, 2013, 6:23pm

Amazon usually has a few copies for sale. Not cheap but occasionally a cheaper used version does show up. The translator is Joseph Frend

Feb 1, 2014, 4:38pm

I've just begun "the Byzantine revival" by Warren Treadgold. The introduction seems to be quite positive. I think he did find a lovely period to work on. Any puffs, or put-downs of this title?

Edited: Feb 27, 2014, 3:45pm

There's a very expensive translation by Joseph Frend (http://www.degruyter.com/view/product/56081), as Webadr31 has said. Averil Cameron slated it rather viciously in a review when it came out (and seemed unwilling to give an opinion when verbally asked to assess it at a conference a couple of weeks ago). Dr Cameron's book on Agathias (it's not a translation!) is easier to find, if also pricey.

There's also a new Belles Lettres French translation I didn't know about, Pierre Maraval's _Agathias: Histoires, Guerres et Malheurs du temps du Justinien_ (http://www.lesbelleslettres.com/livre/?GCOI=22510100444080). That's much better priced. No text (but thats true of Frend too).

Mar 1, 2014, 9:40pm

I'm starting on "the Catalan expedition to the East: from the Chronicle of Ramon Muntaner. It looks interesting(why else read it? Duuh!)

Apr 4, 2014, 4:12pm

I found a slim volume, "Sasanian Iran (224 - 651CE)" by Touraj Daryaee. It won't take long, but it does provide a bit of background to the other major power.

Apr 7, 2014, 9:16am

Daryaee has also done a larger volume, Sasanian Persia: The Rise and Fall of an Empire, that you might find useful. Costlier too, I'm afraid!

Apr 7, 2014, 3:25pm

I did find an Agathias in the U. of Vic. Library, and I am looking forward to it. There was also Frederick II and the Ibelins, so the month is well taken care of!

Sep 23, 2016, 9:42pm

Opinions on Treadgold's History of theByzantine state? I liked it but I've avoided Ostrogorsky's version.

Dec 31, 2016, 10:11am

Recently watched the TLC documentary Byzantium, The Lost Empire (1997) presented by John Romer (a British archaeologist, better known for his various documentaries about ancient Egypt). A well-done documentary. It is a very nice introduction and overview of the topic. Well worth watching or buying on DVD. I do not believe there is a companion book to this series.

Dec 3, 2018, 3:34pm

I just found, "
The Islamic-Byzantine Frontier: Interaction and Exchange Among Muslim and Christian Communities (Library of Middle East History) by A. Asa Eger (Author)

I.B.Tauris (2015), 432 pages. Upon reading, is seems to reveal a frontier which recovered its population, within a century of being staked out in blood. There's some documentary evidence as well, though mostly drawn from Islamic Travellers itineraries.

Dec 19, 2018, 1:46pm

Interesting! I'll have to have a look for it!

Jan 24, 2019, 3:18pm

i have moved on to "Genesios on the reigns of the Emperors". Translation and Commentary by Anthony Kaldellis ISBN 978-09-59-36269-5. it is a work covering 813 - 886 CE. I will let you know when I finish it.

Edited: Feb 10, 2019, 6:15pm

I have finished the Genesios. I have never read a book whose translator was so dubious about the value of the work he had just finished working on. The introduction begins with the information that but a single copy of the book exists and even the authorship is in some doubt, as the only clear connection is that the name 'Genesios" is scrawled on a margin of the text. The translator, Anthony Kaldellis, only uses that name for the author "For the sake of convenience". Also, there does appear to be only one direct reference to this work anywhere else in the body of Byzantine histories. So far as Kaldellis is concerned the last two books of the work are confused chronologically and many episodes appear to be doubling and tripling of real incidents with the addition of colourful moments drawn from some hagiographies, and some other episodes such as the references to a man named Constantine, most likely an Armenian are fictitious, or very special pleading.
It seems to me that the "Genesios" could have the kind of status in Byzantine studies that in the world of Medieval studies is accorded "A history of the kings of Britain" by Geoffrey of Monmouth, had it only obtained some circulation. Perhaps the author quietly stored the book away after a reread of the manuscript.

Mar 17, 2019, 3:47pm

I've got my eye on something that brackets Byzantium:

Medieval Latin Lives of Muhammad (Dumbarton Oaks Medieval Library 51). I saw a copy in Blackwells and mean to get a copy when I can. I wonder if there's an equivalent work on Byzantine representations of the Prophet?


Mar 18, 2019, 4:54pm

Just finished Amelia R. Brown's "Corinth in Late Antiquity, A Greek, Roman, and Christian City. I.B. Taurus, 2018, ISBN 978-1-78453-823-1
It is a remarkably remarkably coherent book dealing with a very complex Archaeological site. Corinth had a Greek beginning, then the classical city was sacked by the Romans in 144 BCE, and then colonized as a Roman city in the time of Julius Caesar. After two hundred years,the place was described by the great Classical travel writer, Pausanias, providing a sort of anchor point. Dr. Brown, taking that description as a starting point, tries to describe the transition point of that city into the Byzantine city that was then passed on into the hands of the Fourth Crusaders and the Ottoman empire. Since the excavations began in the 1800's, the site also merits an appendix on the archaeological methodology of the excavations on the site. The final chapter, summing up the archaeological evidence for the social transformations of the period 300 to 600 CE, is a very interesting piece of analysis. A good book for the student as well as the interested reader in the period. Sadly, the mapping is not particularly clear, and could have been expanded considerably.

Mar 22, 2019, 5:14pm

Just finished 428 Ad by Traina. Interesting little book, a tour of the empire before it went into its final paroxysms.

Edited: Mar 24, 2019, 10:14am

>23 DinadansFriend: And one by a specialist in that most untrodden of subfields of Late Antiquity, Armenia.

Must check out the Corinth book.

Apr 7, 2019, 6:55pm

I've gotten to "The Lost Capital of Byzantium The history of Mistra an d the Peloponnese" by Sir Steven Runciman. A pleasant read, though not Late antique.
It is reasonably mapped and showing Byzantine Influence on the Italian Renaissance.

Apr 9, 2019, 5:46pm

Just finished an elderly piece of scholarship, "Trebizond, The last Greek empire" by Miller. The narrative is well written, and the resultant cautionary tale for middle or small power countries, is well conveyed. the book was reissued in 1969, I have been told. The Trebizond Empire flourished until 1330, and existed until tidied up by the Ottomans in 1461.

Apr 13, 2019, 3:48pm

Apr 19, 2019, 5:43pm

More very late antique stuff here, "The History of Zonaras from Alexander Severus to the death of Theodosius the Great." A quite complicated book. To begin with it seems to have been written by a Komnenian literary Gentleman, writing after 1120CE,and this is a relatively small component of the whole work. This translation covers the period from the reign of the emperor Alexander Severus (222CE) to the death of the emperor Theodosius I (395CE). This is not an extensive account of the period, and is embodied in Book XII, chapters 15-35, and Book XIII, chapters 1-19. The total work has eighteen books starting with the creation myth in Josephus' Antiquities, and ends with the reign of Alexis Komnenus in 1118CE. The manner has a great deal in common with a modern middle school textbook of world history. The value of the work is the number of holes in the received account of the period that are sketched in this selection. The notes often employ parallel column comparisons of other works to be compared to suggest further lines of enquiry by the student. The editor and translator have given us a useful tool for the training of other scholars in researching the period. The main text is entertaining, and does impart some idea of the scope of the rest of the Epitome. For the scholar the treasury is in the notes. ( ) Translator and editor, Thomas Banchich, assisted by Eugene Lane. Routledge 2009, ISBN 978-0-415-29909-1. I will keep an eye out for the Wilson on the Italians.