Byzantium and Islam


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Age of Transition

Edited by Helen C. Evans with Brandie Ratliff

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This groundbreaking volume explores the epochal transformations and unexpected continuities in the Byzantine Empire from the seventh to the ninth century. As the period opened, the Empire's southern provinces—the vibrant, diverse areas of North Africa and the eastern Mediterranean—were at the crossroads of trade routes reaching from Spain to China. These regions experienced historic upheavals when their Christian and Jewish communities encountered the emerging Islamic world, and by the ninth century, an unprecedented cross-fertilization of cultures had taken place.

This extraordinary age is brought vividly to life by leading international scholars, their writings accompanied by sumptuous illustrations of the period's most notable arts and artifacts. Resplendent images of authority, religion, and trade—embodied in precious metals, brilliant textiles, fine ivories, elaborate mosaics, manuscripts, and icons, many of them never before published—highlight the dynamic dialogue between the rich array of Byzantine styles and the evolving Islamic aesthetic. With its masterful exploration of two centuries that would shape the emerging medieval world, Byzantium and Islam provides a revelatory interpretation of a period with profound ramifications for the modern era.

Published by The Metropolitan Museum of Art / Distributed by Yale University Press

Exhibition Schedule:

The Metropolitan Museum of Art(03/12/12-07/08/12)

Helen C. Evans is Mary and Michael Jaharis Curator for Byzantine Art in the Department of Medieval Art at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York. Brandie Ratliff is research associate for Byzantine Art in the Department of Medieval Art at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York.


The Metropolitan Museum of Art(03/12/12-07/08/12)

“…dense with scholarship…”—New York Times

“This catalog is an outstanding introduction to the transition from late antiquity to Islam. It presents the views of a new generation of scholars, who have brought significant changes of perspective to our understanding of the period as a whole. Their alert scholarship ranges widely.”—Peter Brown, New York Review of Books

“Groundbreaking scholarship. . . has gone into the catalog. . . [it is] an outstanding introduction to the transition from late Antiquity to Islam.”—Peter Brown, New York Review of Books

“[An] important exhibition book.”—The New York Times

“[The catalog is] 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

"One of the great strengths of [this] volume… 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." —Judith Herrin, Times Literary Supplement
Winner of the 2014 World Book Award in the field of Islamic Studies, given by the Islamic Republic of Iran.
ISBN: 9780300179507
Publication Date: April 24, 2012
Publishing Partner: Published by The Metropolitan Museum of Art / Distributed by Yale University Press
352 pages, 9 1/4 x 12
425 color + 0 b/w illus.
Age of Transition

Byzantine Culture in the Islamic World

Edited by Helen C.

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