Skip to comments.The Genius of Byzantium: Reflections on a Forgotten Empire
Posted on 11/04/2019 11:21:03 AM PST by CondoleezzaProtege
Le grand absentcest lEmpire
C. Dufour, Constantinople Imaginaire
Everywhere Western man longs for Constantinople and nowhere has he any idea how to find her. To do so is to reclaim, at last, the meaning of an empire that once defined a hierarchy of imagination long ago abandoned by our civilization; of an eleven-century political, religious and cultural struggle that sought to reconcile Christianity and Antiquity, transforming the Western spirit into a brilliant battleground between Latin and Greek, Augustus and Basileus, reason and faith, ancient and modern. Yet to unearth this Byzantium, this heaven of the human mind, as Yeats dreamed her, is not to go searching through histories and legends, glorious ruins or immortal poems. It is, instead, to be found retracing the evolution of a new and profound conflict in Western thought that began with the mysterious conversion of the first Constantine and ended, at the gates of the marble and gold City called the worlds desire by the sons of that city, with the unconquerable faith of the last Constantinehimself heir to the great Palaiologoi who resurrected the dormant title of Hellene to describe their own noble line of descent.
When we set out to locate this forgotten world... One speaks of the Western roots of the Eastern empire but what of the Eastern roots of the Western empire? The intercourse of two worlds, wrote Norman Baynes of the empire, the Greek and the Roman, one current carrying the armed power of Rome to the East, the other carrying the culture of the Greeks to the WestByzantine civilization could call upon both.
(Excerpt) Read more at intellectualtakeout.org ...
1453. Sad day for the world
Ah yes, Where the rulers had a penchant for blinding
any relatives in line for the throne.
More than a city or even an empire, Byzantium was a civilization, with deep roots in antiquity but bequeathing little to the future except for its cultural inheritance — the Renaissance and Orthodox Christianity.
Alternate History - What if Constantinople had not been devastated by the 4th Crusade led by its deadly rival, Venice? Could it have then lasted longer against the surge of Islam?
They like the Rome they grew out of never resolved that government succession problem and not have a civil war.
Blinding rival claimants to the throne, marginally better then strangling them with a gold/silver/silk thread (I’ve read of examples of all three!) like the Ottomans di!
Looking at 2016 & now maybe we now have the same problem.
This is sarcasm, yes?
One of my favorite authors John Julius Norwich wrote a three part history of Byzantium that is fantastic. He also wrote a condensed version in a single book if that is more your speed. I highly recommend the three book set.
Looks better than today; no minarets.
Try looking in Istanbul.
Thanks for posting this.
The Rule of Law was solidified there. It became part of our cultural DNA.
Ah, but what about its accomplishments before its demise? From the 600s to the 1400s, it was a bulwark against a surging Islam. In N.Africa, the green flag swept all of the way to the Pyrenees and into France and in the east it took out the Persian Sasanian Empire which extended Islam rule to the Indus River. Yet to the North, Byzantium withstood multiple onslaughts for 700 years. In fact the Ottomans did not get into Europe until the last years of the 1300s.
This was more, far more than nothing!
More in the nature of a literary understatement so as to draw attention to what the Byzantines left us.
Quite true. My understatement was meant to draw attention to what the Byzantines left us.
Just typing those words reminds me of how abysmally ignorant I am about the East and its tangled glory. It was in so many ways a bulwark for Faith in Christ Our Lord.
Byzantium’s survival was undone by political and bureaucratic misrule. Perhaps the worst mistake was that of Justinian in sending Belisarius to defeat the barbarians and try to hold Rome — a gross waste of a military genius. Trade, diplomacy, and cultural diffusion would have worked in the long term to civilize the barbarian kingdoms and likely make them reliable allies against Islam.
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