WESTERN EUROPEAN SCHOLARSHIP
THE period of the Italian Renaissance was primarily concerned with the classical literature of Greece and Rome. Byzantine literature was almost unknown in Italy, and there seemed to be no marked desire to become acquainted with it. This neglectful attitude toward medieval Greek literature gradually changed as a result of frequent visits to the East in search of Greek manuscripts and the thorough study of the Greek language, but during the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries interest in Byzantine literature was only casual and was completely overshadowed by interest in the classical world.
During the sixteenth century, however, interest in Byzantine history and literature became more pronounced. In this century numerous works of Byzantine writers, though unequal in importance and chosen at random, were published in various parts of Europe: in Germany by Hieronymus Wolf, in Holland by Meursius, in Italy by two Greeks—Alemannus and Allatius.
The part played by France
The truly scientific study of the Byzantine period was begun in France during the seventeenth century. It was during the brilliant period of Louis XIV that Byzantine scholarship found a place of honor in France—the era when French literature became a model for all Europe, when kings, ministers, bishops, and private individuals vied with each other in founding libraries and collecting manuscripts, when every kind of favor and attention was showered upon learned men.
In the early part of the seventeenth century Louis XIII translated from the original Greek into French the instructions of Deacon Agapetus to Justinian. Cardinal Mazarin, a lover of books and a tireless collector of manuscripts, founded a rich library which included numerous Greek writings. After his death this collection passed into the possession of the Paris Royal Library (now the National Library), which had been founded in the sixteenth century by Francis I. The famous minister of Louis XIV, Colbert, who was also director of the royal library, strove constantly to add to its literary treasures and to obtain manuscripts from abroad. In the eighteenth century the king acquired for the royal library the rich private collection of Colbert, which contained a large number of Greek manuscripts. Cardinal Richelieu founded the royal press in Paris (the Louvre Press) for the purpose of publishing in a satisfactory style the works of outstanding writers. The type face used by this press, known as Royal Greek, was remarkable for its beauty. In 1648, under the patronage of Louis XIV and Colbert, the royal printing house published one volume of the first collection of the works of Byzantine historians. By the year 1711 thirty-four folio volumes of this collection had been published. The edition was a great achievement for its time, and has not been supplanted entirely to this day. At the time the first volume of this collection appeared the French editor and scholar Labbé (Labbaeus) issued an appeal (Protrepticon) to all lovers of Byzantine history in which he stressed the importance of the history of the Eastern Greek Empire, “so astonishing in the number of events, so alluring in its diversity, so remarkable in the length of its duration.” He urged European scholars to search out and publish documents buried in the dust of libraries, promising to all collaborators eternal fame “more enduring than marble and brass.”1
Du Cange.—The leading French scholar of the seventeenth century was the famous Du Cange (1610–88), whose numerous and varied writings have retained their vitality and importance. Historian and philologist, archeologist and numismatist, artistic editor, Du Cange was a highly skilled worker in all these capacities, a tireless and accurate scholar. He was born at Amiens in 1610, and was sent by his father to the Jesuit college. After some years at Orléans and Paris as a lawyer, he returned to his native city. He married and was the father of ten children. In 1668, forced by the plague to leave Amiens, he settled in Paris, where he lived until his death on October 23, 1688. It is surprising that at forty-five years of age he had published nothing and his name was little known outside Amiens. He accomplished his gigantic work in the last thirty-three years of his life. The number of his literary works would be incredible if the originals, all in his own writing, were not still extant. His biographer writes: “Un savant du XVIIIe siècle s’est écrié dans un bizarre accès d’enthousiasme: ‘Comment peut-on avoir tant lu, tant pensé, tant écrit et avoir été cinquante ans marié et père d’une nombreuse famille?’”2 The outstanding works of Du Cange on Byzantine history are: The History of the Empire of Constantinople under the French Emperors (Histoire de l’empire de Constantinople sous les empereurs français), revised by Du Cange toward the end of his life but not published in this revision until the nineteenth century; On Byzantine Families (De familiis byzantinis),containing rich genealogical material; and The Christian Constantinople (Constantinopolis Christiana), full of detailed accurate information about the topography of Constantinople up to 1453 A.D. The last two works are known under one common title, Historia Byzantina duplici commentario illustrata. Three months before his death Du Cange published the two volumes (in folio) of his Dictionary of Medieval Greek (Glossarium ad scriptores mediae et infimae graecitatis), which, according to the Russian Byzantine scholar, V. G. Vasilievsky, “is an unparalleled work, the compilation of which might well have employed an academy of scholars.”3 Even today this glossary is indispensable to all students of Byzantine, as well as of general, medieval history. Besides all these original works Du Cange produced many standard editions of the writings of distinguished Byzantine historians. These editions are particularly valuable because of their learned notes. Of very great importance to Byzantine scholars is another enormous work by Du Cange, The Dictionary of Medieval Latin (Glossarium ad scriptores mediae et infimae latinitatis). After a lifetime of excellent health, Du Cange suddenly fell ill in June, 1688, and died in October, at the age of seventy-eight, surrounded by his family and friends. He was buried at the Church of Saint-Gervais. No trace remains of his grave. A narrow and remote Paris street is still called “Rue Du Cange.”4
Other French writers.—Du Cange was not the only worker in this field. During the same period Mabillon (1632–1707) wrote his immortal Diplomatics (De re diplomatica), which created an entirely new science of documents and charters. The early part of the eighteenth century saw the publication of a most important work by Montfaucon (1655–1741), Greek Paleography, which continues to be valuable. At this time appeared also the voluminous work of the Benedictine monk from Ragusa, Banduri (1670–1743), who lived and wrote in Paris. His Eastern Empire (Imperium Orientale), published in 1711, contains a wealth of material on the historical geography, historical topography, and the archeology of the Byzantine period. Almost contemporary with this work is the extensive study of the Dominican monk Le Quien (1661–1733), The Christian Orient (Oriens christianus), which is a rich collection of historical information with special emphasis on the church of the Christian Orient.5 Thus until the middle of the eighteenth century France was undoubtedly the leading center of Byzantine research, and many French works of that period are still of great value.
The eighteenth century and the Napoleonic era
In this same century conditions in France changed. The Age of Reason, characterized by denial of the past, by skepticism toward religion, by strong criticism of clerical power and despotic monarchy, could no longer find anything of interest in the Byzantine Empire. Medieval history was thought of as the history of a “Gothic, barbarian” period, as a source of darkness and ignorance. Without any study of that period some of the best minds of the eighteenth century advanced severe criticisms of medieval Greek history. Voltaire, criticizing the imperial epoch of Roman history, adds, “There exists another history, more absurd [ridicule] than the history of Rome since the time of Tacitus: it is the history of Byzantium. This worthless collection [recueil] contains nothing but declamations and miracles. It is a disgrace to the human mind.”6 Montesquieu, a serious historian, wrote that, beginning with the early part of the seventh century, “the history of the Greek Empire is nothing but a tissue of revolts, seditions, and perfidies.”7 The writings of the English historian Gibbon also were greatly influenced by the ideology of the eighteenth century. This negative and derogatory attitude toward Byzantine history which had developed during the latter half of the eighteenth century survived the period of the French Revolution and persisted through the early part of the nineteenth century. The well-known German philosopher, Hegel (1770–1831), for example, wrote in his Lectures on the Philosophy of History: “The Byzantine Empire was distracted by passions of all kinds within, and pressed by the barbarians—to whom the emperors could offer but feeble resistance—without. The realm was in a condition of perpetual insecurity. Its general aspect presents a disgusting picture of imbecility; wretched, nay insane, passions stifle the growth of all that is noble in thoughts, deeds, and persons. Rebellion on the part of the generals, depositions of the emperors by their means or through the intrigues of the courtiers, assassination or poisoning of the emperors by their own wives and sons, women surrendering themselves to lusts and abominations of all kinds—such are the scenes which history here brings before us; till at last about the middle of the fifteenth century (A.D. 1453) the rotten edifice of the Eastern Empire crumbled in pieces before the might of the vigorous Turks.”8 Statesmen cited Byzantium as an unworthy example. Thus, Napoleon I, during the time of the Hundred Days, in his speech to the Houses in June, 1815, said, “Help me save our country. . . . Let us not follow the example of the Byzantine Empire [n’imitons pas l’example du Bas-Empire], which, being pressed from all sides by the barbarians, became the laughing-stock of posterity because it was preoccupied with petty quarrels while the battering-ram was breaking through the city gates.”9
It was not until the middle of the nineteenth century that the attitude toward medievalism changed in scholarly circles. After the storms of the revolutionary period and the Napoleonic Wars, Europeans regarded the Middle Ages differently. There was an awakening of interest in the study of this “Gothic, barbarian” period. Byzantine history once more became a field for serious scholarly investigation.
Montesquieu.—It was in the first half of the eighteenth century that the famous representative of the Age of Reason, Montesquieu (1689–1755), wrote his Reflections on the Causes of the Greatness and Fall of the Romans (Considérations sur les causes de la grandeur des Romains et de leur décadence), published in 1734. The first part of this book gives a brief, very interesting, and brilliant account of the development of the Roman Empire beginning with the founding of Rome, while the last four chapters are devoted to the Byzantine period, ending with the capture of Constantinople by the Turks in 1453 A.D. This work, naturally written under the influence of the ideas of the eighteenth century, makes it very apparent that Montesquieu held the correct view in regard to the history of this period; he considered Byzantine history as a continuation of Roman history. As he says, he begins calling the Roman Empire the “Greek Empire” only from the second half of the sixth century. His attitude toward the history of this Empire was very harsh. He contended that the Byzantine Empire had so many organic defects in its social structure, in its religious life, in its methods of warfare, that it is hard to understand how a polity so corrupt could have lasted until the middle of the fifteenth century. This question seemed of much importance to him and he devoted the last chapter to an explanation of the factors that accounted for the prolonged existence of the Empire. He pointed out the strife among the victorious Arabs, the invention of “Greek fire,” the prosperous trade of Constantinople, the settlement of the barbarians in the Danube regions, who thus protected the Empire against new invasions, as the chief causes of the long life of the Eastern Empire. “It was thus,” he wrote, “that, while the Empire was weakening because of poor government, it was being aided by unusual outside causes.” The Empire under the last Palaeologi, threatened by the Turks, reminded Montesquieu of the Rhine, “which resembles a little stream when it becomes lost in the ocean.”
Though Montesquieu’s chief interest lay outside Byzantine history, and though he shared fully the disdain of his time for medievalism, he did leave thought-provoking pages which even today may be read with great interest. One of the modern students of Montesquieu, the French scholar A. Sorel, calls his chapters on the Byzantine Empire “a masterly account and a model interpretation.”10
Gibbon.—The eighteenth century produced also the English historian Edward Gibbon (1737–94), author of the famous History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire. Gibbon was born on April 27, 1737. He received his early education partly at Westminster and partly under the care of tutors, and in 1752 he matriculated at Magdalen College, Oxford. After a short stay there he went to Lausanne, Switzerland, where he was placed under the guidance of a Calvinist. Here he remained for five years, spending most of his time studying the French language and reading classical literature and important historical and philosophical works. This long stay left a strong and lasting impression on the mind of the young Gibbon, and Switzerland became his second home. As he wrote later, “I had ceased to be an Englishman. At the flexible period of youth, from the age of sixteen to twenty-one, my opinions, habits, and sentiments were cast in a foreign mold; the faint and distant remembrance of England was almost obliterated; my native language was grown less familiar; and I should have cheerfully accepted the offer of a moderate independent fortune on the terms of perpetual exile.” At Lausanne, Gibbon “has the satisfaction of seeing the most extraordinary man of the age —a poet, a historian, a philosopher,” Voltaire.11
Upon his return to London, Gibbon published in 1761 his first work, written in French, An Essay on the Study of Literature (Essai sur l’étude de la litérature), which was received warmly in France and Holland but with indifference in England. The next two and a half years Gibbon spent with the Hampshire militia, organized during the Seven Years’ War between France and England, and in 1763 he returned by way of Paris to his beloved Lausanne. During that year he traveled through Italy, visiting Florence, Rome, Naples, Venice, and other Italian cities. The stay in Rome was of special importance to Gibbon’s subsequent career, for it suggested to him the idea of writing a history of the Eternal City. “It was in Rome,” he wrote, “on the fifteenth of October, 1764, as I sat musing amidst the ruins of the Capitol, while the barefooted fryars were singing Vespers in the temple of Jupiter, that the idea of writing the decline and fall of the City first started to my mind.”12 Gibbon’s original plan was to write only about the city of Rome; it was later that the project developed into a history of the entire Roman Empire, both western and eastern, down to the fall of Constantinople in 1453.
Upon his second return to London, Gibbon began a very active search for materials for this prospective work. The first volume of the history, which begins at the time of Augustus, appeared in 1776. Its success was instantaneous. Within a few days the first edition was sold out. According to Gibbon, his “book was on every table, and almost on every toilette.”13 The subsequent volumes, in which it was clear that his own religious views were quite in harmony with the spirit of the eighteenth century, caused a storm of protest, especially among the Italian Catholics.
Gibbon had one abiding desire: he wanted Lausanne, the school of his youth, to shelter the declining years of his life. Finally, twenty years after his second visit to Lausanne, Gibbon had acquired sufficient means for an independent existence. He returned to his favorite city and there completed his history. He himself described the moment of finishing his work of many years:
It was on the day, or rather the night, of the twenty-seventh of June, 1787, between the hours of eleven and twelve, that I wrote the last lines of the last page in a summer-house in my garden. After laying down my pen I took several turns in a berceau, or a covered walk of acacias, which commands a prospect of the country, the lake, and the mountains. The air was temperate, the sky was serene, the silver orb of the moon was reflected from the waters, and all Nature was silent. I will not dissemble the first emotions of joy on the recovery of my freedom, and perhaps the establishment of my fame. But my pride was soon humbled, and a sober melancholy was spread over my mind by the idea that I had taken everlasting leave of an old and agreeable companion, and that, whatsoever might be the future date of my history, the life of the historian must be short and precarious.14
The sweeping events of the French Revolution forced Gibbon to return to England, where he died in January, 1794.
Gibbon is one of the few writers who has a prominent place in literature as well as in history. The distinction of his style prompted a contemporary historian to compare him with Thucydides and Tacitus. Gibbon left an excellent autobiography, of which the English editor Birkbeck Hill says, “It is so brief that it can be read by the light of two candles; it is so interesting in its contents and so attractive in turn of thought and in style that it can be read a second and third time with as much enjoyment as it is read the first time.”
Reflecting the thought of his age, Gibbon maintained in his history this idea: “I have described the triumph of barbarism and religion.” In other words, Gibbon considered that the historical development of human society from the second century A.D. was a retrogressing movement. Today, of course, Gibbon’s chapters on Christianity are of little more than historical interest.
Several factors affect modern judgments of Gibbon. Since his time historical materials are more abundant, the problems of history have changed, the examination of sources has become more critical, the problem of interrelationship of sources is more clearly defined, and new sciences, such as numismatics, epigraphy, sigillography (the science of seals), and papyrology have been admitted to full citizenship in the domain of history. Moreover, Gibbon was not proficient in Greek. He was indebted for his materials on the period until 518 A.D., that is up to the death of Emperor Anastasius I, to his excellent predecessor, the French scholar Tillemont, author of a work well known in its own time, The History of the Emperors (Histoire des Empereurs), published in Brussels beginning in 1692. Gibbon’s discussion of this period is therefore more detailed and accurate than his history of other periods.
In his treatment of the subsequent period, that is the history of the Eastern Roman or Byzantine Empire, Gibbon was not very successful. This was due in part to the fact that he did not have access to some of the original sources and in part to the strong influence of the ideas of his age, so unfavorable to Byzantine history. As the English historian Freeman wrote:
Now, with all Gibbon’s wonderful power of grouping and condensation, which is nowhere more strongly shown than in his Byzantine chapters, with all his vivid description and his still more effective art of insinuation, his is certainly not the style of writing to excite respect for the persons or period of which he is treating, or to draw many to a more minute study of them. His matchless faculty of sarcasm and depreciation is too constantly kept at work; he is too fond of anecdotes showing the weak and ludicrous side of any age or person; he is incapable of enthusiastic admiration for any thing or person. Almost any history treated in this manner would leave the contemptible side uppermost in the reader’s imagination. Perhaps no history could pass unscathed through such an ordeal; the Byzantine history, of all others, was the least capable of enduring such a mode of treatment.15
Byzantine history thus treated is presented in the wrong light. The personal histories and domestic affairs of all the emperors, from the son of Heraclius to Isaac Angelus, are compressed into one chapter. “This mode of dealing with the subject,” remarked J. B. Bury, “is in harmony with the author’s contemptuous attitude toward the ‘Byzantine’ or ‘Lower’ Empire.”16 Gibbon’s interpretation of the internal history of the Empire after Heraclius not only is superficial but also gives an entirely false impression of the facts. Gibbon was limited, however, by the fact that in his time entire periods of history, such as the Iconoclastic epoch or the social history of the tenth and eleventh centuries, remained unexplored and unexplained. In spite of these defects and gaps, or rather with full recognition of them, Gibbon’s work is both interesting and worthwhile today.
The first edition of The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire was published in six volumes in London during the years 1776–88. Since that time it has appeared in many editions. At the end of the nineteenth century the English Byzantine scholar J. B. Bury published a new edition of the work, supplementing it with extremely valuable comments, many interesting and refreshing additions on numerous questions, and an excellent index. Bury’s additions include the results of historical investigation since the time of Gibbon. Gibbon’s work has been translated into practically all European languages. Before the appearance of Bury’s edition, the French translation of the well-known historian and politician, Guizot (13 volumes), published in Paris in 1828, was very valuable because of its critical and historical notes. A Russian translation by Nevedomsky was published in Moscow during the years 1883 to 1886.17
Lebeau.—The slighting attitude toward Byzantium on the part of French writers of the eighteenth century did not prevent the Frenchman Charles Lebeau from recording the events of Byzantine history in great detail.18 He knew little Greek and therefore had to rely on Latin translations of original sources, which he used without critical discrimination. He entitled his compilation, Histoire du Bas-Empire en commençant à Constantin le Grand, and for a long time this title served as a symbol of the prevalent attitude of disdain toward the Byzantine Empire.19 Although twenty-one volumes were published between 1757 and 1786, it was unfinished. It was later completed by six more volumes, but the finished work is of little importance today. It was revised and enlarged in the nineteenth century by two orientalists, M. de Saint-Martin, a specialist in Armenian history, and M. Brosset, a specialist in Georgian history. Saint-Martin wrote: “This is not only a new edition of Lebeau’s work which we announce, but a matter of a new work whose importance is not to be contested by anyone interested in the progress of historical studies.”20 This new edition (Paris, 1824–36), under the title Histoire du Bas-Empire, may have some value even at present because of the abundant additions from oriental, chiefly Armenian, sources.
Nougaret.—In 1799 a French writer, P. J. B. Nougaret, published a five-volume work under a very long title, the abridgement of which is: Anecdotes of Constantinople, or of the Bas-Empire, from the reign of Constantine, its founder, to the capture of Constantinople by Mahomet II, and down to our days . . . with most striding examples of the vicissitudes of fortune and most extraordinary revolutions. This work is merely a compilation of extracts from various writings, particularly from the Histoire du Bas-Empire by Lebeau, and has no historical value. In the preface Nougaret reflected the political apprehensions of his time; he anticipated “a catastrophe which seems to be preparing before our eyes and which may make the second Rome fall into the power of the Tartars who are now called Russians. . . . Constantinople is now often spoken of, since a monstrous alliance has united the Turks and Russians against France.”21
In 1811 Nougaret abridged this five-volume work into a single volume which he published under the title Beauties of the History of the Bas-Empire containing most curious and interesting accounts from Constantine the Great down to the capture of Constantinople by Mahomet II. He dedicated it to the instruction of youth: “These disastrous and bloody scenes,” the author wrote, “these events so worthy of memory, will inspire in our young readers the most useful reflexions; they will feel how precious is virtue, seeing that vice and crime very often cause evil to peoples; they will bless heaven for living at an epoch when revolutions are known only through history; and they will be able to appreciate the happiness of a nation which is governed by a magnanimous prince and benefactor of his subjects.”22
Royou.—During the Napoleonic period J. C. Royou, a journalist who became an attorney during the Directory and a play-censor in the period of the Restoration, wrote his nine-volume History of the Late Empire from the Time of Constantine to the Capture of Constantinople in 1453 (Histoire du Bas-Empire depuis Constantin jusqu’à prise de Constantinople en 1453). Most of the existing histories written in French needed revision, said Royou, especially those of the “Bas-Empire,” and Lebeau, “while possessing some good qualities, is hardly readable.” In Royou’s opinion, Lebeau forgot that “history must not be an account of all that has happened in the world, but rather a record of only those events which are of an interesting nature; what gives no instruction or pleasure must be sacrificed without any hesitation.” He believed that “by studying the causes of the fall of empires, means can be found to prevent, or at least to retard, their fall in the future. . . . Finally, in Constantinople we can observe with pleasure, to some extent, the shadow of the Roman Empire. The spectacle is fascinating until the last moment of its existence.”23 The often anecdotal history of Royou is not based on original sources nor is it supplemented by any references. The quotations above are a fair indication of the value of the work.
Shortly after Royou’s work there appeared The History of the Bas-Empire by an amazingly prolific French writer, M. le Comte de Ségur. His study of the whole period of Byzantine history is without historical value, but it enjoyed vast popularity among French readers and passed through several editions.24
Mid-nineteenth century to the present
Not until the middle of the nineteenth century did serious general works on the history of the Byzantine Empire begin to appear.
Finlay.—Byzantine historical study was greatly advanced by the work of the English historian George Finlay, A History of Greece from the Conquest by the Romans to the Present Time (B.C. 146—A.D. 1864). Like Gibbon, Finlay left an autobiography which throws much light on the factors in his interesting life which influenced his work. He was born in England in 1799, and received his elementary education there. Later, having chosen the bar as his future career, he went to the German city of Göttingen to complete his studies in Roman law. As the young Finlay was taking leave of his uncle, the latter said to him, “Well, George, I hope you will study hard at Roman law, but I suppose you will visit the Greeks before I see you again.”25 These words proved to be prophetic.
The Greek Revolution which broke out at this time attracted the attention of all Europe. Instead of diligently studying Roman law, Finlay read widely on the history of Greece, studied the Greek language, and in 1823 decided to visit Greece to become acquainted with the life of its people. He also wished to decide for himself what promise the Greek revolt had for success. During his stay in Greece in 1823 and 1824 he frequently met Lord Byron, who had come to Greece to participate in the work of national liberation and who died there prematurely. In 1827, after a short visit to England, Finlay returned to Greece and took part in the work of the expedition formed by General Gordon to raise the siege of Athens. According to Finlay, the arrival of Count Capodistria as president of Greece and the protection of the three great European powers, promised the Greeks a period of peaceful progress. A philhellenist by conviction, believing implicitly in the future of the new state, Finlay was seized by such a passion for Greece that he decided to make the soil of Hellas his home forever. He bought a landed estate, and on the purchase and improvement of it he spent all his money. It was at this time that he began to think of writing a history of the Greek Revolution; in preparation for this he began a study of the country’s past. Gradually from his pen came a series of works on Greek history. His Greece Under the Romans, covering the events from 146B.C. to 717 A.D. was published in 1844. Ten years later the History of the Byzantine and Greek Empires from 716 to 1453 appeared. These were followed by two works on modern and contemporary Greek history. Later he examined all his works carefully and decided to prepare them for a new edition, but before he finished this undertaking he died in Athens in January, 1875. The general work, A History of Greece from Its Conquest by the Romans to the Present Time (B.C. 146—A.D. 1864) was published in 1877 in a seven-volume edition by H. F. Tozer, who inserted the autobiography of Finlay at the beginning of the first volume. This last edition is the one which should be used today.
In Finlay’s opinion the history of Greece during twenty centuries of foreign domination records the degradation and calamities of the nation that attained the highest level of civilization in the ancient world. Yet its national character had not been obliterated nor its national ambition extinguished. Historians ought not to ignore the history of a people that after these vicissitudes still had the energy to form an independent state. The condition of Greece during its long period of servitude, Finlay observed, was not one of uniform degeneracy. Under the Romans, and subsequently under the Ottomans, the Greeks formed only an insignificant portion of a vast empire. Their unwarlike character rendered them of little political importance, and many of the great changes and revolutions which occurred in the dominions of the emperors and of the sultans exerted no direct influence on Greece. Consequently, neither the general history of the Roman nor that of the Ottoman Empire forms a portion of Greek history. Under the Byzantine emperors the case was different for then the Greeks became identified with the imperial administration. The difference in the political position of the nation during these periods requires a different treatment from the historian to explain its characteristics.26
Finlay divided the history of the Greeks as a dependent nation into six periods: (1) The era of Roman domination, which did not end until the first half of the eighth century with the accession of Leo the Isaurian, who gave the administration of Constantinople a new character. (2) The second period embraces the history of the Eastern Roman Empire in its new form, under its conventional title of the Byzantine Empire. The records of this despotism, modified, renovated, and invigorated by the Iconoclast emperors, constitute one of the most remarkable and instructive lessons in the history of monarchical institutions. During this period the history of the Greeks is closely interwoven with the annals of the imperial government, so that the history of the Byzantine Empire forms a portion of the history of the Greek nation. Byzantine history extends from the accession of Leo the Isaurian in 716, to the conquest of Constantinople by the Crusaders in 1204. (3) After the destruction of the Eastern Roman Empire, Greek history diverges into many channels. The exiled Roman-Greeks of Constantinople fled to Asia and established their capital at Nicaea; they prolonged the imperial administration in some provinces on the old model and with the old names. In less than sixty years they recovered possession of Constantinople; but though the government they established retained the proud title of Roman Empire, it was only a very poor replica of even the Byzantine state. This third period Finlay called the Greek Empire of Constantinople. Its feeble existence was terminated by the Ottoman Turks when they took Constantinople in 1453. (4) When the Crusaders conquered the greater part of the Byzantine Empire, they divided their conquest with the Venetians and founded the Latin Empire of Romania with feudal principalities in Greece. The domination of the Latins marked the decline of Greek influence in the East and caused a rapid diminution in the wealth and numbers of the Greek nation. This period extends from the conquest of Constantinople in 1204 until the conquest of Naxos by the Ottoman Turks in 1566. (5) The conquest of Constantinople in 1204 caused the foundation of a new Greek state in the eastern provinces of the Byzantine Empire, called the Empire of Trebizond. It represents a curious episode in Greek history. Its government bore a strong resemblance to the Georgian and Armenian monarchies, indicating the influence of Asiatic rather than European manners. For two and a half centuries it exercised considerable influence, based, however, on its commercial position and resources rather than on its political strength or Greek civilization. It had little influence on the fate of Greece, and its conquest in 1461 excited little sympathy. (6) The sixth and last period of the history of Greece under foreign domination extends from 1453 to 1821, and embraces both the Ottoman rule and the temporary occupation of the Peloponnesus by the Venetian Republic, from 1685 to 1715.27
Finlay made a great contribution to the study of Byzantine history. Though his division of Greek history into periods is, like any schematic division, a debatable procedure, still his is the unquestionable distinction of having been the first to turn his attention to the internal history of the Byzantine state in its juridical, social, and economic phases. This was not, of course, a series of profound original investigations; such investigations are still wanting on many subjects. Most of Finlay’s accounts of the internal history were based upon general considerations and on analogies with recent historical events. His signal service was to raise many interesting questions concerning the internal history of the Byzantine Empire. Finlay’s work is interesting even today, in spite of the fact that he studied Byzantine history only as a preparation for writing a history of modern Greece.
The English historian Freeman evaluated Finlay’s work in 1855. For deep and original research, he said, for a comprehensive grasp of his subject, and above all for a bold and independent spirit of inquiry, Finlay may take his place among great historical writers of his age. In the light of its vast scope and the difficulties of its execution, his work may be regarded as the greatest historical literature produced in Britain since the days of Gibbon. Finlay passed his life in the land and among the people of whom he wrote. Perhaps no great historical work ever owed its origin so directly to the events of the contemporary world. A man with a keen and observant mind, a student of law and political economy rather than a professional scholar, Finlay reflected deeply on the state of the land in which he lived and traced the causes of what he saw to their origin two thousand years before. His works have both gained and lost by the peculiar circumstances under which they were written. No work produced by either an ordinary scholar or an ordinary politician, Freeman concluded, could ever come near to the native strength and originality of the work of this solitary thinker, studying, using, and recording the events of two thousand years in order to solve the problems which he saw at his own door.28 Freeman showed a real understanding of Finlay’s distinction, the attempt to explain by means of ancient survivals in the present time, analogous phenomena in the past.29
Paparrigopoulo.— About the middle of the nineteenth century the attention of men interested in Byzantine history turned to the works of K. Paparrigopoulo, a serious Greek scholar and professor at the University of Athens who devoted his life to the study of the past of Greece. As early as the third and fourth decade of the nineteenth century he published some brief and interesting historical works, for example On the Settlement of Some Slav Tribes in the Peloponnesus (IIϵρì τῆς ἐπoικήσεως Σλαβικῶν τινων ϕύλων εἰς τὴν IIελoπóννησoν), published in Athens in 1843. But these were only preparatory steps toward his more extensive work. The main enterprise of his life was the history of his people. The result of his thirty years of effort was a five-volume History of the Greek People from the Most Ancient Times to Recent Years (Ίστoρία τoῦ Έλληνικoύ ἔθνoυς ἀπò τῶν ἀρξαιoτἀτων ξρóνων μἔξρι τῶν νεωτέρων), published in Athens between 1860 and 1877. Several editions were published, the most recent edited by Karolides, published in Athens in 1925. This work gives the history of the Greek people until 1832. Written in modern Greek, this rather bulky work was not widely accessible, and Paparrigopoulo later decided to summarize his most important results in one volume, written in French and entitledA History of Hellenic Civilization (Histoire de la civilisation hellénique), published in Paris in 1878. Toward the end of his life he undertook to publish a similar volume in Greek, but he died before he finished this book. After his death the work was published under the title The Most Instructive Results of the History of the Greek People (Athens, 1899). It represents an abstract or an outline, with some revisions, of the material which was given in great detail in the five-volume history. The last four volumes of this work are concerned with Byzantine history.
In spite of its strongly biased character, the work of Paparrigopoulo deserves much attention. The author looked upon history from the purely nationalistic point of view of an ardent Greek patriot. In all important phenomena he saw Greek origin; he considered Roman influence only casual and superficial. He devoted special attention to his favorite period, the epoch of the Iconoclast emperors. Not limiting himself to the religious aspects of the period, Paparrigopoulo saw in this movement an attempt to effect real social reform coming out of the innermost depths of the Hellenic spirit. Enthusiastically he contended that, “leaving aside the fundamental religious dogmas, the Hellenic reforms of the eighth century were, from the standpoint of social changes, much broader and more systematic than more recent Western European reforms, advocating principles and dogmas which, to our great astonishment, are found in the eighth century.”30 But these reforms were too bold and radical for Byzantine society; hence the Iconoclast epoch was followed by a reactionary period. This explains why the Macedonian dynasty followed a conservative policy. Hellenism retained its importance during the entire medieval period. There were no inner causes for the fall of Constantinople in 1204; the capital of the empire yielded only to the crude physical force of the crusaders. And if the sad event of 1204 dealt a heavy blow to “Byzantine Hellenism” a dominating influence was soon exercised by “modern Hellenism,” from which the modern Greeks of the nineteenth century descend directly. Thus, in the opinion of Paparrigopoulo, Hellenism in one form or another continued a healthy existence during the entire Byzantine period. Although the work of this Greek scholar naturally reflects the enthusiasm of a Greek patriot, his largeHistory of the Greek People and the French History of Hellenic Civilization are very valuable books. Paparrigopoulo’s chief service was to point out the great importance and complexity of the Iconoclast movement. His work cannot be used readily because it lacks index and references; the verification of facts and conclusions is very difficult and inconvenient.
Hopf.—To the body of serious and tireless scholars in the field of Byzantine history in the nineteenth century belongs the German professor Carl Hopf (1832–73). A native of Westphalia, Hopf was the son of a secondary school teacher. At a very early age he showed evidence of a striking memory and a capacity for foreign languages. After completing his studies at the University of Bonn he remained there as an assistant and devoted himself passionately to the solution of his chief scientific problem, the study of Greek history under Frankish domination, the period after 1204A.D. In 1853 and 1854 Hopf made his first journey; he went by way of Vienna to northern Italy, which at that time was still in the hands of Austria. There he worked intensively, devoting most of his time to some private family archives. His labors resulted in the publication of archive documents and monographs devoted to the history of separate Frankish kingdoms in Greece and of the islands of the Aegean Sea. While he was a professor at Greifswald and later chief librarian and professor at Königsberg, Hopf continued his study of the Middle Ages. He made a second journey (1861–63) to Genoa, Naples, Palermo, Malta, Corfù, Zante, Syra, Naxos, and Greece, and collected an enormous amount of manuscript material. Upon his return home Hopf began his work of organizing these materials, but his health broke down and he died at Wiesbaden in 1873, at the prime of his life and at the height of his creative scholarly career. He published a considerable number of monographs and articles, as well as numerous collections of sources relating to the Frankish epoch.
Hopf’s most important and valuable work is his History of Greece from the Beginning of the Middle Ages to the Most Recent Times (Geschichte Griechenlands vom Beginne des Mittelalters bis auf die neuere Zeit (1867–68). This work, especially the portions based on manuscripts collected by Hopf himself, shows the author’s wide acquaintance with original sources. He devoted most of his book to the period of Frankish domination in the East; basing his narrative on a mass of archive material, he was the first to give a detailed account of the external history of this domination, not only in the important centers, but also in the small islands of the Aegean Sea. Not all the manuscripts collected by Hopf have been published; therefore certain portions of his book based upon them may be considered a genuine primary source. Hopf’s history analyzes in detail the question of the Slavs in Greece. He advanced facts and arguments against the famous Fallmerayer theory, which maintained that the blood of the modern Greeks contains not a drop of the ancient Hellenic blood, and that the Greeks of today are descendants of the Slavs and Albanians who invaded Greece in the Middle Ages.31 Unfortunately, Hopf’s valuable work was published in the old General Encyclopedia of Arts and Sciences (Ersch-Gruber,Allgemeine Encyklopädie der Wissen-schaften und Künste, vols. LXXXV and LXXXVI), which has a very limited circulation. This unsatisfactory edition lacks such indispensable tools as an index and a table of contents. Moreover, the book was not entirely finished by the author, the material is arranged without any plan, and the style is dry and heavy. But its enormous amount of fresh, unpublished material opens up entirely new pages of Greek medieval history during the period of Frankish domination. At present Hopf’s manuscript treasures can be found at the Berlin National Library. They constitute a very rich source of information for historians.
In later years several German scholars made use of Hopf’s work in writing more readable surveys of medieval Greek or Byzantine history. Of such historians at least two should be mentioned: Hertzberg and Gregorovius.
Hertzberg.—G. F. Hertzberg was for some time a student of ancient Greek and Roman history. He later became interested in the Middle Ages, and wrote two works of a general nature: The History of Greece from the End of the Classical Period to the Present Time (Geschichte Griechenlands seit dem Absterben des antiken Lebens bis zum Gegenwart), four volumes published at Gotha, 1876–79; and History of the Byzantines and of the Ottoman Empire until the End of the Sixteenth Century (Geschichte der Byzantiner und des Osmanischen Reiches bis gegen Ende des sechzehnten Jahrhunderts), published in Berlin in 1883. While not truly original, these two books have introduced many of the results of Hopf’s work to a wider circle of readers, particularly because of their fine easy style. The second book was published in a Russian translation by P. V. Bezobrazov (Moscow, 1896). This translation, as compared with the German original, is particularly valuable because Bezobrazov not only indicated the available literature on the subject, but also added several appendices which present the main results of studies made by Russian scholars in the field of Byzantine internal history. These additions concern phases neglected by Hertzberg, such as the great palace and the court ceremonial, handicrafts and trades corporations, peasants, the peasant community and the rural code, the measures for protecting peasant landowner-ship and the serfdom of the peasants, the position of the serfs, the peasant lots, the tax roll, the system of taxation, and the abuses of tax collectors. This book is very valuable for an elementary acquaintance with Byzantine history.
Gregorovius.—Another scholar who used Hopf’s investigations as a foundation for his own work was F. Gregorovius, famous for his large work on the history of Rome in the Middle Ages. This work suggested to the author the idea of studying the medieval history of another center of ancient civilization, Athens. The results of this study was his two-volume History of the City of Athens in the Middle Ages (Geschichte der Stadt Athen im Mittelalter), published in Stuttgart in 1889. This work is founded upon the works of Hopf, which, according to Gregorovius, form a firm foundation for all investigations made since Hopf, as well as for any which might be undertaken in the future.32 But Gregorovius drew also upon the cultural life of the country, a phase Hopf neglected. He handled his problem brilliantly. By adding material discovered since the time of Hopf, he gave an excellent account of the history of medieval Athens, with the general history of Byzantium as a background. He brought his account down to the time of the formation of the Greek Kingdom in the nineteenth century. The interest and value of his work continues.
Bury.—J. B. Bury (1861–1927) was a professor at Cambridge University. He wrote, besides other books in the field of Byzantine studies, three volumes on the general history of the Byzantine Empire, including events from 395 to 867. The first two volumes were published in 1889 under the title A History of the Later Roman Empire from Arcadius to Irene. These two volumes discuss events up to 800 A.D., that is, until the coronation of Charlemagne by Pope Leo III in Rome. N. H. Baynes has said, “No one could have been prepared for the revelation of the width and depth of Bury’s Byzantine studies made in 1889 when there appeared the two volumes of his History of the Later Empire. This was an amazing piece of pioneer work, and by it Bury established his position as a historian.”33 The third volume was published twenty-three years later, entitled A History of the Eastern Roman Empire from the Fall of Irene to the Accession of Basil I (London, 1912). This volume deals with the period from 802 to 867. In 1923 the second edition of the first two volumes was published. It covered events only up to the end of the reign of Justinian the Great (565 A.D.). This is more than a revised and enlarged edition; it is almost a new work on the early history of the Byzantine Empire. The first of these two volumes, in the words of the author, might be entitled “The German Conquest of Western Europe,” and the second “The Age of Justinian.”34 The history of the period from 565 to 800 has not yet been edited for the second time. Bury evidently intended to write a Byzantine history on the grand scale, but unfortunately he died in Rome on June 1, 1927 without having carried out this project.
In his work Bury supported the one right idea concerning the Roman Empire: its continuous existence from the first to the fifteenth centuries. There is no period of history, said Bury in the preface to the first edition, which has been so much obscured by incorrect and misleading titles as the period of the later Roman Empire. It is due more to improper nomenclature than one might at first suppose, that the import of the period is so constantly misunderstood and its character so often misrepresented. The first step toward grasping the history of those centuries through which the ancient evolved into the modern world is comprehension of the fact that the old Roman Empire did not cease to exist until the year 1453. The line of Roman emperors continued in an unbroken succession from Octavius Augustus to Constantine Palaeologus, the last of the Byzantine emperors. This essential fact is now obscured by applying the name “Byzantine” or the name “Greek” to the Empire in its later stages. Historians who use the phrase “Byzantine Empire” generally disagree as to the date at which the “Roman Empire” ends and the “Byzantine Empire” begins. Sometimes the line is drawn at the foundation of Constantinople by Constantine the Great, sometimes at the death of Theodosius the Great, sometimes at the reign of Justinian, sometimes (as by Finlay) at the accession of Leo the Isaurian; and the historian who adopts one line of division cannot assert that the historian who adopts a different line is wrong, for all such divisions are purely arbitrary. The Roman Empire did not come to an end until 1453, and such expressions as “Byzantine,” “Greek,” “Romanic,” or “Greco-Roman Empire” serve only to obscure an important fact and perpetuate a serious error. Bury asserted in 1923, however, that quite a new period of history, which is conventionally called Byzantine history, began with the period of Constantine the Great. Bury began the first volume of his History of the Later Roman Empire with this statement: “The continuity of history, which means the control of the present and future by the past, has become a commonplace, and chronological limits, which used to be considered important, are now recognized to have little significance except as convenient landmarks in historical survey. Yet there are what we may call culminating epochs, in which the accumulating tendencies of the past, reaching a certain point, suddenly effect a visible transformation which seems to turn the world in a new direction. Such a culminating epoch occurred in the history of the Roman Empire at the beginning of the fourth century. The reign of Constantine the Great inaugurated a new age in a much fuller sense than the reign of Augustus, the founder of the Empire.”35
For these reasons, Bury entitled the first edition of his two volumes, concerned with the period preceding 800 A.D., A History of the Later Roman Empire. In 800 Charlemagne was proclaimed emperor in Rome. Hence from this moment it is quite correct to distinguish between the two rival empires by prefixing the adjectives western and eastern. But unhappily the phrase “Eastern Roman Empire” is not confined to this legitimate use. We hear of an Eastern and a Western Roman Empire in the fifth century; references are made to the fall of a Western Empire in 476. Such language, though it has the sanction of high names, is incorrect in itself and leads to a further confusion. It is incorrect because the Roman Empire was one and undivided in the fifth century, and though there were generally more emperors than one, there were never two empires. To speak of two empires in the fifth century is to misrepresent in the grossest manner the theory of the imperial constitution. No one talks about two Roman empires in the days of Constantius and Constans (successors of Constantine the Great); yet the relations between Arcadius and Honorius, between Theodosius II and Valentinian III, between Leo I and Anthemius were exactly the same as the political relations which existed between the sons of Constantine. However independent, or even hostile, the rulers may have been from time to time, theoretically the empire which they ruled was unaffected. No empire fell in 476; that year marks only a stage, and not even the most important stage, in the process of disintegration which was going on during the whole century. The resignation of Romulus Augustulus did not even shake the Roman Empire; far less did it cause an empire to fall. It is unfortunate, therefore, that Gibbon spoke of the “fall of the Western Empire,” and that many modern writers have given their sanction to the phrase.
Thus the Roman Empire existed from the first century B.C. to the fifteenth century A.D. Only from the year 800 forward it may be distinguished as the Eastern Roman Empire because of the foundation of another Roman Empire in the West.36 Bury therefore entitled his third volume, published in 1912 and narrating events from 802 forward, A History of the Eastern Roman Empire in order to distinguish it from the first two volumes.
Bury pointed out the superficial manner in which Byzantine history has been treated by the philosophers and writers of the eighteenth century and noted that these eminent men had entirely ignored one of the most important and essential factors in the development of western European civilization, that is, the influence of the later Roman Empire and New Rome.37 Of course, Bury’s point of view was not new. The idea of a continuous Roman Empire was recognized before his time by such men as Montesquieu, in his Considerations sur les causes de la grandeur des Romains et de leur décadence. But Bury advanced this thesis with unusual force and made it convincing.
His history deserves close attention. While relating the history of the eastern part of the empire, he follows, until 800, the events in the western part. This, of course, is in keeping with his idea of the unity of the Roman Empire. Bury does not limit himself to political history; entire chapters of his book are devoted to questions of administration, literature, social life, geography, and art. The first two chapters of the second edition, devoted to the constitution of the monarchy and the administrative machinery, are considered by a very well-known specialist in the history of the Roman Empire to be the best short description of the general conditions which prevailed in the late Roman Empire.38 Bury knew Russian as well as other Slavonic languages; hence he used and evaluated all the Russian and Bulgarian literature bearing on the history of Byzantium.
Lampros.—Spiridon Lampros (Λἀμπρoς), a Greek scholar and professor at the University of Athens, was an active editor of manuscripts and historical texts, and the author of a catalogue of Greek manuscripts from Athos. His chief contribution was a six volume work begun in 1886 and completed in 1908, nine years before his death: Illustrated History of Greece from the Earliest Times to the Capture of Constantinople (Ίστoρία τῆς Έλλἀδoς μετ’ εἰκóνων ἀπò τῶν ἀρχαιoτἀτων χρóνων μέχρι τῆς ἁλώσεως τῆς Kωνσταντινoυπóλεως). This work, intended for a wide, rather than a scholarly, circle of readers, narrates clearly and comprehensively the events of Byzantine history until the end of the existence of the Empire. The author did not indicate his sources. His text is illustrated by numerous drawings.39
Gelzer.—A professor of the University of Jena, the late H. Gelzer, wrote for the second edition of Krumbacher’s History of Byzantine Literature an Outline of Byzantine Imperial History (Abriss der byzantinischen Kaisergeschichte, Munich, 1897). Parts of this outline, concerned primarily with external history, are directly dependent upon the works of Hertzberg. As a political partisan, Gelzer sometimes permitted his sympathy and antipathy to dictate his evaluation of historical events of the Byzantine period. His outline may be valuable for elementary reference.
It is interesting to read from the pen of this German scholar this statement in the conclusion of his outline:
The Russian Tsar married a princess from the house of the Palaeologi; the crown of Constantine Monomachus was bestowed in the Kremlin upon the autocrat of All Russia. The Russian state represents a direct continuation of the Byzantine Empire. And if St. Sophia is ever returned to true faith, if Asia Minor is ever torn out of the hideous hands of the Turks, it will be done only by the Russian Tsar. English interference goes against nature and history and will surely, though perhaps slowly, be broken. Only the protector of the orthodox Greek religion, the Russian Tsar, can become Emperor of Constantinople, in so far as he earnestly realizes the great duties connected with this task.40
Hesseling.—In 1902 D. C. Hesseling, professor at Leiden University, Holland, published his The Byzantine Empire: Studies Concerning our Civilization from the Time of the Foundation of Constantinople (Byzantium: Studien over onze beschaving na de stichting van Konstantinopel, Haarlem, 1902). Since Dutch is not a widely read language, this book was inaccessible to many until 1907 when a French translation of it appeared entitled Essai sur la civilisation byzantine par D. C. Hesseling. The translation was made by a well-known French Byzantine scholar and member of the Academy, G. Schlumberger, who hinted somewhat obscurely that the “translation is adapted for the taste of the French reading public.”
Hesseling’s brief yet compact book describes Byzantine civilization in broad terms and considers all sides of the multiform life of the Eastern Empire. Among political events the author chooses only those which throw some light on Byzantine civilization, and among individual names and single facts only those appear which bear upon general ideas. Hesseling devoted much attention to literature and art. This Essay on Byzantine Civilization, though somewhat elementary for the specialist, is of value to those who seek acquaintance with the general significance of the Byzantine period through a readable account that is at the same time well grounded.
Bussell.—The two-volume English work of F. W. Bussell, The Roman Empire: Essays on the Constitutional History from the Accession of Domitian (81 A.D.) to the Retirement of Nicephorus III (1081 A.D.), was published in London in 1910. Though this work is not lacking in interesting ideas and analogies, it suffers from vague narration, repetition, and lack of clarity in plan, so that the valuable ideas are at times obscured. The chronological framework of this investigation is chosen at random, although the author tried to give it some foundation (see vol. I, pp. 1–2, 13–17). In the second volume the reader is surprised to find an outline of the history of the relations between Armenia and the Byzantine Empire from 520 to 1120. Bussell’s book is difficult to read. It has no references. The author’s main conception is that republican forms of the Roman imperial constitution, quite in evidence during the earlier epoch, continued to exist in one phase or another up to the period of the Comneni, that is, until 1081, at which time they were definitely replaced by the Byzantine form of autocracy, tyranny.
The Cambridge Medieval History.— A complete history of the Byzantine Empire, supplied with an excellent bibliography, is to be found in the Cambridge Medieval History. Volume I contains chapters on the history from Constantine the Great to the death of Anastasius in 518; in volume II are chapters on the period from the accession of Justinian I in 518 to the time of the Iconoclasts; the entire volume IV is devoted to the history of the Byzantine Empire from 717 to 1453 in connection with the history of the ancient Slavs, Armenia, the Mongols, and the Balkan states. There is no special chapter on the period of the Palaeologi. This general history of the Middle Ages was edited under the guidance of the late J. B. Bury and represents the joint work of well-known European scholars.
Romein.— In 1928, Jan Romein published in Dutch a very fine survey of Byzantine history entitled Byzantium. A Historical Review of the State and Civilization in the Eastern Roman Empire (Byzantium. Geschiedkundig Overzicht van Staat en Beschaving in het Oost-Romeinsche Rijk). This is a very reliable book, and although references are not given, it is based on original sources. It deals not only with political history but also with social, economic, and cultural development of the empire. There are thirty-five excellent illustrations.
Vasiliev.— The History of the Byzantine Empire by A. A. Vasiliev was published in Madison, Wisconsin in 1928 and 1929. This work covers the whole history of the Empire from the fourth century down to its fall in 1453. In 1932 this book was published in French as an enlarged and revised edition with illustrations and rather unsatisfactory maps. This French edition was introduced by a generous preface written by the famous French Byzantine scholar, the late Charles Diehl.41
Runciman.—Steven Runciman’s valuable Byzantine Civilization appeared in 1933. Runciman began his book with a discussion of the foundation of Constantinople; in succeeding chapters he gave a very brief but clear outline of political history, the imperial constitution, administration, religion and the Church, the army and navy, the diplomatic service, commerce, urban and rural life, education and learning, literature and art, and, finally, a discussion of “Byzantium and the Neighboring World.” This is an interesting and very well-written book.42
Iorga.—In 1934 the late Roumanian historian, N. Iorga, published in French his History of the Byzantine Life. Empire and Civilization (Histoire de la vie byzantine. Empire et civilisation). The author divides the history of the Byzantine Empire into three periods: (1) from Justinian down to the death of Heraclius, “the ecumenical empire” (l’empire oecuménique); (2) from the time of Heraclius to the time of the Comneni, “the middle empire of Hellenic civilization” (l’empire moyen de civilisation hellénique); (3) the period of the Comneni and Palaeologi, “the empire of Latin penetration” (l’empire de pénétration latine). The book contains a vast amount of information on all aspects of Byzantine history and many acute observations and original, sometimes debatable, ideas. It is supplied with a very rich and extensive bibliography.
Diehl and Marçais.—Le Monde oriental de 365 à 1081, by Charles Diehl and Georges Marçais, was published in Paris in 1936 as a volume in the series of Histoire générale, published under the direction of Gustave Glotz. For the first time in the course of Byzantine studies, the history of the Moslem world, whose destinies are indissolubly connected with the Oriental Empire, was included in a book dealing with Byzantium. Two such eminent scholars assured a fine piece of work. Diehl, of course, depended entirely upon his previous works. Conforming with the plan of the series, Diehl began the book with the year 395, so that the whole fourth century, which is so important for Byzantine studies, was not covered. Diehl carried the history of Byzantium down to 1081, down to the epoch of the crusades, when a wholly new period in the history of the Near East begins. The book gives a fine presentation not only of the political history of the Empire, but also of its internal life, social and economic structure, legislation, and finally its manifold and picturesque civilization. The book contains an excellent bibliography of primary sources as well as modern works.43
The second volume of Le Monde oriented was written by Charles Diehl, Rodolphe Guilland, Lysimaque Oeconomos, and René Grousset under the title L’Europe Orientale de 1081 à 1453. This was published in 1945. Diehl, with the collaboration of Oeconomos, described the period from 1081 to 1204; Guilland presented the history of Byzantium from 1204 to 1453; Grousset dealt with the history of the Latin Orient. The book includes sketches in the history of neighboring peoples, such as the Bulgars, Serbs, Ottoman Turks, the civilization of Venice and Genoa, the Empire of Trebizond, the Kingdom of Cyprus, the Kingdom of Cilician Armenia, and Latin possessions in the seas of Greece. This is a very useful and important contribution.44
Heichelheim.— In 1938 Fritz Heichelheim published in German two bulky volumes on Economic History of Antiquity from the Paleolithic Era down to the Migration of the Germans, Slavs and Arabs (Wirtschaftsgeschichte des Altertums von Paläolitickum bis zur Völkerwanderung der Germanen, Slaven und Arabes). Two chapters particularly interesting today are the eighth, “The Time from Augustus to Diocletian,” and the ninth, “The Late Antike from Diocletian to Heraclius as Guardian of the Treasure of Ancient Civilization for the Future.” The book contains much varied information on social and economic conditions of the Empire in the fourth, fifth, sixth, and seventh centuries; this is presented in confused form, however, so that it is difficult to use as a reference work. The book is written in a heavy German style, but the Byzantine section is worthy of study and would merit a detailed critical report by a Byzantine scholar.
Amantos.—A Greek scholar, Constantine Amantos (῎Aμαντoς), published in 1939 the first volume of his History of the Byzantine Empire (Ίστoρία τoῦ Bνζαντινoῦ Kρἀτoνς). The volume covers the time from 395 to 867, that is, up to the accession of the Macedonian dynasty. At the beginning of his book, Amantos gives a fine picture of conditions in the Empire in the fourth century, laying stress upon the triumph of Christianity, the foundation of Constantinople, and Germanic invasions. This is a very reliable piece of work with many important observations. It shows that Greeks of the present day are seriously interested not only in classical studies and modern politics, but also in the middle ages of the Near East, which are of great significance for the history of Greece. Amantos’ second volume which covers the time 867–1204 came out in 1947.
Ostrogorsty.—In 1940 a Russian scholar now living in Belgrade, Georg Ostrogorsky, published in German the History of the Byzantine State (Geschichte des byzantinischen Staates).45 This is a work of the first rank. It covers the whole period of Byzantine history down to the fall of the Empire. Ostrogorsky includes an excellent picture of the development of Byzantine historical studies beginning with the sixteenth century. The earlier period of the Empire, 324–610, is sketched only briefly, according to the plan ofHandbook in which it appeared. The text, supplied with extremely useful and well-chosen notes and references, gives a very reliable picture of the history of the Eastern Empire. As the title indicates, the chief aim of the author was to show the development of the Byzantine State as it was influenced by internal and external political changes. Therefore, political history prevails in the book, although social, economic, and cultural phenomenon are taken into account. As a supplement to this volume, Ostrogorsky’s excellent chapter on “Agrarian Conditions in the Byzantine Empire in the Middle Ages,” published in the first volume ofThe Cambridge Economic History of Europe from the Decline of the Roman Empire, can be warmly recommended. Ostrogorsky’s book is an excellent piece of scholarship and is absolutely indispensable for the student of Byzantine history.46 In 1947–50 the three volumes of the work of the distinguished French Byzantinist, Louis Bréhier, who died in October, 1950, came out under the title Le Monde Byzantin: I.Vie et mort de Byzance; II. Les Institutions de l’Empire Byzantin; III. La Civilisation Byzantine.
General Brief Sketches.—Among other historical works several surveys of Byzantine history are intended for the general reading public. Most of them have little or no serious scientific value, yet these popular accounts, rarely original in nature, are of value in awakening in some readers a desire for further study of the history of the Byzantine empire. Most of them are written in English.
C. W. Oman’s Byzantine Empire (3rd ed., London, 1892) is vivid and well illustrated. F. Harrison, in his sketch (63 pages) on Byzantine History in the Early Middle Ages (London, 1900), attempts, on the basis of Finlay’s and Bury’s investigations, to determine the importance of the Byzantine Empire from the point of view of western European civilization.47 The Frenchman Pierre Grenier, never a serious student of Byzantine history, made a curious attempt to paint a picture of the social and political evolution of theByzantine Empire. His book was published in two volumes entitledThe Byzantine Empire: Its Social and Political Evolution (L’Empire byzantin: Son évolution sociale et politique, Paris, 1904). Grenier’s general treatment is not always satisfactory and he makes both major and minor mistakes, pardonable in one who is not a specialist, but his work is interesting because it gives a large amount of varied information. A brief but compact history of Constantinople related to the general history of the Empire is W. N. Hutton’sConstantinople: The Story of the Old Capital of the Empire, published in London in 1904.
K. Roth gave a very brief and dry survey of Byzantine history in his History of the Byzantine Empire (Geschichte des Byzantinischen Reiches, Leipzig, 1904). He also published in 1917 a brief Social and Cultural History of the Byzantine Empire (Sozial und Kulturgeschichte des Byzantinischen Reiches). Professor R. von Scala wrote for inclusion in Helmholt’s Universal History a very compact outline of Byzantine history based on a wide knowledge of original sources and literature on the subject. He entitled this section “Hellenism Since the Time of Alexander the Great” (“Das Griechentum seit Alexander dem Grossen”). In this outline Scala centered his attention on analyzing and determining the significance of Byzantine civilization. There exists another English book, brief but serious and well done, by the Roumanian historian N. Iorga, entitled The Byzantine Empire, published in London in 1907. E. Foord’s well-illustrated and vividly written book, The Byzantine Empire—the Rearguard of European Civilization, appeared in 1911. It is regrettable that this book gives only a very brief and superficial account of the history of the Byzantine Empire during the epoch of its fall, the period after 1204.
Another brief survey of Byzantine history is included in the General History from the Fourth Century to Our Time (Histoire générale du IVe siècle à nos jours) by E. Lavisse and A. Rambaud. The Italian work of N. Turchi, La civiltà bizantina (Turin, 1915), is a valuable outline of Byzantine culture.
In 1919 Charles Diehl published his History of the Byzantine Empire (Histoire de l’Empire Byzantin). In this book Diehl attempted more than a survey of the political history of the Byzantine Empire; he gave an account of the more important inner processes and an explanation of the significance of Byzantine civilization. This book contains a brief bibliography as well as many maps and illustrations. It has gone through several editions in France. An English translation was published in America in 1925 (History of the Byzantine Empire), translated from the French by G. Ives.
In Byzance: Grandeur et Decadence (Paris, 1919), Charles Diehl painted a brilliant picture of Byzantine internal life. He discussed the causes for the greatness and for the fall of the Empire, the influence of Byzantine civilization upon neighboring nations, and the Byzantine heritage in Turkey, Russia, and the Balkan states.48 August Heisenberg gave serious and well-written accounts of life and civilization in his Staat und Gesellschaft des Byzantinischen Reiches which forms a part of Die Kultur der Gegenwart, edited by P. Hinneberg. Norman H. Baynes gave a similar picture in hisByzantine Empire (London, 1926), which covers the period from the fourth century to the capture of Constantinople by the Crusaders in 1204. The history of the Byzantine Empire to the end of the eleventh century was treated briefly in L. Halphen’s Les Barbares: des grandes invasions aux conquêtes turques du Xle siècle (Paris, 1926); some bibliography is given. A recent book of a general nature is Robert Byron’s The Byzantine Achievement. An Historical Perspective. A.D. 330–1453 (London, 1929). A little French book by Auguste Bailly, Byzance (Paris, 1939), embracing in popular form the whole history of the Empire, is not only useful but also is pleasant reading. Imperial Byzantium, the English edition of an original German work by Bertha Diener, appeared in 1938.49 Depending upon modern Byzantinologists for her facts, she related the history of the Empire in a somewhat picturesque style, as the chapter titles suggest. Chapter III is entitled “Angels and Eunuchs,” and the last chapter, which contains a general survey of the situation of the Empire after the Fourth Crusade, is appropriately called “Midsummer Night’s Dream.” A brief but very fineHistory of Byzantium (Histoire du Byzance) by Paul Lemerle was published in Paris in 1943.50 Compact and meritorious general accounts of Byzantine history were given by E. Gerland in the Catholic Encyclopedia and by J. B. Bury in the eleventh edition of the Encyclopaedia Britannica.
An excellent introduction to the history of Byzantium is the monumental work by O. Seeck, History of the Downfall of the Ancient World (Geschichte des Untergangs der antiken Welt), published between 1895 and 1920, which brings events down to the year 476. Two other very useful introductions to Byzantine history are: E. Stein, Geschichte des spätrömischen Reiches; and F. Lot, La Fin du monde antique et le debut du moyen âge (Paris, 1927), which includes the epoch of Justinian the Great. Stein’s second volume, in French, Histoire du Bas-Empire, which covers the period 476–565, came out in 1949.
Byzantine literature.—An indispensable reference work on Byzantine literature is the second edition of the excellent History of Byzantine Literature from Justinian to the End of the Eastern Roman Empire (Geschichte der byzantinischen Litteratur von Justinian bis zum Ende des oströmischen Reiches, Munich, 1897), published by Karl Krumbacher, late professor in the University of Munich. The theological literature in this edition was collected by Professor A. Ehrhard. The same edition contains H. Gelzer’s Survey of Byzantine Political History. Krumbacher’s work is the most important existing reference book for the study of Byzantine literature. It contains a vast amount of material and does credit to the profound scholarship and unusual industry of the author. Since Krumbacher was well acquainted with Russian and other Slavic languages, he used sources in these languages. His book is, of course, intended for specialists only and not for the general reader. However, he made available for a wider circle of readers a history of Byzantine literature in a more accessible booklet of fifty pages, Greek Literature of the Middle Ages (Die Griechische Literatur des Mittelalters), in the collection, Die Kultur der Gegenwart, edited by P. Hinneberg. K. Dieterich’s book, History of Byzantine and Modern Greek Literature (Geschichte der byzantinischen und neugriechischen Literatur, Leipzig, 1902), is of some importance. Valuable material is included in the brief history of Byzantine literature written in Italian by G. Montelatici, Storia della letteratura bizantina (324–1453), published in the Manuali Hoepli, serie scientific a, Milan, 1916. This book is not a repetition of Krumbacher’s work; it was published nineteen years later and includes a great quantity of new information. S. Mercati wrote a detailed review, which lists many errors (Roma e l’Oriente, VIII , 171–83). The brief survey of Byzantine literature in Polish by Jan Saidak, Litteratura Bizantynska (Warsaw, 1933), is not reliable. For the earlier period of Byzantine literature, from the fourth century, A.D., W. Christ’s Geschichte der Griechischen Litteratur (Vol. II, Munich, 1924), is very useful. Three other books are of value: F. A. Wright, A History of Later Greek Literature from the Death of Alexander in 323 B.C. to the Death of Justinian in 565 A.D.(New York, 1932); Otto Bardenhewer, Patrologie (3rd ed., Freiburg, 1910); and Bardenhewer’s Geschichte der altkirchlichen Literatur (Freiburg, 1910, 5 vols.). In the last-named work, the concluding three volumes, covering the period from the fourth to the eighth centuries, are especially important. N. Iorga has analyzed the literature briefly in “La littérature byzantine, son sens, ses divisions, sa portée,” Revue historique du sud-est européen, II (1925), 370–97.
BYZANTINE STUDIES IN RUSSIA
The nineteenth century
Russian scholars began to show an active interest in Byzantine history in the second half of the nineteenth century.
The German academicians.– During the first half of the nineteenth century some studies in the field were made by German scholars in Russia, who were elected members of the Russian Academy of Sciences and remained permanently in Petrograd. These German scholars were especially interested in determining the importance of Byzantium and Byzantine sources in Russian history. Of these academicians Ph. Krug (1764–1844) and A. Kunik (1814–99) deserve mention.
Westerners and Slavophiles.—Among eminent representatives of Russian thinkers in the first half of the nineteenth century, Byzantine history often served as material for supporting a particular social movement. For example, some Slavophiles51 drew from the history of the Byzantine Empire facts supporting and justifying their theories. The Westerners took from the same sources facts which were supposed to show the unfavorable influence of Byzantine history and to point definitely to the great danger which would threaten if Russia should decide to follow the traditions of the fallen Empire. In one of his works, Herzen wrote:
Ancient Greece had ceased to exist when Roman domination came in and saved her, just as the lava and ashes saved Pompeii and Herculaneum. The Byzantine period had opened the lid of the coffin, but the dead body remained dead; like any other grave it was taken over by the priests (popes) and monks and was fittingly handled by eunuchs, those true representatives of sterility. . . . The Byzantine Empire could live, but her function was ended; and history in general is interested in nations only while they are on the stage, i.e. while they are doing something.52
Another Westerner, P. Y. Tchaadayev, wrote in his first philosophic letter: “Complying with our evil fate, we turned to the woeful, deeply hated Byzantine Empire for a moral code, which was to be the basis of our education.”53 But these statements have no historical value whatever. Unquestionably gifted and highly educated as these thinkers were, they were not real students of Byzantine history.
A realization of the importance of Byzantine historical study was very apparent in the middle of the nineteenth century. A fervent Slavophile, A. S. Khomiakov, wrote in the 1850’s: “In our opinion, to speak of the Byzantine Empire with disdain means to disclose one’s own ignorance.”54 In 1850 the famous University of Moscow professor, T. N. Granovsky, wrote:
Do we need to speak of the importance of Byzantine history for us, Russians? We have taken over from Tsargrad55 the best part of our national culture, namely, our religious beliefs and the beginnings of civilization. The Eastern Empire introduced Russia into the family of Christian nations. But besides these connections we are bound up with the fate of the Byzantine Empire by the mere fact that we are Slavs. This side of the question has not been, and could not be, fully appreciated by foreign scholars.56
The proper solution of the main problems of Byzantine history, in the opinion of Granovsky, could be reached in his time only by Russian or Slavic scholars: “It is our duty to study the phenomenon to which we are so much indebted.”57
Vasilievsky.—The real founder of the scientific study of Byzantine history on a large scale was V. G. Vasilievsky (1838–99), professor at the University of Petrograd and a member of the Russian Academy of Sciences. He published a large number of distinguished works on special problems in Byzantine history, internal as well as external, and devoted much of his energy and fine analytical ability to the study of Russo-Byzantine relations. Some of Vasilievsky’s works are of great importance in the field of general history. For instance, it is admitted by many distinguished European scholars that Vasilievsky’s work on “Byzantium and the Patzinaks,” is indispensable to any student of the First Crusade.58 The late Professor N. P. Kondakov, who died in 1925, and the academician Th. I. Uspensky are also distinguished scholars, the former in the field of Byzantine art and the latter in the realm of Byzantine social history. No discussion or evaluation of the work of these three historians appears here, because Vasilievsky published works on special questions only and Kondakov’s works deal mainly with Byzantine art;59 this survey is intended to indicate general works on Byzantine history. Uspensky is somewhat of an exception; more will be said later about his two volumes on the general history of the Empire, which appeared in 1914 and in 1927.
On the whole, the chief contribution of the Russian scholars down to the beginning of the twentieth century was their detailed investigations which shed much light on special, and at times extremely important, questions.60
Ertov.—In 1837 I. Ertov published in Russian his two-volume History of the Eastern Roman or Constantinopolitan Empire, Selected from the General History. The last words of the title indicated that this work was merely an extract from his fifteen-volumeGeneral History and Continuation of the General History of the Migration of Nations and the Establishment of New States in Europe, Asia, and Africa, from the Time of the Formation of the Russian State until the Destruction of the Eastern Roman Empire,published 1830–34. Ertov was the son of a merchant and was a self-taught man. In writing this history of the Byzantine Empire he was guided by the idea that “the Russian reader needs, above all, a narrative history.” He stated that he used as sources, “besides many excerpts from numerous books and periodicals [in French], the history of Royou, Lebeau’s abridged history of the Eastern Roman Empire, and Adam’s abridged translation of Gibbon’s history.”61 Naturally, Ertov’s compilation embracing events until the fall of Constantinople has no scientific value, but it was an unexpected attempt for his time.
The twentieth century
Kulakovsky.—The first attempt to write a serious general history of the Byzantine Empire was made by the late J. A. Kulakovsky, professor at the University of Kiev. His special field was Roman literature, but he taught Roman history at the University and did much work in the field of Roman antiquities and the history of Roman institutions of the imperial epoch. During the period following 1890 he spent part of his time studying Christian archeology and Byzantine history. In the early part of the present century (1906–08) he translated the work of the well-known pagan Roman historian of the fourth century A.D., Ammianus Marcellinus, and this translation served as a kind of introduction to his later Byzantine studies. In 1910 he published the first volume of his History of the Byzantine Empire, covering the period from 395 to 518 A.D. The second volume appeared in 1912 and the third in 1915. These embrace the history of the Empire from 518 to 717, i.e., up to the Iconoclast period. A revised edition of the first volume appeared as early as 1913. With unusual industry and untiring energy the author studied Byzantine sources, Greek, Latin, and Oriental (in translation), and on the basis of all these and a wide acquaintance with the literature of the period he wrote his detailed history of the Byzantine Empire up to 717. In his work Professor Kulakovsky deals with some phases of internal life, but they are at times lost in the mass of details concerning external political life. The third volume is of particularly great interest and value. According to his own statement in the preface to the first volume, Kulakovsky attempted, through a vivid and realistic account, to make it possible for the reader to sense the spirit of those ancient times. “Our Russian past,” said Kulakovsky, “is bound up with the Byzantine Empire by unbreakable ties; and on the basis of this union our Russian national consciousness has defined itself.” He bitterly regretted the abolition of the study of Greek in Russian secondary schools: “perhaps some day we Russians will understand, as they do in Western Europe, that not the last word of the Modern, but the first word of the Hellene, contains the creative beginnings of European culture.” In the preface to the third volume the author once more defined the plan of his Byzantine history: “My aim was to present a consecutive, chronologically exact, and, as far as possible, complete picture of the life of the Empire, based on a direct study of sources and a modern investigation of materials as they appear in monographs referring to this period in numerous studies of individual questions given in various periodicals devoted to Byzantine problems.” The work of Professor Kulakovsky is of great value for the facts of Byzantine history and for the contents of some of the original sources. It contains also the important conclusions and theories of modern historians on the main problems of Byzantine history, social as well as political. Kulakovsky’s account of historical events is very detailed; this explains the fact that three volumes, comprising about 1,400 pages, cover the history of the Empire only until the beginning of the eighth century.
Th. I. Uspensky.—The first volume of the History of the Byzantine Empire by the Russian academician and former director of the Archeological Institute in Constantinople, Th. I Uspensky, appeared in 1914. This beautiful work, with numerous maps, plates, and pictures, gives an account of historical events from the fourth century until the beginning of the eighth century, i.e., until the Iconoclast period. This book represents the first attempt made by a specialist in this field to write a general history of the Byzantine Empire. The man who undertook it was one of the most distinguished scholars in the field of Byzantine history and culture. He devoted his long and industrious life almost exclusively to the study of different aspects and epochs of the complex history of the Empire. He died in Leningrad in 1928, at the age of eighty-three. Wishing to offer an accessible narrative history to a wide circle of readers, Uspensky did not supply his work with many references, either in footnotes or at the ends of chapters, but limited himself to mentioning his main sources and secondary works. The first part of the second volume, published in 1927, contains a discussion of the Iconoclast epoch and the problem of the Slavonic apostles, Cyril (Constantine) and Methodius.
Uspensky’s first volume serves as a broad introduction to the history of the Empire at the time when the main elements of “Byzantinism” were being created and the complex Byzantine culture was being formed. The author cannot refrain from finding in certain past events of Byzantine history some “lessons” for modern life. When he spoke of the dominant importance of the Oriental Byzantine provinces and pointed out that it was precisely in Asia Minor, in the Empire of Nicaea, that the idea of restoring the Byzantine Empire in the thirteenth century had grown and ripened, he concluded that “the lesson of history must be strictly examined” and weighed by his contemporaries waiting for the division of the inheritance of the “dangerously ill patient on the Bosphorus.”62 He commented further:
We should be greatly mistaken were we to insist that it is within our power to avoid taking an active part in the settlement of matters connected with the Byzantine heritage. Although it usually depends upon the heir to accept or refuse the heritage left to him, still Russia’s part in the Eastern question was bequeathed by history and cannot be changed voluntarily unless some unforseen shock should give us the faculty to forget and stamp out the memory of the things which made us live, strive, and suffer.63
Throughout his work Uspensky attempted to explain the problem of Slavic-Byzantine relations, and at the close of his introduction, written in October, 1912, he referred the reader to the chapters on the history of the southern Slavs for the explanation of “today’s sad events in the Balkan peninsula,” i.e., the events of the Second Balkan War.64 His goal, Uspensky explained, was to provide for the Russian reader serious material which would help him gain a clear understanding of a carefully weighed and well-thought-out system. In addition, he hoped that his readers would appreciate his conviction that a thorough study of Byzantine history and its relation to Russia’s past is not only indispensable to Russian scholarship but is equally necessary for the formation and proper guidance of Russian political and national consciousness.
As an adherent of “Byzantinism,” Uspensky took particular care to define this term. In his conception the essential features which gave rise to Byzantinism were the immigration of the barbarians into the Empire and the cultural and religious crisis of the third and fourth centuries.65“Byzantinism is a historical principle, the effect of which is revealed in the history of the people of Southern and Eastern Europe; this principle directs the development of many states even in our own times; it expresses itself in a particular set of beliefs and political institutions, and, one might say, in special forms of class organization and land relations.”66 By Byzantinism, which is the result of a fusion of Romanism with older cultures, such as Hebrew, Persian, and Hellenic, “is meant primarily the combination of all elements which influenced the gradual reformation of the Roman Empire from the fifth to the eighth centuries, before it was transformed into the Byzantine Empire.”67 “Many changes were caused by Germanic and Slavic immigration, bringing on reforms in the social and economic structure and in the military system of the Empire. The new elements exerted much influence upon the reformation of the Roman Empire in the East, causing it to acquire gradually the characteristics of Byzantinism.”68Byzantinism manifests itself in the following phenomena: (1) “in a steady abolition of the prevailing Latin tongue and its gradual replacement by the Greek, or properly speaking, Byzantine, language; (2) in the struggle of nationalities for political supremacy; (3) in the new development of art, in the appearance of new motives which contributed to the creation of new monuments, as well as in peculiar works in the field of literature, where a new and original method is gradually developed under the influence of the patterns and traditions of Oriental culture.”69
Uspensky’s opinion that the Roman Empire in the East acquires the distinguishing traits of Byzantinism at about the eighth century agrees with that of the English Byzantine scholar, Finlay. Uspensky’s general theses are not proved in the first volume; they can be judged properly only when his complete history of the Byzantine Empire, or at least a history up to the Latin conquest, is available.
These are the main problems raised in the first volume: (1) Slavic migration in the Balkan peninsula and its effect upon Byzantine life; (2) landownership in the Byzantine Empire; and (3) the system of themes, i.e., provincial administration of the Empire. Although these questions were not finally answered in Uspensky’s book, the interpretations which he gave indicate the need for a further study of these complex questions.
This work by Uspensky was conceived more than twenty-five years before its publication, and it was written over a long period of time; various parts of it differ greatly in value. In contrast to new, vivid, and interesting chapters are other chapters based on obsolete materials, far below the level reached by modern scholars. Discussions of the Arabs and Muhammedans are examples of the latter. Uspensky devoted much space to the social life of the Empire, and this is one of the chief merits of the book. The volume makes possible for the reader an acquaintance with the early period of Byzantine history; it provides a clear exposition by a specialist who devoted his scholarly life almost exclusively to the study of the Byzantine period. In 1948 the third volume of his History,which covers the period 1081–1453, came out. The second half of the second volume has not been published.
Shestakov.— In 1913 S. P. Shestakov published his Lectures on the History of the Byzantine Empire. The author was a professor at the University of Kazan. A second revised and enlarged edition of these lectures appeared in 1915. The volume deals with historical events beginning with the migrations of the barbarians within the boundaries of the Western and Eastern Roman Empire in the third, fourth, and fifth centuries and ending with the coronation of Charlemagne in 800. The author relates many facts about external political affairs and the social life of the Empire and gives some information about the historiography and literature of this branch of history. The information is not always exact and the narrative is very hasty.
C. N. Uspensky.—A very refreshing and vivid impression is left by the Outlines in Byzantine History, published in 1917 in Moscow, by the Russian scholar, C. N. Uspensky.70 The volume, only 268 pages long, contains a very interesting general introduction and survey of the social and economic evolution of the Roman Empire. It brings the reader in contact with the important internal problems of the Byzantine period. The account ends with the late Iconoclast period and the restoration of image worship in 843, during the reign of Theodora. The distinguishing feature of theOutlines is the emphasis placed on questions of internal organization of the Empire and religious and social evolution; political events are brought in only at points where the author finds them valuable in the explanation of certain phenomena of social life. Uspensky carefully developed his main and wholly correct idea of the Hellenistic nature of the Roman and Byzantine Empires. He made an interesting attempt to investigate the feudalizing processes of Byzantine life in the field of laic as well as monastic landholding. Uspensky was particularly interested in the Iconoclast period, and the last chapters of his Outlines deserve particular attention. He analyzed the formation of the first barbarian kingdoms within the Empire, administrative reforms and financial management under Justinian, the organization of themes, the peasantry of the sixth, seventh, and eighth centuries, and the so-called “rural code,” the problems of landholding and the exkuseia (Byzantine immunity). Small in size but rich in content, this book is of very great value.
Vasiliev.—A. A. Vasiliev’s History of the Byzantine Empire was originally a Russian work published in Russia. The complete work is in two volumes and embraces the whole history of the Byzantine Empire. The first volume was published in 1917 under the titleLectures in Byzantine History,vol. I, The Period Until the Beginning of the Crusades (1081). The second volume, covering the history from the Crusades until the fall of Constantinople, was published in three parts: (1) Byzantium and the Crusaders (Petrograd, 1923); (2) Latin Domination in the East (Petrograd, 1923); and (3) The Fall of the Byzantine Empire (Leningrad, 1925). Information on the translations, and the revised and enlarged editions of this work are included in the general bibliography of this volume.
Bezobrazov.—Sketches in Byzantine Culture, a posthumous study by P. V. Bezobrazov, who died in October, 1918, was published in Petrograd in 1919. This vividly written book is marked by the author’s unsympathetic approach toward much of Byzantine life, which he described in rather dark colors. He discussed emperors and empresses, churchmen and government officials, landowners, artisans, literature, spectacles and amusements, and judicial matters. Bezobrazov was a very able scholar and his book is pleasant and profitable.
Levchenko.—The first attempt to sketch Byzantine history from the Marxist point of view appeared in Soviet Russia in 1940, the brief History of Byzantium by M. V. Levchenko (Moscow and Leningrad, 1940). Putting aside the author’s commonplace attacks on “bourgeois byzantinists” which apparently are compulsory in Soviet Russia, the book reveals a good knowledge of material, gives an interesting though somewhat biased selection of excerpts from sources, and devotes much attention to internal history, especially socio-economic problems, which Levchenko connected with the interests of the masses. The author wrote: “Russia received Christianity from Byzantium. Along with Christianity the Slavs received writing and some elements of higher Byzantine culture. It is clear that the working masses of our country are right in becoming interested in the history of the Byzantine Empire, and the Soviet historian must satisfy this interest and give a scholarly history of Byzantium erected on the foundation of the Marxist-Lenin methodology.” (p. 4)
PERIODICALS, GENERAL REFERENCES, AND PAPYROLOGY
The first periodical devoted to Byzantine studies, Byzantinische Zeitschrift (Byzantine Journal), appeared in Germany in 1892. In addition to numerous articles and book reviews, it contains a detailed bibliography of all the publications related to Byzantine history. Much space is devoted to all Russian and Slavic publications. Professor Karl Krumbacher was the founder and the first editor of this publication. Twenty-two volumes had appeared by 1914, and an excellent analytical index to the first twelve volumes was published in 1909. During the first World War Byzantinische Zeitschrift was discontinued, but it was resumed after the war. The journal is at present edited by Franz Dölger.
In 1894 the Russian Academy of Sciences began the publication of the Vizantiysky Vremennik (Byzantine Annals), edited by V. G. Vasilievsky and V. E. Regel. This journal followed along the same lines as its German predecessor. In the bibliographical division much space is given to works connected with the history of Slavic peoples and Christian nations of the Near East. The journal is written in Russian, but occasionally it includes articles in French and modern Greek. Its publication also was suspended during the first World War. By 1917 twenty-two volumes had been published, but the twenty-third did not appear until 1923 and the twenty-fifth was published in 1928. The sixteenth volume contains an analytical index to the first fifteen volumes compiled by P. V. Bezobrazov. Th. I. Uspensky edited the Vizantiysky Vremennik until his death. After 1947, in Soviet Russia, a new series of Vizantiysky Vremennik was begun; in 1951 the fourth volume came out.
Another Byzantine periodical, Byzantis (Bνζαντίς), was started in 1909 by the Byzantine Society in Athens. Only two volumes have appeared. Since 1915 three volumes of a new Russian periodical, Vyzantiyskoe Obozrenie (Byzantine Review) have been published by the faculty of History and Philology of the Youryev (Dorpat) University under the general editorship of V. E. Regel. The third volume appeared in 1917.
N. A. Bees began in 1920 in Berlin the publication of the Byzantinischneugriechische Jahrbücher, whose general aims coincide with those of the Byzantinische Zeitschrift. Beginning with the fifth volume this journal has been published in Athens, Greece, where Bees is a university professor. Volume XVII appeared in 1944.
At the Fifth International Historical Congress gathered at Brussels in 1923, the section on Byzantine studies expressed a desire to create a new international Byzantine journal. At the First International Congress of Byzantine scholars at Bucharest in 1924 the final plans for the publication of such a periodical were completed, and in 1925 the first volume appeared. It was entitled Byzantion, an International Review of Byzantine Studies (Byzantion. Revue Internationale des Etudes Byzantines), and was edited by Paul Graindor and Henri Grégoire. This volume was dedicated to the well-known Russian scholar, N. P. Kondakov, to commemorate his eightieth birthday, but on the very day of its appearance news came of Kondakov’s death (February 16, 1925).
Between 1924 and 1950 twenty volumes of a new Greek publication, Annual of the Society of Byzantine Studies (Έπετηρìς ‘Eταιρείας Bυζαντινῶν Σπoυδῶν), were published in Athens. Many articles printed in this Annual are interesting and important.
In addition to materials given in these special periodicals, much valuable information pertaining to the study of the Byzantine period may be found in journals not directly concerned with Byzantine scholarship. Particularly important for Byzantine studies are the Greek periodical Nέoς ‘Eλληνoμνήμων, edited by S. Lampros from 1904 and continued after his death by several Greek scholars; Echos d’Orient; and Revue de l’Orient Chrétien.
The fundamental work on Byzantine law is History of Gree\-Roman Law (Geschichte des griechisch-römischen Rechts) from the pen of the distinguished German student of law, Karl Eduard Zachariä von Lingenthal. The third edition appeared in Berlin in 1892. Among earlier works on law is Jacques Godefroy’s edition of the Codex Theodosianus. Godefroy (Gothofredus, 1587–1652), jurist, was born in Geneva and was sent to France to study law and history. After thirty years of labor, he produced his edition of the Codex Theodosianus and enriched it with important notes and comments which still are extremely valuable for the early period of Byzantine law. His work was first printed thirteen years after his death. Other important works are Mortreuil’s French History of Byzantine Law (Histoire du droit Byzantin), three volumes published in Paris, 1843–47; the German survey by E. Heimbach in the Ersch und Gruber Encyclopedia (LXXXVI, 191–471); the Russian study by August Engelman, On the Scholarly Study of Greco-Roman Law, with a survey of its most recent literature, an “attempt at an introduction into the study of Byzantine juridical history,” published in 1857. This last study is now obsolete, but since it is very seldom mentioned and is rather inaccessible, an outline of its contents may interest students: importance of the history of Byzantium and of Greco-Roman law, survey of the history of the literature of Greco-Roman law, conception and size of Greco-Roman juridical history, the division of the law into periods and the characteristics of each period, principal objects of the study of Greco-Roman law at present, and survey of the literature of Greco-Roman law since 1824. Another Russian work is by Azarevitch, A History of Byzantine Law (2 parts, Jaroslavl, 1876–77). A very comprehensive outline, provided with valuable bibliographical notes, was published in 1906 by the Italian scholar, L. Siciliano, in Italian Juridical Encyclopedia (Enciclopedia Giuridica Italiana, vol. IV, part 5, fasc. 451 and 460). This was published separately in Milan in 1906. Also useful are Aldo Albertoni, Per una esposizione del diritto bizantino con riguardo all’ Italia (Imola, 1927), together with some additions by Norman Baynes in the Byzantinische Zeitschrift (XXVIII , 474–76), and H. v. Wittken, Die Entwicklung des Rechtes nach Justinian in Byzanz (Halle, 1928).
The most important works on Byzantine art are: N. P. Kondakov, The History of Byzantine Art and Iconography according to Miniatures of Greeks Manuscripts (Odessa, 1876; Atlas, 1877; revised French edition, Paris, 1886–91, in two volumes); Bayet,Byzantine Art (“L’Art byzantin” in theFrench History of Art, compiled by A. Michel, vols. I and III, Paris, 1905 and 1908); Charles Diehl, A Manual of Byzantine Art (Manuel d’art byzantin, Paris, 1910; revised and enlarged edition in two volumes, 1925–26); O. M. Dalton, Byzantine Art and Archeology (Oxford, 1911); O. M. Dalton, East Christian Art: A Survey of the Monuments (Oxford, 1925; this work by Dalton contains a section on architecture); L. Bréhier, L’Art Byzantin (Paris, 1924); H. Peirce and R. Tyler, L’Art Byzantin, two vols. (Paris, 1934).
Among works on Byzantine chronology those of great importance are: H. L. Clinton, Fasti Romani (English edition, 2 vols., Oxford, 1845–50), bringing historical events down to the death of the Emperor Heraclius in 641 A.D.; Muralt, Essay in Byzantine Chronography (Essai de chronographie byzantine, 2 vols., St. Petersburg and Basel, 1855 and 1873) which embraces all of Byzantine history until 1453, but should be used with great caution; Otto Seeck, Regesten der Kaiser und Päpste für die Jahre 311 bis 476 N. Chr. Vorarbeit zu einer Prosopographie der christlichen Kaiserzeit (Stuttgart, 1919), is very useful, as is Franz Dölger, Regesten der Kaiserurkunden des oströmischen Reiches (Munich and Berlin, 1924–1932), in the Corpus der griechischen Urkunden des Mittelalters und der neueren Zeit (Akademien der Wissenschaften in München und Wien); and see also V. Grumel, Les Régestes des Actes du Patriarcat de Constantinople (Istanbul, 1932 and 1936), covering the years 381–1043. A new scientific study of Byzantine chronology is one of the real problems of contemporary Byzantology.
Bibliographical information of a general nature on other branches of Byzantine studies, such as numismatics, sigillography, and papyrology, may be found in Krumbacher’s History of Byzantine Literature, as well as in the bibliographical sections of the special Byzantine periodicals.
It is only in the last thirty or forty years that the great importance and real interest of the Byzantine Age has been generally recognized in the field of papyrology. The earlier generations of the papyrologists, said one of the best modern scholars in this field, H. I. Bell, looked upon the Byzantine age with a rather stepmotherly eye, devoting their attention mainly to the Ptolemaic and Roman periods.71
1 Ph. Labbé, De byzantinac historiae scriptoribus ad omnes per orbem eruditos πρoτρεπτιόν, 5–6.
2 L. Feugère, Étude sur la vie et les ouvrages de Ducange, 9.
3 V. Vasilievsky, A Survey of Works on Byzantine History, 139. See the letters of the publisher, Jean Amission, to Du Cange in H. Omont, “Le Glossaire grec du Du Cange. Lettres d’Amisson à Du Cange relatifs à l’impression du Glossaire (1682–88),” Revue des études grecque, V (1892), 212–49.
4 See Feugère, Étude sur Ducange, 67–71. A very interesting letter on his illness and death written by a contemporary scholar, Étienne Baluze, appears in the Bonn edition of the Chronicon Paschale, II, 67–71. There is no satisfactory biography of Du Cange.
5 See J. U. Bergkamp, Dom Jean Mabillon and the Benedictine Historical School of Saint-Maur; rich bibliography, 116–19. S. Salaville, “Le second centenaire de Michel le Quien (1733–1933),” Échos d’Orient, XXXII (1933), 257–66. James Westfall Thompson, “The Age of Mabillon and Montfaucon,” American Historical Review, XLVII (1942), 225–44.
6 Le pyrrhonisme de l’histoire, chap. XV.
7 Considérations sur les causes de la grandeur des Romains et de leur décadence, trans. J. Baker, chap. XXI, 437.
8 Vorlesungen über die Philosophie der Geschichte, III, part 3, “Kapitel.” See Lectures on the Philosophy of History, trans. J. Sibree, 353.
9 Moniteur, 13 Juin, 1815. See H. Houssaye, 1815, I, 622–23.
10 Montesquieu (2nd ed., 1889), 64.
11 The Autobiographies of Edward Gibbon, ed. J. Murray, 148, 152.
12 Ibid., 302.
13 Ibid., 311.
14 Ibid., 333–34.
15 Historical Essays (3rd series, 1879), 234–35.
16 Edward Gibbon, The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, ed. J. B. Bury, I, liii.
17 See William Chamberlain, “On Rereading Gibbon,” The Atlantic Monthly, CLXXIV (October, 1944), 65–70, for the reaction of a modern reader.
18 Among several biographies of Lebeau see “Eloge de Lebeau par Dupuy,” in Works, ed. M. de Saint Martin and M. Brosset, I, xiii–xxvii.
19 In French the adjective bas has a double meaning: “low” in position, and “late” in time. Lebeau had in mind the latter.
20 Histoire du Bas-Empire, I, xi. In 1847 a five-volume abridgement of Lebeau’s work was published, edited by F. Delarue, Abrégé de l’histoire de Bas-Empire de Lebeau. The first 22 volumes of the first edition were translated into German by J. A. Hiller. See E. Gerland, Das Studium der byzantinischen Geschichte vom Humanismus bis zur Jeztseit, 9. According to N. Iorga, Lebeau’s work was also translated into Italian. See Revue historique du sudest européen, IX (1932), 428, n. 3.
21 Anecdotes (2nd ed., 1814), I, xiv–xv.
22 Ibid., 6.
23 Histoire du Bas-Empire, preface.
24 Ibid. See bibliography for various editions. I have used the 7th edition.
25 See the autobiography of Finlay in the first volume of his History of Greece, ed. H. F. Tozer, I, xxxix–xlvi.
26 Ibid., I, xv–xvii.
27 Ibid., I, xvii–xix.
28 Freeman, Historical Essays (1st ed., 1871), III, 241–43.
29 On Finlay, see W. Miller, “The Finlay Library,” Annual of the British School at Athens, XXVI (1923–25), 46–66; W. Miller, “The Finlay Papers, George Finlay as a Journalist and The Journals of Finlay and Jarvis,” English Historical Review, XXXIX (1924), 386–98, 552–67; XLI (1926), 514–25. Finlay’s death is incorrectly dated (1876 instead of the correct date, 1875) in his autobiography published by Tozer. Cf. English National Biography.
30 Histoire de la civilisation hellénique, 194.
31 This question is discussed at length on pp. 176–79.
32 Geschichte der Stadt Athen im Mittelalter von der Zeit Justinian’s bis zur türkischen Eroberung, I, xviii–xix.
33 N. H. Baynes, ed., A Bibliography of the Works of J. B. Bury, 5–6. This is an excellent work. A biography of Bury appears on pp. 1–124; obituary notice, 124; complete bibliography of Bury’s work, 125–75.
34 Bury, Later Roman Empire, preface, vii.
35 Ibid., I, I. See G. Ostrogorsky, “Die Perioden der byzantinischen Geschichte,” Historische Zeitschrift, CLXIII (1941), 235, n. I.
36 Bury, Later Roman Empire, I, v-vii. This introduction has been omitted in the 2nd ed., but it still bears upon our historical survey. See F. Dölger, “Review: Bury,” Byzantinische Zeitschrift, XXVI, 1–2 (1926), 97.
38 M. Rostovtzeff, The Social and Economic History of the Roman Empire, 628.
39 See the memorial volume dedicated to Lampros in modern Greek, Σπυρίδων II. Λάμπρoς, 1851–1919, edited by A. N. Skias, 5–29; bibliography of Lampros’ works, 35–85; unpublished manuscripts found after his death, 86–138. See also E. Stephanu, “Spyridon Lambros (1851–1919); Xénophon Sidérides (1851–1929),” Échos d’Orient, XXIX (1930), 73–79. Lampros’ work in the Byzantine field has not been adequately estimated.
40 Abriss der byzantinischen Kaiserschichte, 1067.
41 A. A. Vasiliev, Histoire de l’Empire Byzantine, trans, from Russian by P. Brodin and A. Bourguina; edited by A. Picard, with preface by Charles Diehl. The statement on the title page that the book was translated from the Russian is inexact; it was translated from the English edition, but the translators might have used also the obsolete Russian edition. See Bibliography for the various editions.
42 See Charles Diehl’s review of Runciman, Byzantine Civilization in Byzantinische Zeitschrift, XXXIV (1934), 127–30. Diehl indicates some mistakes but concludes by pronouncing the work excellent.
43 In a review E. Stein remarked that “all serious critics agree in regretting profoundly that the History of Byzantium by Ch. Diehl has appeared in Glotz’s Collection.” Revue belge de philologie et d’histoire, XVII (1938), 1024–44. This statement is not only unjust but also inexact See Henri Grégoire’s energetic protest in Byzantion, XIII, 2 (1938), 749–57, referring to a laudatory review of Diehl’s book by G. Ostrogorsky written in Serbo-Croatian and translated by Grégoire. See also A. A. Vasiliev’s review,Byzantinisch-Neugriechische Jahrbücher, XIII, ι (1937), 114–19.
44 Charles Diehl died in Paris November 4, 1944. On Diehl’s works and their importance see V. Laurent, “Charles Diehl, historien de Byzance,” and G. Brătianu, “Charles Diehl et la Roumanie,” Revue historique du sudest européen, XXII (1945), 5–36.
45 Ostrogorsky’s book is the first part of the second volume of Byzantinisches Handbuch im Rahmen des Handbuchs der Altertumwissenschajt, ed. Walter Otto. Neither the first volume nor the second part of the second volume has yet appeared.
46 See H. Grégoire’s very fine review of Ostrogorsky’s book, Byzantion, XVI, 2 (1944), 545–55. See also the very interesting remarks on this book by Germaine Rouillard, “A propos d’un ouvrage récent sur l’histoire de l’État byzantin,” Revue de philologie, 3rd ser. XIV (1942), 169–80.
47 Later reprinted in F. Harrison, Among My Books: Centenaries, Reviews, Memoirs, 180–231.
48 The substance of this book served as a basis for Diehl’s work in the Cambridge Medieval History, IV, chaps, xxiii and xxiv. This appears in more concise form in Les grands problèmes de l’histoire byzantine, 178.
49 The original German edition in 1937 was entitled Byzanz. Von Kaisern, Engeln und Eunuchen, and appeared under the pseudonym “Sir Galahad.” A French edition was published the same year.
50 See a very favorable review of this book by V. Grumel, Études byzantines, II (1945), 275.
51 The Slavophiles admired the Russian Orthodox Church and the old Russian political and social institutions preceding the time of Peter the Great, whose reforms, they believed, had led Russia astray. The Westerners, on the contrary, held that the Russians should live in complete affiliation with the west of Europe and that Russia had become a civilized country only since the reforms of Peter the Great.
52 The Past and Thoughts. Venezia la Bella, X, 53–54.
53 Works and Letters, ed. Herschensohn, II, 118; French ed., I, 85. A still stronger expression is found in a different version of this letter, II, 13 (Herschensohn ed.).
54 “The voice of a Greek in Defense of Byzantium,” Works (4th ed., 1914), III, 366 in note.
55 Russian name for Constantinople.
56 “The Latin Empire: A Review of Medovikov’s Work,” Complete Worlds of T. N. Granovsky (4th ed., 1900), 378.
57 Ibid., 379.
58 The centennial of Vasilievsky’s birth was 1938. See A. A. Vasiliev, “My Reminiscences of V. G. Vasilievsky,” and G. Ostrogorsky, “V. G. Vasilievsky as Byzantinologist and Creator of Modern Russian Byzantology,” both in Annales de l’Institut Kondakov, XI (1940), 207–14, 227–35. A very fine article appeared in Soviet Russia on Vasilievsky and the importance of his work, by N. S. Lebedev, Istoričesky Journal, 1944.
59 See however Kondakov’s posthumous work, Sketches and Notes on the History of Mediaeval Art and Culture, III, 455.
60 In 1926 an English historian, Norman H. Baynes, wrote: “All the literature on land-holding and taxation is highly technical and most of the best work is in the Russian language,” The Byzantine Empire, 248.
61 History of the Eastern Roman or Constantinopolitan Empire, introduction.
62 History of the Byzantine Empire, I, xii.
63 Ibid., 46–47.
64 Ibid., xiv.
65 Ibid., 47–48.
66 Ibid., 16.
67 Ibid., 39.
68 Ibid., 39–40.
69 Ibid., 40.
70 He died in Moscow in 1917.
71 Bell, “The Decay of a Civilization,” Journal of Egyptian Archaeology, X (1924).