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  Item Reference: KCLCAL-1927-1928-474

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SOME DEBTS TO BYZANTIXISM growth and vigour and as such they present in the course of their development the attractions with which youth is endowed The Byzantine Empire was in its inception like the Roman Empire some- what of an artificial product and took over the heritage of rather weary Greece and rather weary Rome Yet even dull middle-age has its uses and it seems to me more profitable to dwell upon the merits which the Byzantine Empire undoubtedly possessed rather than to repeat the tale of its oft-told vices The interest of Byzantinism is beyond question in the main historical and it has been recognized that on the literary side its historians are its most original productions propose to indicate what appear to me to be some of the items which may be put to the credit side of the Byzantine account and as pendant to indicate some lines of study which myself have found of interest in connection with mediaeval and modern Greece which can never be dissociated from both the Classical and Byzantine tradition If tell what most of my audience are well acquainted with apologize but it seemed to me that preliminary lecture was better devoted to broad lines of study rather than to some minute and special subject in which but few could feel any interest For much of what follows it is right that should acknowledge my great debt to the work of Rambaud Western students have been too apt to view the Byzantine Empire from the Western standpoint Gibbon's words should have abandoned without regret the Greek slaves and their servile historians had not reflected that the fate of the Byzantine monarchy is passively connected with the most splendid and important revolutions which have changed the state of the world are characteristic of the arrogance and ingratitude of the Western mind when dealing with Eastern history Were Heraclius Leo the Isaurian Nicephorus Phocas John Zimisces and Basil Bulgaroctonus men to whom the epithets servile and passive can be rightly applied Can an Empire which showed so repeatedly its ability to drive off the assaults of powerful peoples be regarded as an Empire of slaves This resisting power of the Byzantine Empire is the first of the credit items which the West should put down to the Byzan- tine account for that Empire long stood out as bulwark of civilization It is worth while to remind ourselves of some of the formidable foes she kept so long at bay while Europe far behind her in civilization was making painful efforts to outgrow barbarism In the fourth century she successfully pressed back the tide of Gothic invasion which over- whelmed Italy In the next she staved off though at the price of tribute the threats of the Huns under Attila In the sixth century come Belisarius' brilliant triumphs over the Vandals of Africa and the temporary recovery of Italy-triumphs not indeed to the permanent advantage of the Eastern Empire whose influence was to be exercised in the East rather than in the West but indicative at least of vitality In the same century there followed the series of struggles with Huns Slavs and Antae on the line of the Danube and bitter war with the Persians was brought to successful conclusion In this century too new foe appeared in the Avars of the Danube region The seventh
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