'Sailing to Byzantium' brings together ten probing and pertinent critical papers - first presented at the First and Second Postgraduate Forums in Byzantine Studies, held at Trinity College Dublin in 17-18 April 2007 and 15-16 May 2008 respectively. The essays contained in the volume are engaged with various facets of Byzantine history and culture. Many of them seek to shed new light on frequently controversial subject matters relating to history, historiography, and religion (the contentious nature of Jerusalem in Byzantine imperial ideology; medieval Western attitudes and perceptions of the Byzantine Empire; and the translation and use of Greek theologians in the West). Elsewhere, there are papers that tackle aspects of Byzantine literature (Encyclopaedism; the circulation of poetry; and a case study of political rhetoric in Manuel II's 'Dialogue with the Empress-Mother on Marriage'). Finally history of art and cult come under the microscope in an essay on the meaning of the eight-century apsidal conch at Santa Maria Antiqua in Rome and in a paper on the origins of the cult of Saint Martin in Dalmatia. 'Sailing to Byzantium' is a provocative, wide-ranging collection and a must for students and academics who wish to broaden their understanding of one of history's most fascinating civilizations.
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