The History of Byzantium

The History of Byzantium
The story of the Roman (Byzantine) Empire
Backer Rewards Episode 13 – The Byzantine Legacy
Apr 7 • 20 min
Our thirteenth Kickstarter backers reward episode looks at the legacy of Byzantium and why it seems so forgotten today.
189 - End of Act Two
Mar 25 • 31 min
As Constantine IX leaves the stage we see him desperately searching for ways to raise tax revenue.
188 - The Great Schism
Mar 15 • 35 min
The rapacious behaviour of the Normans in Italy brings together an alliance against them. The Byzantines and the Papacy try to get on the same page but discover that they may never be able to.
187 - Hey Big Spender
Mar 7 • 29 min
After the Pecheneg Wars the Roman treasury was empty. We look at Constantine Monomachos’ response to this and other Imperial expenses which may have exacerbated the situation.
186 - The Pecheneg Wars
Mar 1 • 39 min
The first large Seljuk raids on the Empire lead to a series of events which unravel Byzantium’s Western defences.
The History of History Podcasting
Feb 22 • 11 min
A quick interview with me about the History of History Podcasting
185 - Winning the Election
Feb 15 • 31 min
Constantine Monomachos faces yet more challenges in the early years of his reign. We cover the annexation of Ani, the Pechenegs crossing the Danube and the revolt of Leo Tornikios.
184 - Act Two Begins
Feb 7 • 27 min
Zoe chooses Constantine Monomachos to be her new husband and Emperor. We discuss his character and relationship with our historian Michael Psellos. Then move on to two major challenges which greeted his arrival on the throne.
Backer Rewards Episode 12 - Harald Hardrada with Noah Tetzner
Feb 1 • 26 min
Our twelfth Kickstarter backers reward episode looks at the life of Harald Hardrada in conversation with Noah Tetzner from the History of Vikings Podcast.
183 is live
Jan 25 • 3 min
If you’d like to hear about the dramatic fall of Michael V then episode 183 is now available to buy
182 - The Double Agent
Jan 18 • 29 min
We cover the Bulgarian uprising of 1040 and the events elsewhere in the Balkans which led up to it.
181 - A Bunch of Nobodies
Jan 11 • 28 min
Michael IV marries Zoe and becomes Emperor. Despite ill health he rules well with his brother John the Orphanotrophos. Their invasion of Sicily goes well initially but soon falls apart.
180 - Stumbling Forward
Dec 28, 2018 • 25 min
Romanos III is faced with the same problems which troubled his predecessor. He decides that a campaign against Aleppo will solve some of his problems. Meanwhile Zoe is left alone and frustrated in the Palace.
179 - Where Were We
Dec 22, 2018 • 20 min
We return to the narrative with a short introduction and the short reign of Basil’s brother Constantine VIII.
Backer Rewards Episode 11 - The Jewish Communities of Byzantium
Dec 14, 2018 • 20 min
Our eleventh Kickstarter backers reward episode explores Byzantium’s Jewish communities.
178 - Questions VII
Dec 7, 2018 • 29 min
Listener questions on Varangians, provincial administration, diplomacy, family mottos and the ever popular top 5 best and worst Emperors.
177 - Questions VI
Dec 1, 2018 • 30 min
Listener questions on houses, slavery, citizenship, vacations and common sayings amongst others.
176 - Michael Psellos with Peter Adamson
Nov 25, 2018 • 45 min
An interview with Peter Adamson from the History of Philosophy Without any Gaps podcast. We talk primarily about Michael Psellos and his role in the intellectual history of Byzantium. But we also talk about Byzantine philosophy in general.
175 - The Turks
Nov 20, 2018 • 20 min
The Turks are coming to the borders of Armenia and we examine why.
Backer Rewards Episode 10 - Economy and Population Questions
Nov 7, 2018 • 37 min
Our tenth Kickstarter backers reward episode answers a series of questions about the growing population and economy.
174 - The Economic Recovery
Nov 1, 2018 • 27 min
We explore the economic recovery of the Empire.
Backer Rewards Episode 9 - The Sweep of History
Oct 19, 2018 • 25 min
Our ninth Kickstarter backers reward episode discusses the sweep of history during our period and what lies under the maps.
173 - Dead Ideas Podcast interview: The Varangian Guard
Oct 12, 2018 • 42 min
I was a guest on the Dead Ideas podcast to discuss the Varangian Guard. We talk about their role in the palace and the field armies and contrast their role to Eunuchs in Byzantium. Do check out Dead Ideas for episodes covering Titoism, Serfdom, Cuneiform,…
172 - The Roman Army in 1025 AD
Oct 5, 2018 • 28 min
We discuss the past century of success for the Roman military and answer some listener questions
Backer Rewards Episode 8 - Greek Fire on Land
Sep 27, 2018 • 16 min
Our eighth Kickstarter backers reward episode features questions about the use of Greek Fire on land.
171 - The Eastern Frontier
Sep 21, 2018 • 29 min
We head to the Eastern frontier to see what Byzantium’s expansion into Armenia meant for the Empire.
Tour Announcement
Sep 19, 2018 • 3 min
The 2019 History of Byzantium tour is here. Book your place now!
Backer Rewards Episode 7 - Georgia and the Black Sea
Sep 14, 2018 • 16 min
Our seventh Kickstarter backers reward episode features questions about Georgia, the Orthodox nations around the Black Sea and Ravenna.
170 - The “Conquest” of Armenia
Sep 7, 2018 • 31 min
We head to the Eastern frontier to see what Byzantium’s expansion into Armenia meant for the Empire.
Backer Rewards Episode 6 - Respect, Institutions, Justice
Aug 24, 2018 • 17 min
Our sixth Kickstarter backers reward episode features questions about the institutions which influenced Byzantine life and the legal punishments for everyday crimes.
169 - Constantinople in 1025
Aug 19, 2018 • 37 min
Having covered the famous monuments thoroughly we take a look around the rest of Constantinople. We survey changes in the population, harbours, architecture and palace amongst other things.
Byzantine Stories Episode 7 Announcement
Aug 7, 2018 • 1 min
Byzantine Stories Episode 7: Women in the Roman World is now available
Backer Rewards Episode 5 - Imperial Qualities and More Feelings
Jul 8, 2018 • 12 min
Our fifth Kickstarter backers reward episode features questions about what makes a good Emperor and more about feeling attached to the Romans.
Backer Rewards Episode 4 - Lucky Romans and Being a Celebrity
Jun 28, 2018 • 16 min
Our fourth Kickstarter backers reward episode features questions about Constantinople and some personal ones for me.
Backer Rewards Episode 3 - What was Istanbul like?
Jun 23, 2018 • 22 min
Our third Kickstarter backers reward episode features a lot of chat about my trip to Istanbul. I talk about the experience of visiting for the first time and answer listener questions.
Backer Rewards Episode 2 - A Day in the Life of a Podcaster
Jun 12, 2018 • 17 min
Our second Kickstarter backers reward episode featuring some book recommendations and me describing a day in the life of a podcaster.
168 - A Guided Tour
Jun 6, 2018 • 25 min
What would a foreign visitor to Constantinople expect to see and hear?
Hello from Istanbul
Jun 4, 2018 • 9 min
Hello from Istanbul
167 - Five Centuries On
May 28, 2018 • 25 min
We survey the main structures and services of Constantinople to see what has changed since 518 AD (episode 10 of the show)
Post Script to episode 166
May 23, 2018 • 5 min
An explanation and some credits from Episode 166 - To The City.
166 - To The City
May 21, 2018 • 37 min
You visit Constantinople, guided by a stranger.
Backer Rewards Episode 1 - Byzantine Games
May 12, 2018 • 9 min
Our first Kickstarter backers reward episode showcasing the Byzantine board and role playing games available.
Send me your thoughts
Apr 12, 2018 • 1 min
For those who pledged £65 on the Kickstarter I need to hear from you. Get in touch with me about having your voice on the podcast.
Final Kickstarter Reminder
Mar 27, 2018 • 2 min
Final Kickstarter Reminder
165 - The Eagle and the Frogs
Mar 20, 2018 • 25 min
We explore the reasons why the Bulgarians never became Romans.
164 - Don’t Believe Your Map
Mar 18, 2018 • 31 min
The maps commonly used in books and the internet give a misleading impression of the Byzantine occupation of Bulgaria. We tour the Balkans and discuss the reality on the ground.
Ask Me Anything
Mar 15, 2018 • 2 min
I am doing an AMA. That’s an Ask Me Anything for a website called WhatPods. I will be answering questions on the 21st March at 4.30pm US eastern standard time. Post your questions now.
A replay of the House of War
Mar 10, 2018 • 34 min
A replay of episode 89 “The House of War”
163 - The Magyars, Pechenegs and Rus
Mar 6, 2018 • 25 min
We trace the interconnected developments of the Magyars, Pechenegs and Rus.
Istanbul Kickstarter Campaign
Mar 1, 2018 • 17 min
My Istanbul Kickstarter Campaign launches today. Please consider supporting it.
162 - Venetians and Normans
Feb 27, 2018 • 25 min
We move on to Venice and Normandy to discuss the development of two peoples who will play a key role in the future of Byzantium.
161 - Not Yet Holy Roman Emperors
Feb 19, 2018 • 29 min
We talk about developments in the Frankish realm as they relate to Byzantium across the past century.
160 - Why Italy Matters
Feb 6, 2018 • 21 min
We talk about the big picture status of Italy during the 10th century and why it mattered to Byzantium.
Byzantine Stories episode six announcement
Jan 23, 2018 • 3 min
Byzantine Stories episode six announcement
159 - Rest in Peace
Dec 22, 2017 • 28 min
We discuss Byzantine funeral practices and the burial places of Emperors.
158 - The Legend Slayer
Dec 15, 2017 • 27 min
I answer some listener questions about Basil II and Byzantine first names.
Update on schedule and Istanbul
Dec 8, 2017 • 4 min
Update on schedule and Istanbul
157 - The Culmination
Nov 8, 2017 • 34 min
We cover Basil’s last few years as he deals with the Fatimids, the Georgians and his own rebellious soldiers. We then wrap up his reign and bring our century to a close.
156 - The Half Blind Leading the Blind
Oct 27, 2017 • 40 min
We discuss campaigning in the Balkans, the end of the Bulgarian war and the legend of the Bulgar Slayer.
155 - The Year 1000
Oct 23, 2017 • 26 min
Basil continues his campaigns against the Fatimids and the Bulgarians. We also discuss the turning of the year 1000.
154 - A Cat Among Mice
Oct 13, 2017 • 30 min
We discuss the origins of the revived Bulgarian Empire and follow Basil as he campaigns against them and the Fatimids in the East.
153 - Basil II
Oct 6, 2017 • 27 min
Finally Basil II stands alone as master of the Roman world. Let’s get to know him.
152 - Bardas Phokas
Sep 29, 2017 • 51 min
Civil war resumes as both Bardas Sclerus and Bardas Phokas rebel against Basil. An epic showdown follows which drags the Bulgarians, the Rus, Varangians, Arabs, Armenians and Georgians into the contest.
151 - Bardas Sclerus
Sep 20, 2017 • 30 min
The civil war continues with Bardas Sclerus and Bardas Phokas locking horns. Although the Imperial side emerge victorious, the price is years of tension with their new Domestic.
Podcasting in Istanbul?
Sep 14, 2017 • 3 min
Your feedback needed on the idea of me travelling to Istanbul to record material for the podcast.
150 - Basil Lekapenos
Sep 8, 2017 • 22 min
The narrative resumes with Basil Lekapenos elevating his great-nephew Basil II to the throne. However Bardas Sclerus immediately rebels and declares himself Emperor.
149 - Streams of Gold, Rivers of Blood
Sep 7, 2017 • 61 min
The full interview with Professor Kaldellis about his book “Streams of Gold, Rivers of Blood.” The book is a narrative history from the time when Nicephorus Phokas took charge of the military through till the First Crusade. In our conversation we talk…
148 - Sources and Magnates
Sep 1, 2017 • 31 min
We return to our interview with Professor Kaldellis to discuss Basil II’s reign. We talk about our sources, about his decision never to marry and his relationship with the landed magnates.
147 - Bulgarian Solidarity
Aug 24, 2017 • 19 min
We look at a series of questions about what’s been happening in Bulgaria since the peace was signed in 927. Why were the Rus able to defeat the Bulgarians so quickly? What did the Roman occupation look like? And more.
146 - What’s the Plan?
Aug 18, 2017 • 25 min
Did the Romans dream of reconquering their eastern provinces? Or were their border acquisitions enough?
145 - The Eastern Conquests
Aug 13, 2017 • 24 min
We discuss the eastern conquests and how valuable they really were. As well as the deployment and organisation of the military in the borderlands.
144 - Setting the Table
Aug 3, 2017 • 22 min
We begin our mini end-of-the-century series by talking about our sources. Huge thanks to Professor Anthony Kaldellis for talking to me about his new book “Streams of Gold, Rivers of Blood.” It’s a narrative history covering the period from when Nicephorus…
Byzantine Stories Episode 5 - Roman Healthcare. Part 1 - Choosing Your Provider
Jul 17, 2017 • 30 min
Part 1 is an overview of the history of Greek medicine. How it developed and what kind of treatments were on offer.
143 - Strange Trajectories
Jun 23, 2017 • 27 min
John returns home triumphant but must deal with the Fatimid attacks in the east.
Listener Survey
Jun 19, 2017 • 1 min
Please help the show by filling out our listener survey
142 - Brave in Danger
Jun 18, 2017 • 30 min
John Tzimiskes faces down the Phokas rebellion and then marches for Bulgaria to take on the Rus.
141 - How To Get Away With Murder
Jun 8, 2017 • 25 min
John Tzimiskes pacifies his domestic and foreign enemies as he consolidates his rule. However the Rus leader Sviatoslav makes the decision to move his capital to the Danube forcing the Romans to respond.
140 - Magnificent and Insufferable
May 26, 2017 • 26 min
Nicephorus Phokas is murdered by his nephew John Tzimiskes. We discuss the plot, the aftermath and the personalities of both men.
139 - All In A Day’s Work
May 21, 2017 • 31 min
We cover Nicephorus’ foreign policy issues during his final two years in office. Armenian, Bulgarian and Italian concerns then go on hold for one last march through Syria.
Moving to Acast
May 18, 2017 • 1 min
Moving to Acast
138 - Abhorring the Palace
May 12, 2017 • 31 min
Nicephorus stays at home to administer his realm and manages to alienate every strata of society.
137 - Cilicia
Apr 28, 2017 • 31 min
Nicephorus leads the armies in person against Tarsus and Mopsuestia, bringing Cilicia and Cyprus back into the Empire.
136 - The White Death of the Saracens
Apr 23, 2017 • 27 min
We discuss Nicephorus’ life and career and what his rise meant for Romania.
135 – Triumphal Procession
Apr 13, 2017 • 34 min
We catch up on what Romanus II and Sayf were up to during the Cretan expedition. Then we move forward with Nicephorus Phokas as he sacks Aleppo.
134 - Third Time’s the Charm
Apr 9, 2017 • 32 min
With Nicephorus Phokas in charge of the military the Romans win a string of victories against Sayf al-Dawlah. Constantine VII decides to attack Crete again but dies before the expedition sets off.
133 - Sowing the Dragon’s Teeth with Eric McGeer
Mar 24, 2017 • 57 min
An interview with Eric McGeer about his book “Sowing the Dragon’s Teeth” which charts the changes in the Roman army as it moved to an offensive deployment in the 10th century.
132 - Escalating Violence
Mar 18, 2017 • 27 min
948-954. We return to the frontier where the Phokas family inflict a series of sharp defeats on Sayf al-Dawla. Sayf starts again by restoring his border fortresses and driving off Roman attacks. When Constantine Phokas is captured alive the war begins to…
131 - False Economy
Mar 10, 2017 • 28 min
Constantine VII seeks peace in the east but Sayf al-Dawla is not interested. The Emperor presses on with the attempted pacification of Crete.
130 - The Empire That Would Not Die with John Haldon
Mar 3, 2017 • 36 min
An interview with Professor John Haldon about his book “The Empire That Would Not Die: The Paradox of Eastern Roman Survival, 640-740.” In particular we discuss environmental research which helps us understand important changes in Anatolia. I think you’ll…
129 is available
Feb 24, 2017 • 0 min
Episode 129 is available
128 - The Prudent Course
Feb 17, 2017 • 29 min
A Rus raid delays John Kourkouas from leading a raid into Syria. When he does though he captures the sacred Mandylion and brings it back to the capital. Soon afterwards though he and Romanus are ousted from power.
127 - Melitene
Feb 10, 2017 • 29 min
John Kourkouas captures Melitene, providing the Empire with its first eastern conquest in centuries. The Islamic world is alarmed at this news and the Hamdanid family begin to provide resistance. However their preoccupation with Baghdad means they may…
126 - Attract and Repel
Feb 3, 2017 • 28 min
927-8 was a terrible winter. The suffering of the common people led many to sell their farms to their wealthy neighbours. Romanus legislated quickly to put a stop to it. Meanwhile John Kourkouas led the army into Armenia with Melitene in his sights.
125 - A Tsar is Born
Jan 27, 2017 • 32 min
Back in the tent with Symeon and Nicholas we learn that a title was granted that day. Symeon wanted to be hailed as Emperor. Wrangling over this title would lead to another decade of war before the two sides could come together.
124 - A Roman Story
Jan 20, 2017 • 32 min
The new Emperor Alexander dies after only a year on the throne. The next six years see an interregnum as the Patriarch, Empress and leading Generals vie to become the guardian to young Constantine VII.
123 - Dramatis Personae
Jan 10, 2017 • 29 min
We review the players in the impending struggle over the throne. And answer some more listener questions on the way.
Byzantine Stories Episode Four Announcement
Jan 5, 2017 • 1 min
Byzantine Stories Episode Four Announcement
122 - Questions V
Dec 17, 2016 • 34 min
I answer more of your questions including sports, Iconoclasm, prices, symbols, literature and more.
121 - The Roman Army in 900AD
Dec 11, 2016 • 31 min
Aside from the rise of the landed magnates there have been some other important changes in the Roman military in the past century. We cover the Themes, recruitment, payment, skirmishing and all the rest.
120 - The Magnates
Nov 30, 2016 • 26 min
The fruits of the recovery were unevenly distributed. The wealthy landowners of the plateau were building huge estates and developing family histories to go with them.
119 - Follow the Money
Nov 17, 2016 • 31 min
We explore arguments for and against the idea that commerce was a huge source of revenue for Byzantium.
118 - Revival
Nov 9, 2016 • 25 min
The Romans are finally recovering from three centuries of struggle. One of the lesser-discussed reasons for this was the payments made to the elites for their loyalty.
117 - Questions IV
Oct 28, 2016 • 32 min
Its time for some of your questions. We cover queries about the Bulgars, Slavs, Greece, Coins and modern Romania.
116 - North of the Danube
Oct 19, 2016 • 23 min
We place the Khazars, Magyars, Pechenegs and Rus on the map and explore their relationships with Constantinople.
115 - The Rise of Bulgaria
Oct 12, 2016 • 34 min
The 9th century was a period of amazing social and political change in the Balkans. We follow the Khans as they plot a path toward recognition of their right to exist.
114 - International Relations
Oct 5, 2016 • 37 min
We explore the diplomatic and trade exchanges between Byzantium, the Caliphate and the Franks.
113 - Carolingian Decline
Sep 28, 2016 • 23 min
Charlemagne’s empire could not last. Frankish customs saw the realm divided and it would never be put back together.
112 - The Frontier
Sep 21, 2016 • 33 min
With the Caliphate in decline the Romans take a greater interest in the Armenian lands on their eastern border. We explore the fragmented landscape and politics of Armenia and take a quick glance at Cilicia and the forts beyond.
111 - Abbasid Decline
Sep 14, 2016 • 29 min
We begin our end of the century episodes in the East. Since 838 the great Caliphal armies have not been seen in Anatolia. We explore why as the Caliphate slowly pulls itself apart across the 9th century.
Byzantine Stories Episode 3 announcement 2
Aug 5, 2016 • 0 min
Byzantine Stories episode three announcement 2
Byzantine Stories Episode 3 announcement
Jul 26, 2016 • 2 min
Byzantine Stories Episode 3 announcement
110 - The Four Wives of Leo VI
Jul 12, 2016 • 28 min
Leo enters the second half of his reign desperate to leave the Empire to a healthy son. Meanwhile his military are successful on land but suffer at sea.
Subscriptions Update
Jul 11, 2016 • 2 min
Subscriptions Update
109 - Leo the Wise?
Jul 5, 2016 • 28 min
Basil’s son Leo was known as “the Wise” during his lifetime. We get to know the new Emperor and explore if this reputation was justified.
108 - Known Unknowns
Jun 18, 2016 • 35 min
We follow Basil’s time in office as tries to wash away the sin of murder and secure legitimacy for his new dynasty. He also tests the limits of Byzantium’s growing power in East and West.
107 - Keeping up with the Macedonians
Jun 10, 2016 • 27 min
We chart the rise of Basil the Macedonian and his murder of both Bardas and Michael. We also look at how Basil’s descendants would re-brand Michael as “the Drunkard” before saying goodbye to the Amorion Dynasty.
Byzantine Stories Episode 2 Announcement
Jun 2, 2016 • 3 min
Listen here for an announcement about the second episode in the Byzantine Stories series and an increase in the subscription price.
106 - Mother and Uncle
May 30, 2016 • 33 min
Theodora and Theoctistus rule for young Michael until he comes of age. Then Uncle Bardas takes over the government. Meanwhile the Romans begin to gain the upper hand in Anatolia while a schism with the Papacy looms.
105 - The Triumph of Orthodoxy
May 20, 2016 • 34 min
Theophilus reorganises the army and leaves the throne to his wife and two year-old son. Theodora decides to restore the Icons and we discuss the end to the Iconoclast era of Byzantine history.
104 - God-Fearing
Apr 27, 2016 • 38 min
We focus on Theophilus’ record on the eastern front. The last gasp of true Caliphal power sees the Emperor harshly punished for his support of the Khurramite rebellion.
103 - God-Loving
Apr 14, 2016 • 33 min
Young Theophilus becomes Emperor at a rare moment of internal peace. We look at his domestic policies across his 13 year reign and touch on his non-Anatolian foreign policy.
102 - The Islands
Mar 26, 2016 • 24 min
Michael II tries to secure his regime now that the civil war is over. However attacks on Sicily and Crete prevent him from returning to “normality.”
101 - Thomas the Slav
Mar 13, 2016 • 73 min
Leo’s murder is greeted with disgust in Anatolia where men rally behind Thomas the Slav. But back at the capital men get behind Michael of Amorium as a suitable replacement. This split leads to a three year civil war and a stalemate which suggests that…
100 - An Interview with Mike Duncan
Feb 19, 2016 • 41 min
Thanks to all of you for helping us get to episode 100. And of course our eternal gratitude to Mike Duncan and The History of Rome podcast.
99 - Michael of Amorium
Feb 14, 2016 • 36 min
Leo restores Iconoclasm and defeats the Bulgars in battle. After signing the peace treaty he raid the Caliphate and returns to domestic matters. However a palace conspiracy overthrows him in favour of his old ally Michael of Amorium.
98 - Leo the Armenian
Feb 6, 2016 • 26 min
Leo the Armenian becomes Leo V and waits out Krum’s slaughter in Thrace. He also makes plans to restore Iconoclasm.
97 - Michael Rhangabe, Emperor of the Romans
Jan 31, 2016 • 34 min
Nicephorus’ successors are his wounded son and his unsuitable son-in-law. Between them they ensure that the dynasty comes to a sad end while Krum improves his position considerably.
96 - Shoulda
Jan 24, 2016 • 42 min
Why were the Bulgars so successful compared to their larger neighbour? We look at this question and the limitations of the Byzantine army on campaign as Nicephorus leads his men to their doom.
95 - Coulda
Jan 17, 2016 • 34 min
Nicephorus turns his attention to the Balkans and begins settling colonists in the Peloponnese. His plans for Macedonia though are thwarted by the Bulgars. The Emperor organises a mass migration from Anatolia to Europe and reorganises the Themes and the…
94 - Woulda
Jan 10, 2016 • 30 min
The General Logothete Nicephorus becomes Emperor and embarks on a wide ranging programme of reform. In this episode we focus on relations with the Caliphate, Charlemagne and the clergy.
93 - Recap and Precap
Jan 3, 2016 • 17 min
A reminder of where we’ve come from in the 8th century and where we are going in the 9th.
92 - Questions III
Dec 23, 2015 • 30 min
I answer your questions about the Themes, the Khazars, China, daily life and blinding. I also update our Constantine acrostic.
91 - An Interview with Author Vincent O’Reilly
Dec 21, 2015 • 28 min
An Interview with Paul Kastenellos (the pseudonym of author Vincent O’Reilly) about his two historical novels “Antonina - A Byzantine Slut” and “Count No Man Happy.”
90 - The Roman Army in 800AD
Dec 16, 2015 • 35 min
I flesh out some details and answer your questions about the Roman army in 800AD.
89 - The House of War
Dec 4, 2015 • 33 min
I present a fantasy narrative of a soldier’s life during a raid in Cappadocia. The details are all taken from Byzantine sources.
88 - More Thoughts on the Byzantine Republic by Anthony Kaldellis
Nov 22, 2015 • 15 min
More Thoughts on “The Byzantine Republic” and my interview with Anthony Kaldellis.
87 - The Byzantine Republic with Anthony Kaldellis
Nov 12, 2015 • 76 min
An interview with Professor Anthony Kaldellis about his book “The Byzantine Republic.” It’s a fascinating discussion about Byzantine political culture. He explores what the Romans really thought about their government and what all those rebellions really…
86 - The People
Oct 31, 2015 • 39 min
We explore the lives of the people of Byzantium. From the Emperor through the court down to the farmers, merchants and minorities who made up the population.
85 - Imperial Territory
Oct 17, 2015 • 36 min
We explore the remaining provinces of the Roman Empire from Sicily to Cilicia. Ok Cilicia is no longer a part of the Empire but its on the border and I liked the alliteration.
84 - The Leftovers
Oct 3, 2015 • 33 min
We explore the lives of the former Romans of Syria, Palestine and Egypt. We discuss the survival of language and Christianity and answer other listener questions. We also look at what the Romans and Arabs really thought of one another.
83 - The Decline and Fall of the Arab Empire
Sep 25, 2015 • 35 min
We return to 700AD to chart events in the Caliphate throughout the century. We follow the disintegration of Umayyad rule and the establishment of Abbasid Baghdad.
82 - Charlemagne and Leo (part 2)
Sep 10, 2015 • 23 min
How did Charlemagne and Leo each spin the coronation of 800AD? And how did the Byzantines react to the growth of Frankish power? After examining these questions we look at your questions about the 8th century West.
81 - Charlemagne and Leo (part 1)
Sep 4, 2015 • 39 min
We look at developments in the West during the 8th century. We follow the rise of the Carolingians and the amazing career of Charlemagne. We also see the various dilemma faced by the Papacy and how the collapse of Byzantine influence created a new power…
80 - The Isaurian Dynasty
Aug 22, 2015 • 36 min
Irene rules alone but the search for her successor undermines her. Then I recap the century and look at what Iconoclasm really represents.
79 - A Mother’s Love
Aug 14, 2015 • 32 min
An army revolt leads to Constantine becoming sole ruler. But soon Irene is back in the palace while her son searches in vain for military glory. Eventually though her desire to rule again overwhelms her love for her son.
78 - A New Helena
Aug 5, 2015 • 41 min
The Empress Irene becomes Regent for her son Constantine VI and sets about securing their rule. She manages to gain the support of the bureaucracy, army and church. Then she organises another Ecumenical Council to restore the Icons.
Thoughts on the John Chrysostom series
Aug 3, 2015 • 9 min
Thoughts on the John Chrysostom series
Byzantine Stories Episode 1 - John Chrysostom. Part 1 - Welcome to Antioch
Jul 26, 2015 • 27 min
An introduction to life in Antioch in 350AD. Amidst the great buildings live the beleaguered poor of the Roman world. The Christians were destined to care for and convert these people but in 350AD the threat of losing souls to Judaism or Paganism was real.
An update on the Fundraising Sale and the new RSS Feed
Jul 24, 2015 • 14 min
Listen to the latest podcast to find out about the new fundraising sale and your chance to get 4 new episodes of “The History of Byzantium.”
76 - The Dung Named
Jul 9, 2015 • 28 min
Constantine V faces a conspiracy against his throne and his response is violent. He continues to rebuild his capital and campaign against the Bulgars. Yet despite all his success he was remembered as the Dung named.
75 - The Headless Council
Jun 24, 2015 • 29 min
Constantine V gathers an Ecumenical Council to gain acceptance for his views on the place of icons. He also goes to war with the Bulgar Khanate. We close by discussing his personal life and the capture of Ravenna by the Lombards.
74 - The Quest for Legitimacy
Jun 2, 2015 • 31 min
Constantine V becomes Emperor but is immediately forced into a two year civil war. Once back in power we follow his reorganisation of the army and military planning in the face of the Caliphate’s own internal struggles.
73 - Leo’s Reign in the 730s
May 15, 2015 • 21 min
We look at Leo’s second decade in power. First tracing the military and political developments and then going back to look at the development of Iconoclasm.
72 - Leo’s Reign in the 720s
May 1, 2015 • 32 min
We look at Leo’s first decade in power. First tracing the military and political developments and then going back to look at domestic policies.
71 - Iconoclasm
Apr 19, 2015 • 27 min
We take a look at the whole period of Iconoclasm as an introduction to this era.
70 - Zombies of Byzantium
Apr 12, 2015 • 31 min
An interview with author Sean Munger about his book “Zombies of Byzantium.” The novel is set during the Siege of 717-18 and sees an outbreak of the undead just as Maslama and Leo battle in Constantinople.
69 - Lost to the West
Mar 31, 2015 • 80 min
Maslama puts Constantinople under siege. The Romans look to the heavens for a sign that God still favours them.
68 - Leo III
Mar 13, 2015 • 22 min
We trace the origins of Leo III from his family’s relocation to Thrace, his service in the Caucasus through to his interaction with the invading Arabs.
67 - The Tightening Noose
Mar 3, 2015 • 28 min
Justinian II tries to return to vigorous action but things quickly fall apart. The Arabs advance in the east and a rebellion in Cherson blows up. We meet our fourth, fifth and sixth Emperors.
66 - The Emperor Strikes Back
Feb 24, 2015 • 21 min
Justinian II heads off into exile but dreams of returning to Constantinople. He makes friends in Cherson and talks openly of rebellion. The city’s authorities report this to Apsimar and Justinian flees Cherson looking for an ally who can return him to the…
65 - Seven Emperors
Feb 13, 2015 • 25 min
The Arabs capture Carthage and the new Emperor Leontius is forced to send a fleet to recapture it. When that mission fails the men of the fleet wonder if one of their own might make a better Emperor.
64 - Questions II
Feb 10, 2015 • 36 min
We finish our 7th century tour by answering more of your questions. We cover nose slitting, coins, education, fashion, when did Late Antiquity end and did the Romans miss the Persians?
63 - Byzantine Theodicy with David Gyllenhaal
Feb 3, 2015 • 49 min
An interview with David Gyllenhaal, a PHD Student at Oxford University discussing his thesis on how the 7th century changed Byzantine self conception.
62 - God’s Punishment
Jan 27, 2015 • 26 min
What did the Romans think was responsible for their defeats? We look at the Christian thought-world of the 7th century and the reactions from Byzantium and those left behind in the Caliphate.
61 - Why did the Romans Survive?
Jan 20, 2015 • 32 min
We look at the changes the Roman army and government went through in the 7th century and consider why the Romans survived.
60 - Looking West
Jan 9, 2015 • 35 min
We look West at Spain, Gaul and Italy to see what has changed since 600AD. Then we head into the Balkans to peer into the darkness and try to understand who lived there.
59 - Why did the Arabs win? Part 4: The Conquest Society
Dec 12, 2014 • 30 min
Now that the Arabs have conquered Syria and Mesopotamia how did they organise themselves? And how did this contribute to their continuing military victories?
An explantion of The Origins of Islam episode
Dec 4, 2014 • 11 min
Find out how you can buy the sale episode on the Origins of Islam by listening to this episode.
58 - Why did the Arabs win? Part 3: They Wanted it More
Nov 15, 2014 • 38 min
We explore more issues surrounding why the Arabs won. We look into their society. We explore the great battles themselves and the armies who fought in them.
57 - Why did the Arabs win? Part 2: In the Shadow of the Sword
Nov 6, 2014 • 35 min
An interview with Tom Holland, author of the book “In the Shadow of the Sword.” The book traces the origins of Islam by looking at the Jewish, Roman and Persian worlds of late antiquity. In the interview he gives his views on how this process worked and…
56 - Why did the Arabs win? Part 1: The Sources
Nov 4, 2014 • 17 min
Why can’t we entirely trust the traditional Islamic account of the conquests?
55 - Why did the Romans lose?
Oct 24, 2014 • 22 min
Why did the Romans lose control of their Eastern provinces so easily?
54 - Justinian II
Oct 6, 2014 • 31 min
Justinian II comes to power aged 16 and begins imitating his namesake in ambition and productivity. He orders campaigns in east and west, begins building and taxing and calls for an Ecumenical Council. All the while though his popularity plummets.
53 - The Bulgars are Coming
Sep 25, 2014 • 29 min
Constantine IV calls an Ecumenical Council to discuss the issue of Monotheletism. He also has to deal with an invasion of the Balkans by the Bulgars.
52 - The Non-Siege of Constantinople
Sep 18, 2014 • 25 min
Constantine IV inherits his father’s throne together with his ceaseless war with Muʿāwiyah. As the Caliph builds a fleet to threaten Constantinople the Emperor responds with the weapons at his disposal.
51 - The Themes
Sep 4, 2014 • 26 min
Constans II uses the Muslim civil war to reorganise the Roman military in the East. Then he travels to the West making a new home for himself in Syracuse in Sicily.
50 - The Teenage Emperor
Aug 26, 2014 • 36 min
Heraclius’ family fall out with each other over the succession. The crown eventually comes to rest on the head of the fourteen year old Constans II. He is left with an Empire under attack in Egypt, Armenia and the Mediterranean.
49 - The Man Who Lived Too Long
Aug 8, 2014 • 23 min
The Arabs march on into Mesopotamia and Egypt. Meanwhile the bad news keeps piling up for Heraclius as he nears his final days.
48 - The Battle of Hieromyax
Aug 1, 2014 • 29 min
The Muslim Arabs invade Syria and begin to sweep away Roman resistance. Heraclius gathers the Army of the East for what he hopes will be a decisive battle.
47 - A Brief Respite
Jul 11, 2014 • 25 min
Heraclius surveys his shattered realm and plans how to remake things. We deal with three issues specifically - the Imperial title, the Empire’s Jews and the Monophysites.
46 - The Final War
Jul 8, 2014 • 139 min
Heraclius takes the winter off to plan what to do next. He needs to buy off the Avars as he removes all the remaining troops from the Balkans. After training the last Roman army left in the Empire, Heraclius prepares to march East and either restore the…
Byzantine Project Update
Mar 6, 2014 • 5 min
Byzantine Project Update
45 - The Empty Fleet
Feb 14, 2014 • 25 min
The Persians conquer Egypt as Nicetas fails to defend Alexandria. Heraclius tries to find a way to avoid blame for this disaster and acquire the resources to fight back.
44 - Unceasing Lamentations
Jan 31, 2014 • 24 min
Heraclius fails to push the Persians back and has to watch in horror as they capture Jerusalem.
43 - Heraclius to the rescue
Jan 17, 2014 • 27 min
Phocas is overthrown by Heraclius but the Empire’s problems are only deepening.
42 - In Fairness to Phocas
Jan 9, 2014 • 24 min
The narrative resumes with the new Emperor Phocas having to deal with yet another Persian invasion.
41 - Who is a Byzantine?
Dec 21, 2013 • 39 min
We explore who the Byzantines thought they were and whether they were right.
40 - Questions
Dec 14, 2013 • 33 min
I answer your 6th century questions from education to eunuchs and food to fleets.
39 - Neighbours and Provinces
Dec 5, 2013 • 29 min
We travel through Spain, Gaul, Italy, the Balkans, Anatolia, the East and Persia to uncover the geo-political situation in 600AD.
38 - Christianising
Nov 29, 2013 • 19 min
We look at how Christianity spread more deeply into Roman culture across the 6th century and see how this affected the Empire’s cities and Jews.
37 - The Army of the Strategikon
Oct 4, 2013 • 31 min
We look at how the Roman army has changed up to the end of the 6th century. To guide us we are using the Byzantine army manual the Strategikon. We learn how the army fought, who fought, what they looked like and how they were organised.
36 - The End of Legitimacy
Sep 13, 2013 • 28 min
Maurice has a tough decision to make about his role in the Persian civil war. Once that is over he turns his attention to the Balkans. Success in the field is ruined by the cost of paying the army.
35 - The Lucky Break
Aug 30, 2013 • 31 min
The new Emperor Maurice continues fighting on the Eastern front trying to convince the Persians to sign a peace treaty. But they won’t.
34 - Overbalancing
Aug 16, 2013 • 26 min
The new Emperor Tiberius II decided to throw the Empire’s strength into the war with Persia. He spends liberally and recruits new men to bolster the Eastern Empire.
33 - The Madness of Justin II
Aug 2, 2013 • 26 min
The new Emperor Justin II comes to power with the conviction that the Roman Empire should not be paying tribute to anyone. But after cancelling subsidies to the Avars, the Ghassanids and the Persians he finds himself with war and disaster on all sides.
32 - The True Believer
Jul 22, 2013 • 18 min
Was Justinian a good Emperor?
31 - Getting the Band Back Together
Jul 11, 2013 • 23 min
A series of natural disasters and domestic disturbances mar the final years of Justinian’s reign. We also meet the Avars, bring silk to Byzantium and give Belisarius one last chance to shine.
30 - Age Before Beauty
Jun 28, 2013 • 26 min
The men Justinian puts in charge of his military operations keep getting older or more unlikely as the 550s unfold. However they bring success in Italy, the Balkans, Lazica and then most surprisingly in Spain.
29 - The Nightmare Decade
Jun 14, 2013 • 31 min
With the sack of Antioch, the Italian conquest falling apart and the Plague, the years 540-45 were like a nightmare for Justinian. The next five years would continue to bring bad news as war continues on every front and members of the Imperial family…
An explanation of the fund raising podcast
May 31, 2013 • 5 min
An explanation of the fund raising podcast
27 - The Walking Dead
May 27, 2013 • 41 min
The Plague arrives at Pelusium and spreads to Alexandria where it rages for four months. By Spring 542 the Egyptians have to begin sending out the grain fleets. They export the Plague with them and Constantinople endures a nightmare summer of death.
A clarification on the sale
May 13, 2013 • 2 min
A clarification on the fundraising sale of Episode 28.
26 - The Sack of Antioch
May 10, 2013 • 25 min
Khosrou leads the Persian Army across the border into Syria and begins extorting money from every city he passes. The Byzantine army is nowhere to be found as the army approaches the Empire’s third largest city: Antioch.
25 - The Roaring Thirties
Apr 26, 2013 • 23 min
We take a look at what else was going on in the Empire during the 530s including: monophysites, tax and administration, buildings, Africa and possibly a meteor strike.
24 - The Western Emperor
Apr 12, 2013 • 27 min
Belisarius is content to leave John to die in Ariminum but the Chamberlain Narses arrives and begs to differ. Conflicts over how to complete the conquest of Italy lead to disaster at Milan and a long delay in finally reaching Ravenna.
23 - The Siege of Rome
Mar 29, 2013 • 29 min
When Athalaric, Prince of the Goths dies in 534 his mother has to choose whether to flee East or try to cling to power. Amalasuntha makes the wrong choice and calls in her cousin Theodahad. When he has her killed he hands Justinian the chance to invade.
22 - Justinian’s Legacy
Mar 16, 2013 • 33 min
We examine the Corpus Juris Civilis and the Hagia Sophia. The two achievements of Justinian’s reign which outlasted both him and the Byzantine Empire.
21 - The Vandal War
Mar 1, 2013 • 31 min
With the Nika Revolt quelled, Justinian orders Belisarius to retake the province of Africa. In the Summer of 533 an armada sets sail and lands east of Carthage. Belisarius leads his army cautiously up the coast as King Gelimer rallies his army.
20 - The Nika Revolt
Feb 15, 2013 • 30 min
In January 532 a seemingly typical riot at the races escalates into a full blown rebellion against Justinian. Trapped up in the Palace while Constantinople burns, the Emperor must decide whether to flee or to fight.
19 - 527-532, Part 3: The Kindling
Feb 3, 2013 • 25 min
In part three we return to Constantinople and see Justinian begin to reform his Empire. We take a look at his building projects, his new legal code and the laws he enacted. Particularly those aimed at pagans and heretics.
18 - 527-532, Part 2: The Eternal Peace, the Danube Frontier and Diplomacy
Jan 18, 2013 • 23 min
The first five years of Justinian’s reign (527-532) are so incident-filled that it will take us a few episodes to get through them.
17 - 527-532, Part 1: The Battle of Dara
Jan 5, 2013 • 31 min
The first five years of Justinian’s reign (527-532) are so incident-filled that it will take us a few episodes to get through them. In part one we stay on the Eastern front for the Battle of Dara.
16 - Theodora
Dec 15, 2012 • 25 min
We continue the narrative on the Eastern frontier as Lazica and Iberia try to form an alliance with Byzantium and leave the Persian orbit. King Kavad responds by trying to get Justin to adopt his favourite son.
15 - Justinian
Dec 2, 2012 • 28 min
We get a thorough introduction to Justinian, Justin’s nephew and presumed heir. We look as Justinian’s education and the kind of worldview he was developing. We follow his rise up the ranks from Palace guard to potential Caesar.
14 - The Emperor Justin
Sep 27, 2012 • 28 min
We restart the narrative with the death of the Emperor Anastasius and the accession of Justin, Count of the Excubitors. The new Emperor is decidedly orthodox and begins a persecution of the monophysites and heals the schism with Rome. We also introduce…
13 - The State (Part 2)
Sep 27, 2012 • 25 min
Part 2 is the church and the army. We look at the administration of the church and its affects on society. Then we look at the size and disposition of the army and wrap up the tour.
12 - The State (Part 1)
Sep 27, 2012 • 24 min
We finally end our tour of the Empire by examining the Byzantine state. By focussing on the government, the church and the army we see how the Empire is shaping up since the fall of the West and how it is set up to deal with the world we explored in the…
11 - The Eastern Provinces
Sep 27, 2012 • 28 min
In this episode we move across the Bosporus into the Eastern Provinces and explore Anatolia, Syria, Palestine and Egypt. We then take a look at the neighbours of the Empire and see what the Persians are up to before moving on to the Arabs, Armenians and…
10 - Constantinople
Sep 27, 2012 • 40 min
We explore the capital of the Byzantine Empire: Constantinople. We look at the origins of the city and trace its development from Greek city to Imperial centre. Then we see why it had such a strategically valuable location. After that we visit the city…
9 - The Balkan Provinces
Sep 27, 2012 • 21 min
We take a look at the remaining Byzantine Balkan Provinces along with the northern neighbours of the Empire. We also take a glance at the Black Sea Coast and the Byzantine military interest in the Crimea.
8 - Italy and Africa
Sep 27, 2012 • 27 min
We take a look at the former Roman Provinces of Italy and Africa and see what Theodoric’s Ostrogoths and the Vandals, respectively, have been up to in the last century.
7 - Gaul and Spain
Sep 26, 2012 • 20 min
We take a look at the former Roman Provinces of Gaul and Spain and see what the Franks and Goths have been up to in the last century.
6 - The Prosperous Exuberance
Sep 26, 2012 • 19 min
The Emperor Anastasius now faces a real rebellion from the Count of the Federates in Thrace, Vitalian. The Emperor sends out an army under his nephew Hypatius but they are defeated and Vitalian marches on Constantinople.
5 - The Gamble
Sep 26, 2012 • 18 min
The Emperor Anastasius deals with more riots along with an invasion in the West by the Bulgars and the East by the Persians. He then begins to give in to his monophysite sympathies and is almost toppled after allowing his Patriarch to interfere with the O
4 - Give us a Roman Emperor
Sep 26, 2012 • 31 min
The Emperor Zeno dies in 491 after trying to appease the monophysites with his ‘Henoticon.’ Zeno’s widow Ariadne then gets to pick his succesor and marries Flavius Anastasius. We have a look at the early years of his reign and the Isaurian War.
3 - The Isaurian Emperor
Jun 15, 2012 • 21 min
The Emperor Zeno is now back in charge and has to deal with the members of the conspiracy that ousted him. In the first half of the episode we see how he handled his enemies close to him and in the second we look at his relationship with the Goths.
2 - Two Steps Back
Jun 1, 2012 • 20 min
We journey back to 457 to introduce the Emperor Leo. I don’t cover his reign in full but there are important details about life in the East which “The History of Rome” didn’t cover.
1a – An Introduction to Byzantine History
May 2, 2012 • 16 min
An introduction for listeners who haven’t listened to “The History of Rome” podcast.
1 - An Introduction
May 1, 2012 • 10 min
I explain the idea behind the podcast and how I intend to proceed. I also talk about how often I will be able to create episodes.