This is the first book-length study in English of the Byzantine emperor Basil II. Basil II, later kwn as 'Bulgar-slayer', is famous for his military conquests and his brutal intimidation of domestic foes. Catherine Holmes considers the problems Basil faced in governing a large, multi-ethnic empire, which stretched from southern Italy to Mesopotamia. Her close focus on the surviving historical narratives, above all the Sypsis Historion of John Skylitzes, reveals a Byzantium governed as much by persuasion as coercion. This book will appeal to those interested in Byzantium before the Crusades, the governance of pre-modern empires, and the methodology of writing early medieval political history.
Catherine Holmes is Tutor and Fellow in Medieval History, University College, University of Oxford.
Shortlisted for John D. Criticos Prize 2006 and Runciman Award 2006.