Sailing from Byzantium by Colin Wells
How a Lost Empire Shaped the World

No critic rating

Waiting for minimum critic reviews

See 2 Critic Reviews

unrated

Synopsis

A gripping intellectual adventure story, Sailing from Byzantium sweeps you from the deserts of Arabia to the dark forests of northern Russia, from the colorful towns of Renaissance Italy to the final moments of a millennial city under siege….

Byzantium: the successor of Greece and Rome, this magnificent empire bridged the ancient and modern worlds for more than a thousand years. Without Byzantium, the works of Homer and Herodotus, Plato and Aristotle, Sophocles and Aeschylus, would never have survived. Yet very few of us have any idea of the enormous debt we owe them.

The story of Byzantium is a real-life adventure of electrifying ideas, high drama, colorful characters, and inspiring feats of daring. In Sailing from Byzantium, Colin Wells tells of the missionaries, mystics, philosophers, and artists who against great odds and often at peril of their own lives spread Greek ideas to the Italians, the Arabs, and the Slavs.

Their heroic efforts inspired the Renaissance, the golden age of Islamic learning, and Russian Orthodox Christianity, which came complete with a new alphabet, architecture, and one of the world’s greatest artistic traditions.

The story’s central reference point is an arcane squabble called the Hesychast controversy that pitted humanist scholars led by the brilliant, acerbic intellectual Barlaam against the powerful monks of Mount Athos led by the stern Gregory Palamas, who denounced “pagan” rationalism in favor of Christian mysticism.

Within a few decades, the light of Byzantium would be extinguished forever by the invading Turks, but not before the humanists found a safe haven for Greek literature. The controversy of rationalism versus faith would continue to be argued by some of history’s greatest minds.

Fast-paced, compulsively readable, and filled with fascinating insights, Sailing from Byzantium is one of the great historical dramas–the gripping story of how the flame of civilization was saved and passed on.


From the Hardcover edition.
 

About Colin Wells

See more books from this Author
Colin Wells has studied with eminent Byzantinist Speros Vryonis Jr. at UCLA and holds an M.A. from Oxford University in Greats (Greek and Latin language and literature). He has written numerous articles on world history and culture for over a decade. He lives in upstate New York.From the Hardcover edition.
 
Published December 10, 2008 by Bantam. 368 pages
Genres: History, Travel, Mystery, Thriller & Suspense, Literature & Fiction. Non-fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for Sailing from Byzantium

Kirkus Reviews

See more reviews from this publication

Comprehensive examination of the formative influence of Byzantine culture and scholarship on Western Europe, the Islamic world and the Slavic nations.

May 20 2010 | Read Full Review of Sailing from Byzantium: How a...

Publishers Weekly

See more reviews from this publication

The story of Renaissance Europe's embrace of pagan learning is familiar, but Wells tells of a fascinating intellectual circuit that begins with the transmission of Greek learning to the newly powerful Arabs and leads to Averroës's commentary on Aristotle, Aquinas's use of this commentary and fina...

May 29 2006 | Read Full Review of Sailing from Byzantium: How a...

Reader Rating for Sailing from Byzantium
82%

An aggregated and normalized score based on 47 user ratings from iDreamBooks & iTunes


Rate this book!

Add Review
×