By John Julius Norwich
'He is brilliant...He writes just like the such a lot cultivated sleek diplomat connected by way of a freak of time to the Byzantine courtroom, with intimate wisdom, tactful judgment and a awareness of the surviving monuments' - "Independent". during this interesting narrative historical past, John Julius Norwich, considered one of such a lot comprehensive renowned historians, unearths the start of Byzantium. He tells of the 5 formative centuries of an empire that will enthrall the western global for greater than 11 hundred years.
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Extra info for Byzantium, Volume 1: The Early Centuries
Hence there sprang an innumerable multitude of worms, and a deadly stench was given off, since the entire bulk of his members had, through gluttony, even before the disease, been changed into an excessive quantity of soft fat, which then became putrid and presented an intolerable and most fearful sight to those that came near it. 1 The death of Galerius left three men sharing the supreme power: Valerius Licinianus, called Licinius, one of the late Emperor's old drinking companions whom he had elevated to be his fellow-Augustus three years before and who was now ruling in Illyria, Thrace and the Danube provinces; his nephew Maximin Daia, whom he had named Caesar in 305 and who now took over the eastern part of the Empire; and Constantine himself.
First, surely, that the vision of the Cross above the battlefield - that vision that we see endlessly depicted, on canvas and in fresco, in the churches and art galleries of the west - never occurred. Had it done so, it is unthinkable that there should not be a single reference to it in any of the contemporary histories until the Life of Constantine. The Emperor himself never seems to have spoken of it - except, apparently, to Eusebius - even on those occasions when he might have been expected to do so.
32O fortunately it was brought to light before any harm was done. Soon afterwards, in the early summer of 314, he ordered the removal of all his colleague's statues and portraits from the town of Aemona - now Ljubljana - on the border of the Italian Province. It was, in effect, a declaration of war. Constantine, who had returned to Gaul, immediately marched south-east with some 30,000 men into the Pannonian plain, to meet his adversary near Cibalae - the present Vinkovci - in the Sava Valley. The battle was joined before dawn on the morning of 8 October: Licinius fought with determination and courage but was finally obliged to yield, his retreating army being pursued by Constantine right across the Balkan peninsula to Byzantium.
Byzantium, Volume 1: The Early Centuries by John Julius Norwich