I don’t remember who told me The lovers from Byzantiumthe novel by Finn Mika Waltari, published in 1952.
Going to TVR to watch the sequences to be on tonight’s show, Fall of Constantinople, I asked the team members if any of them spoke Romanian to me. Two of the girls said no.
I bought the book, I think, at the Alexandria Bookstore in the Focsani Shopping Complex. Every time I arrive at Complex, on my way to Găgeşti, I also stop by the bookstore. The Finn’s book was brought out by Polyrom in 2011, in the collection Top 10+. Masterpieces of literature from everywhere in a collection of the most beloved bestsellers. As usual, after purchase I put it well. That is, in the Tower of Babel of the books next to the desk in the hope that someday in this life I will be able to distribute them in the Cupboards. I don’t know why I decided to read it now. In fact, if I think about it, I told myself to finish it now, before the show, constrained by time. After the Fall of Constantinople show, I don’t think I’ll be interested in it anymore.
Since I started it, I haven’t let it go. Naturally, the novel aims to reconstruct the last half year of Byzantium’s 1,000-year history: December 12, 1452-May 29, 1453. As in all productions of this kind, the author uses a character to facilitate the description of different places and sequences. The character, also the narrator, is called Ioannis Anghelos, the last descendant of the Byzantine dynasty of the Anghelese. Coming from the West to Constantinople (as Latin), he falls in love with Anna Notaras, the daughter of the megaduke Loukas Notaras, the one suspected of being betrayed in favor of the Turks, after the Conquest of Constantinople, the favorite for the post of governor, butchered with his family by Mehmet II in following the intrigues woven by those at Court.
The lovers from Byzantium it’s a silly title. It would have been much better Lovers from Byzantium besiegedbecause the love of the two ignited and burned in the days when Byzantium was under the threat of the Ottomans.
The trick of pretext characters for the popularization of History has been used before in the destiny of universal Literature. Despite its absolutely common title, Mika Waltari’s novel revolves around two aesthetically well-made characters. Ioannis Anghelos is a mature man, married to an Italian woman, kept on the border between mystery and romance. The memories reveal him as an ins of his time: adventurer, passed through wars and at different courts, including that of Mehmet II. Anna Notaras is not just an easy pretext for spying on the High World of sick Byzantium, a fanatical Orthodox world, ready to betray in favor of the new master of the peoples. She wants to be the embodiment of the feminine mystery. Like the man Ioannis, we, today’s male readers, do not understand with our reason in the maddening hackles.
The strength of the two characters is added to the dark relationship between the two.
A good psychologist, the Finn is a talented reconstructor of the world. Thanks to his diary, we have an exceptional picture of the besieged Byzantium, the complicated realities of the High World and even the Siege itself.
NOTE: This editorial is taken in its entirety from cristoiublog.ro
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