Dionysios Stathakopoulos is Lecturer in Byzantine Studies at King's College London. He has previously taught at the University of Vienna and the Central European University in Budapest.



April 2014

192 pages

216 x 134 mm

A Short History of the Byzantine Empire
Dionysios Stathakopoulos

£10.99 | $15.95

The Byzantine Empire was one of the most impressive imperial adventures in history. It ruled much of Europe and Anatolia for a remarkable eleven hundred years. From Constantine I’s establishment of Byzantium (renamed Constantinople) as his capital in 324 CE, until the fall of the city to the Ottomans in 1453, the Byzantine domain became a powerhouse of literature, art, theology, law and learning. Dionysios Stathakopoulos here tells a compelling story of military conquest, alliance and reversal, including the terrifying secret of Greek fire: of a state constantly at war, but not warlike, resorting wherever possible to a sophisticated diplomacy with its neighbours and enemies. Breaking with outdated notions of Byzantium as an unchanging, theocratic state, Stathakopoulos uses the most recent research to explore its political, economic, social and cultural history. He evokes the dynamism of a people whose story is one of astonishing resilience and adaptability; and whose legacy, whether it be the bronze horses of the Hippodrome, or the very term ‘Byzantine’, everywhere endures. His new short history embraces individuals like Justinian I, the powerful ruler who defeated the Ostrogoths in Italy and oversaw construction of Hagia Sofia (completed in 537); his notorious queen Theodora, a courtesan who rose improbably to the highest office of imperial first lady; the charismatic but cuckolded general Belisarios; and the religious leaders Arius and Athanasios, whose conflicting ideas about Christ and doctrine shook the Empire to its core.

'Dionysios Stathakopoulos provides an easy-to-read narrative history of the whole of the Byzantine Empire from AD 330 until it fell to the Ottomans in 1453.'
Averil Cameron, DBE, FBA, Professor of Late Antique and Byzantine History, University of Oxford

'Byzantium’s thousand-year history, combining fixed points of faith with cultural metamorphoses and territorial fluctuations, is paradoxical and kaleidoscopic. To present its main features, internal dynamics and artistic feats coherently and concisely is no easy task. Dionysios Stathakopoulos has carried it off with panache, distilling extensive source-materials and the latest scholarship into a lively analytical narrative.'
Jonathan Shepard, editor of The Cambridge History of the Byzantine Empire, formerly Lecturer in Russian History in the University of Cambridge