James H. Thomason Library

History 450 Course Guide: Byzantine Empire Seminar
Background Information

The Siege of Constantinople, from 'Le Voyage d'Outremer' by Bertrandon de la Broquiere,
c.1455 (vellum), Bridgeman Art Library Archive

    Guides & Companions
Locating Books
    PASCAL Catalog
    Interlibrary Loan
Locating Articles
    Article Databases
    Journal Finder
    Key Journals
Web Sites
  General Sites
  Image Sources

denotes recommended resource

denotes library subscription

Background Information:    
Dictionaries   back to top


The Concise Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church [Oxford Reference Online], Oxford University Press, 2003.
Also available in print, The Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church (1997), Main Level, Reference: R 203 Ox2O 

A Dictionary of Greek and Roman Biography and Mythology, Murray, 1880.  
Main Level, Reference: R 920.038 Sm6 [3 vols]

Dictionary of the Middle Ages, Scribner, c1989.

Main Level, Reference: R 909.07 D561D [13 vols + suppl]

A Dictionary of World History [Oxford Reference Online], Oxford University Press, 2006.

Includes biographies of key figures in world history, historical summaries for each country, and entries on religious and political movements, international organizations, and key battles and places from pre-history to the present.

New Dictionary of the History of Ideas [Gale Virtual Reference Library], Charles Scribner's Sons, c2005.

Also available in print, Main Level, Reference: R 903 N42N 

A six-volume survey of the history of Western thought and culture, presented through 700 alphabetically arranged entries. Each entry explores the origin, cultural interpretations, and historical themes of such subjects as beauty, love, feminism, diversity, and social capital, among many others.

The Oxford Dictionary of Byzantium, Oxford University Press, 1991.
Main Level, Reference: R 949.503 Ox2O [3vols]
Excellent short entries on everything Byzantine.


The Oxford Dictionary of Islam [Oxford Reference Online], Oxford University Press, 2003.
Focuses primarily on the 19th and 20th centuries, however the coverage also includes biographical profiles, and entries covering major political movements, militant groups, religious sects terms from Islamic law, culture and religion, key historical events, and important landmarks

The Oxford Dictionary of Popes [Oxford Reference Online], Oxford University Press, 2005.

A papal Who's Who presenting biographical accounts in chronological order of all officially recognized popes.

  The Oxford Dictionary of Islam (John L Esposito, Editor) Hardcover



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The Age of Wars of Religion, 1000-1650: An Encyclopedia of Global Warfare and Civilization , Greenwood Press, 2006.
Main Level, Reference: R 909.07 N711A [2 vols]

The Catholic Encyclopedia [Kevin Knight, New Advent Website] New Advent

Published in 1913 and online since 1997, this resource provides full and authoritative information on the entire cycle of Catholic interests, action and doctrine. Though superseded by two newer editions, this work is still valuable for scholarly treatment of historical themes and biographical sketches, in addition to essays on specific saints and church figures, religious establishments, and Christian theology. While it is adequate for facts and dates, students should be cautioned about relying on a work where the biases of an earlier time inform the essay, as in the entries on Judaism and Islam [Choice Reviews].
New edition (2003) available in print,
Main Level, Reference:  R 282.03 N42N [15 vols]

The Concise Encyclopedia of Islam, Harper and Row Publishers, 1989.
Main Level, Reference: R 297.032 G464C
A one-volume, concise encyclopedia which includes reference maps, branches of Islam, genealogical tables, chronology.

Encyclopedia of Early Christianity, Garland Pub., 1997.
Main Level, Reference: R 270.103 En19E [2 vols]

Encyclopedia of Greece and the Hellenic Tradition, Fitzroy Dearborn Publishers, 2000.

Main Level, Reference: R 938.003 En19E [2 vols]

Entries on early, middle, and late Byzantine Period and the people and issues of the time.

Encyclopedia of Islam, Luzac, 1986.
Main Level, Reference: R 956.003 En19E [11 vols]

Encyclopedia of the Byzantine Empire, McFarland & Co., 2004.
Main Level, Reference: R 949.502 L423E

Over 1500 entries, from Adrianopolis to Zoë, embrace a broad range of topics. Illustrations include genealogies of Byzantine rulers, maps of the Empire at various stages, and photographs of Byzantine buildings and art. A pronunciation guide, a note about transliteration and spelling, a chronology of emperors, a glossary, a suggested readings list, and an index are also included [Amazon].


Encyclopedia of the Byzantine Empire

Encyclopedia of the Early Church, Oxford University Press, 1992.

Main Level, Reference: R 270.103 D648E [2 vols]

Encyclopedia of the Middle Ages, Fitzroy Dearborn Publishers, 2000.
Main Level, Reference: R 909.07 En19E [2 vols]

Encyclopedia of Religion [GVRL], Macmilan Reference USA, 2005.
Also available in print,
Main Level, Reference:
R 200.3 En19E  [15 vols]

Encyclopedia of the Roman Empire, Facts on File, c1994.
Main Level, Reference: R 937 B885E 

New title! Encyclopedia of Society and Culture in the Medieval World, Facts on File, 2008.

Main Level, Reference:  R 909.07 En19E2 [4 vols]

"Comprehensive A-Z coverage spanning time from the fall of Rome in 476 to the start of the Renaissance in 1500. Each entry includes a discussion of the topic from the perspective of the following centers of civilization: Africa, The Americas, Asia and the Pacific, Europe, and The Islamic World."

New Catholic Encyclopedia, Catholic University of America, 2003.
Main Level, Reference: R 282.03 N42N [15 vols]


Guides, Companions & more

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  Book Cover  

Cassell's Peoples, Nations, Cultures
[CREDO Reference], Orion Publishing Group, 2005.
An informative guide to ethnic and cultural groups that have inhabited our planet over the past 6000 years which is presented in a simple and easy-to-follow A to Z structure based on five regions of the world. 

The Emperor Justinian and the Byzantine Empire, Greenwood Press, 2005.
Upper Level: 949.5013 Ev15E
From the Greenwood Press series Guides to Historic Events of the Ancient World, this includes a chronology, overview of period, primary documents, and more.

Institutes of Justinian: Text, Translation and Commentary, Elsevier, 1975.
Upper Level: 340.54 C817I 

Latin and English text; includes an English commentary, bibliographical references and index.

Late Antiquity: A Guide to the Postclassical World [CREDO Reference], Harvard University Press, 1999.
Also available in print, Main Level, Reference: R 938.003 L343L

The New Cambridge Medieval History, Cambridge University Press, 1995-2005.

Upper Level: 940.1 N42N [7 vols]

Oxford Companion to Military History [Oxford Reference Online], Oxford University Press, 2001.

A complete overview of military history from classical times to the present. Includes maps.

Reader's Companion to Military History [CREDO Reference], Houghton Mifflin, 1996.
"Covers major events and battles, commanders and theorists, weaponry and technological advances, and strategy and tactics. Asian, African, and South American history as well as that of Europe and North America. Combines compelling historical narrative with the latest in contemporary scholarship..." description from CREDO.

The Venture of Islam: Conscience and History in a World Civilization, University of Chicago Press, 1974.

Upper Level: 909.097671 H668V [3 vols]

Atlases   back to top


Atlas of the Greek and Roman World in Antiquity, Noyes Press, 1981.
Main Level, Atlas Case: ATLAS 912.38 At65A

Atlas of the Early Christian World, Nelson, 1958.
Main Level, Atlas Case:
ATLAS 911 M471A

Cultural Atlas of Islam, Macmillan, 1986.
Upper Level, Circulating Collection:909.097671 Al1C

Historical Atlas of East Central Europe, University of Washington Press, 1995.
Upper Level, Circulating Collection: 911.47 M275H

The Historical Atlas of Jerusalem: A Brief Illustrated Survey, Scribner, c1973. 
Upper Level, Circulating Collection: 911.5694 B147H        

Illustrated Atlas of Jerusalem, Simon & Schuster, 1990.

Upper Level, Circulating Collection:

912.5694 B147I

Index of Cartographic Images Illustrating Maps of the Early Medieval Period 400-1300 A.D. [Henry Davis Consulting]
Provided as an educational service by Henry Davis Consulting.

Periodical Historical Atlas of Europe
Updated and covers AD 1 to AD 2000. These maps, drawn by Christos Nüssli, are available in French and English. Includes major states, provinces and tribes of eastern europe.


Isadore of Seville's Tripartite World Map, 1472, the first printed map in Europe

Locating Books   back to top

Use the online catalog to locate books in Thomason Library. You can search by author, title, keyword, or subject.

  • Search for a person, as AUTHOR or SUBJECT, with last name, first name:              

Procopius of Caesarea [as AUTHOR]

  • SUBJECT searching requires use of Library of Congress subject headings. The terms below are examples of subject headings related to the Byzantine Empire:
Byzantine Empire  
Church History  
  • Materials relevant to the study of the Byzantine Empire may also be found by specifying the era or dates, geographic area, or the material type in which you are interested:

Subject searching is an effective and precise method of searching the catalog, however, KEYWORD searching has benefits, also.

  • Try a KEYWORD search if you are unsure of the exact title or the correct subject heading to use. Search using two or three of the most significant words from the title or subject you are trying to find. Place phrases in "quotation marks."

  • Connect words with AND, OR, NOT to focus your search.
  • Try truncation at the end of a word stem to retrieve singular, plural, and other variations of the word.  Use an asterisk (*) to truncate from 1 to 5 characters. Use a double asterisk (**) to include word endings with an unlimited number of characters.
KEYWORD Searching Tips

· Use AND between words to narrow your search:
Saladin AND crusade*

· Use OR between synonyms to expand your search and
group those terms with parentheses:
(Constantinople OR Istanbul) AND Justinian

· Add * to the root of a word to truncate or expand
a term:
crusade* = crusade, crusades, crusader

Try KEYWORD searching with ThomCat, other library catalogs & library databases



PASCAL Catalog   back to top

When you need books in addition to those found at Thomason Library, try your search here for books in other academic libraries in SC. Through PASCAL Delivers, you can order books online for delivery within 3-4 working days. This service for current PC students, faculty, and staff is a project of PASCAL- Partnership Among SC Academic Libraries. Borrowers will be notified by e-mail when requested items arrive at Thomason Library. Click here for searching and ordering tips.

WorldCat   back to top

A catalog of books and materials at libraries worldwide. Try searching here to find ALL books available on a topic. Materials available at Thomason Library are highlighted and others can be borrowed through ILL or searched in PASCALCAT.

Interlibrary Loan   back to top

You need to use Interlibrary Loan when...

  • a book you really need is not available at PC or through PASCAL Delivers
  • an article you need is not available at PC [you've checked Journal Finder for coverage of the date for that journal]

Interlibrary Loan is another option available to PC students, faculty and staff. Click link for instructions.

Locating Articles    
Article Databases back to top

The following journal databases are available to PC students, faculty, and staff from on- and off-campus locations.  When passworded from off-campus locations, supply your PC e-mail account username [i.e. tinman] and password. Search databases using terms dealing with your topic.

  Academic Search Premier [EBSCOhost]
A large collection of active full text peer-reviewed journals, Academic Search Premier contains indexing for 8,172 publications, with full text for nearly 4,700 of those titles. PDF backfiles to 1975 or further are available for well over one hundred journals, and searchable cited references are provided for more than 1,000 titles. Academic Search Premier contains unmatched full text coverage in biology, chemistry, engineering, physics, psychology, religion & theology, etc. 

Academic OneFile [Thomson Gale]
Journal database covering a wide range of disciplines. Includes indexing with abstracts, full-text articles and linked full-text articles.

Gale World History in Context [Thomson Gale]
A comprehensive collection of award-winning reference books, full-text articles from leading scholarly publications, an array of primary sources, and images, maps and charts which provide expansive geographic and chronologic research materials for the study of world history. From ancient Europe to Latin America and from the Far East to the Renaissance, world history curricula is supported with over 1,800 primary sources, over 27 reference titles and more than 110 journals. Results provide era, topic, and event overviews, and viewpoint essays.

ITER: Gateway to the Middle Ages and Renaissance

Indexes articles, books and essays dealing with years 400-1700 (Middle Ages and Renaissance), Iter Italicum, International Directory of Scholars, Scholars of Early Modern Studies, International Directory of Renaissance and Reformation Associations and Institutes, Baptisteria Sacra: An Iconographic Index of Baptismal Fonts. 

Arts & Sciences Collections I, II, & III contain an archive of over 350 full-text journals which are searchable through JSTOR or accessible through Journal Finder, which provides full-text articles in Thomason Library's electronic databases. The collections include journals in art, architecture, economics, film, folklore, history, performing arts, political science, religion, sociology, humanities, mathematics, and statistics. JSTOR is a journal archive with complete runs of journals up to three years ago. Current issues are not available in JSTOR, but may be in other databases.

Project Muse

Contains current and recent volumes of 111 core journals in the humanities and social sciences.

Journal Finder   back to top

Search Journal Finder to determine if PC has full text for the journal, magazine or newspaper article you need. Library databases are connected by Journal Finder and lead you to full text if available.

Browse Journal Finder by title or subject. When browsing or searching, you can read articles from any journal that is available in the Full-text resources online group of results. Choose a database in this group based on the dates available and the time frame in which you are interested.



Key Journals   back to top


Archaeological Reports
Provides fully illustrated accounts of archaeological work in Greece and other parts of the world that were sites of Greek culture.

Church History
The chief outlet for the American Society of Church History. Articles, forums, and book reviews in Church History address a range of topics dealing with the history of Christianity from its precursors to the modern period, as well as interactions of Christianity with its host cultures and with other religions.

Greece and Rome
Features informative and lucid articles on ancient history, art, archaeology, religion, philosophy, and the classical tradition.

Greek, Roman and Byzantine Studies
A scholarly journal devoted to the culture and history of Greece from Antiquity to the Renaissance.

International Journal of Middle East Studies
Original research on politics, society and culture in the Middle East from the seventh century to the present day. The journal also covers Spain, south-east Europe, and parts of Africa, South Asia, and the former Soviet Union for subjects of relevance to Middle Eastern civilization. Particular attention is paid to the history, politics, economics, anthropology, sociology, literature, and cultural studies of the area and to comparative religion, theology, law, and philosophy.

Journal of Medieval History
A major international publication devoted to all aspects of the history of Europe in the Middle Ages. Each issue comprises around four or five articles on European history, including Britain and Ireland, between the fall of Rome and the Renaissance. The Journal also includes review articles, historiographical essays and 'state of research' studies.

Journal of Near Eastern Studies
The only periodical in the United States devoted exclusively to an examination of the ancient and medieval civilizations of the Near East. Appearing in its pages are contributions from scholars of international reputation on archaeology, art, history, literature, linguistics, religion, law, and science. Old Testament and Islamic studies are also featured.

Mediaeval Studies
Studies, texts, translations, reference works, and collections of articles relating to the history and culture of the Middle Ages.

Middle East Journal
Journal covering social, political, and economic aspects of the Middle East.

Contains studies in the culture of Asia and North Africa from antiquity to the present, focusing on language, religion and art.

Web Sites    
General Sites   back to top

Avalon Project at Yale Law School

English translations of source material on law and politics. Includes several pre-18th century documents (i.e. Laws of Richard I concerning Crusaders who were to go by sea - 1189 A.D.)

Byzantium: Byzantine Studies on the Internet [Paul Halsall, Fordham University]
A WWW gathering point for Byzantine Studies on the web hosted by Fordham University. Site includes texts, images, audio music and chant files, articles, selected links to other Byzantine resources, date lists, guides.

Byzantine Studies [Dumbarton Oaks Research Library, Washington, DC, Harvard University]

This research library, an institute of Harvard University located in Washington, DC, is dedicated to supporting scholarship internationally through fellowships, meetings, exhibitions, and publications. One of the areas of emphasis is Byzantine studies from the fourth to fifteenth centuries and its interactions with neighboring cultures, including related aspects of late Roman, early Christian, western Medieval, Slavic, and Near Eastern Studies. Since its establishment in 1940, the program has hosted a continuous series of residential fellows and academic events such as public lectures, symposia, and colloquia. An active publications program sponsors an annual journal, symposium proceedings, and occasional monographs. Staff and fellows have access to an incomparable research library, image collections, and fieldwork archives and the Byzantine Collection.

Byzantine Studies [Intute]

Intute is a free online service containing reviewed and evaluated web resources to help you choose key websites on your subject for your studies and research.


Christian Classics Ethereal Library –Subjects

Browse classic Christian writings by subject, title, author, language, etc.


ECOLE Initiative [Early Church On-line Encyclopedia, Evansville University] new url
This site is no longer maintained. It remains online for the purposes of archiving original content, however many links have fallen dead and have been removed. 700 remain. At the time of this writing (1/5/2007), the links on that page were working and can be consulted to make up for the pages that were deleted from this site. Site contains glossary, articles and timeline.

12 Byzantine Rulers [Lars Brownworth, Stony Brook School, Long Island, NY] 

"When Brownworth posted these lectures on iTunes, they quickly became one of the most popular podcast downloads. Brownworth, who is pursuing a master's degree in medieval history, covers 1,200 years, from Diocletian to Constantine XI Palaeologus." CHOICE

Domesday Book [National Archives of Britain] 

At Christmas 1085 William the Conqueror commissioned a great survey to discover the resources and taxable values of all the boroughs and manors in England. He wanted to discover who owned what, how much it was worth, and how much was owed to him as King. This is the earliest surviving public record and thought to be the first written tax document. CHOICE
Also available in print [18 vols], Upper Level, Circulating Collection: 333.3220942 D712D


Emperor Constantine I the Great

[c.274-337], mosaic, 13th century,
Bridgeman Art Library

Feminae: Medieval Women and Gender Index  [Margaret Schaus]

Compiled by librarians and scholars, this resource covers journal articles, book reviews, dissertations published between 1992-2002, and essays in books about women, sexuality, and gender during the Middle Ages. Records for each citation are very full, including geographical area covered, primary source documents studied, tables or illustrations included, and the institutional affiliation of the author. CHOICE

Byzantium ca. 330-1453  [Metropolitan Museum of Art]

Includes history and a timeline, as well as information on artifacts and works of art.

Islam and Islamic Studies Resources [Dr. Alan Godles, University of Georgia]
"Academically reliable and balanced information about the Islamic world, its countries, and Muslims written by both Muslim and non-Muslim scholars as well as informed believers." Godles

The Islamic World to 1600 [Applied History Research Group, University of Calgary]

A tutorial outlining "Muslim beliefs and practices, as well as the history of the Islamic world from the 7th to the 17th centuries, including the expansion of the Islamic empires of Asia, Africa, and Europe..." description from Librarian's Internet Index. Includes bibliography for sources and images and links to further information.

Medieval Travel Writing  [Adam Matthew Digital]

Offers digital facsimiles of travel narratives dating from the thirteenth through the sixteenth centuries. The collection emphasizes travels to the East and includes manuscripts and early printed works from Prester John, Sir John Mandeville, Marco Polo, and others, drawn from a score of research libraries, including Yale, the British Library, the Bodleian, and Lambeth Palace. The interface is beautifully designed, allowing users to page through the manuscript images and to save images as PDFs. One can browse documents by shelfmark, author, or owning library; a number of auxiliary tools, such as a chronology, bibliography, slideshow tool, and introductory essays, make for an inviting environment for exploration and discovery.

The Military Leadership of Matilda of Canossa, 1046-1115 [De Re Militari: The Society for Medieval Military History]

This is the first account in English of the entire 40-year military career of one of the most powerful women of the Middle Ages. Challenging the boundaries between military and gender history, it explains how one famous noblewoman rose to the defense of the reforming papacy, defeated the Holy Roman Emperor and turned the tide of the first great war between Church and State. Chapter 3 of this book by David J. Hay [Manchester University Press, 2008] is available here in .pdf format.


NetSERF: The Internet Connection for Medieval Resources [Dr. Andrea R. Harbin, editor]
One of the largest webliographies devoted solely to medieval resources on the Internet. Includes Byzantine and military sites.

Online Resources for Medieval Military History [De Re Militari: The Society for Medieval Military History]

Includes Articles on the Byzantine Empire, most from this website, but others link to outside websites; also includes special sections on the Crusades, the Hundred Years War, and more.


The ORB: Online Reference Book for Medieval Studies [College of Staten Island, City University of New York]

An academic site, written and maintained by medieval scholars for the benefit of their fellow instructors and serious students. All articles have been judged by at least two peer reviewers. Authors are held to high standards of accuracy, currency, and relevance to the field of medieval studies. Includes primary sources, images, timelines, etc.

Perseus Digital Library [Tufts University]
An evolving digital library of resources for the study of the humanities, focusing in particular on the Greco-Roman world and upon classical Greek and Latin. Browse popular texts, art & archaeology, exhibits, and featured sites, or search using the box at top.

PBW: Prosopography of the Byzantine World  [King's College, London]
urrently covers the eleventh and twelfth centuries, with more than 60,000 "factoids" drawn from seals, monastic archives, and other historical documents. One can search for persons using criteria such as sex, status, geographic location, offices held, occupation, possessions, and education.  Each record is linked to the source texts, giving bibliographic details about the manuscript and published editions.


Prosopography: the study of collective biography, personal information on family, patronage, and business relationships draw on thousands of source documents.

Voice of the Shuttle [Voice of the Shuttle, Alan Liu]
Anglo Saxon and Medieval History
The Middle East, Byzantium, & Crusades History

Warfare in 13th century Byzantium, according to George Akropolites [De Re Militari: The Society for Medieval Military History]
George Akropolites (c.1217-1282) was an important civil servant of the Byzantine emperors of Nicaea, and was involved in many of the important political events between 1244 and his death in 1282.  He is also notable for his historical work, the History, which relates events in the Byzantine world from the fall of Constantinople during the Fourth Crusade in 1204 to the Greek recovery of the city in 1261.  Warfare is a major theme of his work and he is often the only source available for particular battles, and gives detailed descriptions of campaigns and other events. Chapters 68, 70, 71 and 72 of the History [The History of George Akropolites], which describes a major outbreak of hostilities between the Nicaean emperor Theodore II, and his rival Michael II, Despot of Epiros in the year 1257 are included at this site.


Image Sources   back to top

Ancient Maps of Jerusalem [ Eran Laor Cartographic Collection, Jewish National and University Library & Hebrew University of Jerusalem]
"The site contains maps [and views] of Jerusalem, and basic information concerning the map-makers and the history of cartography in Jerusalem during the Byzantine, early Islamic, Crusader, and other historical periods. Includes dozens of zoomable maps from the 13th through mid-20th centuries..." description from Librarian's Internet Index.


Comprised of approximately 300,000 digital images of visual material from different time-periods, cultures, and disciplines derived from several source collections that are the product of collaborations with libraries, museums, photographic archives, publishers, slide libraries, and individual scholars. 

Bridgeman Art Library Archive [CREDO Reference] An archive of images drawn from collections throughout the world.

NYPL Digital Gallery 

An online gallery of more than 2,100 medieval and Renaissance manuscript leaves.


Church of Hagia Sophia [interior, central space and dome], Constantinople, built by
Anthemius of Tralles &
Isidore of Miletus,
, ARTstor



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Australian Association for Byzantine Studies

Byzantine Studies Association of North America  
International Association of Byzantine Studies

Founded in 1948, and, among its other functions, sponsors an International Congress every five years, the next in 2011 in Sophia [Bulgaria?].

Oxford Centre for Late Antiquity [University of Oxford]
Includes information on researchers, academic events, projects, and graduate courses on Late Antiquity (between 250 and 750 AD) that are based in Oxford. Also provides information on geographic and cultural sub-sections including Byzantium and the Islamic World.

Society for the Promotion of Byzantine Studies (SPBS)
Established in 1983, with the object of furthering study and knowledge of the history and culture, language and literature of the Byzantine Empire and its neighbours.

Society for the Promotion of Hellenic Studies
Generally known as the Hellenic Society, was founded in 1879 to advance the study of Greek language, literature, history, art and archaeology in the Ancient, Byzantine and Modern periods.

The Society for the Promotion of Roman Studies
The Roman Society – founded in 1910 as the sister society to the Society for the Promotion of Hellenic Studies, is the leading organisation in the United Kingdom for those interested in the study of Rome and the Roman Empire. Its scope is wide, covering Roman history, archaeology, literature and art down to about A.D. 700.



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