For more than two millennia Istanbul has stood at the crossroads of the world, perched at the very tip of Europe, gazing across at the shores of Asia. The history of this city—known as Byzantium, then Constantinople, now Istanbul—is at once glorious, outsized, and astounding. Founded by the Greeks, its location blessed it as a center for trade but also made it a target of every empire in history, from Alexander the Great and his Macedonian Empire, to the Romans and later the Ottomans.

At its most spectacular, Istanbul was re-founded by Emperor Constantine I as New Rome, the capital of the eastern Roman Empire. He dramatically expanded the city, filling it with artistic treasures, and adorning the streets with opulent palaces. Constantine built new walls around it all—walls that were truly impregnable and preserved power, wealth, and withstood any aggressor—walls that still stand for tourists to visit.

From its ancient past to the present, we meet the city through its ordinary citizens—the Jews, Muslims, Italians, Greeks, and Russians who used the famous baths and walked the bazaars, and the rulers who built it up and then destroyed it, including Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, the man who christened the city "Istanbul" in 1930. Thomas Madden's entertaining narrative brings to life the city we see today, including the rich splendor of the churches and monasteries that spread throughout the city.

Istanbul draws on a lifetime of study and the latest scholarship, transporting readers to a city of unparalleled importance and majesty that holds the key to understanding modern civilization. In the words of Napoleon Bonaparte, "If the Earth were a single state, Istanbul would be its capital."
Between the eleventh and thirteenth centuries, Venice transformed itself from a struggling merchant commune to a powerful maritime empire that would shape events in the Mediterranean for the next four hundred years. In this magisterial new book on medieval Venice, Thomas F. Madden traces the city-state's extraordinary rise through the life of Enrico Dandolo (c. 1107–1205), who ruled Venice as doge from 1192 until his death. The scion of a prosperous merchant family deeply involved in politics, religion, and diplomacy, Dandolo led Venice's forces during the disastrous Fourth Crusade (1201–1204), which set out to conquer Islamic Egypt but instead destroyed Christian Byzantium. Yet despite his influence on the course of Venetian history,we know little about Dandolo, and much of what is known has been distorted by myth.

The first full-length study devoted to Dandolo's life and times, Enrico Dandolo and the Rise of Venice corrects the many misconceptions about him that have accumulated over the centuries, offering an accurate and incisive assessment of Dandolo's motives, abilities, and achievements as doge, as well as his role—and Venice's—in the Fourth Crusade. Madden also examines the means and methods by which the Dandolo family rose to prominence during the preceding century, thus illuminating medieval Venice's singular political, social, and religious environment. Culminating with the crisis precipitated by the failure of the Fourth Crusade, Madden's groundbreaking work reveals the extent to which Dandolo and his successors became torn between the anxieties and apprehensions of Venice's citizens and its escalating obligations as a Mediterranean power.

The first single-volume history of Istanbul in decades: a biography of the city at the center of civilizations past and present. For more than two millennia Istanbul has stood at the crossroads of the world, perched at the very tip of Europe, gazing across the shores of Asia. The history of this city-known as Byzantium, then Constantinople, now Istanbul-is at once glorious, outsized, and astounding. Founded by the Greeks, its location blessed it as a center for trade but also made it a target of every empire in history, from Alexander the Great and his Macedonian Empire to the Romans and later the Ottomans. At its most spectacular Emperor Constantine I re-founded the city as New Rome, the capital of the eastern Roman Empire, and dramatically expanded the city, filling it with artistic treasures, and adorning the streets with opulent palaces. Around it all Constantine built new walls, truly impregnable, that preserved power, wealth, and withstood any aggressor-walls that still stand for tourists to visit. From its ancient past to the present, we meet the city through its ordinary citizens-the Jews, Muslims, Italians, Greeks, and Russians who used the famous baths and walked the bazaars-and the rulers who built it up and then destroyed it, including Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, the man who christened the city "Istanbul" in 1930. Thomas Madden's entertaining narrative brings to life the city we see today, including the rich splendor of the churches and monasteries that spread throughout the city. Istanbul draws on a lifetime of study and the latest scholarship, transporting readers to a city of unparalleled importance and majesty that holds the key to understanding modern civilization. In the words of Napoleon Bonaparte, "If the Earth were a single state, Istanbul would be its capital."
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