Istanbul A Tale of Three Cities

Bettany Hughes

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Istanbul has long been a place where stories and histories collide, where perception is as potent as fact.

From the Koran to Shakespeare, this city with three names–Byzantium, Constantinople, Istanbul — resonates as an idea and a place, real and imagined. Standing as the gateway between East and West, North and South, it has been the capital city of the Roman, Byzantine, and Ottoman Empires. For much of its history it was the very center of the world, known simply as The City, but, as Bettany Hughes reveals, Istanbul is not just a city, but a global story.

In this epic new biography, Hughes takes us on a dazzling historical journey from the Neolithic to the present, through the many incarnations of one of the world’s greatest cities–exploring the ways that Istanbul’s influence has spun out to shape the wider world. Hughes investigates what it takes to make a city and tells the story not just of emperors, viziers, caliphs, and sultans, but of the poor and the voiceless, of the women and men whose aspirations and dreams have continuously reinvented Istanbul.

Written with energy and animation, award-winning historian Bettany Hughes deftly guides readers through Istanbul’s rich layers of history. Based on meticulous research and new archaeological evidence, this captivating portrait of the momentous life of Istanbul is visceral, immediate, and authoritative — narrative history at its finest.

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ISBN – 9781780224732
Publication Date – 28/12/2017
Categories – Ancient History

more titles

Bettany Hughes
The Hemlock Cup Socrates, Athens and the Search for the Good Life
The Hemlock Cup Socrates, Athens and the Search for the Good Life


We think the way we do because Socrates thought the way he did. His aphorism ‘The unexamined life is not worth living’ may have originated twenty-five centuries ago, but it is a founding principle of modern life. Socrates lived and contributed to a city that nurtured key ingredients of contemporary civilisation – democracy, liberty, science, drama, rational thought – yet, as he wrote nothing in his lifetime, he himself is an enigmatic figure.

The Hemlock Cup gives Socrates the biography he deserves, setting him in the context of the Eastern Mediterranean that was his home, and dealing with him as he himself dealt with the world. Socrates was a soldier, a lover, a man of the people. He philosophised neither in grand educational establishments nor the courts of kings but in the squares and public arenas of Golden Age Athens. He lived through an age of extraordinary materialism, in which a democratic culture turned to the glorification of its own city; when war was declared under the banner of democracy; and when tolerance turned into intimidation on streets once populated by the likes of Euripides, Sophocles and Pericles. For seventy years he was a vigorous citizen of one of the greatest capitals on earth, but then his beloved Athens turned on him, condemning him to death by poison.Socrates’ pursuit of personal liberty is a vibrant story that Athens did not want us to hear, but which must be told.

Bettany Hughes has painstakingly pieced together Socrates’ life, following in his footsteps across Greece and Asia Minor, and examining the new archaeological discoveries that shed light on his world. In The Hemlock Cup she reveals the human heart of the man, and relates a story that is as relevant now as it has ever been.

Author: BETTANY HUGHES
Imprint: Vintage US
Format: Paperback
Publication date: 14/02/2012
Dimension: 203mm X 132mm
Weight: 436g
Pages: 544
Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Gro

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