For a thousand years, the Empire of East Rome--i.e., of Constantinople--known to history as the Byzantine Empire, was the wealthiest, most populous, most civilized and most splendid state of Christendom. Mr. Franzius' approach, in his history of that magnificent entity, is to view the Empire as the old Roman Empire's continuation in--or translation to--Asia Minor, and to regard it as a specifically Roman, rather than (as popularly supposed) a phenomenon of exclusively Greek culture. (It is a viewpoint shared with Mr. Franzius by many reputable Byzantinologists.) Within that context, the author treats chronologically of the Byzantine kaleidoscope from the founding of Constantinople in 330 to its fall to the Turks in 1453. He does so competently, comprehensively, colorfully, and synthetically, drawing from primary as well as from authoritative secondary sources to record the vagaries of a colossus that existed, first, by virtue of its military might, and then, when that had been exhausted, by that of its wealth and talent for intrigue. Any new history of the Byzantine Empire must necessarily bear comparison with such standards as the works of Ostrogorsky, Vasiliev, Diehl, Runciman, Jenkins, etc. As a scholar, Mr. Franzius has the will and the wit, but not always the weight, to compete in that company. But if one Judges the book for what it is--i.e., as a history not for the scholar or the specialist, but for the student and the general reader--then History of the Byzantine Empire may be recommended as an accurate, sound, and highly readable presentation of one of man's most colorful ages.