In preparation for our trip to Istanbul, I bought this book, Istanbul: A Tale of Three Cities by Bettany Hughes, purely because of its raving reviews.
I didn’t know it was a historical BIOGRAPHY (oops, not a love story then!), and I didn’t realise the author was a famous historical tv host!
The book was pretty much a historical text book, but told in a conversational kind of way, and the author used big /academic words I had never heard before, like – Phagocyte, Demotic, Stultify, Encomia, Ebulliently (I wrote them down because I thought they were hilarious).
What did I think of the book?
I loved it!! It started in 80,000 BC and covered everything until the 1940s, focusing on the events of Byzantium/Constantinople/Istanbul.
So I feel like I have travelled through time, through the whole history of the world and emerged with a new perspective of the world and life. It was very cool.
Things that struck me:
– There was So. Much. Killing. So much politics, so many wars, mass slaughter, murder, assassinations, beheadings, eye-gouging, mutilations, rape, slavery. It was horrific!
– The history of Christianity and Islam was fascinating .
– Omg people died so young back then.
– Interesting to read about all the horrible stuff happening to society back then and realising that not much has changed, especially when it comes to crazy people in power, and perhaps while we might believe that the world is completely insane right now, compared to the shit that happened in the past, we are living in glorious and blessed times indeed.
Anyway, I’m officially obsessed with the history of Rome!
I’ve since read another historical non-fiction novel, and I’m currently addicted to listening to historical podcasts about Rome and Byzantium. I find them weirdly meditative :)