Here is a perceptive review of my latest book, Empire of God: How the Byzantines Saved Civilization, from my PJ Media colleague Lincoln Brown.
by Lincoln Brown, PJ Media, January 9, 2024:
As you may recall, toward the end of last year, some wag decided that another problem vexing society was that men spend too much time thinking about the Roman Empire. This, of course, resulted in multiple articles ridiculing the idea. And it probably got men thinking about the Roman Empire. Why someone would try to invent a tempest in a cultural tea cup over such a thing is a mystery to me. The truth is that people, not just men, fail to pay enough attention to the Roman Empire.
I do not mean the Roman Empire offered up to us in movies such as “Gladiator,” or depictions of chariot races, lascivious emperors, or legions of soldiers thumping their breastplates and shouting “Integritas!” And I do not mean the photos of ruined aqueducts and courtyards in my Latin textbooks in high school or the empire depicted in documentaries on the History Channel, back when it actually offered its viewers programs about history. This is not to say that those documentaries provided nothing of substance. But for many, their knowledge of the Roman Empire, the split between East and West, and its ultimate fall has unfortunately been limited to a paragraph or two in a world history textbook. Many believe the empire breathed its last when the Goths overran and sacked Rome in 410 or perhaps when the Western empire finally collapsed in 476. What is generally not known is that the Roman Empire, in one form or another, existed until 1453 and the fall of Constantinople.
Robert Spencer’s latest offering, “Empire of God: How the Byzantines Saved Civilization,” changes that. I ended up with a review copy when I reached out to Spencer, a PJ Media colleague, inquiring how I might get my hands on the book. I am an armchair religious scholar with an interest in history, so it is the kind of book I would have read anyway. And, if you are anything like me, you tend to cast a wary eye at the stacks in your local bookstore.
“Empire of God” is more than just a chronology of the empire. While it picks up where most history lessons leave off in terms of the empire in the East, it also details a myriad of factors that contributed to the flourishing and demise of the empire throughout its history. Of note, the Byzantines considered themselves to be Romans and rightful heirs and keepers of the empire up until the bitter end. The effects of the work the Byzantines did in preserving and refining Roman laws, economics, and education, including the preservation of classical philosophy and literature, can be felt to this very day. Our justice and our educational systems, when they work, are heirs to the Byzantine’s efforts.
There is more. Read the rest here.
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