Byzantium cannot be reconstructed, but its art provides an intensely vivid picture of its official and everyday life. The author of this volume has chosen two great works to illustrate this. The illuminated manuscrAt of the Skylitzes Chronicle in the Biblioteca Nacional in Madrid is unique. It is the most important preserved document illustrating particular historical events in a secular framework, and a study of this manuscrAt transports us to a mid-Byzantine historical context, with all its drama, triumphs, and ceremonial life, as well as its darker side, disasters and persecutions. The other great work chosen by the author to illustrate the artistic legacy of Byzantium is the famous church of Hagia Sophia in Istanbul, the princAal monument of Christian architecture of Justinian times and fundamental to the history of architecture.