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The Byzantine Hellene
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Book description

This book tells the extraordinary story of Theodore II Laskaris, an emperor who ruled over the Byzantine state of Nicaea established in Asia Minor after the fall of Constantinople to the crusaders in 1204. Theodore Laskaris was a man of literary talent and keen intellect. His action-filled life, youthful mentality, anxiety about communal identity (Anatolian, Roman, and Hellenic), ambitious reforms cut short by an early death, and thoughts and feelings are all reconstructed on the basis of his rich and varied writings. His original philosophy, also explored here, led him to a critique of scholasticism in the West, a mathematically inspired theology, and a political vision of Hellenism. A personal biography, a ruler's biography, and an intellectual biography, this highly illustrated book opens a vista onto the eastern Mediterranean, Anatolia, and the Balkans in the thirteenth century, as seen from the vantage point of a key political actor and commentator.

Reviews

'Theodore Laskaris may be the only figure of Byzantine history for whom it is possible to produce a full-scale biography. This Dimiter Angelov has brought to a triumphant conclusion, thanks not only to his mastery of the sources, but also because he has been able to recover Theodore Laskaris's viewpoint. This offers a fresh perspective on Byzantine faith, culture, and history. The figure that emerges from these pages is not at all like the Byzantine emperor in the standard accounts of the period. This is a tribute to the author's refusal to make his protagonist conform to some pre-conceived model of a Byzantine ruler. The result is a fresh and original work.'

Michael Angold - University of Edinburgh

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