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The book is a clear, up-to-date, reassessment of the Byzantine empire during a crucial phase in the history of the Near East. Against a geopolitical background (well-illustrated with 14 maps), it covers the last decade of the Roman empire as a superpower of the ancient world, the catastrophic crisis of the seventh century and the means whereby its embattled Byzantine successor hung on in Constantinople and Asia Minor until the Abbasid Caliphate's decline opened up new perspectives for Christian power in the Near East. Not confined to any narrow definition of Byzantine history, the empire's neighbours, allies and enemies in Europe and Asia also receive extensive treatment.
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'...well executed, readable and reliable. It will be a useful textbook survey for students, and a helpful general account for researchers. It is a valuable addition to the available literature on Byzantium in the period from the seventh to the eleventh century.' - John Haldon, Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society
'...outstanding on the Empire's military institutions and external relations during the period.' - Runciman Award 1997 judges
'...well written and ingeniously organised...a tour de force.' - Anglo-Hellenic Review
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