Anthony Kaldellis is a prolific scholar and certainly among the foremost historians of the Byzantine world in North America. He is also one of the most intellectually provocative and challenging, and his writing invariably generates vigorous discussion and sometimes strong disagreement. He is a scholar on a mission, and this short, well-written, and articulate book exemplifies that mission perfectly: to reinstate the study of Byzantine civilization and society as a foundational element in the historical study of post-Roman Europe and the Mediterranean, and to remove the cloak of Eurocentric and crusader “othering” of medieval eastern Roman culture and civilization that has beset its history for centuries. One important aspect of this is his insistence on calling the Byzantines what they in fact called themselves, Romans, and to call for an end to what he terms “Roman denialism.”
~John Haldon, Speculum 96, no. (2021): 836-37
For a civilization that preserved its existence and integrity against overwhelming odds and contributed in captivating ways to the diversity of human culture, Byzantium is strangely one of the most maligned and misunderstood civilizations of the past. The way in which history has been carved up into periods has worked to its disadvantage, and Byzantium has been artificially cut off from its Roman roots.
This book proposes a long view of Byzantium, one that begins in the early Roman empire and extends all the way to the modern period. It is a provocative thought-experiment which posits Byzantium as the most stable and enduring form of Greco-Roman society, forming a sturdy bridge between antiquity and the early modern period, as well as between East and West, and which sees the ancient Greek, Roman, and Christian traditions as flowing together. It offers a Byzantium unbound by other cultures and fields of study that would artificially cut it down to size.
1. A history of Byzantinophobia
2. Thinking historically with Byzantium
3. Byzantium for classicists
4. Byzantium was not medieval