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Palgrave Macmillan

The Middle Byzantine Historians

ISBN 9781137280855
Publication Date November 2013
Formats Hardcover Ebook (EPUB) Ebook (PDF) 
Publisher Palgrave Macmillan

The Middle Byzantine Historians, which continues the same author's Early Byzantine Historians, is the first book to analyze the lives and works of every significant Byzantine historian from the seventh to the thirteenth century. Written for general readers as well as professional scholars, it describes forty-three historians who usually knew their emperors personally. Besides obscure but intriguing figures like the exiled Sergius Confessor, father of the Patriarch Photius, and the embittered monk Nicetas the Paphlagonian, author of a Secret History that denounced Photius, the historians include the authors of three of the world's greatest histories: the courtier Michael Psellus, who depicts the flawed personalities of the fourteen emperors and empresses of his time, Princess Anna Comnena, who makes a spirited defense of her father Alexius I, and Nicetas Choniates, a provincial who rose to head the whole Byzantine bureaucracy and told the story of his empire's decline from great power to destruction by the Fourth Crusade.

Warren Treadgold is National Endowment for the Humanities Professor of Byzantine Studies at Saint Louis University, USA and author of many books and articles on Byzantine history and literature, including Byzantium and Its Army (1995), A History of the Byzantine State and Society (1997), A Concise History of Byzantium (2001), and The Early Byzantine Historians (2007).

List of Maps
1. The Dark Age
2. George Syncellus and Theophanes Confessor
3. Theophanes' Successors
4. Historians under Leo the Wise
5. The Official Histories of Constantine Porphyrogenitus
6. Symeon the Logothete and Pseudo-Symeon
7. Historians of the Age of Expansion
8. Michael Psellus
9. Psellus' Contemporaries
10. Nicephorus Bryennius and Anna Comnena
11. Anna Comnena's Contemporaries
12. Nicetas Choniates
13. The Historians as a Group
Chronological Table of the Middle Byzantine Historians
List of English Translations of the Middle Byzantine Historians


"There are books on this topic that summarize existing scholarship, but this is not one of them. Warren Treadgold presents original arguments for almost every text that he discusses and usually makes a strong case . . . In sum, this is definitely a book that any scholar who uses these texts will have to consult and either agree or disagree with, and that includes almost all Byzantinists who work in this period." – Professor Anthony Kaldellis, Ohio State University, US
"The Middle Byzantine Historians offers invaluable portraits of known and relatively obscure historians, their work, and the Byzantine intellectual scene as a whole. A welcome addition to our body of knowledge, MBH raises important questions and demands Byzantinists' careful attention, engagement, and reaction." - Speculum
"The book … accords due weight to a tradition of historical writing stretching back to classical and biblical times and enables us to put individual histories into context, in a way which was not previously possible. … One of the great strengths of this volume is the exhumation of lost histories, which affords a much better balanced appreciation of the development of historical writing in the period under consideration … The result is a book which establishes what can be known with reasonable certainty about the middle Byzantine historians." - Journal of Ecclesiastical History
"Treadgold's erudite studies of the lives and careers of these Byzantine historians will prove useful to students, as will his detailed explanations of the form and content of their works. … Furthermore, the final chapter, 'The Historians as a Group,' explores a variety of themes, which include the historians' backgrounds, interests, originality, writing styles, relative popularity as indicated by surviving numbers of manuscripts, and a general overview of history writing across the period. These results are fascinating…. In short, Treadgold has woven many important new findings into a comprehensive handbook on the Byzantine historians. This excellent book will be essential reading for students of Byzantine history, and its fresh interpretations will further scholarly debates." - English Historical Review
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