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Byzantium: The Surprising Life of a Medieval Empire
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MEDIEVAL HISTORY > ARCHIVE - 12. BYZANTIUM... February 20th ~ February 26th ~~ Part Three - Chapter TWENTY-ONE and TWENTY-TWO (220- 241); No Spoilers Please

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message 1: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (new) - rated it 3 stars

Bentley | 44168 comments Mod
Hello Everyone,

For the week of February 20th - February 26th, we are reading approximately the next 21 pages of Byzantium by Judith Herrin.

The TWELFTH week's reading assignment is:

Week Twelve: February 20th - February 26th: :

Chapter 21: Eleventh-Century Crisis 220
Chapter 22: Anna Komnene 232


We will open up a thread for each week's reading. Please make sure to post in the particular thread dedicated to those specific chapters and page numbers to avoid spoilers. We will also open up supplemental threads as we did for other spotlighted books.

This book was kicked off on December 5th. We look forward to your participation. Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Borders and other noted on line booksellers do have copies of the book and shipment can be expedited. The book can also be obtained easily at your local library, or on your Kindle.

There is no rush and we are thrilled to have you join us. It is never too late to get started and/or to post.

Welcome,

~Bentley


TO ALWAYS SEE ALL WEEKS' THREADS SELECT VIEW ALL

Byzantium The Surprising Life of a Medieval Empire by Judith Herrin by Judith Herrin Judith Herrin

REMEMBER NO SPOILERS ON THE WEEKLY NON SPOILER THREADS

Notes:

It is always a tremendous help when you quote specifically from the book itself and reference the chapter and page numbers when responding. The text itself helps folks know what you are referencing and makes things clear.

Citations:

If an author or book is mentioned other than the book and author being discussed, citations must be included according to our guidelines. Also, when citing other sources, please provide credit where credit is due and/or the link. There is no need to re-cite the author and the book we are discussing however.

If you need help - here is a thread called the Mechanics of the Board which will show you how:

http://www.goodreads.com/topic/show/2...


Glossary

Remember there is a glossary thread where ancillary information is placed by the moderator. This is also a thread where additional information can be placed by the group members regarding the subject matter being discussed.

http://www.goodreads.com/topic/show/5...


message 2: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (new) - rated it 3 stars

Bentley | 44168 comments Mod
Chapter Overviews and Summaries:

Chapter 21: Eleventh-Century Crisis 220

Chapter 22: Anna Komnene 232


Elizabeth S (esorenson) | 2011 comments It is funny to me how great writers such as Plato and Plutarch kinda cycle in and out of fashion throughout history. For a while they are wise and the basis of education, then they are heretics, then cultures re-learn their wisdom, etc. It was interesting to read (on page 228) of John Mauropous who composed "a prayer begging God to admit them to heaven because they were good men who had lived before the Christian revelation."

Also, I was impressed with the explanation for why you see lightning before you hear thunder, "sound requires time for its transmission while sight is independent of time" (page 229). Not bad.


Elizabeth S (esorenson) | 2011 comments From Chapter 22, sounds like Anna Komnene was an amazing woman. It kinda ticked me off to read that "recently some historians have doubted that Anna actually wrote" her great Alexiad (page 238). I realize that the historians are probably claiming that a woman at that time would have been so constrained that they can't believe she had the experience to write it. But it sure sounds like they are saying, "Well, maybe women are smart now, but women back then were dumb." Sheesh. It is hard enough to find smart, capable women in history without historians deciding that the ones we know about don't exist. :)

I liked the description of trousers as "a rather indecent novelty" (page 240). Imagine if people back then came to the beaches today. Whooeee!


message 5: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (new) - rated it 3 stars

Bentley | 44168 comments Mod
Elizabeth S wrote: "It is funny to me how great writers such as Plato and Plutarch kinda cycle in and out of fashion throughout history. For a while they are wise and the basis of education, then they are heretics, t..."

Very interesting and poignant points. Glad you enjoyed .

Probably male historians Elizabeth - what do you expect (smile). Yes, the sky is the limit at the beaches now and so much not left to the imagination.


Elizabeth S (esorenson) | 2011 comments Or maybe we should say that the skin is the limit at the beaches now. After all, you can't go much further than that! Ha ha.


message 7: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (new) - rated it 3 stars

Bentley | 44168 comments Mod
Very good Elizabeth. I have to laugh because my dog was on the beach with us and he started running in one direction and we had to of course run after him and when we got to him he had stopped short in an area of the Federally owed ranger beach area which must have been earmarked for those kind of sun worshippers. My dog stopped short and was staring at these people - like what is going on with this bunch - no clothes - I have at least my coat of fur on.

Needless to say we had to drag him away with much embarrassment on our side of course and eyes lowered at our feet and the sand. There was no embarrassment on the part of the sun worshippers...they were probably thinking just some errant dog.


message 8: by Aparajita (new)

Aparajita | 29 comments so many things in these chapters seem so..modern/contemporary.... to me- or rather a mix of the modern or the medieval..I mean this currency devaluation crisis.. we are in the midst of that today too- continuous border/ territory trouble is a feature throughout history of course somewhere or the other, can't comment on that. Such an advanced civilisation, I really feel more and more annoyed at the barbarians who conquered Western Europe- not that they didn't leave equally beautiful creations behind- the Gothic cathedral for example, is not replicated anywhere else....
I like the way Christianity co-existed side by side with intellectual curiosity and debate- this was something not always encouraged by the Church in medieval Europe.
It's not like women were dumb back then, I guess historians think women wouldn't have had the education/exposure/ world view to produce such a work- worse still, there are people who classify intelligent educated women with broad interests and logical thought processes as having a "masculine" brain- I don't know whether women have called this on themselves or not :P
Anyway, the point is, I don't know why historians can't digest, that some women can be exceptionally brilliant, just like some men can? It's not like all men are massively intellectual either. And she was a ROYAL, she would have got access to all the resources she wanted- specially in that culture where at least amongst the rulers, women were able to be educated and strong.

I felt really happy that she managed to be happily married, and was not married off to some barbarian prince. She definitely seemed to have a smart husband. and that she chose to write her father's bio:)


message 9: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (new) - rated it 3 stars

Bentley | 44168 comments Mod
Yes, it makes one feel better that she did not have to go off to a foreign land and deal with dirty bath water for one thing or gross table manners or a lack of good manners and culture. I think sometimes these poor princesses were just pawns in a chess game and were used by their families and dispensed with. That was their own value - to marry well and further the reach of the empire. Sad really.


message 10: by Ted (new) - added it

Ted Haussman (howtch) | 3 comments well, I just started the book so i won't read what's written above, but nice to join in the fun even though I'm late to the game having just joined this site!


message 11: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (new) - rated it 3 stars

Bentley | 44168 comments Mod
Ted, please feel free to start with the weekly non spoiler thread for week one and you can work your way up. Glad to have you.


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