By Lars Brownworth
In advert 476 the Roman Empire fell–or relatively, its western part did. Its jap part, which might emerge as referred to as the Byzantine Empire, may suffer and infrequently flourish for one more 11 centuries. notwithstanding its capital may stream to Constantinople, its electorate talked about themselves as Roman for the total length of the empire’s lifestyles. certainly, so did its pals, allies, and enemies: while the Turkish Sultan Mehmet II conquered Constantinople in 1453, he took the identify Caesar of Rome, putting himself in an instantaneous line that led again to Augustus.
For a ways too many differently traditionally savvy buyers, the tale of the Byzantine civilization is whatever of a void. but for greater than a millennium, Byzantium reigned because the glittering seat of Christian civilization. whilst Europe fell into the darkish a long time, Byzantium held quickly opposed to Muslim growth, preserving Christianity alive. whilst literacy all yet vanished within the West, Byzantium made basic schooling on hand to either sexes. scholars debated the advantages of Plato and Aristotle and generally devoted the whole thing of Homer’s Iliad to reminiscence. Streams of wealth flowed into Constantinople, making attainable remarkable wonders of paintings and structure, from significant jeweled mosaics and different iconography to the nice church often called the Hagia Sophia that was once a imaginative and prescient of heaven in the world. The dome of the good Palace stood approximately 200 ft excessive and stretched over 4 acres, and the city’s inhabitants was once greater than twenty occasions that of London’s.
From Constantine, who based his eponymous urban within the yr 330, to Constantine XI, who valiantly fought the empire’s ultimate conflict greater than 1000 years later, the emperors who governed Byzantium enacted a saga of political intrigue and conquest as fabulous as something in recorded background. Lost to the West is replete with tales of assassination, mass mutilation and execution, sexual scheming, ruthless greedy for energy, and clashing armies that soaked battlefields with the blood of slain warriors numbering within the tens of thousands.
Still, it used to be Byzantium that preserved for us this day the good presents of the classical global. Of the 55,000 old Greek texts in life this present day, a few 40,000 have been transmitted to us through Byzantine scribes. And it used to be the Byzantine Empire that shielded Western Europe from invasion until eventually it used to be able to take its personal position on the middle of the area level. full of unforgettable tales of emperors, generals, and spiritual patriarchs, in addition to attention-grabbing glimpses into the lifetime of the normal citizen, Lost to the West finds how a lot we owe to this empire that was once the equivalent of any in its achievements, appetites, and enduring legacy.
From the Hardcover edition.