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Fighting Emperors of Byzantium (Paperback)

Ancient History Military P&S History > Medieval World > Medieval History

By John Carr
Imprint: Pen & Sword Military
Pages: 288
Illustrations: 8pp plates
ISBN: 9781399024839
Published: 18th May 2023


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The Eastern Roman or 'Byzantine' Empire had to fight for survival throughout its long history so military ability was a prime requisite for a successful Emperor. John Carr concentrates on the personal and military histories of the more capable war fighters to occupy the imperial throne at Constantinople. They include men like it's founder Constantine I , Julian, Theodosius, Justinian, Heraclius, Leo I, Leo III, Basil I, Basil II (the Bulgar-slayer), Romanus IV Diogenes, Isaac Angelus, and Constantine XI.

Byzantium's emperors, and the military establishment they created and maintained, can be credited with preserving Rome's cultural legacy and, from the seventh century, forming a bulwark of Christendom against aggressive Islamic expansion. For this the empire's military organization had to be of a high order, a continuation of Roman discipline and skill adapted to new methods of warfare. Thus was the Empire, under the leadership of its fighting emperors, able to endure for almost a thousand years after the fall of Rome.

Informative, fascinating, exceptionally well written, organized and presented, "Fighting Emperors of Byzantium" will be of special interest and value to students of Roman History in general, and the history of Byzantium in particular. Enhanced for the reader with the inclusion of one page bibliography of Sources and Further Reading, a one page listing of Notes & References, a two page listing of Byzantine Emperors 313-1453, and a seven page Index, "Fighting Emperors of Byzantium" is a welcome and recommended addition to personal, community, and academic library Roman/Byzantine Military History collections and supplemental curriculum studies lists. It should be noted that "Fighting Emperors of Byzantium" is also available from Pen & Sword Books in a paperback edition (9781399024839, $32.95) and in a digital book format.

Read the full review here

Midwest Book Review

How could anyone resist a book titled like this?This is full on power politics across hundreds of years in an empire that picked up where the Roman Empire left off... The objective of the author is to show how important warfare was to the existence of a Roman society in a world that was changing around them. The very same process of meeting new demands had assisted the demise of the western empire, yet the Byzantines found the vigour to persist. John Carr stresses the importance of military action in this struggle, hence the title of the book, yet the machinations of the various characters assume more importance in the text than details of military campaigns. This is not a book about Byzantine warfare. This is a book about those people who ordered their soldiers to go to war, and in many cases, actually led them into battle. And what characters they were... illustrations are unnecessary, because such is the dramatic and enthusiastic style, the story presents its own colour. John Carr has shone a light into a dusty old cupboard and revealed a treasure chest.


About John Carr

John Carr has enjoyed a career as a journalist, correspondent and broadcaster (The Times, Wall Street Journal Europe, Vatican Radio), mainly in the Mediterranean and particularly Greece, where he now resides. He is the author of On Spartan Wings: The Royal Hellenic Air Force in World War IISparta’s KingsThe Defence and Fall of Greece 1940-41RHNS AverofFighting Emperors of ByzantiumThe Knights HospitallerThe Komnene Dynasty; and Mussolini’s Defeat at Hill 731; he is also the co-author of Philip, Prince of Greece (with Constantinos Lagos) and the translator of Who Really Won the Battle of Marathon? by Fotis Karyanos and Constantinos Lagos, all published by Pen & Sword.

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