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Alongside established scholars’ contributions, texts from emerging Byzantinists and modernists gain international exposure; we are also introduced to surprising evidence from unexpected sites, and invited to consider Byzantium outside its geographical and chronological borders.I see many of the essays as ideal course readings that can be assigned to a wide range of post-graduate students interested in any area of Byzantine Studies, reception and cultural heritage, nation-building strategies, or colonialism and postcolonial theory.Notably, Adam Goldwyn argues that Greek laments for the fallen city helped forge a new identity for Constantinopolitan refugees in Venice.
Historically used as honorific designation, New Rome becomes Constantinople’s modern name—one that identifies it with Europe, Christianity, and the ancient Greek and Roman civilizations.
The layman wanting to know Byzantium political history in any real depth would do better to get John Julian Norwich's three-volume history of Byzantium beginning with BYZANTIUM: The Early Centuries.
However, one of the most frequent complaints against Norwich's books are that they focus almost entirely on the changing aristocracy and on foreign policy, and neglect the state of the commoners and Byzantium's cultural output. There are chapters on everyday life, learning and literature, Byzantine art, and the religious practices of the laity.
The brevity of this book--a thousand years in 80 pages--makes its history extremely fast-paced. Some of the interest is in how Hussey (or her editors) can condense so much time into such a small space.
For one thing, she writes about heretical movements (hesychasm, Bogomils) and their political impact without explaining, even in a phrase, what their heresy consisted of.