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Basil II and the Governance of Empire (976-1025) (Oxford Studies in…

by Catherine Holmes

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This is the first book-length study in English of the Byzantine emperor Basil II. Basil II, later known as 'Bulgar-slayer', is famous for his military conquests and his brutal intimidation of domestic foes. Catherine Holmes considers the problems Basil faced in governing a large, multi-ethnicempire, which stretched from southern Italy to Mesopotamia. Her close focus on the surviving historical narratives, above all the Synopsis Historion of John Skylitzes, reveals a Byzantium governed as much by persuasion as coercion. This book will appeal to those interested in Byzantium before theCrusades, the governance of pre-modern empires, and the methodology of writing early medieval political history.… (more)

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This is a relatively detailed critique of John Skylitzes Synopsis of History, especially the portion dealing with Basil II. A biographical sketch of the emperor is added after all reservations dealing with the sources are noted. The elaborate structure of eighty percent of this book is designed to justify the assumptions made by the author when she finally turns to creating the biographical sketch of Basil. It is slow and painstaking, and not inspiring, but the book is very informative about the present state of textual analysis of Byzantine materials. ( )
  DinadansFriend | Aug 19, 2016 |
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This is the first book-length study in English of the Byzantine emperor Basil II. Basil II, later known as 'Bulgar-slayer', is famous for his military conquests and his brutal intimidation of domestic foes. Catherine Holmes considers the problems Basil faced in governing a large, multi-ethnicempire, which stretched from southern Italy to Mesopotamia. Her close focus on the surviving historical narratives, above all the Synopsis Historion of John Skylitzes, reveals a Byzantium governed as much by persuasion as coercion. This book will appeal to those interested in Byzantium before theCrusades, the governance of pre-modern empires, and the methodology of writing early medieval political history.

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