Arguing it Out: Discussion in Twelfth-Century Byzantium

Arguing it Out: Discussion in Twelfth-Century Byzantium

Arguing it Out: Discussion in Twelfth-Century Byzantium

Arguing it Out: Discussion in Twelfth-Century Byzantium

Synopsis

The long twelfth century, from the seizure of the throne by Alexius I Comnenus in 1081, to the sack of Constantinople by the Fourth Crusade in 1204, is a period recognized as fostering the most brilliant cultural development in Byzantine history, especially its literary production. It was a time of intense creativity as well as of rising tensions, and one for which literary approaches are a lively area in current scholarship. This study focuses on the prose dialogues in Greek from this period-of very varying kinds-and on what they can tell us about the society and culture of the era when western Europe was itself developing a new culture of schools, universities, and scholars. Yet it was also the period in which Byzantium felt the fateful impact of the Crusades, which ended with the momentous sack of Constantinople in 1204. Despite revisionist attempts to play down the extent of this disaster, it was a blow from which, arguably, the Byzantines never fully recovered.

Excerpt

I first encountered Natalie Davis in the late 1970s when I was lucky enough to spend a year at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton. Sabbaticals were not so common in those days, and that year was a turning point for me in several ways. Among them was the opportunity to attend the Shelby Cullom Davis seminar in the History Department of Princeton University, during the ascendancy of its founder, Lawrence Stone. Having been trained as a classicist and practising as an ancient historian, I was exposed in that seminar to an exciting world of interdisciplinary social history and anthropology, the latter represented by Clifford Geertz, whose seminars I also attended at the Institute. Natalie Zemon Davis had only recently arrived at Princeton from Berkeley, and had not long before published her collection entitled Society and Culture in Early Modern France in which she extended the realm of social history in exciting . . .

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.