TOME XXVI – Mélanges James Howard-Johnston
Apart from a brief sojourn at as a Junior Fellow at Dumbarton Oaks, Washington in 1968–9, James Howard-Johnston spent his entire academic career at the University of Oxford. After a period as Junior Research Lecturer at Christ Church from 1966 to 1971, he was thereafter University Lecturer in Byzantine Studies and a Fellow of Corpus Christi College until his retirement almost forty years later, in 2009. In the mid 2000s he served briefly as interim President of Corpus. From 1972 to 1987 he was also passionately involved in local politics, as an Oxford City Councillor and Oxfordshire County Councillor. With his retirement from politics came a flood of publications which has continued until today.
Across his career James has cultivated a number of interests in, for example, the political and military histories of Byzantium, the Eurasian Steppe, and the Sasanian Empire; Byzantine historiography; medieval law and commerce; and, perhaps above all, the history of warfare, and in particular the “world crisis” which dramatically and permanently reordered the Middle East in the course of the seventh century. Readers of James’ bibliography up to 2022, which we include at the beginning of this volume, will perceive the simultaneous cultivation of all these interests, but also a growing preoccupation with the seventh century, which intensified from the 1990s and then culminated in two masterpieces of scholarship produced in his retirement—or, as James would say in typical self-depreciating style, his “defunctitude”. The first, Witnesses to a world crisis, represents a distillation of many years of careful rumination on the diverse sources for seventh-century political history, and a profound reflection on the rise of Islam and the Arab conquests. The second (for which Witnesses is in many ways the prequel), The last great war of antiquity, stands now as the first full history of the final conflict of the Roman and Iranian Empires, a grand topic of which James has long been the recognised master.
- Edited by Phil Booth & Mary Whitby
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