Editor's note: This text has been carefully edited for readability. I've taken the time make sure it's properly formatted for Kindle and have updated most of the spelling from 19th Century British English to 21st Century US English.
FIFTY years ago the word "Byzantine" was used as a synonym for all that was corrupt and decadent, and the tale of the East-Roman Empire was dismissed by modern historians as depressing and monotonous. The great Gibbon had branded the successors of Justinian and Heraclius as a series of vicious weaklings, and for several generations no one dared to contradict him.
Two books have served to undeceive the English reader, the monumental work of Finlay, published in 1856, and the more modern volumes of Mr. Bury, which appeared in 1889. Since they have written, the Byzantines no longer need an apologist, and the great work of the East-Roman Empire in holding back the Saracen, and in keeping alive throughout the Dark Ages the lamp of learning, is beginning to be realized.
The writer of this book has endeavored to tell the story of Byzantium in the spirit of Finlay and Bury, not in that of Gibbon. He wishes to acknowledge his debts both to the veteran of the war of Greek Independence, and to the young Dublin professor. Without their aid his task would have been very heavy—with it the difficulty was removed.
The author does not claim to have grappled with all the chroniclers of the Eastern realm, but thinks that some acquaintance with Ammianus, Procopius, Maurice's "Strategikon," Leo the Deacon, Leo the Wise, Constantine Porphyrogenitus, Anna Comnena and Nicetas, may justify his having undertaken the task he has essayed.
About the Author:
Sir Charles William Chadwick Oman (12 January 1860 – 23 June 1946) was a British military historian of the early 20th century. His reconstructions of medieval battles from the fragmentary and distorted accounts left by chroniclers were pioneering. His style is an invigorating mixture of historical accuracy and emotional highlights, and it makes his narratives, though founded on deep research, often read as smoothly as fiction, especially in his History of the Peninsular War. Occasionally, his interpretations have been challenged, especially his widely copied thesis that British troops defeated their Napoleonic opponents by firepower alone. Paddy Griffith, among modern historians, claims the British infantry's discipline and willingness to attack were equally important.
He was born in Muzaffarpur district, India, the son of a British planter, and was educated at Oxford University, where he studied under William Stubbs. In 1881 he was elected to a Prize Fellowship at All Souls College, where he would remain for the rest of his career.
He was elected the Chichele Professor of modern history at Oxford in 1905, in succession to Montagu Burrows. He was also elected to the FBA that year, serving as President of the Royal Historical Society (1917–1921), the Numismatic Society and the Royal Archaeological Institute.
As with all public domain books, it is free for all to enjoy. However, the quality of the conversion to ebook formats is usually low. I put a lot of work into cleaning up the text, but I’m sure that some errors remain. I have priced this ebook low to pay for my time editing and formatting the text.
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