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Byzantium and Islam: Age of Transition

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  • Editors: Helen C. Evans and Brandie Ratliff
  • Publisher: The Metropolitan Museum of Art
  • Pages: 352
  • Illustrations: 425 in full color
  • Dimensions: 9 1/4'' x 12''
  • Format: Hardcover and Paper
  • ISBN: 9780300179507



Edited by Helen C. Evans with Brandie Ratliff

This magnificent volume explores the epochal transformations and unexpected continuities in the Byzantine Empire from the 7th to the 9th century. At the beginning of the 7th century, the Empire's southern provinces, the vibrant, diverse areas of North Africa and the eastern Mediterranean, were at the crossroads of exchanges reaching from Spain to China. These regions experienced historic upheavals when their Christian and Jewish communities encountered the emerging Islamic world, and by the 9th century, an unprecedented cross-fertilization of cultures had taken place.

This extraordinary age is brought vividly to life in insightful contributions by leading international scholars, accompanied by sumptuous illustrations of the period's most notable arts and artifacts. Resplendent images of authority, religion, and tradeembodied in precious metals, brilliant textiles, fine ivories, elaborate mosaics, manuscripts, and icons, many of them never before publishedhighlight the dynamic dialogue between the rich array of Byzantine styles and the newly forming Islamic aesthetic. With its masterful exploration of two centuries that would shape the emerging medieval world, this illuminating publication provides a unique interpretation of a period that still resonates today.

Editorial Reviews

Editorial Reviews

"Groundbreaking scholarship... [it is] an outstanding introduction to the transition from late Antiquity to Islam."
Peter Brown, The New York Review of Books

" dense with scholarship "
The New York Times

an outstanding catalogue each section has a clear introduction, in addition to detailed descriptions of the objects selected excellent colour photographs Evans and Ratliff have put together a volume that stands on its own as a contribution to scholarship. In tackling the fundamental problem of how the Arabs achieved their conquests, this volume illuminates and documents the ways in which Islam gained a physical presence...One of the great strengths of the volume-as of the exhibition-is the bringing together of objects and images generally kept in separate specialist compartments, in order to explore the hybrid nature of much early medieval art It manages to combine much recent, innovative research in readable form, with outstanding introductions to the material finely illustrated Its excellence in scholarship and quality represents a lasting achievement and will have wider influence than the exhibition it records.
Financial Times, UK

"a remarkable essay on "Jews and Judaism Between Byzantium and Islam," in the important exhibition book edited by Helen C. Evans and Brandie Ratliff"
International Herald Tribune

"a beautiful and quite sumptuous work of original scholarship "
The New Criterion

a sumptuous book that considers the upheavals in the Byzantine empire caused by the emerging Islamic world.
Church Times

superbly illustrated There are just under 40 short but instructive essays by 25 different specialists the catalogue, with its formidable bibliography happens to serve as an excellent introduction and guide for anyone interested in the material culture of this particularly momentous Age of Transition.
Sebastian Brock, Siniaticus

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