Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Byzantium: The Decline and Fall” as Want to Read:
Byzantium: The Decline and Fall
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating

Byzantium: The Decline and Fall (A History of Byzantium #3)

4.36 of 5 stars 4.36  ·  rating details  ·  538 ratings  ·  19 reviews
Third volume in the series. With 32 pages of illustrations and 10 maps and tables.
Hardcover, 488 pages
Published November 7th 1995 by Knopf (first published 1995)
more details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Byzantium, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Byzantium

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 1,175)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  rating details
'Aussie Rick'
This, the final volume of a three book series, brings to end a rivetting and excellent history of the Byzantium Empire. I cannot add anything to the other reviews and comments on this series other than to say if your enjoy reading about history you should love these accounts of this Empire and its times. I found my first volume in a second hand bookshop without knowing anything about its author or the subject matter. It was a great read and I could not wait to buy the following two volumes. I on ...more
A Game of Thrones has absolutely nothing on the true story of the Byzantine Empire. Except for dragons, this last volume of Sir Norwich’s brilliant trilogy on the history of Constantinople has it all: mad kings and sultans, barbarian hordes, epic battles raging across continents, shifting alliances, diplomatic double crosses, lots of action between the sheets and a Hollywood ending full of death and glory.

A touch of sadness tinges this final volume as the Byzantines are betrayed by their fellow
Chase Parsley
At 3:09am last night I finished my epic journey through Norwich's three books about Byzantium. I'm glad I did; history fans need to read these books as they are masterpieces. True, Norwich emphasizes the Empire's political history, but there is plenty of depth when taken as a whole. The plot twists and cast of characters are as colorful and lively as in any bestselling novel, and Norwich has wonderful prose. Any professional or amateur historian needs to read this series!

Some of my favorite part
I love John Julius Norwich's writing and his grasp of history. I'll spare you all ten different reviews. This is narrative history without jargon and without poor writing. It has an air of authority that, in a lesser historian, might be covering a lack of knowledge. I don't seem to get that impression here, and, as I am pretty widely read on Byzantium, I feel qualified to say that Norwich consistently tells the story accurately and well.
Lars Brownworth
The conclusion of the masterful retelling of the history of Byzantium. The story of the final decline is depressing, but enlivened by Norwich's masterful prose and the heroism of Constantine XI.
Great trilogy, magnificient history of Byzantium..
Mark Rossiter
The last in the series is an ever-more dizzying whirligig of passing characters and incidents, few of them with enough purchase for this to be more than a shallow parade. Maybe that is the nature of the subject matter, given the sources – but who were these people?

Among the positives, what does stand out is that the Roman Empire, for some time before the end came, was at last truncated to a few scraps of land around Constantine’s city and in the south of Greece, and to almost complete powerlessn
Graham Podolecki
A fascinating, albeit depressing chronicle of the later years of the Byzantine Empire. Norwich gives us a picture, particularly after 1260 of an Empire surrounded by foes trying desperately to survive. We are given almost too much detail into the petty civil wars and diplomatic snafus that define the Paleologi dynasty. It is an interesting and very readable account. The history suffers from the problem of broad history's - focusing far too much on the people on top and leaving us to guess how li ...more
Magisterial but approachable. Some of the easiest-reading history I've ever encountered. Norwich's passion for the subject shines throughout. His narrative of the fall of Constantinople is an unparalleled elegy for the Byzantines.
Jesús Rodriguez
"The enemy of my enemy is my friend"...this is what I was thinking while reading this last great chapter of the Byzantium Empire. Eventually the enemies within and out got to be too much that eventually it blew in their face. There is enough blame to go around for it's destruction and the author does a good job remind us from time to time. Great book and must read.
Stephen Fisher
Finished the whole series now. It was a wild ride. I put this one off because I thought it would be depressing, but not so much. It has re-stirred those romantic yearnings to visit the Orient again. This is a fabulous series as a whole and important for anyone who loves reading non-fiction history. Byzantium lives on!
May 06, 2008 Ned rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Liberal Economists
Recommended to Ned by: HBOMC
the most recent take on this huge subject starts with the First Crusade and carries the view to the end and just into the 16th century following the descendants of the last families. Yep that's over 400 years in a little under 500 pages. I guess economy is the watchword for our times.
Three volumes history of the rise and fall of Byzantium and Norwich is brilliant. It's full of memorable characters, evil deeds and suspense and it's supremely erudite while being not just readable but fun to read. Gibbon's 'Decline and Fall' has a worthy sequel in this.
its taken me about 10 years to read the whole series so I feel a huge sense of achievement as well as the highest regard for the author of this scholarly but highly readable work.
Nick Wallace
Rather like watching a school bus crash, this volume covers the steady decline of the Byzantine Empire following the disastrous battle of Manzikert
What a tangled web we weave. We have inextricably entwined ourselves around ... ourselves.
Aaron Kleinheksel
Loved it. I want to read the other 2 but they seem to be out of print and rather pricey. /sigh
Third and final volume in a great history of The Byzantine Empire. Fascinating reader.
final book in the series. All good things must end, huh.
Dan Ocampo
Dan Ocampo marked it as to-read
Apr 24, 2015
Kostas marked it as to-read
Apr 20, 2015
Lora marked it as to-read
Apr 18, 2015
Filip Batselé
Filip Batselé marked it as to-read
Apr 17, 2015
Betsy marked it as to-read
Apr 17, 2015
Elliott Bignell
Elliott Bignell marked it as to-read
Apr 16, 2015
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 39 40 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • The Fall of Constantinople 1453
  • Sailing from Byzantium: How a Lost Empire Shaped the World
  • The Alexiad of Anna Comnena
  • The Ottoman Centuries
  • History of the Byzantine State
  • Byzantium: The Surprising Life Of A Medieval Empire
  • The Oxford History of Byzantium
  • The Fourth Crusade and the Sack of Constantinople
  • 1453: The Holy War for Constantinople and the Clash of Islam and the West
  • Constantinople: City of the World's Desire, 1453-1924
  • A History of the Byzantine State and Society
  • A History of Wales
  • Arab Historians of the Crusades
  • Fourteen Byzantine Rulers: The Chronographia of Michael Psellus
  • The Grand Strategy of the Byzantine Empire
  • The World of Late Antiquity 150-750 (Library of World Civilization)
  • The Knight in History
  • Osman's Dream: The History of the Ottoman Empire

Norwich is the only child of the Conservative politician and diplomat Duff Cooper and of Lady Diana Cooper, a celebrated beauty and society figure. Through his father, he is descended from King William IV and his mistress Dorothea Jordan.

He was educated at Upper Canada College, Toronto, Canada (as a wartime evacuee), at Eton College, and at the University of Strasbourg. He served in the Royal Navy
More about John Julius Norwich...

Other Books in the Series

A History of Byzantium (4 books)
  • Byzantium: The Early Centuries
  • Byzantium: The Apogee
  • Byzantium: The Early Centuries/The Apogee/The Decline And Fall (3 Volumes)
A Short History of Byzantium Absolute Monarchs: A History of the Papacy Byzantium: The Early Centuries A History of Venice Byzantium: The Apogee

Share This Book