Stefanos Efthymiadis, ed. The Ashgate Research Companion to Byzantine Hagiography. Volume II: Genres and Contexts. Farhnam; Burlington, VT: Ashgate, 2014.
Category: Publication Reviews
Michel Balard, Laura Balletto, and Christopher Schabel. Gênes et l'outre-mer: Actes notariés de Famagouste et d'autres localités du Proche-Orient (XIVe-XVe s.). Sources et études de l'histoire de Chypre, 72. Nicosia, Cyprus: Centre de Recherche Scientifique de Chypre, 2013.
This is an intricately argued book that challenges and offers alternative interpretations for various central issues regarding the vita icon.
Paroma Chatterjee. The Living Icon in Byzantium and Italy: The Vita Image, Eleventh to Thirteenth Centuries. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2014.
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.'
…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.
The scholarly world is indebted to Simpson for producing an informative, authoritative, and complete study of a notable and interesting Byzantine historian.
Alicia Simpson. Niketas Choniates: A Historiographical Study. Oxford Studies in Byzantium. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2013.
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.
James Howard-Johnston. Historical Writing in Byzantium. Verlag Antike, 2014.
Muehlberger’s study focuses upon the rhetorical usefulness of angels — the way in which they became part of late ancient Christian discourse. Thus she rightly focuses on their ancient and continuing appeal as helpers and intermediaries.
Ellen Muehlberger. Angels in Late Ancient Christianity. Oxford University Press, 2013.
…this is an interesting collection of papers on dreams that discuss texts or passages which deserve to be noticed, not least for their engagement with the irrational.
Christina Angelidi and George T. Calofonos, eds. Dreaming in Byzantium and Beyond. Farnham; Burlington, VT: Ashgate, 2014.
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.
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.
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).
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.
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.
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.
Without doubt, an excellent and important acquisition for any library, or university course dealing in Late Antiquity or Early Christianity.
Angelo Di Berardino, ed. Historical Atlas of Ancient Christianity. St. Davids, PA: ICCS Press, 2013.
From Bryn Mawr Classical Review (BMCR). Review by Daniel King, Cardiff University
…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.
...all of the essays are marked by a laudable clarity of purpose and expression...
Stine Birk, Troels Myrup Kristensen, and Birte Poulsen, eds. Using Images in Late Antiquity. Oxford; Philadelphia: Oxbow Books, 2014.
Timothy S. Miller and John W. Nesbitt. Walking Corpses: Leprosy in Byzantium and the Medieval West. Cornell University Press, 2014.
From Bryn Mawr Classical Review (BMCR). Review by Petros Bouras-Vallianatos, King's College London
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).
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.
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.