The Cross and the Crescent: Byzantium, The Turks (Imperial Visions Series: The Rise and Fall of Empires)

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9780150040279: The Cross and the Crescent: Byzantium, The Turks (Imperial Visions Series: The Rise and Fall of Empires)
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From its earliest beginnings thousands of years ago, the course of man's progress has been measured by his empires. Large, dynamic flows of power, people, and culture that merge, thrive, then break apart - the pieces only to merge again in a new configuration, the process to be repeated. Through pictures and words, "Empires: Their Rise and Fall" brings the reader face to face with many of the world's greatest empires. Full-color photographs are combined with an absorbing narrative in a lively historical account of each empire and an examination of the period's most enduring cultural achievements. This volume in the series focuses on Byzantium, and The Turks. The two civilizations - Byzantium and Turkish - that played out their rivalry across the Aegean as the Middle Ages waned have always proved enigmatic to Western Europeans. Cosmopolitan, exotic Byzantium has exercised a perennial fascination on the imagination of the West and yet has stubbornly eluded understanding. The Turkish Empire has emerged as the West's foremost caricature of the cruel and alien state, menacing and at the same time alluring in its violence and sensuousness. All those who would hope to arrive at a more balanced understanding of the Turks and Byzantines must first disabuse themselves of a long succession of colorful stereotypes. The task is not easy - distortions centuries in the making are not readily abandoned - but the effort is surely worthwhile. For it is only after taking a conscientious look at the histories and cultural achievements of these two peoples that we can gain a legitimate sympathy for two empires which may justifiably be called "monuments of unaging intellect."

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Joyce Milton; Rafael Steinberg; Sarah Lewis
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