A Cabinet of Byzantine Curiosities: Strange Tales and Surprising Facts from Historys Most Orthodox Empire by Anthony KaldellisWeird, decadent, degenerate, racially mixed, superstitious, theocratic, effeminate, and even hyper-literate, Byzantium has long been regarded by many as one big curiosity. According to Voltaire, it represented a worthless collection of miracles, a disgrace for the human mind for Hegel it was a disgusting picture of imbecility.
A Cabinet of Byzantine Curiosities will reinforce these old prejudices, while also stimulating a deeper interest among readers in one of historys most interesting civilizations. Many of the zanier tales and trivia that are collected here revolve around the political and religious life of Byzantium. Thus, stories of saints, relics, and their miracles--from the hilarious to the revolting--abound. Byzantine bureaucracy (whence the adjective Byzantine), court scandals, and elaborate penal code are world famous. And what would Byzantium be without its eunuchs, whose ambiguous gender produced odd and risible outcomes in different contexts? The book also contains sections on daily life that are equally eye-opening, including food (from aphrodisiacs to fermented fish sauce), games such as polo and acrobatics, and obnoxious views of foreigners and others (e.g., Germans, Catholics, Arabs, dwarves). But lest we overlook Byzantiums more honorable contributions to civilization, also included are some of the marvels of Byzantine science and technology, from the military (flamethrowers and hand grenades) to the theatrical (elevator thrones, roaring mechanical lions) and medical (catheters and cures, some bizarre). This vast assortment of historical anomaly and absurdity sheds vital light on one of historys most obscure and orthodox empires.
10 Things You May Not Know About The Byzantine Empire
Theodoros II , Updated March 10, Beginning its adult life as the capital for the Eastern part of the Roman Empire, the city of Constantinople—later Byzantium, and Istanbul today—became the center of an extremely vibrant society that preserved Greek and Roman traditions while much of Western Europe slipped into the Dark Ages. Many historians have agreed that without Byzantium to protect it, Europe would have been overrun by the tide of Islamic invaders. The purpose of this list is for the readers to take an accurate historical journey—based on real facts—very much worth taking. The origins of Byzantium are clouded by mystery, but for our list we will follow the generally accepted version.
For them, Byzantium was a continuation of the Roman Empire, which had merely moved its seat of power from Rome to a new eastern capital in Constantinople. While Byzantium later developed a distinctive, Greek-influenced identity as the centuries wore on, it continued to cherish its Roman roots until its fall. The early origins of the Byzantine Empire date to , when the Emperor Constantine abandoned the decaying city of Rome and moved his court to Byzantium, an ancient port town strategically located on the Bosporus strait separating Europe and Asia. In the span of just six years, Constantine converted the sleepy Greek colony into a metropolis complete with forums, public buildings, universities and defensive walls. He even had ancient Roman monuments and statues brought in to cement its status as a world capital. Justinian succeeded Justin in , and while he always spoke Greek with a bad accent—a sign of his provincial origins—he proved to be a natural ruler. Perhaps most important of all, Justinian was responsible for compiling Roman law into the Corpus Juris Civilis, a compendium of jurisprudence that forms the bedrock of many modern legal systems.
Explore 10 fascinating facts about the medieval empire that bridged the gap between the classical world and the Renaissance.
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Byzantine Empire has been in existence for almost 1, years and is one of the most intricate and complex empires in the history. It existed from late antiquity period to the early medieval age. Let us know more about this empire. Image: historymaps. The capital of the empire, Byzantine Empire, was Constantinople, later Byzantium and now, the modern day Istanbul. Source: listverse. It was a small town which was first colonized by the Greeks in, long before Alexander the Great brought his troops to Anatolia.