Peter Brown discusses Dario Del Bufalo’s Porphyry: Red Imperial Porphyry: Power and Religion, Philippe Malgouyres and Clément Blanc-Riehl’s Porphyre: La Pierre Pourpre des Ptolémées à Bonaparte, and Averil Cameron’s Byzantine Matters and Dialoguing in Late Antiquity in the latest issue of The New York Review of Books (December 18, 2014).
Category: Publication Reviews
Guillaume Saint-Guillain and Dionysios Ch Stathakopoulos, eds. Liquid & Multiple: Individuals & Identities in the Thirteenth-century Aegean. Monographies (Centre de recherche d'histoire et civilisation de Byzance), 35. Paris: Association des amis du Centre d'histoire et civilisation de Byzance, 2012.
Review by in Marina Koumanoudi, National Hellenic Research Foundation, in Mediterranean Historical Review 29, no. 1 (2014): pp. 94–97.
These few remarks have certainly not done justice to the rich spectrum presented here. The term 'cultural broker' proves to be highly productive, forcing us to revisit many of our traditional perspectives toward the ordinary relations among representatives of many different cultures, religions, languages, and political systems in the wider world of the Mediterranean.
Marc Von der Höh, Nikolas Jaspert, and Jenny Rahel Oesterle, eds. Cultural Brokers at Mediterranean Courts in the Middle Ages. Mittelmeerstudien, 1. Paderborn and Munich: Wilhelm Fink / Ferdinand Schöningh, 2013.
Capronʼs meticulous descriptions, cautious conclusions, masterly reconstructions, and methodologically superb treatment of P.Louvre Hag. are a fine paradigm for others to follow.
Laurent Capron. Codex Hagiographiques du Louvre sur Papyrus (P.Louvre Hag). Papyrologica Parisina 2. Paris: Presses de lʼuniversité Paris-Sorbonne, 2013.
It is…a significant contribution to Late Antique and early Islamic studies alike.
Petra M. Sijpesteijn. Shaping a Muslim State: The World of a Mid-Eighth-Century Egyptian Official. Oxford Studies in Byzantium. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2013.
From Bulletin of the School of Oriental and African Studies, volume 77, no. 3 (October 2014). Review by Matthew S. Gordon, Miami University
Collectively, these six essays reveal vividly that the communication routes of the early medieval Mediterranean carried not only commodities, objects of devotion, and travelers themselves, but intangible cultural products as well. While the impact of various objects of cultural transfer could vary significantly, their adoption reveals how the peoples of the early medieval west still recognized themselves as constituents of a wider Mediterranean world.
Andreas Fischer and Ian Wood, eds. Western Perspectives on the Mediterranean: Cultural Transfer in Late Antiquity and the Early Middle Ages, 400–800 AD. London; New York: Bloomsbury Academic, 2014.
Kathleen Maxwell. Between Constantinople and Rome: An Illuminated Byzantine Gospel Book (Paris gr. 54) and the Union of Churches. Farnham; Burlington, VT: Ashgate, 2014.
…it presents a collection of insightful papers that combine careful analysis of sources (both textual and archaeological) with current scholarly knowledge.
Leslie Brubaker and Shaun Tougher, eds. Approaches to the Byzantine Family. Birmingham Byzantine and Ottoman studies. Farnham; London; Burlington, VT: Ashgate Variorum, 2013.
Andrew Hofer. Christ in the Life and Teaching of Gregory of Nazianzus. Oxford Early Christian Studies. Oxford; New York: Oxford University Press, 2013.
Massimiliano David. Eternal Ravenna: From the Etruscans to the Venetians. Turnhout: Brepols, 2013.
…he author’s layered categorisations explore Westerners’ interactions with the local social, cultural, economic, and political environment(s). Such a framework helps to open up room for more nuanced understandings of the Eastern Mediterranean between the 11th century and the 14th century.
David Jacoby. Travellers, Merchants and Settlers in the Eastern Mediterranean, 11th–14th Centuries. Ashgate, 2014.
Buckley’s work represents a new departure in Alexiad studies, one where Anna’s literary style and influence take precedence over her merits as a historian.
Penelope Buckley. The Alexiad of Anna Komnene: Artistic Strategy in the Making of a Myth. Cambridge University Press, 2014.
The approach taken is archaeological, with Russell offering a reassessment of old data and careful examination of new data. This allows him to skilfully marshal an impressive range of evidence to make his case, resulting in a useful and important book, with a clear and consistent, yet nuanced, argument throughout.
Ben Russell. The Economics of the Roman Stone Trade. Oxford studies on the Roman economy. Oxford; New York: Oxford University Press, 2013.
Historical narrative, sources, social theory, and personal anecdote all went in; what emerges is a study which self-consciously embraces a unique paradigm for the understanding of the age of Justinian.
Peter Bell. Social Conflict in the Age of Justinian: Its Nature, Management, and Mediation. Oxford University Press, 2013.
This is a complex and ambitious book. It is welcome for its framing of the question in a new, and arguably more positive, light.
Filip Van Tricht. The Latin Renovatio of Byzantium: The Empire of Constantinople (1204–1228). The Medieval Mediterranean. Leiden: Koninklijke Brill n.v., 2011.
Thus the Patria, which do not stint on commentary, are fleshed out, offering a much more expansive account at a much later date. Berger's translation now makes both this city and its interpretation available to a new audience.
Albrecht Berger. Accounts of Medieval Constantinople: The Patria. Dumbarton Oaks Medieval Library, 24. Cambridge, MA; London: Harvard University Press, 2013.
This handsomely and carefully produced paperback volume contributes significantly to the study of Vat. gr. 1087 and shows how much information and knowledge the analysis of all aspects of a manuscript can supply to different fields of study.
Fabio Guidetti and Anna Santoni, eds. Antiche stelle a Bisanzio: il codice Vaticano greco 1087. Seminari e convegni, 32. Pisa: Edizioni della Normale, 2013.
The complexities of the Book of Ceremonies notwithstanding, there can be no doubt that Moffatt and Tall have filled a major gap in the resources available to English-speaking scholars who may wish to consult this important compilation.
Ann Moffatt and Maxeme Tall. Constantine Porphyrogennetos, The Book of Ceremonies. 2 vols. Byzantina Australiensia 18. Canberra: Australian Association for Byzantine Studies, 2012.
Paul-Hubert Poirier, Agathe Roman, Thomas Schmidt, Eric Crégheur, José H. Declerck, eds. Contra Manichaeos Libri IV: Graece et Syriace; cum excerptis e Sacris Parallelis Iohanni Damasceno attributis Titus Bostrensis. Corpus Christianorum Series Graeca (CCSG), 82. Turnhout: Brepols Publishers, 2013.
Modern technology has been kind to ancient history.
J. D. Biersdorfer of The New York Times reviews apps dedicated to classical studies.
Margarethe Billerbeck. Stephani Byzantii Ethnica, Volumen III: K – O. Corpus fontium historiae Byzantinae – Series Berolinensis, 43.3. Berlin; Boston: De Gruyter, 2014.
Averil Cameron. Dialoguing in Late Antiquity. Hellenic studies, 65. Washington, DC: Center for Hellenic Studies, Trustees for Harvard University, 2014.
Peter Fibiger Bang and Dariusz Kołodziejczyk, ed. Universal Empire: A Comparative Approach to Imperial Culture and Representation in Eurasian History. Cambridge; New York: Cambridge University Press, 2012.
C. D. Gordon. The Age of Attila: Fifth-Century Byzantium and the Barbarians. Revised edition, with a new introduction and notes by David S. Potter. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 2013.
Joseph Geiger. Hellenism in the East: Studies on Greek Intellectuals in Palestine. Historia Einzelschriften 229. Stuttgart: Franz Steiner Verlag, 2014.
From the Bryn Mawr Classical Review (BMCR). Review by Bruno Rochette, Université de Liège
The Christian Topography of Kosmas Indikopleustes: Firenze, Biblioteca Medicea Laurenziana, plut. 9.
This publication provides a broad and thorough introduction to an unusual and interesting work. The quality of the essays, descriptions, and reproductions is high….The editor and his team are to be congratulated for providing such a comprehensive and reasonable introduction to this manuscript.
Jeffrey C. Anderson, ed. The Christian Topography of Kosmas Indikopleustes: Firenze, Biblioteca Medicea Laurenziana, plut. 9.28. The Map of the Universe Redrawn in the Sixth Century. Folia picta: manoscritti miniati medievali, 3. Rome: Edizioni di Storia e Letteratura, 2013.
The last ten or fifteen years have seen a surge in new work on Eusebius that has enriched and complicated the inherited picture, as scholars have renewed focus on writings, such as the apologetic and biblical works, that traditionally received less attention and reformulated and revised some of the conventional readings….A common methodological thread in these re-readings of Eusebius is a more informed attention to the properly literary character of each of his many books, and to his unique contribution to the creation of a new and distinctively Christian literary culture. Among the younger generation of scholars who have most thoroughly incorporated this line of approach is Aaron Johnson. His new book, Eusebius, is a most valuable summation of the work of the past couple of decades. Its virtues are many.
Aaron P. Johnson. Eusebius. I.B. Tauris, 2014.
Ken Dark and Ferudun Özgümüş. Constantinople: Archaeology of a Byzantine Megapolis. Final Report on the Istanbul Rescue Archaeology Project 1998–2004. Oxford; Oakville, CT: Oxbow Books, 2013.
Averil Cameron, ed. Late Antiquity on the Eve of Islam. Burlington VT & Farnham: Ashgate, 2013.
Review by Harry Munt, University of Oxford, in Journal of Qur'anic Studies, volume 16, no. 2 (available online June 2014): pp. 139–142.
As a whole, Asinou across Time provides a perfect parallel for the monument it examines. Both are multi-layered, beautifully decorated with high-quality images, and collaborative, well-funded works whose complex wholes comprise equally interesting individual parts.
Annemarie Weyl Carr and Andréas Nicolaïdès, eds. Asinou across Time: Studies in the Architecture and Murals of the Panagia Phorbiotissa, Cyprus. Dumbarton Oaks studies, 43. Washington, DC: Dumbarton Oaks Research Library and Collection, 2012.
A. D. Lee. From Rome to Byzantium AD 363 to 565: The Transformation of Ancient Rome. Edinburgh history of Ancient Rome. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2013.
Sidney Griffith’s latest work provides an accessible and comprehensive overview of the textual evidence for the genesis of the Arabic Bible, as well as its historic and contemporary importance — liturgically, theologically, and academically. This historian of Christianity in the Middle East has not only met but far exceeded his aim of “call[ing] attention to the story of how the Bible came into Arabic at the hands of Jews and Christians, and how it fared among Muslims from early Islamic times into the Middle Ages.”
Sidney H. Griffith. The Bible in Arabic: The Scriptures of the ‘People of the Book’ in the Language of Islam. Jews, Christians and Muslims from the Ancient to the Modern World. Princeton University Press, 2013.
Vasiliki M. Limberis. Architects of Piety: The Cappadocian Fathers and the Cult of the Martyrs. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2011.
Review by Andrew Radde-Gallwitz in History of Religions, volume 53, no. 4 (May 2014): pp. 411–414.
Isabel Moreira. Heaven’s Purge: Purgatory in Late Antiquity. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2010.
Review by Danuta Shanzer in History of Religions, volume 53, no. 4 (May 2014): pp. 401–405.
This volume presents a diverse and fascinating collection of papers dealing with different subjects and themes concerning Theodosius' reign. In spite of the variety of contributions, they all present a clear and revisionist impression of the first half of the fifth century. What becomes most evident is that Theodosius' reign is still firmly established in the tradition of the past, but at the same time is an era in which considerable transformations took place.
Christopher Kelly, ed. Theodosius II: Rethinking the Roman Empire in Late Antiquity. Cambridge classical studies. Cambridge; New York: Cambridge University Press, 2013.
From Bryn Mawr Classical Review (BMCR). Review by Jan Willem Drijvers, University of Groningen