The Letters Of Psellos

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The Letters of Psellos

The Letters of Psellos Pdf/ePub eBook Author: ,
Editor: Oxford University Press
ISBN: 0191091014
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The Letters of Psellos by , Summary

The Letters of Psellos is the first detailed study of the correspondence of Michael Psellos, a leading Byzantine intellectual, politician, and writer of the eleventh century. Psellos' corpus of over 500 letters represents a historical source of great significance for the study of society and culture of the time: literary masterpieces in and of themselves, yet often complex and difficult to understand in their entirety, they not only rebound with subtlety and humour, but also offer invaluable information on myriad subjects ranging from the political culture of Byzantium and its civil administration to social codes, religious beliefs, and popular culture. This volume consists of two complementary parts designed to make Psellos' letters as widely accessible as possible, both to the specialist academic community and to a wider non-specialist audience. The first part contains five essays offering detailed historical and literary analyses of a considerable number of the letters across a range of different topics, including the financial management of monasteries, the friendship of Psellos and John Mauropous, and the challenges posed by Psellian irony. While the essays are supplemented by individual appendices containing the translated text of the pertinent letters, the second part of the book presents annotated summaries in English of the entirety of Psellos' correspondence, compiled over many years as part of the Prosopography of the Byzantine World project and supported by substantial excursuses and notes. The result is an engaging and accessible shortcut into these bewildering and fascinating letters and an essential resource for the study of eleventh-century Byzantine society and culture through the pen of one of its pre-eminent figures.

Byzantine Perspectives on Neoplatonism

Byzantine Perspectives on Neoplatonism Pdf/ePub eBook Author: Sergei Mariev
Editor: Walter de Gruyter GmbH & Co KG
ISBN: 1501503596
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Byzantine Perspectives on Neoplatonism by Sergei Mariev Summary

Byzantine intellectuals not only had direct access to Neoplatonic sources in the original language but also, at times, showed a particular interest in them. During the Early Byzantine period Platonism significantly contributed to the development of Christian doctrines and, paradoxically, remained a rival world view that was perceived by many Christian thinkers as a serious threat to their own intellectual identity. This problematic relationship was to become even more complex during the following centuries. Byzantine authors made numerous attempts to harmonize Neoplatonic doctrines with Christianity as well as to criticize, refute and even condemn them. The papers assembled in this volume discuss a number of specific questions and concerns that drew the interest of Byzantine scholars in different periods towards Neoplatonic sources in an attempt to identify and explore the central issues in the reception of Neoplatonic texts during the Byzantine era. This is the first volume of the sub-series "Byzantinisches Archiv - Series Philosophica", which will be dedicated to the rapidly growing field of research in Byzantine philosophical texts.

Theophylact of Ochrid

Theophylact of Ochrid Pdf/ePub eBook Author: Margaret Mullett
Editor: Routledge
ISBN: 1351879820
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Theophylact of Ochrid by Margaret Mullett Summary

Few works exist on Byzantine literature as literature and still fewer studies of individual texts. This reading of the letter-collection (c.1090-c.1110) of Theophylact of Ochrid employs a variety of approaches to characterise a work which is both a literary artefact in a long Greek tradition and the only trace of a complex network of friends, colleagues, patrons and clients within Byzantine Bulgaria and also within the empire as a whole. These letters are of great importance from the point of view of local economic or ecclesiastical history, relations with the Slavs, the arrival of the First Crusade, but have not hitherto been studied as an example of Byzantine letter writing. This was a genre taken seriously by Byzantines, offering us unique insight into the mentality of the Byzantine elite, but also into what the Byzantines regarded as literature. This book is important as an attempt to raise the status of the study of Byzantine literature, and of letters within that literature. It is a first attempt to place an epistolary text in a succession of literary and historical contexts; its aim, too, is to probe the reliability of any rhetorical text for straightforward biography especially at the time of the revival fiction in Byzantium. At the heart of the book is an analysis of the personal network of Theophylact, as presented in the collection, with further methodological discussion of network analysis in medieval texts.

Poetry and its Contexts in Eleventh-century Byzantium

Poetry and its Contexts in Eleventh-century Byzantium Pdf/ePub eBook Author: Floris Bernard
Editor: Routledge
ISBN: 1317079426
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Poetry and its Contexts in Eleventh-century Byzantium by Floris Bernard Summary

Byzantine poetry of the eleventh century is fascinating, yet underexplored terrain. It presents a lively view on contemporary society, is often permeated with wit and elegance, and is concerned with a wide variety of subjects. Only now are we beginning to perceive the possibilities that this poetry offers for our knowledge of Byzantine culture in general, for the intellectual history of Byzantium, and for the evolution of poetry itself. It is, moreover, sometimes in the most neglected texts that the most fascinating discoveries can be made. This book, the first collaborative book-length study on the topic, takes an important step to fill this gap. It brings together specialists of the period who delve into this poetry with different but complementary objectives in mind, covering the links between art and text, linguistic evolutions, social functionality, contemporary reading attitudes, and the like. The authors aim to give the production of 11th-century verse a place in the Byzantine genre system and in the historic evolution of Byzantine poetry and metrics. As a result, this book will, to use the expression of two important poets of the period, "offer a small taste" of what can be gained from the serious study of this period.

Social Change in Town and Country in Eleventh-Century Byzantium

Social Change in Town and Country in Eleventh-Century Byzantium Pdf/ePub eBook Author: James Howard-Johnston
Editor: Oxford University Press
ISBN: 0192578677
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Social Change in Town and Country in Eleventh-Century Byzantium by James Howard-Johnston Summary

The history of Byzantium pivots around the eleventh century, during which it reached its apogee in terms of power, prestige, and territorial extension, only then to plunge into steep political decline following serious military defeats and extensive territorial losses. The political, economic, and intellectual history of the period is reasonably well understood, but not so what was happening in that crucial intermediary sphere, the social order, which both shaped and was shaped by contemporary ideas and brute economic developments. This volume aims to deepen understanding of Byzantine society by examining material evidence for settlements and production in different regions and by sifting through the far from plentiful literary and documentary sources in order to track what was happening in town and country. There is evidence of significant change: the pattern of landownership continued to shift in favour of those with power and wealth, but there was sustained and effective resistance from peasant villages. Provincial towns prospered in what was an era of sustained economic growth, and, through newly emboldened local elites, took a more active part in public affairs. In the capital the middling classes, comprising much of officialdom and leading traders, gained in importance, while the twin military and civilian elites were merging to form a single governing class. However, despite this social upheaval, careful analysis of these various factors by a range of leading Byzantine historians and archaeologists leads to the overarching conclusion that it was not so much internal structural changes which contributed to the vertiginous decline suffered by Byzantium in the late eleventh century, as the unprecedented combination of dangerous adversaries on different fronts, in the east, north, and west.

Serving Byzantium's Emperors

Serving Byzantium's Emperors Pdf/ePub eBook Author: Dimitris Krallis
Editor: Springer
ISBN: 3030045250
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Serving Byzantium's Emperors by Dimitris Krallis Summary

This book is a microhistory of eleventh-century Byzantium, built around the biography of the state official Michael Attaleiates. Dimitris Krallis presents Byzantium as a cohesive, ever-evolving, dynamic, Roman political community, built on traditions of Roman governance and Hellenic culture. In the eleventh century, Byzantium faced a crisis as it navigated a shifting international environment of feudal polities, merchant republics, steppe migrations, and a rapidly transforming Islamic world. Attaleiates’ life, from provincial birth to Constantinopolitan death, and career, as a member of an ancient empire’s officialdom, raise questions of identity, family, education, governance, elite culture, Romanness, Hellenism, science and skepticism, as well as political ideology during this period. The life and work of Attaleiates is used as a prism through which to examine important questions about a long-lived medieval polity that is usually studied as exotic and distinct from both the European and the Near Eastern historical experience.

A History of Byzantium

A History of Byzantium Pdf/ePub eBook Author: Timothy E. Gregory
Editor: John Wiley & Sons
ISBN: 1444359975
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A History of Byzantium by Timothy E. Gregory Summary

This revised and expanded edition of the widely-praised A History of Byzantium covers the time of Constantine the Great in AD 306 to the fall of Constantinople in 1453. Expands treatment of the middle and later Byzantine periods, incorporating new archaeological evidence Includes additional maps and photographs, and a newly annotated, updated bibliography Incorporates a new section on web resources for Byzantium studies Demonstrates that Byzantium was important in its own right but also served as a bridge between East and West and ancient and modern society Situates Byzantium in its broader historical context with a new comparative timeline and textboxes

The Reception of Plato’s ›Phaedrus‹ from Antiquity to the Renaissance

The Reception of Plato’s ›Phaedrus‹ from Antiquity to the Renaissance Pdf/ePub eBook Author: Sylvain Delcomminette,Pieter d'Hoine,Marc-Antoine Gavray
Editor: Walter de Gruyter GmbH & Co KG
ISBN: 3110683938
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The Reception of Plato’s ›Phaedrus‹ from Antiquity to the Renaissance by Sylvain Delcomminette,Pieter d'Hoine,Marc-Antoine Gavray Summary

This volume explores the tremendous influence of Plato’s Phaedrus on the philosophical, religious, scientific and literary discussions in the West. Ranging from Plato’s first readers, over the Church Fathers and the Platonic commentators, to Byzantine and Renaissance thinkers, the papers collected here introduce the reader to the first two millennia of the dialogue’s reception history. Thirteen contributions by both junior and established scholars study the engagement with the Phaedrus by such major figures as Aristotle, Galen, Origen, Clemens of Alexandria, Plotinus, Augustine, Proclus, Psellus, Ficino, Erasmus, and many others. Together, they cover the wide range of topics discussed in the dialogue: the value of myth and allegory, religion and theology, love and beauty, the soul and its immortality, teaching and learning, metaphysics and epistemology, rhetoric and dialectic, as well as the role and the limits of writing. By placing the dialogue in this broad perspective, the volume will appeal to readers interested in the Phaedrus itself, as well as to classicists, literary theorists, and historians of philosophy, science and religion concerned with the dialogue’s reception history and its main protagonists.

Writing and Reading Byzantine Secular Poetry, 1025-1081

Writing and Reading Byzantine Secular Poetry, 1025-1081 Pdf/ePub eBook Author: Floris Bernard
Editor: OUP Oxford
ISBN: 0191008788
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Writing and Reading Byzantine Secular Poetry, 1025-1081 by Floris Bernard Summary

In the mid-eleventh century, secular Byzantine poetry attained a hitherto unseen degree of wit, vividness, and personal involvement, chiefly exemplified in the poetry of Christophoros Mitylenaios, Ioannes Mauropous, and Michael Psellos. This is the first volume to consider this poetic activity as a whole, critically reconsidering modern assumptions about Byzantine poetry, and focusing on Byzantine conceptions of the role of poetry in society. By providing a detailed account of the various media through which poetry was presented to its readers, and by tracing the initial circulation of poems, this volume takes an interest in the Byzantine reader and his/her reading habits and strategies, allowing aspects of performance and visual representation, rarely addressed, to come to the fore. It also examines the social interests that motivated the composition of poetry, establishing a connection with the extraordinary social mobility of the time. Self-representative strategies are analyzed against the background of an unstable elite struggling to find moral justification, which allows the study to raise the question of patronage, examine the discourse used by poets to secure material rewards, and explain the social dynamics of dedicatory epigrams. Finally, gift exchange is explored as a medium that underlines the value of poetry and confirms the exclusive nature of intellectual friendship.

History as Literature in Byzantium

History as Literature in Byzantium Pdf/ePub eBook Author: Ruth Macrides
Editor: Routledge
ISBN: 1351930648
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History as Literature in Byzantium by Ruth Macrides Summary

Although perceived since the sixteenth century as the most impressive literary achievement of Byzantine culture, historical writing nevertheless remains little studied as literature. Historical texts are still read first and foremost for nuggets of information, as main sources for the reconstruction of the events of Byzantine history. Whatever can be called literary in these works has been considered as external and detachable from the facts. The 'classical tradition' inherited by Byzantine writers, the features that Byzantine authors imitated and absorbed, are regarded as standing in the way of understanding the true meaning of the text and, furthermore, of contaminating the reliability of the history. Chronicles, whose language and style are anything but classicizing, have been held in low esteem, for they are seen as providing a mere chronological exposition of events. This book presents a set of articles by an international cast of contributors, deriving from papers delivered at the 40th annual Spring Symposium of Byzantine Studies. They are concerned with historical and visual narratives that date from the sixth to the fourteenth century, and aim to show that literary analyses and the study of pictorial devices, far from being tangential to the study of historical texts, are preliminary to their further study, exposing the deeper structures and purposes of these texts.

Children in Antiquity

Children in Antiquity Pdf/ePub eBook Author: Lesley A. Beaumont,Matthew Dillon,Nicola Harrington
Editor: Routledge
ISBN: 1134870752
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Children in Antiquity by Lesley A. Beaumont,Matthew Dillon,Nicola Harrington Summary

This collection employs a multi-disciplinary approach treating ancient childhood in a holistic manner according to diachronic, regional and thematic perspectives. This multi-disciplinary approach encompasses classical studies, Egyptology, ancient history and the broad spectrum of archaeology, including iconography and bioarchaeology. With a chronological range of the Bronze Age to Byzantium and regional coverage of Egypt, Greece, and Italy this is the largest survey of childhood yet undertaken for the ancient world. Within this chronological and regional framework both the social construction of childhood and the child’s life experience are explored through the key topics of the definition of childhood, daily life, religion and ritual, death, and the information provided by bioarchaeology. No other volume to date provides such a comprehensive, systematic and cross-cultural study of childhood in the ancient Mediterranean world. In particular, its focus on the identification of society-specific definitions of childhood and the incorporation of the bioarchaeological perspective makes this work a unique and innovative study. Children in Antiquity provides an invaluable and unrivalled resource for anyone working on all aspects of the lives and deaths of children in the ancient Mediterranean world.

Innovation in Byzantine Medicine

Innovation in Byzantine Medicine Pdf/ePub eBook Author: Petros Bouras-Vallianatos
Editor: Oxford University Press
ISBN: 019259107X
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Innovation in Byzantine Medicine by Petros Bouras-Vallianatos Summary

Byzantine medicine remains a little known and misrepresented field not only in the context of debates on medieval medicine, but also among Byzantinists themselves. It is often viewed as 'stagnant' and mainly preserving ancient ideas, and our knowledge of it continues to be based to a great extent on the comments of earlier authorities, which are often repeated uncritically. This volume presents the first comprehensive examination of the medical corpus of, arguably, the most important Late Byzantine physician: John Zacharias Aktouarios (c.1275-c.1330). Its main thesis is that John's medical works show an astonishing degree of openness to knowledge from outside Byzantium combined with a significant degree of originality, in particular, in the fields of uroscopy and human physiology. The analysis of John's edited (On Urines and On Psychic Pneuma) and unedited (Medical Epitome) treatises is supported for the first time by the consultation of a large number of manuscripts, and is also informed by evidence from a wide range of medical sources, including those previously unpublished, and texts from other genres, such as epistolography and merchants' accounts. The contextualization of John's corpus sheds new light on the development of Byzantine medical thought and practice, and enhances our understanding of the Late Byzantine social and intellectual landscape. Through examination of his medical observations in the light of examples from the medieval Latin and Islamic worlds, his theories are also placed within the wider Mediterranean milieu, highlighting the cultural exchange between Byzantium and its neighbours.

Politics and Government in Byzantium

Politics and Government in Byzantium Pdf/ePub eBook Author: Jonathan Shea
Editor: Bloomsbury Publishing
ISBN: 0755601947
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Politics and Government in Byzantium by Jonathan Shea Summary

The eleventh century marked a turning point in the history of the Byzantine Empire. At its start Byzantium was the paramount power in the Mediterranean world, by turns feared, respected and admired. By the century's close the empire had lost half of its territory and had managed only a partial recovery under the leadership of the Komnenos family. How did a powerful and famously wealthy empire collapse so quickly? The contemporary accounts of this turbulent 'long' century (taken here as c. 950–1100) attribute the empire's decline to the emperors' reckless and self-serving favouring of civilian bureaucrats and, while these sources are today widely acknowledged as biased and unreliable, modern assessments of the century have hitherto failed to suggest any tangible alternatives. To circumvent this dearth of archival material, Jonathan Shea has meticulously analysed 2,200 unpublished seals from the period (more than a third of the known total extant today) to uncover exactly whom the emperors were favouring and promoting, as well as developing a nuanced and revealing picture of the makeup of the much-chastised civilian bureaucracy. The sigillographic evidence is throughout measured against the written material to give a fresh account of this key transitional century and a rare insight into Byzantine politics.

The Oxford Handbook of Byzantine Literature

The Oxford Handbook of Byzantine Literature Pdf/ePub eBook Author: Stratis Papaioannou
Editor: Oxford University Press
ISBN: 0197567118
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The Oxford Handbook of Byzantine Literature by Stratis Papaioannou Summary

This volume, the first ever of its kind in English, introduces and surveys Greek literature in Byzantium (330 - 1453 CE). In twenty-five chapters composed by leading specialists, The Oxford Handbook of Byzantine Literature surveys the immense body of Greek literature produced from the fourth to the fifteenth century CE and advances a nuanced understanding of what "literature" was in Byzantium. This volume is structured in four sections. The first, "Materials, Norms, Codes," presents basic structures for understanding the history of Byzantine literature like language, manuscript book culture, theories of literature, and systems of textual memory. The second, "Forms," deals with the how Byzantine literature works: oral discourse and "text"; storytelling; rhetoric; re-writing; verse; and song. The third section ("Agents") focuses on the creators of Byzantine literature, both its producers and its recipients. The final section, entitled "Translation, Transmission, Edition," surveys the three main ways by which we access Byzantine Greek literature today: translations into other Byzantine languages during Late Antiquity and the Middle Ages; Byzantine and post-Byzantine manuscripts; and modern printed editions. The volume concludes with an essay that offers a view of the recent past--as well as the likely future--of Byzantine literary studies.

Rhetoric in Byzantium

Rhetoric in Byzantium Pdf/ePub eBook Author: Elizabeth Jeffreys
Editor: Routledge
ISBN: 1351550845
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Rhetoric in Byzantium by Elizabeth Jeffreys Summary

'Rhetoric in Byzantium' explores the ways in which rhetoric functioned in Byzantine society - as a tool for the effective communication of ideas and ideologies, but at times also a barrier that inhibited the expression of real feelings and everyday realities, and imposed a burden of decoding on outsiders. After an introduction on the practical and textual background to Byzantine rhetoric, the essays are grouped in five sections. The first two deal with the basis of rhetoric in Byzantium and its public uses, principally in imperial and ecclesiastical ceremonial. The next sections look at how rhetoric affects the definition of literature in a Byzantine context and the aesthetic to be used in approaching Byzantine literature, with reference to current critical approaches, and specifically at the role of rhetoric in the writing of history - does it only obscure the facts, or does the rhetorical process itself provide information at other levels? The final essays examine the interaction of the written word and pictorial representation and the question of whether real connections between rhetorical training and artistic production can be demonstrated.

Church Architecture of Late Antique Northern Mesopotamia

Church Architecture of Late Antique Northern Mesopotamia Pdf/ePub eBook Author: Elif Keser Kayaalp
Editor: Oxford University Press
ISBN: 0192634097
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Church Architecture of Late Antique Northern Mesopotamia by Elif Keser Kayaalp Summary

Church Architecture of Late Antique Northern Mesopotamia examines the church architecture of Northern Mesopotamia between the fourth and eighth centuries. Keser Kayaalp focuses on settlements, plan types, artistic encounters, the remarkable continuity of the classical tradition in the architectural decoration, the heterogeneity of the building techniques, patrons, imperial motivations, dedications of churches, and stories that claim and make spaces. Employing archaeological and epigraphical material and hagiographical and historical sources, she presents a holistic picture of the church architecture of this frontier region, encompassing the cities of Nisibis (Nusaybin), Edessa (,Sanliurfa), Amida (Diyarbakir), Anastasiopolis (Dara/Oğuz), Martyropolis (Silvan), Constantia (Viranşehir), and their surroundings, and the rural Tur Abdin region. The period covered spans the last centuries of Byzantine and the first century and a half of Arab rule, when the region was, on the one hand, a stage of war and riven by religious controversies, and a cultural interspace on the other. Keser Kayaalp discusses the different dynamics in this frontier region and the resulting built environment and church architecture in pursuit of providing a regional contribution to the study of the transformation that the Byzantine civilization underwent in the late antique period and understanding the continuities and changes after the Arab conquest.

Byzantine Childhood

Byzantine Childhood Pdf/ePub eBook Author: Oana-Maria Cojocaru
Editor: Routledge
ISBN: 1000431940
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Byzantine Childhood by Oana-Maria Cojocaru Summary

Byzantine Childhood examines the intricacies of growing up in medieval Byzantium, children’s everyday experiences, and their agency. By piecing together a wide range of sources and utilising several methodological approaches inspired by intersectionality, history from below and microhistory, it analyses the life course of Byzantine boys and girls and how medieval Byzantine society perceived and treated them according to societal and cultural expectations surrounding age, gender, and status. Ultimately, it seeks to reconstruct a more plausible picture of the everyday life of children, one of the most vulnerable social groups throughout history and often a neglected subject in scholarship. Written in a lively and engaging manner, this book is necessary reading for scholars and students of Byzantine history, as well as those interested in the history of childhood and the family.

Byzantine Philosophy and its Ancient Sources

Byzantine Philosophy and its Ancient Sources Pdf/ePub eBook Author: Katerina Ierodiakonou
Editor: OUP Oxford
ISBN: 9780191554292
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Byzantine Philosophy and its Ancient Sources by Katerina Ierodiakonou Summary

Byzantine philosophy is an almost unexplored field. Being regarded either as mere scholars or as primarily religious thinkers, Byzantine philosophers, for the most part, have not been studied on their own philosophical merit, and their works have hardly been scrutinized as works of philosophy. Thus, although distinguished scholars in the past have tried to reconstruct the intellectual life of the Byzantine period, there is no question that we still lack even the beginnings of a systematic understanding of the philosophy of the Byzantines. Byzantine Philosophy and its Ancient Sources is conceived as a concerted attempt in this direction. It examines the attitude the Byzantines took towards the ancient philosophical tradition and the specific ancient sources which they relied upon to form their theories. But did the Byzantines merely copy ancient philosophers or interpret them the way they already had been interpreted in late antiquity? Does Byzantine philosophy as a whole lack a distinctive character which differentiates it from the previous periods in the history of philosophy? Eleven scholars, representing different disciplines from philosophy and history to classics and medieval studies, approach these questions by thoroughly investigating particular topics which give us some insight as to the directions in which we should look for possible answers. These topics range, in modern terms, from philosophy of language, theory of knowledge, and logic, to political philosophy, ethics, natural philosophy, and metaphysics. The philosophers whose works our contributors study belong to all periods from the beginnings of Byzantine culture in the fourth century to the demise of the Byzantine Empire in the fifteenth century.

Philosophical Letters of David K. Lewis

Philosophical Letters of David K. Lewis Pdf/ePub eBook Author: David K. Lewis
Editor: Oxford University Press
ISBN: 0192597612
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Philosophical Letters of David K. Lewis by David K. Lewis Summary

David Kellogg Lewis (1941-2001) was one of the most influential philosophers of the twentieth century. He made significant contributions to almost every area of analytic philosophy including metaphysics, philosophy of language, philosophy of mind, and philosophy of science, and set the agenda for various debates in these areas which carry on to this day. In several respects he remains a contemporary figure, yet enough time has now passed for historians of philosophy to begin to study his place in twentieth century thought. His philosophy was constructed and refined not just through his published writing, but also crucially through his life-long correspondence with fellow philosophers, including leading figures such as D.M. Armstrong, Saul Kripke, W.V. Quine, J.J.C. Smart, and Peter van Inwagen. His letters formed the undercurrent of his published work and became the medium through which he proposed many of his well-known theories and discussed a range of philosophical topics in depth. A selection of his vast correspondence over a 40-year period is presented here across two volumes. As metaphysics is arguably where Lewis made his greatest contribution, this forms the focus of Volume 1. Arranged under the broad areas of Causation, Modality, and Ontology, the letters offer an organic story of the origins, development, breadth, and depth of his metaphysics in its historical context, as well as a glimpse into the influence of his many interlocutors. This volume will be an indispensable resource for contemporary metaphysics and for those interested in the Lewisian perspective.

Byzantium in the Eleventh Century

Byzantium in the Eleventh Century Pdf/ePub eBook Author: Marc D. Lauxtermann,Mark Whittow
Editor: Routledge
ISBN: 1351803964
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Byzantium in the Eleventh Century by Marc D. Lauxtermann,Mark Whittow Summary

The eleventh century in Byzantium is all about being in between, whether this is between Basil II and Alexios Komnenos, between the forces of the Normans, the Pechenegs and the Turks, or between different social groupings, cultural identities and religious persuasions. It is a period of fundamental changes and transformations, both internal and external, but also a period rife with clichés and dominated by the towering presence of Michael Psellos whose usually self-contradictory accounts continue to loom large in the field of Byzantine studies. The essays collected here, which were delivered at the 45th Spring Symposium of Byzantine Studies, explore new avenues of research and offer new perspectives on this transitional period. The book is divided into four thematic clusters: 'The age of Psellos' studies this crucial figure and seeks to situate him in his time; 'Social structures' is concerned with the ways in which the deep structures of Byzantine society and economy responded to change; 'State and Church' offers a set of studies of various political developments in eleventh-century Byzantium; and 'The age of spirituality' offers the voices of those for whom Psellos had little time and little use: monks, religious thinkers and pious laymen.