This introductory text provides a concise overview of the history of Byzantium, from AD 285, when it first separated from the Western Roman Empire, to 1461, when the last Byzantine splinter state disappeared. Over the course of this period, the Byzantine state and society underwent many crises, triumphs, declines and recoveries. Spanning twelve centuries and three continents, the Byzantine empire linked the ancient and modern worlds, shaping and transmitting Greek, Roman and Christian traditions that remain vigorous today. This book examines the causes behind Byzantium's successes, failures and remarkable longevity. The author shows how Byzantine political leadership, military strategy, cultural attitudes and social, institutional and demographic changes combined with the strengths and weaknesses of the empire's enemies to explain the paradoxes of Byzantium's long history.
This revised second edition has been updated throughout to incorporate new research, most notably on gender, iconoclasm and environmental history. It is an essential text for students taking courses on Byzantine history seeking an introductory overview to this broad and complex topic.