By Anthony Kaldellis

bizarre, decadent, degenerate, racially combined, superstitious, theocratic, effeminate, or even hyper-literate, Byzantium has lengthy been seemed by way of many as one titanic interest. in accordance with Voltaire, it represented "a valueless choice of miracles, a shame for the human mind"; for Hegel, it was once "a disgusting photo of imbecility."

A cupboard of Byzantine Curiosities will churn up those outdated prejudices, whereas additionally stimulating a deeper curiosity between readers in a single of history's best civilizations. the various zanier stories and minutiae which are accrued the following revolve round the political and spiritual lifetime of Byzantium. therefore, tales of saints, relics, and their miracles-from the hilarious to the revolting-abound. Byzantine paperwork (whence the adjective "Byzantine"), courtroom scandals, and problematic penal code are international recognized. And what could Byzantium be with out its eunuchs, whose ambiguous gender produced unusual and risible results in several contexts? The publication additionally includes sections on way of life which are both eye-opening, together with nutrients (from aphrodisiacs to fermented fish sauce), video games similar to polo and acrobatics, and obnoxious perspectives of foreigners and others (e.g., Germans, Catholics, Arabs, dwarves). yet lest we forget Byzantium's extra honorable contributions to civilization, additionally incorporated are a number of the marvels of Byzantine technology and expertise, from the army (flamethrowers and hand grenades) to the theatrical ("elevator" thrones, roaring mechanical lions) and scientific (catheters and remedies, a few bizarre). This monstrous collection of ancient anomaly and absurdity sheds very important gentle on one among history's so much vague and orthodox empires.

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