The death of Basil II in A.D. 1025, after glorious years as sole emperor, ushered in decades of turbulence, corruption and incompetence...For the following half-century of extraordinary decline our main source is Michael Psellus (1018-96), one of the greatest courtiers and men of letters of the age. His vivid and forceful chronicle, full of psychological insight and deep understanding of power politics, is a historical and literary document of the first important'ce. Recent scholars have shattered for ever Gibbon's view that the Byzantine Age was just a shabby and disreputable appendage to the Roman Empire; Psellus, a man of striking refinement and humanity, both portrays and exemplifies at its best the Byzantine way of life.
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