Steven Runciman

British historian of the Middle Ages (1903–2000)

Sir James Cochran Stevenson Runciman CH (7 July 1903 – 1 November 2000), better known as Sir Steven Runciman, was a British historian known for his studies of eastern Christendom during the Middle Ages.


  • Unlike Christianity, which preached a peace that it never achieved, Islam unashamedly came with a sword.
    • A History of the Crusades (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, [1951-54] 1957) vol. 1 p. 15.
  • I believe that the supreme duty of the historian is to write history, that is to say, to attempt to record in one sweeping sequence the greater events and movements that have swayed the destinies of man.
    • A History of the Crusades (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, [1951-54] 1957) vol. 3 p. xiii.Steven Runciman delivered a lecture in the University of the Punjab Lahore (Pakistan) on Monday, Feb 24, 1964 at 11.00 A. M in the University of Senate Hall. The topic was " Personal Contacts between Muslims and Christians in the Middle Ages". Professor Hamid Ahmad Khan VC presided the lecture. Allama Muhammad Yousuf Gabriel attended this lecture and gave a letter to Sir S.Runciman to deliever it to Sir Bertrand Russel. Sir Steven delievered t his letter to Bertrand Russel and he sent a reply to Allama Muhammad Yousuf Gabriel but address was not Pakistan but India. The letter was returned from India to Pakistan and was handed over to Yousuf Gabriel. Sir Bertrand Russel wrote : "Since Adam and Eve ate the apple man has never abstained any folly what ever he could do and the end is atomic hell".
  • Riches should come as the reward for hard work, preferably one's forebears'.
    • A Traveller's Alphabet (London: Thames and Hudson, 1991); quoted in The Times Literary Supplement, February 2, 2001.
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