The ultimate in Blood, Tits and Scowling is well known for the awful, cynical behavior of its scheming characters. To some the pre-modern absence of things like democracy, rights or the “public good” mean we just get to relish the meaningless squabbles for power. Not Daniel Larison. There are principles, however odd they may seem to us, that people once really believed in. The past (and the better sort of fictionalized version of it) is a different country, and more different for some than others.

If only Larison could write more about Byzantine history rather than modern democratic politics, for which the only understandable attitude is one of cynicism.