- Byzantium, the early centuries (review)
- Australian and New Zealand Association of Medieval and Early Modern Studies (Inc.)
- Volume 9, Number 2, December 1991
- p. p. 182
- View Citation
182 Short Notices Morris, Jan, The Venetian empire: a sea voyage, rpt, London, Penguin, 1990; paper; pp. 200; 1 map; R.R.P. A U S $ 14.99. Jan Monis's 1980 book (London, Faber and Faber) provides a wonderfully evocative ride, or better galley voyage, around the far-flung outposts of the Venetian Emphe, from the city in the lagoons itself to Constantinople, Crete, Cyprus, Corfu and a hundred other places where Venetians fought, traded, and ruled from the thirteenth to eighteenth centuries. Monis writes withflairand passion and has a knack for accenting the entertaining and unusual. She combines popular history with description of the physical remains and evocation of their past with great skill. Her book is not a serious addition to scholarship and research on Venice but it is amongst the very best examples of the genre of popular history. The reprint should make this fun book available to a wide audience. The only thing one regrets is that it does not include the numerous colour and monochrome plates of the original. John H. Pryor Department of History University of Sydney Norwich, John Julius, Byzantium, the early centuries, rpt, Harmondsworth, Penguin , 1990; paper; pp. 408; 5 maps, 26 plates, 6 genealogical tables; R.R.P. A U S $ 19.99. If one were to categorize this book under the heading 'rattling good yarn' rather than serious scholarship, and recommend it for seaside holiday reading, the author would probably not be too offended ('No professional Byzantinist... will find anything he does not know already', p. 28). It is certainly a lively retelling of thefirstfivehundred years of the life and times of the rulers of the Empire of East Rome, a more animated version of the nanatives of a Bury or Ostrogorsky and a latter-day answer from the English-speaking world to the exhilarating papers of Diehl or Brdhier. However the reader should be warned that the bibliography is enatic in its use of recent work. Blockley is cited for the classizing historians, but why not Paschoud for Zosimus? And Norwich's whole approach suffers when contrasted with the intelligent appraisals of this same period that emerged almost simultaneously with itsfirstpublication from the pens of Judith Herrin (Formation of Christendom) and Wanen Treadgold (The Byzantine Revival). Nevertheless, fun to dip into. Elizabeth Jeffreys Department of M o d e m Greek University of Sydney ...