The Byzantine Empire

The Byzantine Empire

The Byzantine Empire

The Byzantine Empire

Excerpt

An Empire to endure a death agony of a thousand years must possess considerable powers of recuperation. Until recently historians would have had us believe that the Byzantine state was perpetually in the article of death, although offering through the centuries a successful resistance to all assailants; but the colossal paradox only won credence through frequent repetition: it could not withstand the light of modern research. This little book is an attempt to sketch in brief outline some aspects of this East Roman civilisation, to recall the names of some of those famous men who were honoured in their generations and were the glory of their times.

But at the outset one question must be faced: from what period are we to recognise a distinctively Byzantine or East Roman Empire? For even when there was one ruler of the East in Constantinople and another in the West, in Milan or Ravenna, this did not impair the ideal unity of the Roman Empire: it was, in the words of a fourth-century writer, a "quasi-partition," of . . .

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