Friday, July 27, 2007

Byzantinistik on Google Books

Following Eric's lead I thought I'd link to some useful old works in my hobby area, Byzantine studies. Some of these may be outdated, but still useful.

First up, Karl Krumbacher's Geschichte der byzaninischen Litteratur von Justinian bis zum Ende des Oströmischen Reiches. This is the expanded second edition of 1897, and an incredibly important work.

I was interested also to find Immanuel Bekker's edition of the histories of Nicetas Choniates. Bekker was so prolific as an editor and collator of manuscripts that, it was said, 'he could be silent in seven languages' (Sandys iii 87). Har har.

I then started in trying to catalogue the rest of the 50 volumes of the Corpus Scriptorum Historiae Byzantinae, but really should have guessed that Mischa Hooker had already done it.

But there are still many important works to be found. (The legendary Du Cange's Histoire de l'empire de Constantinople sous les empereurs francais, for instance.) The rest of this list will be heavily indebted to the introduction to Ostrogorsky's History of the Byzantine State.

What about both volume 1 and volume 2 of John Jacob Reiske's text and commentary on the De cerimoniis aulae byzantinae by Constantine Porphyrogenitus? Ostrogorsky called the discovery of this manuscript 'without doubt one of the greatest events in the history Byzantine studies.'

Though incomplete overall, a certain volume of George Finlay's comprehensive history of Greece is available that includes all of the chapters on Medieval Greece and the Trebizond, covering the years 540-1453. Finlay is described as a philhellene and a friend of Byron. He consciously states in his preface that he has written a supplement to Gibbon, 'until something more worthy to be placed beside the writings of the great historian shall replace it,' and we can infer from this that he intended to be fairer to his subject than Gibbon was while acknowledging Gibbon's labor and achievement.

Then there's Alfred Rambaud's L'empire grec au dixième siècle: Constantin Porphyrogénète, which Ostrogorsky calls 'epoch making.'

Both volume 1 and volume 2 of Sabatier's Description des monnaies byzantines are available.

Karl Neumann's Die Weltstellung des byzantinischen Reiches vor de Kreuzzügen is there too, which Ostrogorsky calls 'stimulating' and describes as 'a masterpiece of research and presentation.'

If Karl Eduard Zachariä von Lingenthal's seven volume Jus graeco-romanum is not available, then at least his Geschichte des Griechisch-römischen rechts is.

That does it for now.

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