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Byzantium: The Surprising Life of a Medieval Empire
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MEDIEVAL HISTORY > ARCHIVE - 14. BYZANTIUM... March 5th ~ March 11th ~~ Part Four - Chapter TWENTY-FIVE and Chapter TWENTY-SIX (266- 299); No Spoilers Please

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

Bentley | 44200 comments Mod
Hello Everyone,

For the week of March 5th - March 11th, we are reading approximately the next 33 pages of Byzantium by Judith Herrin.

The FOURTEENTH week's reading assignment is:

Week Fourteen: March 5th - March 11th: :

Week Fourteen: March 5th - March 11th:

Chapter 25: The Towers of Trebizond, Arta, Nicaea and Thessalonike 266

Chapter 26: Rebels and Patrons 281

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.




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



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.


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:


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.

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

Bentley | 44200 comments Mod
Chapter Overview and Summaries:

message 3: by Elizabeth S (last edited Mar 07, 2012 11:37AM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Elizabeth S (esorenson) | 2011 comments I think Chapter 25 contains one of those front-runners for Understatement of the Year Award:

"Emperor Alexios IV and his advisers were extraordinarily stupid and complacent to allow a fully equipped siege army to remain camped outside its gates, neither paying off the crusaders as they had been promised, nor attacking and destroying them" (page 267). Machiavelli would not have been impressed.

Niccolò Machiavelli Niccolò Machiavelli

Also, Byzantium: The Surprising Life Of A Medieval Empire seems to be unfolding events a little more historically at this point in the book. I wish it had seemed that way at the beginning. I might have been less confused back then. :)

message 4: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (new) - rated it 3 stars

Bentley | 44200 comments Mod
I think that Herrin had a method to her madness in trying to accomplish such a daunting task. But I think she seems to be meshing things together by the end.

message 5: by Jim (new) - rated it 4 stars

Jim | 117 comments The significant decline after the sacking by the crusaders in the 13th century is striking. It had been centuries since it made up half the Roman Empire, but only generations since it was a fairly large relatively cohesive empire and culture. I expect it was an odd and disheartening experience to watch it fracture, be conquered and fade away.

Karolyn | 67 comments It was interesting how the diffrent surviving fragments evolved after Constantanople fell. But you're right, it had to be disheartening to watch after so many years of strength.

I'm glad that things are coming together for you. I still feel like the story lines are fragmented. Perhaps it's all the names that are giving me the trouble.

Zeljka (ztook) | 83 comments Elizabeth S wrote: "I think Chapter 25 contains one of those front-runners for Understatement of the Year Award."

Lol exactly my thoughts :-D Really, how he (Alexios IV) could have been so oblivious of the position he had put himself and the whole empire in? Now I know WHY the crusaders did what they did (although that certainly does not justify them!).

In these, 25th and 26th chapters, it seemed to me like Ms Herrin tried to cram too much information on too few pages. The whole books might have been written on all those separate empires and rulerships formed after the sack of Constantinople :-) I simply couldn't swallow all the provided information in only one reading session, and also, I am afraid I failed to see the importance of all of them to the main subject.

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