A Cabinet of Byzantine Curiosities : Strange Tales and Surprising Facts from History's Most Orthodox Empire

A Cabinet of Byzantine Curiosities : Strange Tales and Surprising Facts from History's Most Orthodox Empire

Description

Weird, 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 history's 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 Byzantium's 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 history's most obscure and orthodox empires.


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Details

Author(s)
Anthony Kaldellis
Format
Hardback | 248 pages
Dimensions
149 x 211 x 19mm | 386g
Publication date
02 Oct 2017
Publisher
Oxford University Press Inc
Publication City/Country
New York, United States
Language
English
ISBN10
0190625945
ISBN13
9780190625948
Bestsellers rank
187,322