This book presents a history of Greco-Turkish relations which emphasizes the exchange between the two cultures starting from Byzantine times. It contests the common military approach to the history of these cultures and their relationship.
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The history of Byzantine-Turkish relations is often told as a chain of war and conflict. This book written by specialist on Byzantine and Turkish history Michel Balivet demonstrates the limitations of military history. Rather than solely dwelling on the conflictual aspects of the relationship between the two cultures, Balivet studies the cultural exchange, flow of ideas and processes of reconciliation. These currents might have been more subtle and silent, but are no less fundamental for our historical understanding. Through four large chapters Balivet studies the relations between Byzantine Rhômania and Diyâr-i Rûm from the 11th to the 15th century and then analyzes the Ottoman state of the 15th to the 19th century as a space of Christian and Islamic osmosis. This book tells the history of an exchange and contact without which, says Balivet, it is difficult to understand the decline and downfall of the Byzantine Empire as well as the birth of the Ottoman Empire. As such, it shows the importance of not treating Byantine and Turkish cultures as impermeable entities.