17 books directly related to Constantinople 📚

All 17 Constantinople books as recommended by authors and experts. Updated weekly.

Book cover of Problems of the Future and Essays

Why this book?

Published 1893, Laing considers all kinds of searching questions relating to astronomy, geology, spiritualism, poetry, taxation, finance, and much more. Clearly a possessor of a powerful intelligence, Laing endeavors to make sense of the universe and human life with the limited information he had at his disposal, compared to what we know today. How does the sun burn, he asks? Is it made from coal? A notion he dismisses with rational precision. Later, he considers the arms race from his nineteenth century viewpoint and uncannily predicts a “Great War” that will engulf most of Europe, with “Constantinople” being the likely catalyst of “the blood-rain deluges of the greatest war the world has ever seen”.

Problems of the Future and Essays

By Samuel Laing,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Problems of the Future and Essays as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

This is a pre-1923 historical reproduction that was curated for quality. Quality assurance was conducted on each of these books in an attempt to remove books with imperfections introduced by the digitization process. Though we have made best efforts - the books may have occasional errors that do not impede the reading experience. We believe this work is culturally important and have elected to bring the book back into print as part of our continuing commitment to the preservation of printed works worldwide.

Book cover of The Fourth Crusade and the Sack of Constantinople

Why this book?

This book vividly describes what happened when the fears of Anna Komnene and other Byzantines were finally realised and a crusading expedition ended up attacking and capturing Constantinople. Phillips’ interest is in crusading rather than in Byzantium so the focus of the book is on the actions and motivations of the crusaders. He points out that they had no plan originally to go to Constantinople: their aim was to sail to Egypt from where they would recover Jerusalem for Christendom. Only when they ran short of supplies and money did they accept the invitation of a Byzantine prince to divert to Constantinople and help him to restore his father to the throne. And they only attacked the city when the prince failed to pay them what he had promised! Nevertheless, by their actions they brought about the ruin not just of a state but of an entire culture.

The Fourth Crusade and the Sack of Constantinople

By Jonathan Phillips,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Fourth Crusade and the Sack of Constantinople as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In 1202, zealous Western Christians gathered in Venice determined to liberate Jerusalem from the grip of Islam. But the crusaders never made it to the Holy Land. Steered forward by the shrewd Venetian doge, they descended instead on Constantinople, wreaking terrible devastation. The crusaders spared no one: They raped and massacred thousands, plundered churches, and torched the lavish city. By 1204, one of the great civilizations of history had been shattered. Here, on the eight hundredth anniversary of the sack, is the extraordinary story of this epic catastrophe, told for the first time outside of academia by Jonathan Phillips, a…

The Fourth Crusade: The Conquest of Constantinople

By Donald E. Queller, Thomas F. Madden,

Book cover of The Fourth Crusade: The Conquest of Constantinople

Why this book?

Study of the ins and outs, the steps and missteps of a particular crusade allow us to move from the general to the particular and to view closeup the choices and actions of participants who lacked our 20-20 hindsight. No crusade was more beset by unforeseen circumstances and miscalculations than the Fourth Crusade (1202-04), which left Venice headed for an amphibious assault on Muslim-held Egypt but wound up capturing Christian Constantinople not once but twice and establishing the Latin Empire of Constantinople (1204-61). This classic in-depth but never dull book puts a human face on that crusade and brings alive its numerous twists and turns. History is intrinsically exciting, and Queller and Madden’s enthusiasm does full justice to that fact. 

The Fourth Crusade: The Conquest of Constantinople

By Donald E. Queller, Thomas F. Madden,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Fourth Crusade as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

On August 15, 1199, Pope Innocent III called for a renewed effort to deliver Jerusalem from the Infidel, but the Fourth Crusade had a very different outcome from the one he preached. Proceeding no further than Constantinople, the Crusaders sacked the capital of eastern Christendom and installed a Latin ruler on the throne of Byzantium. This revised and expanded edition of The Fourth Crusade gives fresh emphasis to events in Byzantium and the Byzantine response to the actions of the Crusaders. Included in this edition is a chapter on the sack of Constantinople and the election of its Latin emperor.…


Book cover of Theodora: Actress, Empress, Whore

Why this book?

The Empress Theodora is one of the most colourful and notorious figures in eastern Roman (or ‘Byzantine’) history, and in this book, and the sequel The Purple Shroud, Stella Duffy brings her brilliantly to life. After spending her early years in the coarse and brutally competitive demimonde of performers, dancers and prostitutes surrounding the Hippodrome of Constantinople, Theodora scales to the heights of imperial power with tenacity and determination. But she always appears as a figure of her age, immersed in the complex and often bewildering culture and society of the 6th century AD. Duffy uses the travails of Theodora’s life to take us on a tour of the eastern Mediterranean, from the slums and palaces of Constantinople to the desert monasteries of Egypt. It’s an engaging tale of rags to riches, to rags again to riches again, and remains scrupulously close to the few historical sources that survive, while conjuring up the strange world of ‘Byzantium’ in all its dazzling glory.

Theodora: Actress, Empress, Whore

By Stella Duffy,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Theodora as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Two of the most famous mosaics from the ancient world, in the church of San Vitale in Ravenna, depict the sixth-century emperor Justinian and, on the wall facing him, his wife, Theodora (497-548). This majestic portrait gives no inkling of Theodora's very humble beginnings or her improbable rise to fame and power. Raised in a family of circus performers near Constantinople's Hippodrome, she abandoned a successful acting career in her late teens to follow a lover whom
she was legally forbidden to marry. When he left her, she was a single mother who built a new life for herself as…

A Flame in Byzantium

By Chelsea Quinn Yarbro,

Book cover of A Flame in Byzantium

Why this book?

Yarbro’s tales of the vampire Saint-Germain is one of the most influential and long-running series in horror. This secondary series focuses on Roman matron Atta Olivia Clemons, Saint-Germain’s lover from the age of Nero. In this first installment, she struggles to survive the much different world of 6th Century Constantinople. Full of rich historical detail, it shows that being a vampire is no protection in a world in which women have no rights, rules are rigidly enforced, and spies are everywhere.  If you like history and vampires, you can’t go wrong with Yarbro’s books.

A Flame in Byzantium

By Chelsea Quinn Yarbro,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked A Flame in Byzantium as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Olivia Clems, a vampire, is caught up in the complex political plots of sixth century Byzantium

Procopius: Secret History

By Richard Atwater,

Book cover of Procopius: Secret History

Why this book?

No, not the Donna Tartt novel, which I also like a lot, but the 6th-century text from which she copped her title, the one by Procopius about the reign of Justinian and Theodora (admirably and unflinchingly translated by Richard Atwater). I have a weak spot for the work of “contemporaneous” historians, especially when their self-interest is so patent. The great virtue of such texts is that they remind us: as wild and wonderful as the human imagination may be, there’s some stuff you just can’t make up. In the case of Procopius, however, it’s not clear that he isn’t making this stuff up, the Secret History being an alternate account of his experience in the Imperial court, the one he kept in a locked drawer just in case the Barbarians ever took over and needed proof he wasn’t just a toady to the former regime.

To that end, he offers up so much dirty laundry on the sitting Emperor and Empressrank with so much depravity, violence, and Dark Triadic schemingthat the two perpetrators begin to take on an almost heroic quality. Leaving the more salacious material to the reader’s curiosity (which will be satisfied, trust me) consider this sampler: that in defense of the allegation that Justinian might literally have been the spawn of the devil, the author cites several members of the court who claim to have witnessed the features all disappearing from his face, as well as other times his whole head vanished from his shoulders and reappeared again. That’s what people were saying anyway.

Procopius: Secret History

By Richard Atwater,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Procopius as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Thank you for checking out this book by Theophania Publishing. We appreciate your business and look forward to serving you soon. We have thousands of titles available, and we invite you to search for us by name, contact us via our website, or download our most recent catalogues. Procopius of Caesarea (in Palestine) is the most important source for information about the reign of the emperor Justinian and his wife Theodora. From 527 to 531 Procopius was a counsel the great general of the time, Belisarius. He was on Belisarius's first Persian campaign, and later took part in an expedition…

Baudolino

By Umberto Eco, William Weaver (translator),

Book cover of Baudolino

Why this book?

I don’t know if I’ve ever run across a more endearing scamp than Baudolino, Italian peasant cum companion to the Holy Roman Emperor, Frederick I. Professor Eco weaves a richly imagined tale where a group of young men finds themselves on a preposterous journey to find Prester John and far-off mythical lands. Told with erudition, peopled with dynamic characters (and more than a few mythical ones), and seasoned with an obvious relish for medieval trivialities, some will complain that the last quarter of the book has the feel of a story that got lost at sea. But in my opinion, the journey’s well worth the ending.

Baudolino

By Umberto Eco, William Weaver (translator),

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Baudolino as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

An extraordinary epic, brilliantly-imagined, new novel from a world-class writer and author of The Name of the Rose. Discover the Middle Ages with Baudolino - a wondrous, dazzling, beguiling tale of history, myth and invention.

It is 1204, and Constantinople is being sacked and burned by the knights of the fourth Crusade. Amid the carnage and confusion Baudolino saves a Byzantine historian and high court official from certain death at the hands of the crusading warriors, and proceeds to tell his own fantastical story.


Book cover of Constantine: Roman Emperor, Christian Victor

Why this book?

Dr. Stephenson, an excellent Byzantine historian, provides a thorough and well-written narrative of Constantine's life and career set accurately within the late 3rd and early 4th century Roman Empire (A.D. 273-337). He focuses on the military abilities and the religious beliefs of his subject and reveals how he changed the Roman Empire and Christian Church with his policies. A good read.

Constantine: Roman Emperor, Christian Victor

By Paul Stephenson,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Constantine as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

This “knowledgeable account” of the emperor who brought Christianity to Rome “provides valuable insight into Constantine’s era” (Kirkus Reviews).

“By this sign conquer.” So began the reign of Constantine. In 312 A.D. a cross appeared in the sky above his army as he marched on Rome. In answer, Constantine bade his soldiers to inscribe the cross on their shield, and so fortified, they drove their rivals into the Tiber and claimed Rome for themselves.

Constantine led Christianity and its adherents out of the shadow of persecution. He united the western and eastern halves of the Roman Empire, raising a new…

Children of Earth and Sky

By Guy Gavriel Kay,

Book cover of Children of Earth and Sky

Why this book?

Technically this is not historical fiction, but if you know anything about Venice and Constantinople, you will recognise our world in the past. Guy Gavriel Kay’s magical writing weaves history into fantasy, where incredible occurrences become perfectly credible. This story is about various individuals caught up in a conflict between those who worship the stars and those who pray to the sun. Each character is very real in their flaws and ambitions and desires. Battles are fought across the fantasy Balkan states and the Adriatic Sea, involving Seressa (Venice) and the Asharites (the ‘infidel’). Kay’s books are quite simply splendid; I love the way they take me on exciting journeys with fascinating characters. Un-put-downable.

Children of Earth and Sky

By Guy Gavriel Kay,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Children of Earth and Sky as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Guy Gavriel Kay, bestselling author of the groundbreaking novels Under Heaven and River of Stars, once again visits a world that evokes one that existed in our own past, this time the tumultuous period of Renaissance Europe - a world on the verge of war, where ordinary lives play out in the grand scheme of kingdoms colliding.

From the small coastal town of Senjan, notorious for its pirates , a young woman sets out to find vengeance for her lost family. That same spring, from the wealthy city-state of Seressa, famous for its canals and lagoon, come two very different…


Book cover of Medieval Bodies: Life, Death and Art in the Middle Ages

Why this book?

Jack Hartnell anatomises the Middle Ages in a very real sense: the book is divided up into parts of the body. It is a brilliant and innovative approach, allowing him to bring together the history of medicine, artistic objects, political thought, cartography, metaphor, and the medieval imagination, among other things. Importantly, he looks far beyond Western Europe, so the book also includes Jewish and Islamic approaches to the body, explores the Byzantine world, and analyses objects and ideas from, for instance, North Africa and the Middle East. The book focuses on the Mediterranean world in its broadest sense, ranging widely across sources and disciplines but staying rooted in the question of how medieval people thought about and experienced their bodies. As you might expect from an art historian, he has lavishly illustrated the book, and it gives readers a great sense of the beauty and weirdness of the art and objects that survive.

Medieval Bodies: Life, Death and Art in the Middle Ages

By Jack Hartnell,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Medieval Bodies as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Just like us, medieval men and women worried about growing old, got blisters and indigestion, fell in love, and had children. And yet their lives were full of miraculous and richly metaphorical experiences radically different from our own, unfolding in a world where deadly wounds might be healed overnight by divine intervention, or where the heart of a king, plucked from his corpse, could be held aloft as a powerful symbol of political rule.

In this richly illustrated and unusual history, Jack Hartnell uncovers the fascinating ways in which people thought about, explored, and experienced their physical selves in the…


Book cover of The Penguin Historical Atlas of the Vikings

Why this book?

If a picture is worth a thousand words, what value is an illustrated, annotated map complete with key dates and a timeline?! Most books carry a few maps that help orientate you to the text, but this atlas is a treasure trove. It provides a visual context that is hugely helpful in understanding how the world of the Vikings evolved.

The Penguin Historical Atlas of the Vikings

By John Haywood,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked The Penguin Historical Atlas of the Vikings as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Viking marauders in their longships burst through the defences of ninth-century Europe, striking terror into the hearts of peasants and rulers alike for two centuries. But the Vikings were more than just marine warriors and this atlas shows their development as traders and craftsmen, explorers, settlers and mercenaries. With over sixty full colour maps, it follows the tracks of the Viking merchants who travelled deep into Russia, of Viking mercenaries who served in the emperor's bodyguard at Constantinople, and Viking mariners who sailed beyond the edge of the known world to North America.

Book cover of Strolling Through Istanbul: The Classic Guide to the City

Why this book?

For Istanbul the best walking guide ever. This book seamlessly conducts a visitor around the city’s sights, weaving stories from its history into street-by-street locations and managing above all else to avoid the sin of becoming boring. It makes you want to see every stretch of pavement and every building mentioned in the book. The only warning is it’s a thick paperback and you’ll want to take notes from it in advance rather than carrying it around with you.

Strolling Through Istanbul: The Classic Guide to the City

By Hilary Sumner-Boyd, John Freely,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked Strolling Through Istanbul as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

This classic guide to Istanbul by Hilary Summer-Boyd and John Freely - the 'best travel guide to Istanbul' (The Times), 'a guide book that reads like a novel' (New York Times) - is here, for the first time since its original publication thirty-seven years ago, published in a completely revised and updated new edition. Taking the reader on foot through this captivating city - European City of Culture 2010 - the authors describe the historic monuments and sites of what was once Constantinople and the capital in turn of the Byzantine and Ottoman Empires, in the context of the great…

The Black Russian

By Vladimir Alexandrov,

Book cover of The Black Russian

Why this book?

This book brings to life the story of the little-known Frederick Bruce Thomas, born in 1872 to ex-slaves who had become successful farmers in Mississippi. I was amazed at how the entrepreneurial Frederick found employment in various cities across Europe before becoming a successful nightclub owner in Moscow and then in Istanbul after the Bolshevik Revolution. Well-researched and documented, the book critiques American racism and, in my opinion, offers a new and refreshing insight into the politics and society of Russia and Turkey.

The Black Russian

By Vladimir Alexandrov,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Black Russian as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The extraordinary story of Frederick Bruce Thomas, the son of former slaves who fled America to build a life in Tsarist Russia.

'A fascinating tale' Anne Applebaum
'Thoroughly enjoyable' Spectator
'Extraordinary and gripping' Adam Hochschild

After the brutal death of his father when he was a teenager, Frederick Thomas fled the stifling racism of the American South and headed for New York City, where he worked as a valet and trained as a singer. Through charisma and cunning, Thomas emigrated to Europe, where his acquired skills as a multilingual maitre d'hotel allowed him to travel from London to Monte Carlo…


Book cover of Between the Woods and the Water: On Foot to Constantinople: From the Middle Danube to the Iron Gates

Why this book?

This book is the second in a trilogy about a long journey Fermor made—mostly on foot—from Holland to Istanbul in 1934, when he was nineteen years old. Fermor wrote the books from memory many years afterward, so their veracity is open to question, but his imagination and skill aren't: he might resent the comparison, but his books gave me the same thrills as an adult that I remember from my parents reading The Lord of the Rings to me as a child. Though all three are astounding, Between the Woods and the Water is my favorite— it begins as he crosses the Danube into Hungary from the west, follows him across Romania, and ends up in the Balkans, a region that would soon be transformed (and, in part, erased) by World War II. Fermor knows that too, but he doesn't mention it: he lets the places he walks through and the people he meets seem timeless and ageless, lit by the joy and wonder of his youth. 

Between the Woods and the Water: On Foot to Constantinople: From the Middle Danube to the Iron Gates

By Patrick Leigh Fermor,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Between the Woods and the Water as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The acclaimed travel writer's youthful journey - as an 18-year-old - across 1930s Europe by foot began in A Time of Gifts, which covered the author's exacting journey from the Lowlands as far as Hungary.

Picking up from the very spot on a bridge across the Danube where his readers last saw him, we travel on with him across the great Hungarian Plain on horseback, and over the Romanian border to Transylvania.

The trip was an exploration of a continent which was already showing signs of the holocaust which was to come. Although frequently praised for his lyrical writing, Fermor's…


The Emigrants

By W.G. Sebald, Michael Hulse (translator),

Book cover of The Emigrants

Why this book?

One of the most original books I have ever read, and as such impossible to classify by genrea dizzying mix of memoir, history, and travel writing. As the separate stories of four apparently unrelated individuals unfold, Sebald exposes a common theme: the loss of identity through trauma and displacement. The stories are devastating and yet there is something hopeful in Sebald’s melancholic and vivid writing, the powerful case he makes for these stories being heard.

The Emigrants

By W.G. Sebald, Michael Hulse (translator),

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked The Emigrants as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The four long narratives in The Emigrants appear at first to be the straightforward biographies of four Germans in exile. Sebald reconstructs the lives of a painter, a doctor, an elementary-school teacher, and Great Uncle Ambrose. Following (literally) in their footsteps, the narrator retraces routes of exile which lead from Lithuania to London, from Munich to Manchester, from the South German provinces to Switzerland, France, New York, Constantinople, and Jerusalem. Along with memories, documents, and diaries of the Holocaust, he collects photographs-the enigmatic snapshots which stud The Emigrants and bring to mind family photo albums. Sebald combines precise documentary with…

And Only to Deceive

By Tasha Alexander,

Book cover of And Only to Deceive

Why this book?

Emily marries Philip, the Viscount Ashton, a man she hardly knows, to escape her mother. After their wedding trip, Philip, an ardent game hunter, leaves for a hunt in Africa. When Emily learns he died of a fever, she hardly grieves. As she enters her year of mourning, Emily reads Philip’s journal, astonished to learn he loved her passionately. He also collected Greek antiquities, many of which he donated to the British Museum. Emily begins to study ancient Greek literature and antiquities. (I loved learning with Emily.) When she discovers that someone—possibly Philip—either gave the British Museum forged Greek antiquities or stole the originals from the museum and substituted forgeries, Emily works to unravel this mystery and find out what really happened to her husband in Africa.

And Only to Deceive

By Tasha Alexander,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked And Only to Deceive as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

From New York Times bestselling author Tasha Alexander comes a stunning novel of historical suspense set in Victorian England, meticulously researched and with a twisty plot that involves stolen antiquities, betrayal, and murder

Lady Emily's first mystery . . .

For Emily, accepting the proposal of Philip, the Viscount Ashton, was just an easy way to escape her stifling home life and overbearing mother. So when her new husband dies on safari soon after the wedding, she feels little grief. After all, she barely knew the man.

Now, nearly two years later, she discovers that Philip was a far different…


Book cover of Niccolò Rising: The First Book of The House of Niccolò

Why this book?

This is the first book in the breathtaking House of Niccolò series that takes readers across Europe from Flanders to Tuscany, then to Scotland, Cyprus, and Constantinople, among other places, in the mid-fifteenth century. It is the story of a humble but gifted Bruges dye-works apprentice named Claes who turns himself into the wealthy, well-respected, often feared Niccolò, who wreaks havoc on his enemies. Dunnett’s hist-fic is for serious fans of the genre: kings, duchesses, and courtiers, financial machinations with the Medici, international intrigue, and the very best sort of timeless narrative. Not an easy read, but unforgettable, and so worthwhile. Dunnett inspired me to write action-packed but quality historical fiction based on serious research. 

Niccolò Rising: The First Book of The House of Niccolò

By Dorothy Dunnett,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Niccolò Rising as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In this first book of The House of Niccolò series, the author of the Lymond Chronicles introduces a new hero, Nicholas vander Poele of Bruges, the good-natured dyer's apprentice who schemes and swashbuckles his way to the helm of a mercantile empire.

With the bravura storytelling and pungent authenticity of detail she brought to her acclaimed Lymond Chronicles, Dorothy Dunnett, grande dame of the historical novel, presents The House of Niccolò series. The time is the 15th century, when intrepid merchants became the new knighthood of Europe. Among them, none is bolder or more cunning than Nicholas vander Poele of…