life about the Byzantium empire


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Kaldellis provides a collection of hundreds of one to five sentence long interesting short stories from Byzantine history, including ones on corrupt monks, eunuchs, and Greek fire. The length makes it a highly approachable read, although a basic understanding of Byzantine history would be helpful to fully understand all of the references


In this book, prolific professor of Byzantine studies Anthony Kaldellis provides a collection of enlightening vignettes about life in the Byzantine Empire. Each of the hundreds of separate short stories is only a sentence to a paragraph long, providing a taste of the wider world of Byzantium from 330 to 1453 CE

Today, Byzantium is commonly known for its religious disputes and labyrinthine politics. However, the Byzantines had a rich and multifaceted society that is much more than just this popular image. Kaldellis’ goal in A Cabinet of Byzantine Curiosities

Strange Tales and Surprising Facts from History’s Most Orthodox Empire is to expand this common understanding of Byzantine history and provide easily digestible and fun stories to demonstrate this

The book is broken up into eighteen different sections, each focusing on a particular aspect of Byzantine life such as marriage and the family, eunuchs, inventive insults, and foreigners and stereotypes

Kaldellis mixes translated quotes and his own commentary to form the individual stories. He pulls from both well-known tales from Byzantium from famous Byzantine historians such as Prokopios and

Theophylactos Simokattes as well as rather obscure texts such as lesser-known saints’ lives. In addition, Kaldellis peppers in interesting statistics about the Byzantine Empire, such as the number of civil wars and how many emperors died in battle
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