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Comment on Reading List

The obvious issue with recommending books on Byzantium is that the general surveys are – in large part – limited to beginners. These impart the simple shapes and flavours of Byzantine history; the battles, murders, crimes and triumphs of courts and their armies. 


However, as readers churn through material they soon realise it's hard to sustain the empire's millennium-wide scope whilst seeking greater depth. This means that the more scholarly texts on Byzantium tend to zoom their telescopes on particular items, issues or figures rather than attempt to scan the entire horizon.


N.B. I'm going to miss out all the "fun" books by R. Crowley, C. Wells, L. Brownsworth et al. Not to be prickly – as many scholars are about S. Runciman, for instance – but because they're primarily stories rather than histories. 


I'll also omit introductions I've not read as they were published long after I had any interest in learning the alphabet again. It's worth mentioning two here, however, just because I've heard they're sterling stuff. One is Herrin's Byzantium: Surprising Life of a Medieval Empire, the other is Sarris' Byzantium: A Very Short Introduction. 

Henry Hopwood-Phillips

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