The deepening of schism, the Crusades, increasing tension between the provinces and Constantinople, pressure from Slavs and Moslems, the sack of Constantinople by the Venetians in 1204, the Latin kingdom, the recapture of the city in 1261, attempts at ecclesiastical reunion with Rome and a transformation of the relationship between Empire and Church -- all this and more marked the course of this next-to-the-last great Byzantine dynasty. This major new study, just released by Cambridge in paperback, will set the standard for any further study of this critical period in the life of the Byzantine Empire and the Orthodox Church.
An Eighth Day View:
The Byzantines lived in a theocratic society. They were less ready than their western contemporaries to draw the line between things spiritual and things temporal, between Church and state. This book explores some of the characteristics of that society in the age of its decline and fall between the thirteenth and the fifteenth centuries. Though irremediably shattered by the effects of the Fourth Crusade in 1204, the Byzantine Empire found the will to reassert itself and to endure for another 250 years. Material recovery was hardly possible, but there was a remarkable reawakening of scholarship and of the spiritual life. The world's debt to some of the late Byzantine scholars is known to classicists and to students of the Italian Renaissance. The contribution of the latter-day saints of Byzantium, the hesychasts and scholars of the spirit, has been less publicized.