The Great Palace of Byzantium was the principal stage upon which the Byzantine emperors and empresses played out their stories over a period of fully 750 years, from 330 to 1080 A.D. (and it remained a secondary setting for another 180 years beyond that, after the emperors shifted their main residence to the Blachernae Palace). With the possible exception of the Forbidden City in Beijing, there is no other building or complex of buildings that played as central a part in the history of the world for such a lengthy period of time. Moreover, in its prime, particularly in the ninth and tenth centuries, the Great Palace was a stunningly rich and beautiful place - a progression of residences and halls and pavilions and chapels and churches, glittering with gold mosaics and vividly-coloured marbles, hung with rich fabrics and filled with costly furnishings and ingenious mechanical contraptions made of precious metals, which spilled down a series of terraces and slopes overlooking the sea. Had it survived, it would undoubtedly be considered one of the world's greatest historical and artistic monuments. Alas, practically none of it still exists. The only remains of the Great Palace that a visitor can see in Istanbul today are an extensive series of sixth century mosaic pavements that once filled a large courtyard and the ravaged, hollow-eyed shell of one of the old imperial residence halls, sadly neglected in a small park along the seaside. Thus, any lover of Byzantine history is likely to be intrigued by a book that tries to re-create the layout and appearance of the Great Palace in its glory days.
Paperback book in very good condition with some minor shelf wear.