The Enemy at the Gate: Battle for Europe
03 April 2013, 17:16
Basic Books | 2010 | ISBN: 046502081X | PDF | 4.67MB
In 1683, two empires the Ottoman, based in Constantinople, and the Habsburg dynasty in Vienna came face to face in the Great Siege of Vienna. Within the city walls the choice of resistance over surrender to the largest army ever assembled by the Turks created an all-or-nothing scenario: every last survivor would be enslaved or ruthlessly slaughtered.
Both sides remained resolute, sustained by hatred of their age-old enemy, certain that their victory would be won by the grace of God. A thrilling assessment of how two societies met the primal challenge of war, The Enemy at the Gate provides a timely and masterful account of this most complex and epic conflict.
Infidels: A History of the Conflict
03 April 2013, 17:07
Random House | 2004 | ISBN: 1400062306 | EPUB | 3.19MB
Here is the first panoptic history of the long struggle between the Christian West and Islam.
In this dazzlingly written, acutely nuanced account, Andrew Wheatcroft tracks a deep fault line of animosity between civilizations. He begins with a stunning account of the Battle of Lepanto in 1571, then turns to the main zones of conflict: Spain, from which the descendants of the Moors were eventually expelled; the Middle East, where Crusaders and Muslims clashed for years; and the Balkans, where distant memories spurred atrocities even into the twentieth century.
Throughout, Wheatcroft delves beneath stereotypes, looking incisively at how images, ideas, language, and technology (from the printing press to the Internet), as well as politics, religion, and conquest, have allowed each side to demonize the other, revive old grievances, and fuel across centuries a seemingly unquenchable enmity. Finally, Wheatcroft tells how this fraught history led to our present maelstrom. We cannot, he argues, come to terms with today’s perplexing animosities without confronting this dark past.
Women in Purple: Rulers of Medieval Byzantium
03 April 2013, 16:41
Princeton University Press | 2004 | ISBN: 0691117802 | MOBI | 6.81MB
In the eighth and ninth centuries, three Byzantine empresses--Irene, Euphrosyne, and Theodora--changed history. Their combined efforts restored the veneration of icons, saving Byzantium from a purely symbolic and decorative art and ensuring its influence for centuries to come.
In this exhilarating and highly entertaining account, one of the foremost historians of the medieval period tells the story of how these fascinating women exercised imperial sovereignty with consummate skill and sometimes ruthless tactics. Though they gained access to the all-pervasive authority of the Byzantine ruling dynasty through marriage, all three continued to wear the imperial purple and wield tremendous power as widows. From Constantinople, their own Queen City, the empresses undermined competitors and governed like men. They conducted diplomacy across the known world, negotiating with the likes of Charlemagne, Roman popes, and the great Arab caliph Harun al Rashid.
Vehemently rejecting the ban on holy images instituted by their male relatives, Irene and Theodora used craft and power to reverse the official iconoclasm and restore icons to their place of adoration in the Eastern Church. In so doing, they profoundly altered the course of history. The art--and not only the art--of Byzantium, of Islam, and of the West would have been very different without them.
As Judith Herrin traces the surviving evidence, she evokes the complex and deeply religious world of Constantinople in the aftermath of Arab conquest. She brings to life its monuments and palaces, its court ceremonies and rituals, the role of eunuchs (the "third sex", bride shows, and the influence of warring monks and patriarchs. Based on new research and written for a general audience, Women in Purple reshapes our understanding of an empire that lasted a thousand years and splashes fresh light on the relationship of women to power.