Byzantium: Beyond the Cliché: A Conversation with Maria Mavroudi

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Open Agenda Publishing, Oct 1, 2020 - History - 60 pages
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This book is based on an in-depth filmed conversation between Howard Burton and Maria Mavroudi, Professor of History at UC Berkeley. Maria Mavroudi specializes in the study of the Byzantine Empire and this wide-ranging conversation explores her extensive research on the Byzantine Empire and how it has repeatedly been undervalued by historians despite its having been a military and cultural powerhouse for more than a millennium.

This carefully-edited book includes an introduction, Beyond the High-School Narrative, and questions for discussion at the end of each chapter:

I. Becoming A Byzantinist - Inspiration and motivation

II. Historical Background - Byzantine beginnings

III. The High-School Narrative - History as a cultural mirror

IV. Recovering Truth - A never-ending goal

V. Building Knowledge - Standing on the shoulders of giants

VI. Annotated Discoveries - Leo the Mathematician, for example

VII. A Translational Discovery - From Arabic to Greek, surprisingly

VIII. Arrows of Causality - Consequential greatness

IX. Decline - A matter of opinion?

X. Extracting Meaning - Interpreting human experiences

XI. Ever-Moving Targets - Arab-Greek bilingualism and its implications


About Ideas Roadshow Conversations Series: 

This book is part of an expanding series of 100+ Ideas Roadshow conversations, each one presenting a wealth of candid insights from a leading expert in a relaxed and informal setting to give non-specialists a uniquely accessible window into frontline research and scholarship that wouldn't otherwise be encountered through standard lectures and textbooks. For other books in this series visit our website (


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The Conversation
Becoming A Byzantinist
Historical Background
The HighSchool Narrative
Recovering Truth
Building Knowledge
Annotated Discoveries
A Translational Discovery
Arrows of Causality
Extracting Meaning
EverMoving Targets

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About the author (2020)

Howard Burton, the founder and creator of Ideas Roadshow and Ideas on Film, holds a PhD in theoretical physics and an MA in philosophy. He was the Founding Executive Director of Canada’s Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics (PI) from 1999-2007. During his time at PI, he also developed an extensive outreach programme for teachers, students and the general public. His experiences at developing the research and outreach mandates of the institute were described in the book, First Principles: Building Perimeter Institute, featuring a foreword by Nobel Laureate Roger Penrose.

Ideas Roadshow is an award-winning initiative, recipient of the London Book Fair International Excellence Award in 2018. Howard has hosted and filmed in-depth conversations with more than 100 of the world’s brightest thinkers, including 3 Nobel Laureates, across the arts, sciences, sports and games. 

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