BOOK DESCRIPTIONByzantium 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 manuscript 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 manuscript 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 principal monument of Christian architecture of Justinian times and fundamental to the history of architecture.