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87Re: [ByzantiumNovumCulture] Enough of the Byzantine crickets chirping in the silence...

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  • J. C. Smith ispán
    Mar 7, 2011
      Hi there,
      In defense of the folks out west, I just finished reading a book about the Ostrogoths and am now reading a book about the Merovingian Franks and it's amazing how much of the old Roman stuff they carried over.  For example, the Ostrogoths had a Praetorian Praefect over Gaul nearly a century after Romulus Augustus was put aside and both kingdoms had Patricians of Rome.  Nearly all of the old Roman financial and political infrastructure out west was retained, with a mirrored Germanic one alongside (at least for the Ostrogoths, I haven't gotten as far in the book on Franks).
      I have always been of the opinion that you can learn a lot about a culture by studying the people around them and how they interact (that's actually what led to my interest in the Byzantines, from studying how the early medieval Hungarians worked with them).  For example, there was a lot of bad blood between the Franks and the Byzantines, arguing over which of them was the true heir to the Roman Empire and who (after 800AD) was really an emperor.
      I am also reading a good book about Byzantine Culture called Byzantium: The Empire of the New Rome, by Professor Cyril Mango (reviewers of his book call him "Professor Mango) but I can't do it -- it sounds too much like a health food super hero ha ha ha.  Mango is is a British scholar in the history, art, and architecture of the Byzantine Empire. He is a former King's College London and Oxford professor of Byzantine and Modern Greek Language and Literature.  When I first began to look at it, I assumed it was a history book, but it's not that at all. It's a description of the culture of the Empire and very interesting.  You can pick up your own copy for about a nickel (yes, you read that right) here: http://www.amazon.com/gp/offer-listing/1898800448/ref=dp_olp_used?ie=UTF8&condition=used.  I recommend it.



      "Since this is an era when many people are concerned about 'fairness' and 'social justice,' what is your 'fair share' of what someone else has worked for?" 

                                  -- Thomas Sowell

      From: Cassius <byzantiumnovum@...>
      To: ByzantiumNovumCulture@yahoogroups.com
      Sent: Mon, March 7, 2011 9:34:32 AM
      Subject: [ByzantiumNovumCulture] Enough of the Byzantine crickets chirping in the silence...


      Greetings all,

      Hmmm! Of all the lists I excpected wouldn't go completely quiet, I didn't expect it would be the Culture list!

      Byzantine "culture" is the largest overall topic we have for study and discussion, and it is the one thing that ALL of us share no matter what our interest!

      So, what's been happening with everyone? Care to share anything you've read or worked with concerning:

      Byzantine Cooking, costuming, history, art, jewelry, music,icons, collecting, museums, architecture, philosophy, etc?

      Time to share updates and news, experiences, or ask questions!

      Here's my personal update: I just finished reading "Daily Life in Byzantium" which had a really good overview of common Byzantine civilization.

      One thing that really struck me was how much Byzantium really DID remain a continuation of the Roman Empire as far as social structure.

      When people in the west were for the most part scrabbling out an existence in mud huts (say, AD 500 through 1000) Roman life really was continuing in Constantinople. One could still go out to eat at a restaurant, go to the gymnasium and the baths, borrow a book from a library, go to the theater or out to the races, go shopping in permant shop areas (as opposed to weekly town markets) attend dinner parties, etc.

      I'm starting to think that one reason Byzantium doesn't get so much attention as the classical world is that scholars just dismiss it as "more of the same" only without the titillating bits such as bloodbaths in the colosseum!

      So... any news from anyone else?

      -Marcus Cassius Julianus

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