This essay is based on some lectures given by the author at the Graduate School of Georgetown University, as part of his course of Byzantine History.
The tendency to reduce historical phenomena to watertight compartments profits little to study of history. Thus, for istance, the social history of Byzantium is usually treated of without regard for, because without the knowledge of, the Caucasian background of its ruling groups. More profoundly, the thought-world of Byzantium is invariably treated of without going beyond its immediate Christian and Hellenistic background. It is with the intention of placing the Byzantine Weltanschauung in its proper context that these lectures were delivered in their time and this essay is now presented to the interested.