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The Byzantine World War

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4.25  ·  Rating details ·  24 ratings  ·  18 reviews
The Crusades shook the world. But why did they happen?

Their origins are revealed in a new light. As part of a medieval world war that stretched from Asia to Europe. At its centre was an ancient empire – Byzantium.

Told for the first time as a single, linked narrative are three great events that changed history: the fall of Byzantium in the eleventh century, th
...more
Paperback, 211 pages
Published May 28th 2019 by Matador
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Margaret Sankey
Jul 14, 2019 rated it liked it
This is a good, popular introduction to a much more interlinked and globalized (the "world war" bit is exaggerated, but I get the point) era of the Crusades than most people ever encountered in a history course or popular culture. Holmes uses new studies of the greater central Asian region to understand how actions within and by the Cumans, Seljuk turks and Arabs (not to mention mercenary Rus and Normans), in combination with internal politics and economics of the Byzantine Empire unraveled the ...more
Shelly
Jun 19, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: netgalley
I am a history aficionado. Admittedly, I haven’t read many history books in the last year or so, so I was eager to dive back in. I am glad I chose, The Byzantine World War. Anatolia, Byzantium, The Ottoman Empire, Turkey…this region is steeped in history and culture and has always fascinated me. Author Nick Homes does a superb job telling the story of the fall of Byzantium, the First Crusade and the modern origins of Turkey. His writing style, rather than dry and monotonous like many history boo ...more
Christopher
Aug 15, 2019 rated it it was amazing
The Byzantine World War charts for the most part the events of the 11th Century that would result in the Roman (Byzantine) loss of it Anatolia territories to the Seljuk Turks! The book illustrates the events around and leading up to the the titanic battle of Manzikert under the Emperor Romanus IV Diogenes and what the consequences were for the Roman State and that period! The book then takes us through the famous call to the west which leads directly into the first crusades which ironically come ...more
Katie (never.ending.reading.list)
This book delivers exactly what it promises; a quick, well-researched, clearly written book on the origins of the Crusades and the importance of the Byzantine Empire.
As a United States historian I didn't know much beyond the basics of the Crusades and the Eastern Roman Empire before starting this. I'm amazed at how much information Holmes was able to fit into so few pages. I loved the depth of knowledge provided in a short read. The comparisons to a world war were interesting and the first holo
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Nemo Nemo
Sep 30, 2019 rated it really liked it
About The Author

Nick Holmes is a graduate of Cambridge University with degree in history. He was entranced by the ancient walls that circle Istanbul, Turkey and became intrigued with Byzantium following a trip to the region. The juxtaposition of the modern and the ancient engaged him and surprised him. The massive escarpments over a thousand years old decorate the city with imposing battlements. Hagia Sophia, a key location in the events that transpire in his book still stands in testament to
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Kendra
I received this book for free via Goodreads Giveaway.

This was a rather interesting read, and came across very story-like and easy to get in to. It focuses from about 1068 with Romanus to the First Crusade in 1097, with a small chapter over the Crusades at the end. There is a lot of information packed into this book, but it wasn't dragged down for it, and it was fascinating to me, since this isn't my main interest when it comes to history. I enjoyed the author mentioning some of the o
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Colin Marks
Jul 25, 2019 rated it it was amazing
The oddly titled Byzantine World War mostly covers the rule of Emperor Romanos IV Diogenes and his betrayal and untimely death at the hands of the Doukas family, which led to the demise of the Eastern Roman Empire. The book continues with a brief continuation into the Crusades, with the Fourth Crusade actually sacking Constantinople, the Empire's seat of power. Oddly titled because the battles and politics were centred around the Levant and modern day Turkey - European and Islamic mercenaries we ...more
Beattie
Jul 23, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: history, first-reads
For someone with a little bit of knowledge on the Byzantine empire, this was a fantastic introduction. Holmes' delivers a brief and well researched account of the 11th century Byzantines with their feud against the neighboring Seljuk Turks, as well as their own internal struggles against one another. I found the book very well put together, and one easy to keep up with everything because of a plethora of maps and a list of historical characters. What I greatly appreciated is that Holmes interpre ...more
Eva
Jul 19, 2019 rated it really liked it
Having minimal knowledge of the Byzantine empire, I
found this book quite interesting. The depictions and the information presented are relatable in this well-written book.
Zeb Kantrowitz
Jun 23, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: netgalley-read
The war that is mentioned as a world war is mainly from just before the First Crusade to just after the fall of the Crusader Kingdoms (in the late 1200s). Though Byzantium (the Eastern Roman Empire) didn't fall until 1453, after the fall of the Crusaders, the Byzantine's had lost the homeland of Anatolia and were just the area around Constantinople, with mercenary armies to protect them.

The main coverage is a narrative of the beginning of the ERE continually losing more and more of t
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Jenny
Jun 15, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: history, netgalley
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Michelle Kidwell
Sep 27, 2019 rated it it was amazing
The Byzantine World War
by Nick Holmes

Matador

History , Nonfiction (Adult)

Pub Date 28 May 2019

I am reviewing a copy of The Byzantine World War through Matador and Netgalley:

There is no doubt that the Crusades shook the world in the Middle Ages but why did they happen?

In this book their origins are revealed in a new light. As part of a medieval world war that stretched all the way from Asia to Europe. At its centre was an
...more
Brian
Sep 04, 2019 rated it really liked it
The Byzantine World War describes the struggle between the Byzantine Empire and the Seljuk Turks during the eleventh century, and the events of the First Crusade that arose following the Emperor Alexius Comnenus's appeal to the West for aid.

While the events of the First Crusade have been examined in great detail by historians, Nick Holmes sets them within the context of the larger struggle for dominion in Eastern Europe and Asia, highlighting the impact of the fractured politics of Byzantium on
...more
Anne
Sep 13, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: history, non-fiction
This is an interesting and well written book - even if the choice of "world war" is an odd title. There is a lot packed into this book - and the unusual people and place names sometimes make it hard to keep up but it is well worth it. Mr Holmes tells a complex story as if it were fiction and the narrative races along. We are far into the book before the crusades are mentioned as the history of Byzantine is well covered in its own right. I learned a lot and it didn't feel like learning.
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Brian
Sep 01, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I won this book from a Goodreads Giveaway. I really liked this book. I am not that well versed in this time period of history but this book makes this time period with the Byzantine Empire in decline and the rise of the Turks and also of the Crusaders of the First Crusade. An excellent read.
mike
Nov 10, 2019 rated it really liked it
a fascinating story centered mainly on Romanus, the last militarily successful leader of the Byzantine Empire and his battles versus the eventual inheritors of Turkey, the Turkmen. The story moves well, and is not a 'dry' type of story with just dates and place names, Nick brings the story to life.
Sara VA
Great, readable history of the Byzantine wars - arguably the biggest world war before WWI.
I've never read a history of these wars, and the author did a great job introducing the characters, setting up the background and explaining the events in an exciting way. For a traditionally dry topic, this book is very readable. There are a lot of unfamiliar names and a lot of detail... and its not a novel.... but for an academic-minded history book, its good.
If you want to learn more about th
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Keith Orach
rated it it was amazing
Sep 15, 2019
Alex Miller
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Sep 18, 2019
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Sep 03, 2019
Carol
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Jul 13, 2019
Tara
rated it it was ok
Oct 10, 2019
alexander
rated it liked it
Aug 20, 2019
Sam Law
Summary:

An interesting and thought-provoking overview of that most enigmatic of empires, Byzantium. It deals specifically with the hundred years or so before and including the First Crusade, and makes a compelling argument to treat the desperate defence of Byzantium, and the prosecution of the Crusade as the real first world war.

Main Characters:

Romanus Diogenes: 1068-71: A warrior Emperor, who fought the battle of Manzikert, but was betrayed.

Michae
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Nick Holmes studied history at Cambridge. His interest in Byzantium began when he won a college travel prize to follow the route of the First Crusade. Spending several weeks in Istanbul, he was captivated by the staggering Byzantine buildings dating back to the Romans.

His book, The Byzantine World War, is the first detailed narrative linking Byzantium's defeat at the Battle of Manziker
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