Category Archives: read

A Short History of Ethics

A couple of years ago I stuck “History of Ethics” into Amazon and it came back with a two-volume tome by Vernon J. Bourke. I bought it and read it, to the end, on the principle that, once you’ve started, … Continue reading

Posted in read | Tagged , | Leave a comment

The First Philosophers

This anthology, edited by the Greek scholar Robin Waterfield, consists of a series of extracts, with commentary, from the work of a number of Greek thinkers who lived in the couple of centuries before the first megastar of western philosophy, … Continue reading

Posted in read | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

The Epic of Gilgamesh

This is pretty much the oldest book in the world, which makes the idea of a review seem somewhat superfluous; still. Somebody gave it to me; I sighed at the prospect of wading through it. But it is short – … Continue reading

Posted in read | Tagged | Leave a comment

Byzantium: The Decline and Fall

The last in the series is an ever-more dizzying whirligig of passing characters and incidents, few of them with enough purchase for this to be more than a shallow parade. Maybe that is the nature of the subject matter, given … Continue reading

Posted in read | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Byzantium: The Apogee

Second volume: more of the same, equally entertaining and well-written, with the same caveats. Most monstrous character: Basil the Macedonian, who maneuvered himself from stable boy to imperial confidant to Michael III, murdered the emperor’s uncle (who had effectively been … Continue reading

Posted in read | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Byzantium: The Early Centuries

John Julius Norwich, author of this history of the Eastern Roman Empire from the founding of Constantinople in 330 until the coronation in 800 in Rome by the Pope of Charlemagne as rival Emperor of the West, is a jolly … Continue reading

Posted in read | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Istanbul: The Imperial City

This book about Byzantium/Constantinople/Istanbul, by the American teacher John Freely, is a curious read. It purports to be a chronological history of the city, yet is in fact mostly a string of anecdotes about the doings of its sometime rulers … Continue reading

Posted in read | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment