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13 Century Byzantium

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Rowan
Bibliophile
Interest in HF: I love history, but it's boring in school. Historical fiction brings it alive for me.
Preferred HF: Iron-Age Britain, Roman Britain, Medieval Britain
Location: New Orleans
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13 Century Byzantium

Postby Rowan » Wed April 17th, 2013, 4:06 pm

While my first love is and probably always will be ancient British history, I do find learning about other areas of the world quite fascinating. I'm currently listening to an audiobook set in Constantinople during the years after the Fourth Crusade and it has really fascinated me. I'm looking for any books covering that similar time period.

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princess garnet
Bibliophile
Location: Maryland

Postby princess garnet » Wed April 17th, 2013, 8:27 pm

Two non-fiction titles I've read:
Byzantine Empresses by Lynda Garland
Women in Purple by Judith Herrin

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Kveto from Prague
Compulsive Reader
Location: Prague, Bohemia

Postby Kveto from Prague » Wed April 17th, 2013, 11:45 pm

Alfred Duggan wrote "Lord Geoffrey's Fancy" set in about 1245 in the latin kingdom of Byzantium. It shows great interplay betwixt the French nobles and the conquored Greeks (or Griffons as they were called)

User avatar
Rowan
Bibliophile
Interest in HF: I love history, but it's boring in school. Historical fiction brings it alive for me.
Preferred HF: Iron-Age Britain, Roman Britain, Medieval Britain
Location: New Orleans
Contact:

Postby Rowan » Thu April 18th, 2013, 1:20 pm

Why Griffons?

annis
Bibliomaniac

Postby annis » Thu April 18th, 2013, 8:17 pm

Griffon seems to have been a general French term for the Greek (as they called themselves) inhabitants of the Byzantine Empire - the Crusader state of Akova in Greece was even called in French La baronie de Mathe-Griffon, which charmingly translates as something like "the barony of Greek-killers". Origin is not clear, but could possibly have been derogatory (there was no love lost bewteen the Greeks and the Franks) - a griffon was a type of dog bred in northern France. The more obvious origin could be the mythological griffin (also griffon in French) used as a symbol of the Byzantine Empire, as seen on flags etc.

*Edited to say I've just found this thread which seems to confirm the griffin-as-Byzantine-symbol option
http://historum.com/medieval-byzantine-history/49443-mategrifon-curb-greeks.html

As far as non-fiction goes, you could give Donald Queller's Fourth Crusade a go, or John Julius Norwich's Byzantium: Decline and Fall. For an overview of Byzantium's history in general, Norwich's A Short History of Byzantium is also excellent.
Last edited by annis on Fri April 19th, 2013, 2:42 am, edited 10 times in total.


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