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

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

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.

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.

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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- Mike

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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- collin lau

Book Details

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