This is the story of how the Byzantine Empire, led by a succession of extraordinary rulers, emerged from a long decline to reclaim its place as a leading state of the medieval world. "This is a work of painstaking and substantive scholarship that should long remain the authoritative work on the period...The illustrations have been carefully selected and nicely reproduced.This is the story of how the Byzantine Empire, led by a succession of extraordinary rulers, emerged from a long decline to reclaim its place as a leading state of the medieval world. "This is a work of painstaking and substantive scholarship that should long remain the authoritative work on the period...The illustrations have been carefully selected and nicely reproduced. The publisher should be complimented on producing a handsome volume." American Historical Review...
|Title||:||The Byzantine Revival, 780-842|
|Number of Pages||:||508 Pages|
|Status||:||Available For Download|
|Last checked||:||21 Minutes ago!|
The Byzantine Revival, 780-842 Reviews
One of the most remarkable aspects of the Roman Empire was its ability to recover again and again and again from what seemed to be spirals of utter destruction of the sort that killed so many other polities. Each time, it transformed on the fly, and rose again, different, but still going. The Crisis of the Third Century is the most famous of these, of course, the empire nearly fragmenting before the Illyrian emperors put it back on firm footing, albeit something very different from what it was. In the invasions and instability of the fifth century, it sometimes looked like all was lost again, the western empire fell, and there was fear the east would go with it. But the east endured, and even retook a lot of the lost territory under Justinian. Under Heraclius, Persia seemed to be on the verge of destroying the now-Constantinople-centered empire, but the empire came back. Then the Muslim Caliphate rose, taking most of the empire's territory. For more than a century after that, the survival of the empire seemed touch and go, as resources dwindled, the economy collapsed, and learning declined. But the thing is, that wasn't the end. Not at all. In the remarkable period covered by this wonderfully-written, incisive, and frequently witty book, Warren Treadgold, one of the best historians of the Byzantine phase of the Roman empire, describes how the tottering empire regained its footing, transformed, strengthened, and then started growing again, reversing decline to march into a new golden age, and another almost 700 years (!) of life. The period was one of fascinating figures, from Irene, the iron-willed first empress regnant of Roman history, to Nikephoros I, the unpopular, but brilliantly far-sighted reformer, to Theophilos, the young, exuberant emperor who closed the time. Treadwell tells the story as it should be, making sure to go into the background and analysis without losing sight of the drama of it all. I am struck most by his description of Nikephoros, as he is one of those emperors few ever think of, but his reform of the economy, bureaucracy, and system of taxation really set the stage for the golden age to come. Without him and his unpopular, but necessary, reforms, there could never have been the exuberant time of Theophilos, nor the resources for his wholesale reorganization of the army into something more responsive, and giving the nascent form to what would become the force of reconquest in the next century. Of course, none of this could have happened without Irene, who shepherded the empire out of the morass of iconoclasm, and began the healing of the rift in society that controversy caused. Even when it rose again, its roots were shallow, and it died again quickly after the passing of Theophilos. This was a period of remarkable happenings, intriguing personality, and Treadgold describes it so very well. He also does well to show how fragile the revival was, thereby making it all the more remarkable. This was a period of revival, but revival amidst constant disasters and setbacks, not to mention multiple conspiracies, violent and sudden overthrows of multiple emperors that could have easily led things to go the other way. I came away from this book all the more in love with Byzantium, and all the most astonished with its achievement as the last of the ancients, the shining jewel amidst the sometimes murk of the medieval world. Highly, highly recommended.
Fantastic and informative history of a key period of Byzantine history chronicling how the empire turned things around and renewed itself.
Yes, I am a nerd when it comes to Byzantium.