Review by Choice Review
This substantial volume is more than a miscellany of essays by acknowledged experts. Editor Maas has attempted to cover the main areas of interest in Justinian's reign, 527-565 CE. Justinian was a transitional figure: he can be regarded as the last Roman Emperor (he was the last whose native tongue was Latin) or the first Byzantine one, but no historian doubts his importance. These essays cover life in Justinian's Constantinople and the cities of his empire; economy and administration; warfare, including an essay by Geoffrey Greatrex on eastern frontier defense; Justinian's legal achievements; theological controversy; philosophy and literary culture; art and architecture; and the transition to Islam. The essay by Peregrine Horden on the plague that erupted in Constantinople in 542 is an excellent summary of scholarly investigations. Was it bubonic plague, as most scholars believe? How disastrous was it? Walter Pohl explores Justinian's relations with the barbarian kingdoms in Western Europe; Leslie Brubaker writes on the role of gender; and Nicholas de Lange finds enough evidence for an essay on the condition of the Jews. This is a useful book. ^BSumming Up: Recommended. Most levels/libraries. J. A. S. Evans emeritus, University of British Columbia
Copyright American Library Association, used with permission.