First Edition of Byzantium; Inscribed by John Julius Norwich on date of Publication
Byzantium: The Apogee.
Norwich, John Julius.$400.00
Item Number: 4421
London: Viking Press, 1991.
First edition. Octavo, original cloth. Inscribed by the author, "Dear Derek with all love from John Julius Publication Day, 14.x.91." Fine in a fine dust jacket.
"We have now passed the point of no return: I am enjoying myself; and if I can persuade kindred spirits to share my enjoyment I shall be happy." Thus writes the author, introducing the second volume of a proposed trilogy on Byzantium. Norwich writes with a flair; anecdotal, accurate, witty, and never boring, he covers a 300-year period of history whose intricacies and subplots could render the most hardened insomniac unconscious. Not with Norwich. Beginning with Charlemagne's coronation in 800 A.D. and the resulting split in the Christian world, Norwich traces the return of iconoclasm, political intrigues, military campaigns, atrocities, and alliances, ending with the fateful battle at Nanzikert from which the Empire never recovered. The stage is enormous, and the number of characters are bewildering, but Norwich deftly brings to life the frozen icons of the history books. If the third volume is as enjoyable and exhaustive as the first two, history fans will have the definitive work on the subject.