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The Immortal Emperor

The Immortal Emperor
The Life and Legend of Constantine Palaiologos, Last Emperor of the Romans


  • Date Published: May 2002
  • availability: Available
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9780521894098

£ 18.99

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About the Authors
  • Constantine XI Palaiologos was the last Christian Emperor of Constantinople and Byzantium. In 1453, when Constantinople fell to the Ottoman Turks, he was last seen fighting at the city walls, but the actual circumstances of his death have remained surrounded in myth. In the years that followed it was said that he was not dead but sleeping - the 'immortal emperor' turned to marble, who would one day be awakened by an angel and drive the Turks out of his city and empire. Donald Nicol's book tells the gripping story of Constantine's life and death, and ends with an intriguing account of claims by reputed descendants of his family - some remarkably recent - to be heirs to the Byzantine throne.

    • The first full account of the life of the last Christian Emperor of Byzantium
    • A gripping narrative, interweaving historical detail with the legends that have grown up around its subject
    • Bizarre and amusing accounts of recent claims by reputed descendants to be heirs to the Byzantine throne
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    Reviews & endorsements

    'This account of the life of Constantine XI Palaiologos, last Byzantine emperor, is the entertaining and well written product of deep research into the diverse sources which cover the last years of the Byzantine Empire … The main text has the thrust of an epic work of fiction, but the powerful narrative is never allowed to eclipse the constant tight referencing, which gives the book its authority.' The Times Higher Education Supplement

    'The value of this work lies in its masterly synthesis of previous scholarship to produce a coherent and very readable account of the life of Constantine XI, the last Byzantine emperor … a lucid and interesting account of an intriguing subject.' History

    '… a sympathetic portrait of a ruler who stood out nobly, albeit vainly, against the flow of events'. The Spectator

    'Professor Nicol is also able to indulge his 'own enthusiasm for the lunatic fringe of Byzantine genealogy' … The last chapters provide a highly entertaining addition to the theme Byzance après Byzance. It is good to know that until quite recently there was still a Byzantine court and government in the Isle of Wight.' The Times Literary Supplement

    '… lucid and compelling …' The Times

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    Product details

    • Date Published: May 2002
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9780521894098
    • length: 176 pages
    • dimensions: 229 x 152 x 10 mm
    • weight: 0.27kg
    • contains: 17 b/w illus.
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    List of illustrations
    List of abbreviations
    Genealogical table
    1. The dwindling empire
    2. Constantine: despot at Mistra
    3. Constantine: emperor at Constantinople
    4. The fall of Constantinople
    5. The death of Constantine
    6. The immortal emperor
    7. The dying embers

  • Author

    Donald M. Nicol, King's College London

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