Ancient History

Download A Cabinet of Byzantine Curiosities: Strange Tales and by Anthony Kaldellis PDF

By Anthony Kaldellis

bizarre, decadent, degenerate, racially combined, superstitious, theocratic, effeminate, or even hyper-literate, Byzantium has lengthy been seemed by means of many as one sizeable interest. in response to Voltaire, it represented "a valueless choice of miracles, a shame for the human mind"; for Hegel, it was once "a disgusting photo of imbecility."

A cupboard of Byzantine Curiosities will churn up those outdated prejudices, whereas additionally stimulating a deeper curiosity between readers in a single of history's best civilizations. a number of the zanier stories and trivialities which are amassed the following 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 paperwork (whence the adjective "Byzantine"), courtroom scandals, and difficult penal code are global well-known. And what may Byzantium be with out its eunuchs, whose ambiguous gender produced peculiar and risible results in numerous contexts? The publication additionally comprises sections on lifestyle which are both eye-opening, together with foodstuff (from aphrodisiacs to fermented fish sauce), video games akin to polo and acrobatics, and obnoxious perspectives of foreigners and others (e.g., Germans, Catholics, Arabs, dwarves). yet lest we put out of your mind Byzantium's extra honorable contributions to civilization, additionally incorporated are a few of the marvels of Byzantine technological know-how and expertise, 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 ancient anomaly and absurdity sheds very important gentle on certainly one of history's such a lot vague and orthodox empires.

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