Blog

Category: Publication Reviews

The Philosophy of Gemistos Plethon: Platonism in Late Byzantium, between Hellenism and Orthodoxy

Hladký's book is a valuable contribution to the study of Plethon that also daringly proposes a re-evaluation of what is commonly seen as Plethon's trademark: his paganism.

Vojtěch Hladký. The Philosophy of Gemistos Plethon: Platonism in Late Byzantium, between Hellenism and Orthodoxy. Farnham; Burlington, VT: Ashgate, 2014.

From Bryn Mawr Classical Review (BMCR). Review by Niketas Siniossoglou, National Hellenic Research Foundation

 book cover

Embassies – Negotiations – Gifts: Systems of East Roman Diplomacy in Late Antiquity

…it is worth reiterating that this book is a valuable resource for the study of late antique diplomacy, and a timely reminder of just how much material has survived relating to this important subject.

Ekaterina Nechaeva. Embassies – Negotiations – Gifts: Systems of East Roman Diplomacy in Late Antiquity. Geographica historica, Bd 30. Stuttgart: Franz Steiner Verlag, 2014.

From Bryn Mawr Classical Review (BMCR). Review by Doug Lee, University of Nottingham

book cover

The Language of Byzantine Learned Literature

This is an excellent book and, more important, it is one that substantially promotes the progress towards what has arguably been for many years the greatest desideratum in Byzantine scholarship, viz. a thorough descriptive grammar of the 'high' language in all its many registers.

Martin Hinterberger, ed. The Language of Byzantine Learned Literature. Byzantios: Studies in Byzantine History and Civilization, 9. Turnhout: Brepols, 2014.

From The Medieval Review (TMR). Review by A. R. Littlewood, University of Western Ontario

 

The Afterlife of the Roman City: Architecture and Ceremony in Late Antiquity & the Early Middle Ages

Dey naturally focuses on the kinds of cities associated with rulership—imperial and regional capitals, royal cities, communities connected to political patronage)—as he shuttles from cities of the former western provinces to Byzantium and the Umayyad state. The result is a panoramic study of a discrete—but vibrant and consequential—thread in the lived experience of the urban environment that testifies to the durability of an urban political tradition that persisted in conversation with dramatic changes to that environment.

Hendrik W. Dey. The Afterlife of the Roman City: Architecture and Ceremony in Late Antiquity and the Early Middle Ages. New York: Cambridge University Press, 2015.

From Bryn Mawr Classical Review (BMCR). Review by M. Shane Bjornlie, Claremont McKenna College

 book cover

Niketas Stethatos: The Life of Saint Symeon the New Theologian

…the English translation of this Life and discussion of recent scholarship in its introduction represents a significant contribution to its study.

Richard P. H. Greenfield, trans. Niketas Stethatos: The Life of Saint Symeon the New Theologian. Dunbarton Oaks Medieval Library, 20. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2013.

From The Medieval Review (TMR). Review by Stephanos Efthymiadis, Open University of Cyprus

book cover

Karanis Revealed

This is significant as modern archaeology shifts away from large-scale excavation to more targeted, limited field work: archival studies of this nature will likely become more and more significant in the development of future archaeological research.

Terry G. Wilfong and Andrew W. S. Ferrara, eds. Karanis Revealed: Discovering the Past and Present of a Michigan Excavation in Egypt. Kelsey Museum publications, 7. Ann Arbor, MI: Kelsey Museum of Archaeology, 2014.

From Bryn Mawr Classical Review (BMCR). Review by Bethany Simpson, University of California, Los Angeles

 book cover

Laonikos Chalkokondyles, The Histories

Kaldellis' introduction and explanations are gracefully written. In his translation, he has taken difficult Greek and made it readable, regularizing punctuation for the sake of coherence, giving helpful names where Chalkokondyles had left more than one ruler or king, specifying 'sultan' instead of using the all-purpose 'ruler.'

Anthony Kaldellis. Laonikos Chalkokondyles, The Histories (2 vols.). Dumbarton Oaks medieval library, 33-34. Cambridge, MA; London: Harvard University Press, 2014.

From Bryn Mawr Classical Review (BMCR). Review by Diana Gilliland Wright, Seattle

 book cover

New Perspectives on the Man of Sorrows

…it is a beautiful book with solid scholarship on a theme that is often elusive but always a moving reminder of the preeminence of the Passion in medieval and early modern art history and religion.

Catherine R. Puglisi and William L. Barcham, eds. New Perspectives on the Man of Sorrows. Studies in Iconography: Themes and Variations. Kalamazoo, MI: Medieval Institute Publications, 2013.

From The Medieval Review (TMR). Review by Donna L. Sadler, Agnes Scott College

 book cover

The Early Byzantine Christian Church

Bernard Mulholland. The Early Byzantine Christian Church: An Archaeological Re-assessment of Forty-Seven Early Byzantine Basilical Church Excavations Primarily in Israel and Jordan, and their Historical and Liturgical Context. Byzantine and Neohellenic studies, 9. Bern; Berlin; Bruxelles; Frankfurt am Main; New York; Oxford; Wien: Peter Lang, 2014.

From Bryn Mawr Classical Review (BMCR). Review by Achim Arbeiter, Georg-August-Universität Göttingen

book cover

Interpreting Proclus. From Antiquity to the Renaissance

There are a number of other papers in this collection which I am in no position to criticize, but which I am very happy to have read. This book demonstrates splendidly that Proclus' legacy has been most profound among those whose religion he detested and among those whose religion he could not have known.

Stephen Gersh, ed. Interpreting Proclus. From Antiquity to the Renaissance. Cambridge, New York: Cambridge University Press, 2014.

From Bryn Mawr Classical Review (BMCR). Review by Lloyd Gerson, University of Toronto

 book cover

Gift Giving and the ‘Embedded’ Economy in the Ancient World

There is no doubt that anybody interested in the overall question of exchange in the ancient world – be it in the context of the monetary system or that of symbolic gift- giving only – should consult this anthology.

Filippo Carlà and Maja Gori, eds. Gift Giving and the 'Embedded' Economy in the Ancient World. Akademiekonferenzen, 17. Heidelberg: Universitätsverlag Winter, 2014.

From Bryn Mawr Classical Review (BMCR). Review by Anders Klostergaard Petersen, University of Aarhus

 book cover

Don’t Blame Him. Peter Brown on Constantine

Few rulers have set in motion developments of such momentous consequence as the emperor Constantine, with his conversion to Christianity in 312 and subsequent halting of the persecution of Christians, ratified a year later in the Edict of Milan. Over the 17 centuries since then, theologians, historians and even novelists, including Dan Brown in The Da Vinci Code, have claimed that a change for the worse in the quality of Christianity (the kind of change an earlier age would have ascribed to supra-natural agents like the Devil or the Antichrist) can be personified in this rather flashy Roman emperor. Even those of less apocalyptic temperament, faced by almost any legacy of the late antique world of which they disapprove – anti-Semitism, the secular power of the church, the rise of intolerance, the spirit of the Crusades – blame it on Constantine.

David Potter. Constantine the Emperor. Oxford University Press, 2013.

Peter Brown reviews Constantine the Emperor in London Review of Books, volume 37, no. 8 (23 April 2015).

book cover

Liturgical Subjects: Christian Ritual, Biblical Narrative, & the Formation of the Self in Byzantium

This book will be required reading for anyone interested in Byzantine Christianity and is an important addition to the broader conversation about the self in Christian Studies.

Derek Krueger. Liturgical Subjects: Christian Ritual, Biblical Narrative, and the Formation of the Self in Byzantium. Divinations: rereading late ancient religion. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2014.

From Bryn Mawr Classical Review (BMCR). Review by George E. Demacopoulos, Fordham University

 book cover

A Rural Economy in Transition: Asia Minor from Late Antiquity into the Early Middle Ages

There are many signs on the horizon that Byzantine history and archaeology are moving speedily in novel and fascinating directions, opening room for new and essential debates in a field not always characterized by innovation. The book at hand certainly holds a place as one of these exciting signs.

Adam Izdebski. A Rural Economy in Transition: Asia Minor from Late Antiquity into the Early Middle Ages. Journal of Juristic Papyrology supplement, 18. Warszawa: Raphael Taubenschlag Foundation, 2013.

From Bryn Mawr Classical Review (BMCR). Review by Nikos Tsivikis, Institute for Mediterranean Studies, Rethymno 

book cover 

The Emperor Theophilos and the East, 829–842

The volume is a tour de force in its integrated provision of a vast amount of relevant source material and detailed analysis of it.

Juan Signes Codoñer. The Emperor Theophilos and the East, 829–842: Court and Frontier in Byzantium during the Last Phase of Iconoclasm. Birmingham Byzantine and Ottoman Studies, 13. Farnham; Burlington, VT: Ashgate Variorum, 2014.

From Bryn Mawr Classical Review (BMCR). Review by Denis Sullivan, University of Maryland College Park

 book cover

Papyrological Texts in Honor of Roger S. Bagnall

…amongst these pieces of 'everyday writing' there is something for almost every Egyptian historian, philologist, papyrologist, and indeed scholar of the ancient Mediterranean world.

Rodney Ast, Hélène Cuvigny, Todd M. Hickey, Julia Lougovaya (ed.), Papyrological Texts in Honor of Roger S. Bagnall. American Studies in Papyrology, 53. Durham, NC: American Society of Papyrologists, 2013.

From Bryn Mawr Classical Review (BMCR). Review by Jennifer Cromwell, Macquarie University

Liquid & Multiple: Individuals & Identities in the Thirteenth-century Aegean

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 Marina Koumanoudi, National Hellenic Research Foundation, in Mediterranean Historical Review 29, no. 1 (2014): pp. 94–97.

book cover

Cultural Brokers at Mediterranean Courts in the Middle Ages

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.

From The Medieval Review (TMR). Review by Albrecht Classen, University of Arizona

book cover

Codex Hagiographiques du Louvre sur Papyrus (P.Louvre Hag)

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.

From Bryn Mawr Classical Review (BMCR). Review by Thomas J. Kraus, University of Zurich

book cover

Western Perspectives on the Mediterranean

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.

From Bryn Mawr Classical Review (BMCR). Review by Gregory Halfond, Framingham State University

book cover

More >>

50 GODDARD AVE
BROOKLINE, MA 02445
617-850-1242
mjcbac@hchc.edu

YouTube

THE MARY JAHARIS CENTER
for Byzantine Arts and Culture

Founded in 2010 through a generous gift from the Jaharis Family Foundation, the Mary Jaharis Center for Byzantine Art and Culture is dedicated to the promotion and advancement of knowledge about the rich heritage of Byzantine art and culture.

Hellenic College Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology Logo