6th mini interview with an author of Byzantine themed books from the U.S.A.
Eileen Stephenson (https://eileenstephenson.com/) has published some very interesting books on Byzantine history. Below you can read her answers on the usual three questions I make to international fans of Byzantium.
How did you first learn about Byzantium and what did you like about it?
I first really got interested in the Byzantine Empire after listening to an audiobook version of John Julius Norwich's "A Short History of Byzantium." Of course, I'd heard about it before, but never paid much attention to it. Norwich changed all that. I've always loved history and know a respectable amount of European history. The history from other parts of the world is often untranslated, or just simply not recorded. The Byzantines were highly literate, had a tradition of writing history, and I came upon them at a time when more and more translations were being done.
What is your favourite story/period/ emperor?
Right now, my favorite period is the 11th-12th centuries. The period has many dynamic characters and four excellent contemporary historians (Skylitzes, Psellus, Attaleiates, Comnena) who bring their world to life for me. That's why I am writing about them. I really enjoy all Byzantine history prior to the 4th Crusade in 1204. I tend not to read as much of the history after that date since it is so depressing.
Do the people in your country learn(how) or know anything about Byzantium?
I don't think a lot of people in the USA are familiar with the Byzantines. I always loved my history classes but I do not recall them ever being discussed in depth. There's a lot of European history that's covered, but most people only take a few history classes, and it's very easy to ignore the Byzantines beyond a cursory reference to Constantine the Great and the trade that went through Constantinople. There's also very little fiction written about the Byzantines. I often became interested in reading actual history after reading a novel about a historical figure. I hope that my books will do the same for my readers.
Check the rest of the interviews:
A Portuguese fan of Byzantium here: Click here
Japan here: Click here
The Philippines: Click here
Chile: Click here
Serbia: Click here