Item description for Byzantium in the Seventh Century: The Transformation of a Culture by John F. Haldon, J. F. Haldon & Haldon J. F....
This book presents the first analytical account in English of major developments within Byzantine culture, society and the state in the crucial formative period from c.610-717. The seventh century saw the final collapse of ancient urban civilization and municipal culture, the rise of Islam, the evolution of patterns of thought and social structure that made imperial iconoclasm possible, and the development of state apparatuses--military, civil and fiscal--typical of the middle Byzantine state. Also, during this period, orthodox Christianity finally became the unquestioned dominant culture and a religious framework of belief (to the exclusion of alternative systems, which were henceforth marginalized or proscribed).
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Studio: Cambridge University Press
Est. Packaging Dimensions: Length: 9.22" Width: 6.02" Height: 1.15" Weight: 1.6 lbs.
Release Date Nov 27, 2003
Publisher Cambridge University Press
ISBN 052131917X ISBN13 9780521319171
Availability 131 units. Availability accurate as of Oct 24, 2016 09:53.
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More About John F. Haldon, J. F. Haldon & Haldon J. F.
Haldon is Professor of Byzantine History and Director of the Centre for Byzantine, Ottoman & Modern Greek Studies at the University of Birmingham.
Reviews - What do customers think about Byzantium in the Seventh Century: The Transformation of a Culture?
A society on perpetual "red alert" Jul 7, 2008
Haldon's magnificent analytic history of seventh century Byzantium provides a compelling picture of a culture imbued with a sense of crisis and impending demise. Not that surprising per se, remembering the devastating Persian wars, the Avars and Bulgars and most importantly, the cataclysmic arrival of the Arabs "robbing" Byzantium of well over 2/3 of their previous income!
However, Haldon's patient analysis is rewarding, and we see how these crises led to the degeneration of towns into mere refuge citadels, how the established senatorial class loses to a rising military buraucracy, how the strategy of a few, mobile field armies is abandoned in favour of a militarized countryside with local militiae, and how the church and state bureaucracies are, at times painfully, welded together.
The commissioned artworks bring out this mentality as well: The surge in popularity for the icons, who by their compelling gaze and austere figures demand of the individual first and foremost, conformity and subservience.
It is definitely not a very "nice" culture Haldon describes, quite the opposite, but given the circumstances, the evolutions are quite understandable, and lucidly portrayed by him.
In addition, although I would have hated to live in seventh century Byzantium with its bigotry and impending doom-mentality, I cannot help myself from admiring their resourcefulness in weathering those disasters they were living through, even flourishing by the ninth and tenth century.
Haldon's ability to call forth such admiration from us, without any need to specify it, but only through vividly bring back for us a very alien culture is, at least to me, a major achievement on its own.