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Medieval Constantinople: Reference Sources

Created initially for HST 201 Alice McMichael's class on Medieval Constantinople, fall semester, 2022. Last updated 06-12-2023

Reference Sources

Reference sources are subject encyclopedias and dictionaries, handbooks, biography sources, research guides, bibliographies, etc.  that can help you get ideas for paper topics, help you learn more about a topic of interest without having to read a whole book about it, help you break a large topic down into doable parts, help you expand on a topic that is too narrow, help you find further bibliographical references on your topic, or help you learn more about topics related to your research.  Some are online.  Some are  in paper.  Some, we have both paper and online, but maybe different editions of them.  When using older works, be sure to work on finding more recently written material, if this is important for you.  The list of books is arranged in alphabetical order by title.

AHA Guide to Historical Literature  Reference  and Main D 20 .A55 1995 v. 1-2

See v. 1 Section 8 "Byzantium."  There is a short essay, a little outline of the topic, and a list of what all were the most impt. books in 1995, briefly annotated.  Nice section on classic reference works, serial editions/collections of documents, topics, periods, etc.  P. 247 has a list of works on Constantinople.

Byzantine Empire, a Historical Encyclopedia Main DF 504.5 .B98 2019 v. 1-2

Organized in 8 topical sections each containing entries on: government and politics, organization and administration, individuals, groups and organizations, key events, military, objects and artifacts, key places.  V. 2 has some primary source documents.

Cambridge History of the Byzantine Empire, c500-1492  Main DF 571 .C34 2019

A survey work with chapters by individual scholars.  Chronological arrangement.  Extensive bibliographies of both primary and secondary sources at the back.

Encyclopedia of Early Christianity 2nd ed.

Jesus to 7th c.

Encyclopedia of Eastern Orthodox Christianity

Combination of essay-length and short entries, 100-6,000 words.  Two volumes, arranged alphabetically by topic.  Covers the major Eastern Orthodox traditions (Armenian, Byzantine, Coptic, Ethiopic, Slavic, Romanian, Syriac). Spans the period from Late Antiquity to present, with subjects including history, theology, liturgy, monasticism, sacramentology, canon law, philosophy, folk culture, architecture, archaeology, martyrology, and hagiography, with detailed prosopography.  There is a long article on monasticism in the "M" chapter, beginning p. 16.

English Translations from Medieval Sources Main Z 6517 .F3 and Bibliography of English Translations from Medieval Sources Main Z 6517 .F47

First book has index by author name.  Second book has index by author name, with a few subjects.

Guide to Byzantine Historical Writing Main DF 505 .N38 2018

Author is a prof. of Byzantine culture and society, Univ. of Wisconsin.  Chapters on Greek authors of histories re Byzantium written 600-1480 that aim to help readers understand the texts, authors, extant manuscripts, editions and translations.  Bibliographic references for further reading conclude each chapter.

Handbook of Medieval Studies, Terms, Methods, Trends  Main D 116 .H37 2010 v. 1-3

v. 1 has chapters on Arabic and Islamic Studies, Byzantine Science, and Byzantine studies. 

Historical Dictionary of Byzantium  Main DF 552 .R67 2001

Has detailed alphabetical entries on key figures, ideas, places, and themes related to Byzantine art, history, and religion, and the second edition (online, 2012) has numerous, additional entries on broad topics, such as transportation and gender, which are less prominent in the 2001 edition.  Bibliographies following the entries.  Basic chronology and some maps and illustrations.

Medieval Narrative Sources, a Chronological Guide  Main D 113 .B3 1987

See pp. 17-21 re Byzantine.

Oxford Dictionary of Byzantium Main DF 521 .O93 1991 v. 1-3

2005 edition is online only.  More than 5,000 entries by an international group of eminent historians, this is the standard research tool on 1,100 years of Byzantine history. Exhaustive in its coverage, entries on patriarchy and emperors coexist with entries on surgery, musical instruments, and the baking of bread, bringing to life this vastly important culture and empire, from the 4th century to the 15th. 

Pilgrimage in the Middle Ages, a Research Guide  Main BV 5067 .D38 1993

see p. 197 re Constantinople.

Trade, Travel, and Exploration in the Middle Ages: an Encyclopedia Main HF 1001 .T7 2000

Introduction to history of travel, exploration, discovery, and mercantile activity in Europe, Asia, Africa, and the New World.  Entries on major movements, peoples, economic developments, concepts, technologies.  Tries to promote integration of historical, scientific, and literary perspectives and to provide a synthetic view of parallel developments in East and West.