From the accession of Alexius in 1081, through the disastrous Fourth Crusade - when an army destined for the Holy Land was diverted to Constantinople by the blind, octogenarian but infinitely crafty Doge of Venice - to the painfully protracted struggle against the Ottomans, the closing centuries of the Byzantine era are rich in pathos, colour and startling reversals of fortune. The terrible siege of Constantinople in 1453 ended the empire, founded in the year 330, which Lord Norwich has devoted many years to re-creating; this volume forms the climax to an epic sequence of books.
John Julius Norwich was born in 1929. He was educated at Upper Canada College, Toronto, at Eton, at the University of Strasbourg and, after a spell of National Service in the Navy, at New College, Oxford, where he took a degree in French and Russian. In 1952 he joined the Foreign Service, where he remained for twelve years, serving at the embassies in Belgrade and Beirut and with the British Delegation to the Disarmament Conference at Geneva. In 1964 he resigned from the service in order to write. Byzantium: The Decline and Fall is the third in his three-volume history of the Byzantine Empire.