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Heroes and Romans in Twelfth-Century Byzantium
The Material for History of Nikephoros Bryennios

$31.99 (C)

  • Date Published: September 2016
  • availability: Available
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9781316628935

$ 31.99 (C)

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About the Authors
  • Nikephoros Bryennios' history of the Byzantine Empire in the 1070s is a story of civil war and aristocratic rebellion in the midst of the Turkish conquest of Anatolia. Commonly remembered as the passive and unambitious husband of Princess Anna Komnene (author of the Alexiad), Bryennios is revealed as a skilled author whose history draws on cultural memories of classical Roman honor and proper masculinity to evaluate the politicians of the 1070s and implicitly to exhort his twelfth-century contemporaries to honorable behavior. Bryennios' story valorizes the memory of his grandfather and other honorable, but failed, generals of the eleventh century while subtly portraying the victorious Alexios Komnenos as un-Roman. This reading of the Material for History sheds new light on twelfth-century Byzantine culture and politics, especially the contested accession of John Komnenos, the relationship between Bryennios' history and the Alexiad and the function of cultural memories of Roman honor in Byzantium.

    • The first detailed study of Nikephoros Bryennios' major narrative history of the eleventh century
    • Provides a new interpretation of Anna Komnene's Alexiad
    • Addresses the current debates on Byzantine identity and understanding of classical Roman culture
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    Reviews & endorsements

    "… elegantly written and persuasively argued … it rekindles the conversation about twelfth-century culture, politics, and historiography, aligning it with recent scholarship in the fields of Roman and Byzantine studies."
    Dimitris Krallis, English Historical Review

    "… dazzling and insightful …"
    Mike Markowitz, The NYMAS Review

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    Product details

    • Date Published: September 2016
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9781316628935
    • length: 258 pages
    • dimensions: 228 x 152 x 14 mm
    • weight: 0.37kg
    • contains: 2 b/w illus. 2 tables
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    Part I. Contexts:
    1. Twelfth-century politics and the House of Komnenos
    2. Writing history in twelfth-century Constantinople
    3. Nikephoros' reading
    4. Sources for the Material for History
    Part II. Reading in the Material for History:
    5. Problems of the Empire: civil war and mercenaries
    6. The rise of Alexios
    7. Romans and their enemies
    8. Military virtue
    9. Roman family politics
    10. Religion and providence
    11. Roman heroes
    12. A Roman mother
    13. A bold young man
    Part III. The Material for History in Twelfth-Century Politics and Culture:
    14. The Material for History and imperial politics of the twelfth century
    15. Nikephoros and Anna
    16. Roman ideals and twelfth-century Constantinopolitan culture
    Appendix 1
    Appendix 2. Vocabulary of virtue.

  • Author

    Leonora Neville, University of Wisconsin, Madison
    Leonora Neville holds the John W. and Jeanne M. Rowe Professorship in Byzantine History at the University of Wisconsin, Madison and is the author of Authority in Byzantine Provincial Society: 950–1100 (2004).

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