A Cabinet of Byzantine Curiosities: Strange Tales and - download pdf or read online

By Anthony Kaldellis

bizarre, decadent, degenerate, racially combined, superstitious, theocratic, effeminate, or even hyper-literate, Byzantium has lengthy been appeared via many as one monstrous interest. in response to Voltaire, it represented "a valueless choice of miracles, a shame for the human mind"; for Hegel, it used to be "a disgusting photo of imbecility."

A cupboard of Byzantine Curiosities will churn up those outdated prejudices, whereas additionally stimulating a deeper curiosity between readers in a single of history's best civilizations. the various zanier stories and minutiae which are accumulated the following revolve round the political and non secular lifetime of Byzantium. hence, tales of saints, relics, and their miracles-from the hilarious to the revolting-abound. Byzantine paperwork (whence the adjective "Byzantine"), court docket scandals, and complicated penal code are global well-known. And what could Byzantium be with out its eunuchs, whose ambiguous gender produced ordinary and risible results in several contexts? The publication additionally includes sections on way of life which are both eye-opening, together with meals (from aphrodisiacs to fermented fish sauce), video games reminiscent of polo and acrobatics, and obnoxious perspectives of foreigners and others (e.g., Germans, Catholics, Arabs, dwarves). yet lest we forget Byzantium's extra honorable contributions to civilization, additionally integrated are the various marvels of Byzantine technological know-how and expertise, from the army (flamethrowers and hand grenades) to the theatrical ("elevator" thrones, roaring mechanical lions) and scientific (catheters and treatments, a few bizarre). This gigantic collection of ancient anomaly and absurdity sheds very important mild on one in all history's such a lot imprecise and orthodox empires.

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A Cabinet of Byzantine Curiosities: Strange Tales and Surprising Facts from History's Most Orthodox Empire by Anthony Kaldellis


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