Review of the Reluctant Emperor

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Of all the Byzantine emperors, John Cantacuzene stands out. Famed for his many talents and illustrious career, he was the only emperor to leave his memoirs to posterity. But his legacy came not from his role as emperor. Instead it came from his work as a monk and theologian. In “The Reluctant Emperor,” Donald Nicol gives an interesting account of this controversial individual.
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Review of The Lost Capital of Byzantium

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Mistra, in its prime, was a centre of influence in the Peloponnese. At the height of its eminence, it became the second most important city in the Byzantine Empire after Constantinople. But the influence of Mistra during its short lived glory went beyond the Peloponnese. Kingdoms from all over the Mediterranean sought to control Mistra to further their ambitions. Now, Steven Runciman provides a gripping account of Mistra’s rise and fall in “The Lost Capital of Byzantium.”
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Why Byzantium: The Decline and Fall makes a fitting conclusion

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John Julius Norwich completes his trilogy of the Byzantine Empire with “Byzantium: The Decline and Fall.” As usual, he spins a fascinating yarn. However this book is ultimately a tragic account of the empire’s inevitable decline. But even though the empire stumbled from disaster to disaster, it did not go without a good fight. During these long years, there were even a few moments of revival. At the final siege of Constantinople, Byzantium made its last stand against overwhelming odds before disappearing from the world forever.
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Why Byzantium: The Apogee is a worthy sequel

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“Byzantium: The Apogee” is the second part of John Julius Norwich’s trilogy about the Byzantine Empire. Aimed at the general reader, it gives a fascinating account of the Byzantine Empire’s history. As usual Norwich provides a general overview without going into excessive detail. The pace is fast and action packed due to the upheavals of this period. Many more characters appear to shape events in the Byzantine Empire.
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Byzantium: The Early Centuries and why you should read it

Image Credit:  The Vizier

Image Credit: The Vizier

For the general reader, ignorance and vagueness surrounds the history of the Byzantine Empire. Attempts to cover its thousand year history in one volume are largely unsuccessful. They are either inadequate in detail, difficult to read due to overwhelming facts or just plain boring. But now, John Julius Norwich has written an informative yet enjoyable account of the empire’s history.
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