Wednesday, April 9

Irony And Humor In The Semantically Subversive Byzantine Empire

You were tiny when we went to turkey son. So I'm not sure you even recall any of that trip. 

Constantinople or Istanbul as it's called now, is a fascinating city. The stones of the city echo with the sheer weight of history. It's always been torn between the east and west. And Byzantine to boot. The word itself means complex. And that's the amazing part of this empire. Not many people know about it. Unlike other empires. Bit of a mistake there. But still. Another of those places where you should go to son. It's a fascinating synergy of Christian Eastern Islamic Islamic Western thought. Total exhilarating mess. We've got several books on this so you can read up on it if you wish. 



Irony And Humor In The Semantically Subversive Byzantine Empire

The Byzantine Empire arose after the death of the Roman Emperor Constantine. To make the empire more manageable, it was split into eastern and western halves, with Rome as the seat of the west and Constantinople as the capitol of the east. Unlike Rome of the time, the Byzantine Empire coupled military might and the religious authority of the Church.

When the Roman Empire collapsed and led Europe into the Dark Ages, the Byzantine Empire continued on and it continued to modernize. You don’t last for a thousand years, including holding off Muslim invaders for much of that time, without doing some things right. They finally collapsed in 1453, when Constantinople was captured by Turks. It is known as Istanbul today.

But much of the literature and works of art that hadn’t already been captured (including by Christian crusaders in 1204) or purchased made their way into Western Europe at the time, including a substantial literary heritage. We can thank artwork and artisans from the Byzantine Empire for a large part of the European Renaissance that happened in the following generations but the literature gets far less attention.

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