Extended Audio Sample

Download Sailing from Byzantium: How a Lost Empire Shaped the World Audiobook

Extended Audio Sample Sailing from Byzantium: How a Lost Empire Shaped the World, by Colin Wells Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (242 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Colin Wells Narrator: Lloyd James Publisher: Tantor Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date:
Regular Price: $17.99 Add to Cart
— or —
FlexPass™ Price: $12.95$5.95$5.95 for new members!
Add to Cart learn more )

A gripping intellectual adventure story, Sailing from Byzantium sweeps you from the deserts of Arabia to the dark forests of northern Russia, from the colorful towns of Renaissance Italy to the final moments of a millennial city under siege.... Byzantium: the successor of Greece and Rome, this magnificent empire bridged the ancient and modern worlds for more than a thousand years. Without Byzantium, the works of Homer and Herodotus, Plato and Aristotle, Sophocles and Aeschylus, would never have survived. Yet very few of us have any idea of the enormous debt we owe them. The story of Byzantium is a real-life adventure of electrifying ideas, high drama, colorful characters, and inspiring feats of daring. In Sailing from Byzantium, Colin Wells tells of the missionaries, mystics, philosophers, and artists who against great odds and often at peril of their own lives spread Greek ideas to the Italians, the Arabs, and the Slavs. Their heroic efforts inspired the Renaissance, the golden age of Islamic learning, and Russian Orthodox Christianity, which came complete with a new alphabet, architecture, and one of the world's greatest artistic traditions. The story's central reference point is an arcane squabble called the Hesychast controversy that pitted humanist scholars led by the brilliant, acerbic intellectual Barlaam against the powerful monks of Mount Athos led by the stern Gregory Palamas, who denounced "pagan" rationalism in favor of Christian mysticism. Within a few decades, the light of Byzantium would be extinguished forever by the invading Turks, but not before the humanists found a safe haven for Greek literature. The controversy of rationalism versus faith would continue to be argued by some of history's greatest minds. Fast-paced, compulsively readable, and filled with fascinating insights, Sailing from Byzantium is one of the great historical dramas-the gripping story of how the flame of civilization was saved and passed on. Download and start listening now!


Quotes & Awards

  • “A superb survey of Byzantium’s many cultural bequests…In this deft synthesis of scholarship, classicist Wells shows how the Byzantines exerted a profound influence on all neighboring civilizations.”

    Publishers Weekly (starred review)

  • Wells's arguments are delivered with scholarly precision by Lloyd James…. James reads with the passion that Wells has for his subject. AudioFile
  • “This history is a needed reminder of the debt that three of our major civilizations owe a debt to Byzantium. Highly recommended.”

    Library Journal (starred review)

  • “In this work of extraordinary learning…readers will find themselves guided on a fascinating journey through a story that has never before been presented in such an accessible and thought-provoking fashion.”

    Thomas R. Martin, Jeremiah O’Connor professor of classics at the College of the Holy Cross

  • A History Book Club Pick

Listener Opinions

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 by Kristen | 2/19/2014

    " A really great look at the influence of Constantinople on Italian humanists, Muslim science, and Russian orthodoxy. The final third -- that of the influence on the Russian church -- was possibly the least interesting of the three, but still a good read. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by Diane | 1/26/2014

    " This book traces the Byzantine Empire's influence on Western society, Islamic society, and Eastern Orthodox society. It is well written, although clearly intended for a popular, as opposed to a scholarly, audience. I found the sections on the Islamic world and the Eastern Orthodox world particularly interesting, since I'm less familiar with that history than I am with the Western history. However, I was disappointed that Wells didn't make the case that Byzantium continues to influence our world. He seems to think Byzantium's influence disappeared within a few generations, but he never really explains why. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 by Thomas | 1/23/2014

    " There were many fine facts in this book. Many names. Many dates. The author clearly traces the influence of Byzantine thought and politics upon various figures. I should be much more knowledgeable and in awe of the auther. But I found it very difficult to absorb all of the Nicephoruses and Kantakuzinoses. Reading it as an audiobook probably didn't help. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by Maria | 1/16/2014

    " Simply written, not too complex, excellent history for the person who has no previous knowledge of the subject. "

  • > Show All
Write a Review
What is FlexPass?
  • Your first audiobook is just $5.95
  • Over 90% are at or below $12.95
  • "LOVE IT" guarantee
  • No time limits or expirations