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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
©2001 The Teaching Company, LLC (P)2001 The Great Courses
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

By Mike on 04-26-14

Traditional History at it's Best

Any additional comments?

I have listened to Professor Kenneth J. Harl many times and have never been disappointed. He delivers the traditional historical experience at its best. <br/><br/>This series of lectures covers the origins of the Byzantine Empire (or East Roman Empire) from its background and foundations in the late Roman Empire and its birth through the dynamic personality of Emperor Constantine the Great around 300 AD. It then provides an overview of that history right down to the empires final collapse in the epic and moving siege and fall of the city of Constantinople to it's Ottoman Turkic attackers in 1453 AD.<br/><br/>Those who are looking for an in-depth treatment of the topic should probably find a more thorough book to read. Those who are interested in getting an overview of the topic and enjoy listening to history will not be disappointed.

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4 of 4 people found this review helpful


By collin lau on 09-28-13

Another piece of the puzzle

Where does The World of Byzantium rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

WB ranks among the top. Dr. Harl provides another piece of the puzzle addressing the question of our relationship with the Middle East and Russia

Have you listened to any of Professor Kenneth W. Harl’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

No - will try another soon.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

No - it was quite long. It was in two parts.

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3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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By Jonathan on 01-03-15

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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4 of 4 people found this review helpful


By mr on 12-06-14

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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2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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By BookFan on 10-20-16

New Rome

This is the second lecture series I've listened to by Kenneth. He's very informative and entertaining to listen to. My only complaint is the fall of Constantinople was a bit rushed and I would have like more detail on that but other than that anyone wanting to get a good rounded knowledge on this topic will enjoy this series .

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By Tim Dubber on 05-19-16

amazing depth on a fascinating subject

This course is excellent, with an engrossing mixture of historical analysis and narrative about the rise and fall of the eastern Roman empire.

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