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Bill Thayer

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Modern Historical Reference Works
on LacusCurtius

[image ALT: A montage of the mosaic portraits of several Byzantine historical figures and the words 'J. B. Bury.' It serves on this website as the icon for Bury's History of the Later Roman Empire]

[ 907pp in the print edition, presented in 35 webpages plus indexes;
2 photos, 7 maps & plans ]

J. B. Bury's History of the Later Roman Empire: "Generally acknowledged to be Professor Bury's masterpiece, this panoramic and painstakingly accurate reconstruction of the Western and Byzantine Roman Empire covers the period from 395 A.D., the death of Theodosius I, to 565 A.D., the death of Justinian. Quoting contemporary documents in full or in great extent, the author describes and analyzes the forces and cross-currents which controlled Rome, Constantinople, Antioch, the Persian and Teutonic regions; the rise of Byzantine power, territorial expansion, conflict of church and state, legislative and diplomatic changes; and scores of similar topics." (From the Dover edition jacket blurb)

[image ALT: An ancient coin depicting the head of a man with curly hiar and a ribbon around his head. It is a pentadrachm of Ptolemy I Soter, and serves on this website as the icon for Bevan's House of Ptolemy.]

[ 393pp in the print edition, presented in 24 webpages ]

Although starting to show its age and has been usefully updated or contradicted by newer works, Edwin R. Bevan's The House of Ptolemy remains one of the best and most thorough scholar­ly surveys of the Greco-Macedonian rulers of Egypt from Ptolemy I thru Cleopatra: everything that can be affirmed, and most of what can be or has been guessed or argued.

[image ALT: An eight-pointed star flanked by birds. It is a motif associated with the Artaxiad royal dynasty of Armenia, and serves on this website as an icon for Kurkjian's History of Armenia.]

[ 526pp in the print edition, presented in 53 webpages plus indexes;
42 engravings
(4/5/05: complete, except for several dozen remaining images) ]

Vahan M. Kurkjian's History of Armenia is no doubt the most comprehensive available English-language history of that country in the public domain (in 2005 when I put it online); it is thus, despite serious flaws, an essential work for understanding the history of the Near East — and has the further virtue of presenting a patriotic Armenian viewpoint, sometimes differing sharply from Roman and Greek views which, sometimes by default, have become reflexive in Western Europe.

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Site updated: 13 Jan 09