The World of Byzantium : The Great Courses: Ancient History

  • by The Great Courses
  • Narrated by Professor Kenneth W. Harl
  • Series: The Great Courses: Ancient History
  • 12 hrs and 11 mins
  • Lecture

Publisher's Summary

Byzantium is too-often considered merely the "Eastern rump" of the old Roman Empire, a curious and even unsettling mix of the classical and medieval. Yet it was, according to Professor Harl, "without a doubt the greatest state in Christendom through much of the Middle Ages," and well worth our attention as a way to widen our perspective on everything from the decline of imperial Rome to the rise of the Renaissance.
In a series of 24 tellingly detailed lectures, you'll learn how the Greek-speaking empire of Byzantium, or East Rome, occupied a crucial place in both time and space that began with Constantine the Great and endured for more than a millennium - a crucible where peoples, cultures, and ideas met and melded to create a world at once Eastern and Western, Greek and Latin, classical and Christian. And you'll be dazzled by the achievements of Byzantium's emperors, patriarchs, priests, monks, artists, architects, scholars, soldiers, and officials


Preserving and extending the literary, intellectual, and aesthetic legacy of Classical and Hellenistic Greece
Carrying forward path-breaking Roman accomplishments in law, politics, engineering, architecture, urban design, and military affairs
Deepening Christian thought while spreading the faith to Russia and the rest of what would become the Orthodox world
Developing Christian monastic institutions
Shielding a comparatively weak and politically fragmented western Europe from the full force of eastern nomadic and Islamic invasions
Fusing classical, Christian, and eastern influences
Helping to shape the course of the Humanist revival and the Renaissance
PLEASE NOTE: When you purchase this title, the accompanying reference material will be available in your Library section along with the audio.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Very Disappointing -- There's a Better Alternative

I have listened to many Great Courses and am a huge fan. But this was a very poor course in my opinion. It is a mixture of historical narrative and a discussion of the early development of Christianity, and these two components were not integrated at all. Morever the historical narrative did not across very well as a story and I did not find myself engaging at all with the main protagonists. I persevered to the end but was really fed up with it in the latter stages. I was frustrated that I didn't get a good feel for this topic so I decided to look for something else and found the Modern Scholar course, also on audible, "Empire of Gold" by Thomas Madden. I am now part way through this and it is really good -- what a contrast! I strongly recommend chosing that rather than Professor Harl's course.
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- Jonathan

Good but not great

Good overall and very interesting but a bit sparse on the detail. The book could had done with being a lot longer. That said, still worth a listen.
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- mr

Book Details

  • Release Date: 08-07-2013
  • Publisher: The Great Courses