Download e-book for iPad: A Cabinet of Byzantine Curiosities: Strange Tales and by Anthony Kaldellis

By Anthony Kaldellis

bizarre, decadent, degenerate, racially combined, superstitious, theocratic, effeminate, or even hyper-literate, Byzantium has lengthy been looked by way of many as one great interest. in keeping with Voltaire, it represented "a valueless selection of miracles, a shame for the human mind"; for Hegel, it used to be "a disgusting photograph of imbecility."

A cupboard of Byzantine Curiosities will churn up those previous prejudices, whereas additionally stimulating a deeper curiosity between readers in a single of history's best civilizations. some of the zanier stories and minutiae which are gathered right here revolve round the political and non secular lifetime of Byzantium. therefore, tales of saints, relics, and their miracles-from the hilarious to the revolting-abound. Byzantine forms (whence the adjective "Byzantine"), court docket scandals, and complicated penal code are global well-known. And what may Byzantium be with no its eunuchs, whose ambiguous gender produced ordinary and risible results in numerous contexts? The booklet additionally includes sections on way of life which are both eye-opening, together with foodstuff (from aphrodisiacs to fermented fish sauce), video games equivalent to polo and acrobatics, and obnoxious perspectives of foreigners and others (e.g., Germans, Catholics, Arabs, dwarves). yet lest we omit Byzantium's extra honorable contributions to civilization, additionally integrated are a few of the marvels of Byzantine technology and know-how, from the army (flamethrowers and hand grenades) to the theatrical ("elevator" thrones, roaring mechanical lions) and clinical (catheters and remedies, a few bizarre). This immense collection of historic anomaly and absurdity sheds very important mild on one among history's so much 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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