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Constantinople/Byzantium

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Margaret
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Interest in HF: I can't answer this in 100 characters. Sorry.
Favourite HF book: Checkmate, the final novel in the Lymond series
Preferred HF: Literary novels. Late medieval and Renaissance.
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Post by Margaret » Sun November 16th, 2008, 11:03 pm

I read something somewhere about medieval artists who painted women's breasts the way they imagined they might look, having never actually gotten a good look at them, since medieval women didn't go around topless, even in bed with their husbands and lovers. The jet-nose-cone bras of the 1940s and 1950s seem to have had a similar effect on the male imagination.

Thank you, Ariadne, for pointing out that the new Holland novel is already listed. As the website grows, the where-to-list-what conundrums seem to get ever more tangled!
Last edited by Margaret on Sun November 16th, 2008, 11:06 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Browse over 5000 historical novel listings (probably well over 5000 by now, but I haven't re-counted lately) and over 700 reviews at www.HistoricalNovels.info

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Margaret
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Posts: 2440
Joined: August 2008
Interest in HF: I can't answer this in 100 characters. Sorry.
Favourite HF book: Checkmate, the final novel in the Lymond series
Preferred HF: Literary novels. Late medieval and Renaissance.
Location: Catskill, New York, USA
Contact:

Post by Margaret » Sun November 16th, 2008, 11:41 pm

Whew! I think I have got most of this sorted out. The forthcoming Holland novel, The High City, actually was not listed with the "Soul Thief/Corban Loosestrife" series, but does belong there, and now appears there - currently in the "Vikings/Scandinavia" section of the big Medieval page. I just have the Vikings left to put together as a separate subpage (the Poul Anderson novels will appear there, too), and then the big Medieval page will turn into a directory page. A milestone to look forward to!

Anything about Crusades and Crusaders will appear on the Crusades page, even if it's set in medieval Constantinople/Byzantium, just as some of the 12th-13th century novels involving Richard the Lionheart are on the Crusades rather than the Angevins page.

Thanks to everyone for all suggestions and discussion. I've added some explanatory notes to various pages to help site visitors figure out which subject matter goes on which page, as it is sometimes far from self-explanatory (and I am, myself, figuring a lot out as I go).
Last edited by Margaret on Sun November 16th, 2008, 11:43 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Browse over 5000 historical novel listings (probably well over 5000 by now, but I haven't re-counted lately) and over 700 reviews at www.HistoricalNovels.info

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sweetpotatoboy
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Post by sweetpotatoboy » Mon November 17th, 2008, 9:57 am

Though not strictly about Byzantium, Guy Gavriel Kay's two-book series The Sarantine Mosaic is set in a fictional empire Sarantium that is very closely based on Byzantium.

He cites the non-fiction bibliography on Byzantium that he used for the books on his website:
http://www.brightweavings.com/bibliogra ... antine.htm

annis
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Post by annis » Mon November 17th, 2008, 5:52 pm

Although strictly historical fantasy, Guy Gavriel Kay does a wonderful job of capturing the essence of a time and place.

I was just telling Margaret the other day about "A Song for Arbonne', GGK's lament for medieval Provence, and the way of life destroyed by the Albigensian Crusade

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Margaret
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Interest in HF: I can't answer this in 100 characters. Sorry.
Favourite HF book: Checkmate, the final novel in the Lymond series
Preferred HF: Literary novels. Late medieval and Renaissance.
Location: Catskill, New York, USA
Contact:

Post by Margaret » Mon November 17th, 2008, 9:52 pm

Not being a big fantasy reader, I haven't read any Guy Gavriel Kay. But the bibliography on his website is impressive! I've linked to it from the Contantinople/Byzantium page, and added listings for his Sarantine Mosaic novels to that page, as well as Song for Arbonne in the Abigensian Crusade section on the Crusades page.

Meanwhile, I've also just posted a review for Nicole Galland's Crossed at http://www.HistoricalNovels.info/Crossed.html. The listing for this novel is on the Crusades page, as the subject is the Fourth Crusade (which truly takes the prize among all the Crusades for absurdity combined with tragedy). But much of it takes place in and around Constantinople, the unfortunate target of the Fourth Crusade.
Browse over 5000 historical novel listings (probably well over 5000 by now, but I haven't re-counted lately) and over 700 reviews at www.HistoricalNovels.info

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Kveto from Prague
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Post by Kveto from Prague » Wed November 19th, 2008, 9:44 pm

good old Byzantium. i think its a great unexplored niche as well. i think its always suffered since Gibbon dismissed it in the decine and fall. its never recovered its reputation.

i remember a good novel about justinian II, rhinotmetrus, the one who had his nose cut off yet returned as emperor. dont remember who wrote it, maybe it was harry turtledove?

in the series, "the grey maiden" by howden smith, one of the stories deals with the first meeting of islam and the byzantines. it represents the romans (byzantines) pretty well if i recall.

id also mention for non-fiction norwichs "short history of byzantium" for pure brilliance.

loads of untapped potential there in byzantium for a great writer

annis
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Post by annis » Wed November 19th, 2008, 10:49 pm

You're quite right, Keny- Turtledove did write a novel called "Justinian" about Justinian II, under the name Turtletaub.

As Margaret says, it was a hot topic for authors of earlier times, like Nathan Gallizier, but neglected by modern authors and yet ther's so much potential there.

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donroc
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Post by donroc » Wed November 19th, 2008, 10:49 pm

I would like to see someone tackle the rise and reign of wicked Empress Irene.
Image

Bodo the Apostate, a novel set during the reign of Louis the Pious and end of the Carolingian Empire.

http://www.donaldmichaelplatt.com
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RXZthhY6 ... annel_page

annis
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Post by annis » Wed November 19th, 2008, 11:04 pm

Cecelia Holland's novel "Belt of Gold" is set in the court of Empress Irene, but it's more about the naive young Frank blundering his way about in affairs he doesn't understand.

For sheer Byzantinian nastiness it's hard to beat Michael Ennis' "Byzantium", about the court of the Empress Zoe during Harald Hardrada's stint in the Varangian Guard.

I've just remembered another novel about the Fall of Constantinople in 1453, but don't know if it's readily available outside Australasia.
Pierre Vassal
"The Templar and the City of God" pub 2006 (Original title "Constantinople: 3 Knights and 7 Days")
Blurb:
<This tale of epic proportion takes place during the final days of Constantinople, 1453; 7,000 inhabitants defend against an army of over 100,000. The historical value of this book does well to inform the reader as to the way in which the siege came to be successful, and to how the defenders did hold their position so heroically. The characters of fictional value provide great momentum and interest to the story, doing justice to history as opposed to depriving it of substance. This gripping adventure will have you on the edge of your seat. This is chivalry at its best, a true account of heroism that will forever be a part of history.>
Last edited by annis on Wed November 19th, 2008, 11:29 pm, edited 3 times in total.

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Richard
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Post by Richard » Tue February 24th, 2009, 3:07 am

[quote=""annis""]
Harold Lamb
“Theodora and the Emperor” (1952)
[/quote]


I'll have to look into that one - if I recall correctly, Theodora is the one who finally settles the question of ikons in the 9th century, having first the regency for one of the Amorian emperors and then becoming Empress herself? This is a fascinating and in my opinion underexplored bit of history. I wonder if we in the Western tradition have ignored Byzantium because of our closer kinship to Latin than Greek? Or maybe it was that Gibbon fellow's fault after all.
How did an 800-year-old headless corpse transform Venice from a backwater
into the greatest sea-empire of the early Middle Ages? Find out at,
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