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Thursday, May 11, 2006


I don't know precisely when--or why--I got bit by the Byzantium bug. It was sometime in high school, though, and right after I went through my Ave Constantine Imperator! fascination with all things Roman phase. I suspect it was out of sheer joy that the saga of Rome had not ended with its collapse under barbarian assault, and now I would have even more to read.

You know, there are times when I can actually hear Heather cringing from miles away.

My high school friends will recall--with head-shaking, no doubt--me lugging obscure dust-covered tomes from the Alma College library, right down to one of the imperial treatises of Constantine VII Porphyrogenitus.

What's that? "How many times did I go on dates in high school?" Um, 5 or so. Maybe less. Why do you ask?

The good of it was that the obsession (call it what it is) culminated in a trip to the Island of Torcello, and the remarkable Church of Santa Maria Assunta. Santa Maria still has its cornerstone from 632, when the Byzantines built it.

All of that is a prologue to say that I will be periodically posting bits about my fascination with this much-neglected part of history as time permits over the next several months, including book recommendations and the like.

Here's a good start, though--a fairly-decent Wikipedia article about the history of the empire, a list of assorted primary and secondary source links, and a link to the incomparable art of Byzantium.

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