I have only just discovered that Anthony Bryer, my first cousin by marriage, died on Saturday. He was a big figure in my childhood – teaching at Birmingham University, living in Harborne, a deeply erudite Byzantinist and great authority on Trebizond. Each year he organised an International Symposium of Byzantine Studies which was a mixture of scholarship and showbiz and was mistrusted by the profession for the same reason that Steven Runciman was mistrusted for being too worldly. We spent Christmas 1976 with him in Dumbarton Oaks, alone with a fridge full of frozen food and twisted cigars which he had bought in the local supermarket. Bryer, as he was always known in the family, was much in my mind as I read the Runciman biography as he is quoted as a friendly critic of Runciman’s more esoteric Byzantine scholarship.