For centuries, the food and culinary delights of the Byzantine empire - centred on Constantinople - have captivated the west, although it appeared that very little information had been passed down to us. Andrew Dalby's "Tastes of Byzantium" now reveals in astonishing detail, for the first time, what was eaten in the court of the Eastern Roman Empire - and how it was cooked. Fusing the spices of the Romans with the seafood and simple local food of the Aegean and Greek world, the cuisine of the Byzantines was unique and a precursor to much of the food of modern Turkey and Greece. Bringing this vanished cuisine to life in vivid and sensual detail, Dalby describes the sights and smells of Constantinople and its marketplaces, relates travellers' tales and paints a comprehensive picture of the recipes and customs of the empire and their relationship to health and the seasons, love and medicine. For food-lovers and historians alike, "Tastes of Byzantium" is both essential and riveting - an extraordinary illumination of everyday life in the Byzantine world.