Obolensky, Dimitri Dimitrievich, 1918-2001

by Jonathan Shepard

14 Jun 2019

By the time that he completed his 50th year, Dimitri Obolensky had been Professor of Russian and Balkan History at the University of Oxford for nearly seven years and had achieved distinction in a number of fields. But it was a work then in progress that drew together his literary and historical talents to spectacular effect, offering a new vision of the development of East European history across a 1,000-year span. A well-paced narrative and reliable work of reference within a clear conceptual framework, The Byzantine Commonwealth is likely to remain indispensable for anyone interested in exploring the pre-modern history of Europe east of Venice and the Vistula. The distinctive texture of the book not only derives from its blend of careful scholarship and bold advocacy of an idea. There is also a tension, well contained, between the scrupulous presentation of the facts and possible interpretations arising from them and passionate recall of the religious affiliations and values that once had underlain eastern Christendom

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