May 2006
Book of the Month - March
Mark Merlino - Home page
What Life Was Like Amid Splendor
and Intrigue - Byzantine Empire AD
330-1453.
Ellen Anker (ed.). Time-Life Books,1998.
The book "What Life Was Like Amid Splendor and Intrigue - Byzantine Empire AD 330-1453" truly does
justice to its title. It tells the story of Byzantium through richly informative and very colourful images and
fascinating articles. There is not a page in the book without at least one photo of a Byzantine sculpture, building,
mosaic, tapestry, or jewel. What is refreshing is that all of these images were produced in Byzantium, so this
book allows the reader to form a perception of Byzantium based on images that Byzantines made themselves.

As well, this book is a well-organized thematic introduction to life in Byzantium. It includes sections on the origins
of Byzantium, Imperial Women, Luxury goods, Soldiers, Religion, the End of the Empire, and much more. If you
want to have an enjoyable, educational and fun introduction to Byzantine Civilization, I highly recommend this
book to you.