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The Byzantine City from Heraclius to the Fourth Crusade, 610–1204

Urban Life after Antiquity

  • Book
  • © 2021


  • Brings together a wide array of research on the Byzantine city
  • Combines analyses of Byzantine history, archaeology, and architecture
  • Employs a comparative regional and sub-regional overview of Byzantine cities

Part of the book series: New Approaches to Byzantine History and Culture (NABHC)

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Table of contents (4 chapters)


About this book

This book explores the Byzantine city and the changes it went through from 610 to 1204. Throughout this period, cities were always the centers of political and social life for both secular and religious authorities, and, furthermore, the focus of the economic interests of local landowning elites.

This book therefore examines the regional and subregional trajectories in the urban function, landscape, structure and fabric of Byzantium’s cities, synthesizing the most cutting-edge archaeological excavations, the results of analyses of material culture (including ceramics, coins, and seals) and a reassessment of the documentary and hagiographical sources. The transformation the Byzantine urban landscape underwent from the seventh to thirteenth centuries can afford us a better grasp of changes to the Byzantine central and provincial administrative apparatus; their fiscal machinery, military institutions, socio-economic structures and religious organization. This book will be of interest to students and researchers of the history, archaeology and architecture of Byzantium.


“Luca Zavagno’s book provides a comprehensive critical overview of the research conducted on early Byzantine urban life, as can be seen from the large bibliographies annexed to each Chapter. It is obvious that the author was able to manage a large amount of data from different regions of the Byzantine area and use them to demonstrate his approach to the problem of the continuity of urban life.” (Alexandru Madgearu, Hiperboreea,, February 22, 2023)

“This handy book covers the age-old debate about the definition of cities (and towns) and how historians and archaeologists have variously interpreted pertinent textual and material remains. … Zavagno is without doubt a scholar to read by anyone interested in both Byzantine studies and, more generally, in early medieval urbanism. … this book is necessary reading for its sweeping overview, the author’s thoughts and its wealth of references.” (Paul Arthur, Medieval Archaeology, June 13, 2022) “This is a most welcome and important contribution in the study of Byzantine cities, a topic of growing scholarly interest. Drawing from a range of historical sources and archaeological results, this book offers a compelling overview of the socioeconomic and cultural complexity of the Byzantine city and its significance for our understanding of the history of Byzantium.”—Nikolas Bakirtzis, The Cyprus Institute

“This magisterial book explores the Byzantine city from two different points of view: its concrete archaeological image, deriving from excavation in many different Mediterranean countries; and our contemporary idea of it, produced by the intense scholarly debate of the last few decades. Based on extensive reading, and a sophisticated review and discussion of the most relevant theoretical themes, Zavagno’s study is a crucial reference for everyone willing to study and understand the complexity of urban phenomenon in the Byzantine Mediterranean.”

Enrico Zanini, University of Siena, Italy

Authors and Affiliations

  • Department of History, Bilkent University, Ankara, Turkey

    Luca Zavagno

About the author

Luca Zavagno is Associate Professor of Byzantine Studies in the Department of History at Bilkent University, Turkey. He is the author of many articles on the early medieval and Byzantine Mediterranean, as well as two monographs.  

Bibliographic Information

  • Book Title: The Byzantine City from Heraclius to the Fourth Crusade, 610–1204

  • Book Subtitle: Urban Life after Antiquity

  • Authors: Luca Zavagno

  • Series Title: New Approaches to Byzantine History and Culture

  • DOI:

  • Publisher: Palgrave Pivot Cham

  • eBook Packages: History, History (R0)

  • Copyright Information: The Editor(s) (if applicable) and The Author(s) 2021

  • Hardcover ISBN: 978-3-030-84306-9Published: 07 October 2021

  • Softcover ISBN: 978-3-030-84309-0Published: 08 October 2022

  • eBook ISBN: 978-3-030-84307-6Published: 06 October 2021

  • Series ISSN: 2730-9363

  • Series E-ISSN: 2730-9371

  • Edition Number: 1

  • Number of Pages: XIII, 214

  • Number of Illustrations: 1 b/w illustrations, 14 illustrations in colour

  • Topics: History of Medieval Europe, Urban History, Social History, Ancient History

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