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Making Turkey juicy

Years ago I read A Short History of Byzantium by John Julius Norwich. More than anything else that book sparked my desire to visit Istanbul and the rest of Turkey, which I did in 2000. If you're like me, your education taught you "Rome" ended in the 5th century. No! While the west was ransacked and fractured by waves of barbarians and vikings, the eastern empire continued Roman traditions and law for many centuries. The palace intrigue and back stabbing makes Game of Thrones seem tame by comparison.

A Short History of Byzantium is a condensed version of a broader three volume set.

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11613 posts

Yes, I read the 3-volume set years ago. Another interesting book is 1453, about the fall of Constantinople.

Posted by
15075 posts

Okay, I've put both those on my reading list. Thanks.

It is a sad truth that the Byzantine and the Ottoman Empires are usually just a footnote in Western history. Byzantium kept a Greek knowledge for the Renaissance to revive. And the Ottomans have a fascinating history that parallels the "great age of exploration" in the West. After all, the Western powers were just trying to circumvent the Ottoman trading routes to the East.

One fun read is Theodora and the Emperor by Harold Lamb, mostly factual with amusing suppositions where history is silent.