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Lost to the West Audiobook

Lost to the West: The Forgotten Byzantine Empire That Rescued Western Civilization

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Publisher's Summary

In AD 476 the Roman Empire fell - or rather, its western half did. Its eastern half, which would come to be known as the Byzantine Empire, would endure and often flourish for another 11 centuries. Though its capital would move to Constantinople, its citizens referred to themselves as Roman for the entire duration of the empire's existence. Indeed, so did its neighbors, allies, and enemies: When the Turkish Sultan Mehmet II conquered Constantinople in 1453, he took the title Caesar of Rome, placing himself in a direct line that led back to Augustus.

For far too many otherwise historically savvy people today, the story of the Byzantine civilization is something of a void. Yet for more than a millennium, Byzantium reigned as the glittering seat of Christian civilization. When Europe fell into the Dark Ages, Byzantium held fast against Muslim expansion, keeping Christianity alive. When literacy all but vanished in the West, Byzantium made primary education available to both sexes. Students debated the merits of Plato and Aristotle and commonly committed the entirety of Homer's Iliad to memory. Streams of wealth flowed into Constantinople, making possible unprecedented wonders of art and architecture, from fabulous jeweled mosaics and other iconography to the great church known as the Hagia Sophia that was a vision of heaven on earth. The dome of the Great Palace stood nearly two hundred feet high and stretched over four acres, and the city's population was more than twenty times that of London's.

From Constantine, who founded his eponymous city in the year 330, to Constantine XI, who valiantly fought the empire's final battle more than a thousand years later, the emperors who ruled Byzantium enacted a saga of political intrigue and conquest as astonishing as anything in recorded history. Lost to the West is replete with stories of assassination, mass mutilation and execution, sexual scheming, ruthless grasping for power, and clashing armies that soaked ...

©2009 Lars Brownworth; (P)2009 Random House

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  •  
    Travis Andrade Sandwich MA 06-13-17
    Travis Andrade Sandwich MA 06-13-17 Member Since 2017

    athenaservant

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    "Read This Book"

    This is a must read on the most important civilization that no one knows about! If you fashion yourself a historian then this is the book for you. No basic historical knowledge is complete without an understanding of who Byzantines were. Read this book and find out for yourself!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Average Geo 05-16-17
    Average Geo 05-16-17
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    5
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    "Revived to the West"

    Lars Brownworth in an accessible and relatively condensed manner rescues from obscurity our Byzantine heritage with this balanced and fair-minded story of latter-day Romans and their many foes. The narrative is strung largely along dynastic lines, with color often drawn from sources contemporary to the events. The Byzantines preserved ancient intellectual and cultural achievements, added some their own, and link us to the rich civilizations of Asia and north Africa.
    This lovely book awakens curiosity.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Justin D. Rakes 05-07-17 Member Since 2016

    NGQD Guy

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    "Made me wish my work commute was longer"

    Really great to hear these stories told. More than I ever learned in history class.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    George Manolopoulos San Antonio, TX United States 03-23-17
    George Manolopoulos San Antonio, TX United States 03-23-17 Member Since 2017
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    4
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    "I loved this book!"

    i loved this book. it covered everything. briefly but concise. I will listen to it again. not only did I like the material and how it covered it, it was also extremely well written and read.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jorda 02-13-17
    Jorda 02-13-17 Member Since 2013
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    9
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    "fantastic narrative"

    This book offers great insight into the lost world of the eastern Roman Empire and is worth reading. Brownworths depiction of their history is nothing less than superb.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Aaron 01-31-17
    Aaron 01-31-17
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    "very good overview of Byzantine history"

    I didn't know a lot about the Byzantine empire until listening to Lars podcast on 12 Byzantine rulers. that got me very interested to learn more so it made sense to get his audiobook on the subject. I had a great time listening to this audio book.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Amazon Customer 12-27-16 Member Since 2016
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    18
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    "Excellent Starter History of Byzantium"

    For those who know little (or nothing) of the Eastern Roman Empire, this book can serve as no finer a starting point to whet your appetite.

    In a succinct overview that does not over-focus on any one epoch or character, the author wonderfully details the beginning, climax, and decline of Byzantium.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Timothy Kirwin 10-31-16 Member Since 2016
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    3
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    "A wonderful sweeping history of Byzantium"

    Being an American and raised in western historical arrogance, I knew nothing of Byzantium. With over a millennium of struggle, triumphs and defeats, it is baffling how this great civilization is largely unmentioned in our ancient history.

    Listening to the author unveil this sweeping history is like standing on the border of east and west with a giant telescope. Seeing this story unfold century by century, emporer by empower, always connecting it's effect and relationship to the west.

    The development of the Christian church. The fall of western Rome. The struggles and split of the western Catholic church and the eastern Orthodox church. Glimpses of the rise and struggles of Islamic culture. The political struggles with the west. The grandeur of Constantinople and its cultural and political contributions. And most importantly its protection of western Europe from Islamic invasion. Is there a more important strip of land than the one connecting Europe and Asia?

    This book is a great primer and jumping off point, whether your interests are historical, political or religious. If you just need a basic history of Byzantium, this is perfect. But you will connect many points along the way, adding to your experience. At $25 it's a little pricey, but in the end I don't regret the purchase.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Mark Palmer Santa Monica, CA 10-22-16
    Mark Palmer Santa Monica, CA 10-22-16 Member Since 2010
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    "very good"

    Western historians tend to only reference the Byzantine Empire as it interacted with Western Europe. This was a very good summary of a subject which most of us only have a cursory knowledge.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    David United States 09-12-16
    David United States 09-12-16 Member Since 2012

    Hellicopter Man

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    "Excellant overview."

    Years ago I tried to read a five hundred page history and gave up. This is an important story worth five hundred pages and this provides an easy way to find that out. And it moves along rather smartky as well. I will now replay "The Sultans" to complete the nex five hundred years.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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