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Category: Publication Reviews

Travellers, Merchants and Settlers in the Eastern Mediterranean, 11th–14th Centuries

…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.

From Reviews in History. Review by Wei-sheng Lin, University of Birmingham

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The Economics of the Roman Stone Trade

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.

From the Bryn Mawr Classical Review (BMRC). Review by Claire Holleran, The University of Exeter

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Accounts of Medieval Constantinople: The Patria

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.

From the Bryn Mawr Classical Review (BMCR). Review by Sarah Bassett, Indiana University

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Antiche stelle a Bisanzio: il codice Vaticano greco 1087

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.

From the Bryn Mawr Classical Review (BMCR). Review by Renate Burri, University of Berne

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Constantine Porphyrogennetos, The Book of Ceremonies

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. 

From The Medieval Review (TMR). Review by Ian Mladjov, Bowling Green State University

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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.

From the Bryn Mawr Classical Review (BMCR). Review by Charles Barber, Princeton University

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Eusebius

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.

From Marginalia. Review by Michael Hollerich, University of St. Thomas

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Asinou across Time: Studies in the Architecture and Murals of the Panagia Phorbiotissa, Cyprus

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.

From Bryn Mawr Classical Review (BMCR). Review by James G. Schryver, University of Minnesota, Morris


The Bible in Arabic

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.

From Marginalia. Review by Clare Wilde, The University of Auckland 

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Theodosius II: Rethinking the Roman Empire in Late Antiquity

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

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Paideia and Cult: Christian Initiation in Theodore of Mopsuestia

Students and scholars alike will reap benefits from this book: the former for the clear introduction it provides to broader issues pertaining to the early Christian Church; the latter for the new lights it sheds on Theodore of Mopsuestia himself, and the role of the Christian community at large in the Christianization of the Roman Empire.

Daniel L. Schwartz. Paideia and Cult: Christian Initiation in Theodore of Mopsuestia. Hellenic Studies Series, 57. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2013.

From The Medieval Review (TMR). Review by Anne-Laurence Caudano, University of Winnipeg

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Qasr Ibrim, Between Egypt and Africa

Qasr Ibrim is one of the most remarkable archaeological sites in the world. Full publication of the finds from the excavations, however, is decades in the future. Still, as the fine papers in Qasr Ibrim, Between Egypt and Africa make clear, the material already published or in the process of being published leaves no doubt that ancient and medieval Nubia was not an isolated peripheral region but part of the mainstream of world history.

J. van der Vliet and J. L. Hagen, eds. Qasr Ibrim, Between Egypt and Africa: Studies in Cultural Exchange. (NINO symposium, Leiden, 11-12 December 2009). Egyptologische uitgaven, 26. Leiden; Leuven: Nederlands Instituut voor het Nabije Oosten; Peeters, 2013.

From Bryn Mawr Classical Review (BMCR). Review by Stanley M. Burstein, California State University, Los Angeles

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The Petra Papyri II

The book contains the edition of a single document, P.Petra II 17 (Inv. 10), a division of property among three brothers, with extensive introduction and commentary….The decipherment and interpretation of this remarkable document was a similarly arduous task as those of the other Petra papyri and was accomplished with the same professionalism as in the previous volumes. The scholarly world can be grateful to the editors for making this extraordinary document available for further study.

Ludwig Koenen, Jorma Kaimio, Maarit Kaimio, and Robert W. Daniel, eds. The Petra Papyri II. American Center of Oriental Research Publications, 7. Amman: American Center of Oriental Research, 2013.

From Bryn Mawr Classical Review (BMCR). Review by Lajos Berkes, Universität Heidelberg, Zentrum für Altertumswissenschaften, Institut für Papyrologie

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Doctrine and Power: Theological Controversy and Christian Leadership in the Later Roman Empire

This is … a thoughtful and scholarly volume that has much to offer to anyone interested in either the Arian controversy itself or the wider subject of episcopal authority in late antiquity.

Carlos R. Galvão-Sobrinho. Doctrine and Power: Theological Controversy and Christian Leadership in the Later Roman Empire. Transformation of the classical heritage, 51. Berkeley; Los Angeles; London: University of California Press, 2013. 

From Bryn Mawr Classical Review (BMCR). Review by Richard Flower, University of Exeter

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Byzantine Gardens and Beyond

Throughout its exploration of the cultural transfer of the Byzantine garden to the West, Byzantine Gardens and Beyond takes great pains to place the gardens of Byzantium in an appropriate historical, cultural, and social context, not only making clear the debt owed to the gardens of Graeco-Roman antiquity, but also making clear the debt that is in turn owed to the gardens of Byzantium by those not only of the Mediterranean, but also the Near and Middle East, and northern Europe.

Helena Bodin and Ragnar Hedlund, eds. Byzantine Gardens and Beyond. Acta Universitatis Upsaliensis. Studia Byzantina Upsaliensia, 13. Uppsala: Uppsala Universitet, 2013.

From Bryn Mawr Classical Review (BMCR). Review by Jane Draycott, University of Wales Trinity Saint David

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