Review: Macrides, Ruth. History as Literature in Byzantium. Society for the Promotion of Byzantine Studies Publications.
Review by Catherine Holmes: Historical writing was one of the most significant forms of cultural production in Byzantium. Certainly there were times of fat and times of thin, with some periods (e.g., the late eleventh century) rich in historical narratives, and others (especially the seventh and eighth centuries) rather more impoverished; but despite these ups and downs, it is clear that histories were compiled, annotated, simplified, complicated, reissued and updated across the Byzantine centuries. That there was variety, quantity, and sometimes real quality in Byzantine history writing is not in dispute. More curious, however, is the fact that Byzantine historiography has received so little sustained scholarly analysis. Social and political historians have habitually approached Byzantine histories with the rather limited aim of sifting solid nuggets of "fact" out of a superfluous chaff of literary allusions, digressions and distortions (a point made forcefully by Ruth Macr