* Hesychast theology, a form of mystical prayer based on breathing, exercises, and the mass repetition of formulaic phrases, a form of worship that never developed in the West, although which had many parallels in the east.

But as an expert in the subject, she’s also well placed to debunk some of the classic myths about Byzantium. It is disappointing, if not surprising, to learn that Basil II (”the Bulgar-slayer”) not only didn’t carry out many of the massacres attributed to him, but was actually more important for bringing Antioch, large amounts of the Caucasus (previously under Georgian, Armenian and Abkhazian control), the Balkans and southern Italy under Byzantine control. Another strong woman appears, Maria, widow of the Bulgar ruler John Vladislav, who arranged the final peaceful surrender, overseeing the submission of her three sons and six daughters.

By Natalie Bennett; excerpts, edited by Ellopos Blog. Read complete. Cf. A History of the Byzantine Empire  * Constantinople Home Page