Sep 22, 2020
Byzantium: The Decline and Fall
Posted by John Julius Norwich

From the accession of Alexius in 1081, through the disastrous Fourth Crusade when an army destined for the Holy Land was diverted to Constantinople by the blind, octogenarian but infinitely crafty Doge of Venice to the painfully protracted struggle against the Ottomans, the closing centuries of the Byzantine era are rich in pathos, colour and startling reversals of forFrom the accession of Alexius in 1081, through the disastrous Fourth Crusade when an army destined for the Holy Land was diverted to Constantinople by the blind, octogenarian but infinitely crafty Doge of Venice to the painfully protracted struggle against the Ottomans, the closing centuries of the Byzantine era are rich in pathos, colour and startling reversals of fortune The terrible siege of Constantinople in 1453 ended the empire, founded in the year 330, which Lord Norwich has devoted many years to re creating this volume forms the climax to an epic sequence of books.

  • Title: Byzantium: The Decline and Fall
  • Author: John Julius Norwich
  • ISBN: 9780679416500
  • Page: 486
  • Format: Hardcover
  • Byzantium The Decline and Fall From the accession of Alexius in through the disastrous Fourth Crusade when an army destined for the Holy Land was diverted to Constantinople by the blind octogenarian but infinitely crafty Dog


    The third and final volume of Norwich s trilogy on the Byzantine civilization carries the empire through the Crusades, the rise of the Ottoman threat, and the disintegration through internal miscalculation and external apathy of the culture that kept Greek and Roman influence alive throughout the Dark Ages.Standing as a bulwark against the ravaging hordes of the East, she provided safe passage for resentful religious armies intent on liberating Jerusalem, came frequently to the negotiating table [...]

    A.L. Sowards

    Sometimes history reads like a tragedy, and the story of the final centuries of the Byzantine Empire is one of those times Yet there is a certain beauty in tragedy, and that s present too, perhaps best exemplified when Emperor Constantine XI removes his imperial regalia and charges into a hoard of enemy Turks as the city of Constantinople falls, the emperor never to be found and the city never to be redeemed John Julius Norwich does his own sum up best The Roman Empire of the East was founded by [...]

    "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 only w [...]


    This is the final volume of a fabulous series on Byzantium I read them many years ago when they were first published, and I still remember how eagerly I awaited each volume The names and number of characters are mind boggling, but Norwich does such an outstanding job with their presentation that the reader just wants .


    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 Ch [...]


    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.

    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 parts spo [...]


    I have a lot of affection for these books They re narrative histories that cover the Byzantine empire from Diocletian to Constantinople s fall to the Ottomans Despite their length, there s a lot that s missed out art although this is something Norwich is clearly interested in , literature apart from the odd evaluation of a chronicler primary source , economics outside these books, there s a lot of interesting scholarship on land tenure and intellectual history although this is well treated in th [...]


    Great trilogy, magnificient history of Byzantium

    Luis A.

    Yesterday, December 24 at 11 48 at night, I finished reading the third and last volume of Byzantium It is a story whose melancholy increases as we flip the pages In this last volume, the Empire is like a bonfire or a pyre whose refulgence is still intense and bright by the time of the arrival of the first Crusaders, when Alexis I Komnenos was emperor and the empire could still be proudly called Empire And then, gradually and inexorably, the fire begins to fade, and worse the flames are not extin [...]

    Bill Tyne

    Why do the Greeks hold Tuesday to be unlucky Why were the Hesychats real navel gazers Why did the Russian use the double headed eagle in their coat of arms and how did Moscow become known as the third Rome Why must you never trust a Venetian or a Genoese Why were the Crusades a ultimately disaster for Christendom Why were there three Popes ruling at one time Why was the ugly looking John called beautiful Why was Andronicus terrible Which Pope, a former pirate was deposed by a general council aft [...]

    Joshua Marney

    No matter how many times I read the story I will still cry every time Byzantium was too beautiful for this world.

    Elliott Bignell

    This final part of Norwich s trilogy picks up the pace again after the rather boring period of success and prosperity covered by the second volume Like Herodotus, who condemned the confoundedly tedious 38 years of peace under King Gyges to a single sentence, I seem to be succumbing to a taste for disaster stories This, basically, is one.Greek culture, it has recently been claimed, spread so far into Asia as to influence Chinese culture And this is a Chinese source saying so, mark you It certainl [...]

    Mark Rossiter

    The last in the series is an ever dizzying whirligig of passing characters and incidents, few of them with enough purchase for this to be 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 powerlessness that th [...]


    Reading this book is kind of like watching your neighbors bicker with other as they saunter down the path toward a bitter divorce Alternately, it s like reading a history of the Cubs drive for a World Series ring In each case there are moments of happiness and hope, but you know that inevitably they will end in heartache But the sadness of the story is not Mr Norwich s fault he s just the storyteller of a tale that ends ruefully And what a storyteller he is I am tempted to rate this book five st [...]

    Scott Lepschat

    Norwich does a superb job in the conclusion of his trilogy covering the Crusades, Latin Empire, Restoration, and collapse I truly found myself immersed in the story of the slow atrophy of the Empire and its institutions, so much so that there was than a twinge of sadness as the history approached its end in the fateful days of 1453 The heirs of Constantine and Justinian reduced to vassals of Muslim Sultans and too weak to even mount a comeback when opportunities arose.An excellent book, especia [...]

    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 life in [...]

    Richard Hakes

    A long read and to anyone not interested in the Byzantium I suspect an impossible one But to those who do an indispensable task.Maybe a little systematic, one chapter per Emperor is the rule, concentrating on the recorded history rather than any other physical evidence and almost omiting any reference to its art or culture Can get a bit samey But inspiration for a number of future visits.


    and so concludes john julius norwich s excellent three part history of the byzantine empire this volume charts the decline of the fated empire as it s savaged by foreign powers and fractured by internal squabbles, before the final blow is dealt by the ingenious and ferocious mehmed ii fascinating reading

    Jesús Rodriguez

    The enemy of my enemy is my friend is 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


    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.


    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.

    Aidan Owen

    So much fun, and so tragic Despite the overwhelming Islamopobia though this trilogy is pre 9 11 , the whole trilogy is a wonderful, engaging, and thrilling example of epic, big history Game of Thrones has nothing on Norwich.

    Hakan Kaysı

    Kitab n dili ok ak c , yazar bilimsellikten uzakla madan olaylar hikaye anlat r gibi bir slupla anlat yor Bu topraklarda h k m s rm koskoca bir imparatorlu un tarihini renmek i in ok g zel bir kaynak.


    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.


    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.


    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.

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