Mélanges James Howard-Johnston

Across his career James has cultivated a number of interests in, for example, the political and military histories of Byzantium, the Eurasian Steppe, and the Sasanian Empire; Byzantine historiography; medieval law and commerce; and, perhaps above all, the history of warfare, and in particular the “world crisis” which dramatically and permanently reordered the Middle East in the course of the seventh century. Readers of James’ bibliography up to 2022, which we include at the beginning of this volume, will perceive the simultaneous cultivation of all these interests, but also a growing preoccupation with the seventh century, which intensified from the 1990s and then culminated in two masterpieces of scholarship produced in his retirement—or, as James would say in typical self-depreciating style, his “defunctitude”. The first, Witnesses to a world crisis, represents a distillation of many years of careful rumination on the diverse sources for seventh-century political history, and a profound reflection on the rise of Islam and the Arab conquests. The second (for which Witnesses is in many ways the prequel), The last great war of antiquity, stands now as the first full history of the final conflict of the Roman and Iranian Empires, a grand topic of which James has long been the recognised master.

The contributors to this volume represent but a small selection of James’ many colleagues, students, and admirers, each of whom has been touched in some way by his personal generosity, and fired by his enormous input into teaching and research. The personal recollections which accompany many of the papers speak for themselves.

Volume edited by Phil BOOTH & Mary WHITBY

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