VRYONIS Jr., S.,
The Decline of Medieval Hellenism in Asia Minor and the Process of Islamization from the eleventh through the Fifteenth Century.
University of California Press, Berkeley (...), 1971. XVII,532p. ills.(B&W photographs and line drawings). Original black cloth with dust wrps. Fore edge as well as upper edge rust stained. ‘In a note Vryonis says that ‘strictly speaking the subject of this book is the Islamization of Byzantine society, for the crucial phase of the cultural transformation is the change from Christianity to Islam.’ Strictly speaking, yes. In actual fact, however, Vryonis’ book in its coverage is much more extensive than that. For the account it offers in its analysis of the society of Asia Minor begins roughly with the triumph of Christianity and goes beyond the political and military victory of the Ottoman Turks in the fifteenth century. Armes, as few scholars are, with an extraordinary knowledge of the sources, Greek, Arabic, Turkish and the scholarly literature, Vryonis has tackled a variety of major problems associated with the cultural evolution of Asia Minor and has offered satisfactory solutions to a number of them. (…) The principal theme of the book is the cultural transformation of Asia Minor brought about by the replacement of the Greek-Christian ways of life by those of Islam. The big factor in this transformation was, of course, the establishment of the Seljuk Turks in Asia Minor, an establishment which created the military and political framework within which the change in culture took place. Vryonis devotes 74 pages of his book to an analysis of the various forces and events which gave rise to this military and political framework (…). The rest of the book, 310 pages in all, is devoted to an analysis of the process of the cultural transformation, with a statement of recapitulation at the end, and a chapter on the Byzantine residue in Turkish Anatolia. Vryonis stresses the point that it took the Turks almost three centuries before they succeeded in occupying all of Asia Minor. The point is important because the two factors most effective in the transformation were in a sense functions of it, functions of it because they were repeated at each stage of Turkish expansion and Turkish consolidation of their new conquests. The two factors were: the destructiveness of the Turkish raids and the conversion of Christians to Islam in the regions over which the Turks consolidated their power. (…) Among the various books published on Asia Minor, whether Hellenistic, Roman, or Byzantine, Vryonis’, I think, is the best.’ (PETER CHANARIS in Speculum, 1973, pp.597-599).