Steven Runciman

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Sir James Cochran Stevenson Runciman CH (born July 7, 1903 in Northumberland , † November 1, 2000 in Radway, Warwickshire ) was a British historian who is famous for his work on the Middle Ages .


His parents were both for the Liberal Party in Parliament, his paternal grandfather, Walter Runciman, 1st Baron Runciman , was a major shipowner. He received his education in Eton , at the same time as George Orwell , who became a close friend. In 1921 he began studying history at Trinity College (Cambridge) .

His work on the Byzantine Empire made him a Fellow of Trinity College in 1927 . He inherited a substantial fortune from his grandfather, after which he resigned as a fellow in 1938. From 1942 to 1945 he was Professor of Byzantine Art and History at Istanbul University , where he began his research on the Crusades . The result, A History of the Crusades ( History of the Crusades ), is his most famous work. It appeared in three volumes in 1951, 1952 and 1954.

Since 1957 he was a member ( fellow ) of the British Academy . In 1958 he was knighted as a Knight Bachelor ("Sir"). Since 1965 he was a member of the American Philosophical Society .

Runciman was an old-style scholar who was not interested in using newer methodological approaches. In his private life he was known as an eccentric , an esthete, anecdote-teller, adherent of the occult and friend of aristocrats and politicians in many countries.

The Runciman Award is named in his honor .

Fonts (in selection)

  • The Emperor Romanus Lecapenus and his reign. A study of 10th century Byzantium. University Press, Cambridge 1929.
  • A history of the first Bulgarian Empire . Bell, London 1930.
  • A history of the crusades. 3 parts. University Press, Cambridge 1951-1954.
  • The Medieval Manichee: A Study of the Christian Dualist Heresy. University Press, Cambridge 1955.
    • German: heresy and Christianity. Medieval Manichaeism. Fink, Munich 1988, ISBN 3-7705-2498-5 .
  • Byzantine Civilization. Meridian Books, New York 1956.
    • German: Byzantium. From the foundation to the fall of Constantinople (= Kindlers Kulturgeschichte , Volume 8), translated by Heinrich Wolfart. Kindler, Munich 1969; published as paperback by dtv, Munich 1983
  • The Sicilian Vespers. A history of the Mediterranean world in the later thirteenth century. University Press, Cambridge 1958
    • German: The Sicilian Vespers. A history of the Mediterranean world at the end of the thirteenth century. , translated by Peter de Mendelssohn, Beck, Munich 1959, ISBN 3-406-06458-2
  • The fall of Constantinople 1453. University Press, Cambridge 1965.
    • German: The conquest of Constantinople 1453 , translated by Peter de Mendelssohn, Beck, Munich 1966, ISBN 3-406-02528-5 ; Published as paperback by dtv, Wissenschaftliche Reihe, Munich 1977, ISBN 3-423-04286-9
  • The Great Church in captivity: A study of the Patriarchate of Constantinople from the eve of the Turkish conquest to the Greek war of independence. University Press, Cambridge 1968, ISBN 0-521-07188-7 .
    • German: The Patriarchate of Constantinople from the eve of the Turkish conquest to the Greek war of independence. , translated by Peter de Mendelssohn, Beck, Munich 1970, ISBN 3-406-03332-6 .


  • Cyril Mango : Sir Steven Runciman, July 7, 1903 - November 1, 2000. In: Byzantinische Zeitschrift , Vol. 94 (2001), pp. 911-912.
  • Minoo Dinshaw: Outlandish Knight: The Bycantine Life of Steven Runciman . Allen Lane, 2016
  • Anthony Bryer: James Cochran Stevenson Runciman, 1903-2000 . In: Proceedings of the British Academy . tape 120 , 2003, p. 365-381 ( [PDF]).

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. Knights and Dames at Leigh Rayment's Peerage
  2. Member History: Sir Steven Runciman. American Philosophical Society, accessed January 26, 2019 .