Erik Graff's Reviews > Count Belisarius

Count Belisarius by Robert Graves
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Jun 08, 14

bookshelves: literature
Recommended to Erik by: Einar Graff Jr.
Recommended for: everyone
Read in January, 1966, read count: 1

One evening, towards the beginning of secondary school, I was standing in front of the desk in an alcove off the living room above which were most of my father's displayed books on long shelves reaching from wall to wall. As he was nearby and I was looking for something interesting to read, I asked his recommendation.

Dad told me that one of his favorite authors was Robert Graves whose novels had seen him through much of World War II on shipboard in both theatres. He pulled out a cheap paperback edition of Count Belisarius probably because he knew that I was taking Latin I and particularly interested in Greco-Roman history.

Belisarius was, historically speaking, a bit beyond me. I knew the "golden ages" of Greece and Rome pretty well, even a lot of confused stuff about the Roman Republic, but affairs of the Constantinopolitan sixth century empire of Justinian, indeed the whole period between Constantine and the, shudder, Dark Ages were terra incognita. Graves' well-researched novel was therefore an introduction to the history of the period when the Empire attempted to regain the West.

Some Christians may be offended by Graves' treatment of the role of religion in this world, but, as in all of his historical novels, the text is so well-researched that one could footnote the paragraphs.
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