The End of Byzantium

Research output: Book/ReportBook


By 1400, the once-mighty Byzantine Empire stood on the verge of destruction. Most of its territories had been lost to the Ottoman Turks, and Constantinople was under close blockade. Against all odds, Byzantium lingered on for another fifty years until 1453, when the Ottomans dramatically toppled the capitals walls. During this bleak and uncertain time, ordinary Byzantines faced difficult decisions to protect their livelihoods and families against the death throes of their homeland. In this evocative and moving book, Jonathan Harris explores individual stories of diplomatic manoeuvres, covert defiance, and sheer luck against a backdrop of major historical currents, and he traces Byzantiums legacy through those emigrants and refugees who reached and influenced Italy, Russia, and beyond. Weaving together letters, chronicles, travellers accounts, and other little-known archival documents, Harris dispels the myth of constant warfare between Islam and Christianity in the Middle Ages and offers a new perspective on the real reasons behind the fall of this extraordinarily fascinating empire.
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationNew Haven; London
PublisherYale University Press
Number of pages298
ISBN (Print)978-0-300-18791-5, 978-0-300-11786-8
Publication statusPublished - 17 Sept 2010

Cite this