• by Bettany Hughes
  • Narrated by Bettany Hughes
  • 24 hrs and 39 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

PLEASE NOTE: When you purchase this title, the accompanying reference material will be available in your Library section along with the audio.
Istanbul has always been a place where stories and histories collide and crackle, where the idea is as potent as the historical fact. From the Qu'ran to Shakespeare, this city with three names - Byzantium, Constantinople, Istanbul - resonates as an idea and a place and overspills its boundaries - real and imagined. Standing as the gateway between the East and West, it has served as the capital of the Roman, Byzantine, Latin and Ottoman Empires. For much of its history, it was known simply as The City, but, as Bettany Hughes reveals, Istanbul is not just a city but a story.
In this epic new biography, Hughes takes us on a dazzling historical journey through the many incarnations of one of the world's greatest cities. As the longest-lived political entity in Europe, over the last 6,000 years Istanbul has absorbed a mosaic of microcities and cultures all gathering around the core. At the latest count, archaeologists have measured 42 human habitation layers. Phoenicians, Genoese, Venetians, Jews, Vikings and Azeris all called a patch of this earth their home. Based on meticulous research and new archaeological evidence, this captivating portrait of the momentous life of Istanbul is visceral, immediate and scholarly narrative history at its finest.


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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful


Bettany Hughes at her finest.

A great historian who can think outside the box &, in doing so, create a definitive work.

Utterly fascinating & informative - completely relevant.
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- Amazon Customer

Power is not a means; it is an end.

― George Orwell,

This is the history of a city that is placed on the crossroads of continents and ideas, a place that absorbs all the gods and despots that carry the standards of these gods to rule over the citizens, slaves, minds and the flow of monetary power that being at the center gives, but in the end this desirability is the undoing, the curse that defeats all mortals and Gods into the sediment and detritus of a city that is more immortal than all of them.
A panoramic historical view of a place that is just as important today as it was to Greeks and Persians, a book that moves through time and rivers of blood as potent as the Bosphorus, as horrible as the bombs and terrorism that seeps into its modern streets as the Ottoman empire tries to reawaken.
If you love history this book is a delight, but be aware that it concentrates in the city and sometimes you feel like a little more explanation of external influences would have helped to explain some events with more depth, also some aspects of social practices are not described as thoroughly as others; we expend a large amount of time on eunuchs but the enslavement and commerce of slaves till very recently feels like it almost to controversial a subject. Apart from that, this is a fantastic read that exposes humanity as much as a city.

Of Gods and men, war and commerce, suffering and delight, of desire and want we build the cities we inhabit that inhabit us.

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- Wras

Book Details

  • Release Date: 17-02-2017
  • Publisher: Orion