The History of Byzantium

A podcast telling the story of the Roman (Byzantine) Empire from 476 AD to 1453.

All Episodes

  Direct Link   Download 41 Minutes 19 Mar 2018

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.. . .

  Direct Link   Download 12 Minutes 15 Mar 2018

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.. . .

  Direct Link   Download 44 Minutes 10 Mar 2018

A replay of episode 89 "The House of War". . .

  Direct Link   Download 35 Minutes 06 Mar 2018

We trace the interconnected developments of the Magyars, Pechenegs and Rus.. . .

  Direct Link   Download 27 Minutes 01 Mar 2018

My Istanbul Kickstarter Campaign launches today. Please consider supporting it.. . .

  Direct Link   Download 35 Minutes 27 Feb 2018

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.. . .

  Direct Link   Download 39 Minutes 19 Feb 2018

We talk about developments in the Frankish realm as they relate to Byzantium across the past century.. . .

  Direct Link   Download 31 Minutes 06 Feb 2018

We talk about the big picture status of Italy during the 10th century and why it mattered to Byzantium.. . .

  Direct Link   Download 13 Minutes 24 Jan 2018

Byzantine Stories episode six announcement. . .

  Direct Link   Download 38 Minutes 22 Dec 2017

We discuss Byzantine funeral practices and the burial places of Emperors.. . .

  Direct Link   Download 37 Minutes 15 Dec 2017

I answer some listener questions about Basil II and Byzantine first names.. . .

  Direct Link   Download 14 Minutes 08 Dec 2017

Update on schedule and Istanbul. . .

  Direct Link   Download 44 Minutes 08 Nov 2017

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.. . .

  Direct Link   Download 51 Minutes 27 Oct 2017

We discuss campaigning in the Balkans, the end of the Bulgarian war and the legend of the Bulgar Slayer.. . .

  Direct Link   Download 37 Minutes 23 Oct 2017

Basil continues his campaigns against the Fatimids and the Bulgarians. We also discuss the turning of the year 1000.. . .

  Direct Link   Download 40 Minutes 13 Oct 2017

We discuss the origins of the revived Bulgarian Empire and follow Basil as he campaigns against them and the Fatimids in the East.. . .

  Direct Link   Download 37 Minutes 06 Oct 2017

Finally Basil II stands alone as master of the Roman world. Let's get to know him.. . .

  Direct Link   Download 61 Minutes 29 Sep 2017

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.. . .

  Direct Link   Download 40 Minutes 20 Sep 2017

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.. . .

  Direct Link   Download 40 Minutes 18 Sep 2017

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.. . .

  Direct Link   Download 13 Minutes 14 Sep 2017

Your feedback needed on the idea of me travelling to Istanbul to record material for the podcast.. . .

  Direct Link   Download 32 Minutes 08 Sep 2017

The narrative resumes with Basil Lekapenos elevating his great-nephew Basil II to the throne. However Bardas Sclerus immediately rebels and declares himself Emperor.. . .

  Direct Link   Download 72 Minutes 07 Sep 2017

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 about sources, Basil IIs reign, the Magnates and the struggles of the 11th century.. . .

  Direct Link   Download 41 Minutes 01 Sep 2017

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.. . .

  Direct Link   Download 29 Minutes 24 Aug 2017

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.. . .

  Direct Link   Download 35 Minutes 18 Aug 2017

Did the Romans dream of reconquering their eastern provinces? Or were their border acquisitions enough?. . .

  Direct Link   Download 34 Minutes 13 Aug 2017

We discuss the eastern conquests and how valuable they really were. As well as the deployment and organisation of the military in the borderlands.. . .

  Direct Link   Download 32 Minutes 03 Aug 2017

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 Phokas took over the military until the First Crusade. This is only part of our interview focusing on the task of sifting sources to create a more realistic narrative.. . .

  Direct Link   Download 40 Minutes 17 Jul 2017

Part 1 is an overview of the history of Greek medicine. How it developed and what kind of treatments were on offer.. . .

  Direct Link   Download 37 Minutes 23 Jun 2017

John returns home triumphant but must deal with the Fatimid attacks in the east.. . .

  Direct Link   Download 11 Minutes 19 Jun 2017

Please help the show by filling out our listener survey. . .

  Direct Link   Download 40 Minutes 18 Jun 2017

John Tzimiskes faces down the Phokas rebellion and then marches for Bulgaria to take on the Rus.. . .

  Direct Link   Download 35 Minutes 08 Jun 2017

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.. . .

  Direct Link   Download 36 Minutes 26 May 2017

Nicephorus Phokas is murdered by his nephew John Tzimiskes. We discuss the plot, the aftermath and the personalities of both men.. . .

  Direct Link   Download 41 Minutes 21 May 2017

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.. . .

  Direct Link   Download 11 Minutes 18 May 2017

Moving to Acast. . .

  Direct Link   Download 41 Minutes 12 May 2017

Nicephorus stays at home to administer his realm and manages to alienate every strata of society.. . .

  Direct Link   Download 41 Minutes 28 Apr 2017

Nicephorus leads the armies in person against Tarsus and Mopsuestia, bringing Cilicia and Cyprus back into the Empire.. . .

  Direct Link   Download 37 Minutes 23 Apr 2017

We discuss Nicephorus' life and career and what his rise meant for Romania.. . .

  Direct Link   Download 44 Minutes 13 Apr 2017

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.. . .

  Direct Link   Download 42 Minutes 09 Apr 2017

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.. . .

  Direct Link   Download 68 Minutes 24 Mar 2017

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 deploymentin the 10th century.. . .

  Direct Link   Download 37 Minutes 18 Mar 2017

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 escalate.. . .

  Direct Link   Download 38 Minutes 10 Mar 2017

Constantine VII seeks peace in the east but Sayf al-Dawla is not interested. The Emperor presses on with the attempted pacification of Crete.. . .

  Direct Link   Download 46 Minutes 03 Mar 2017

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 be fascinated by what it can show us.. . .

  Direct Link   Download 10 Minutes 24 Feb 2017

Episode 129 is available. . .

  Direct Link   Download 39 Minutes 17 Feb 2017

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.. . .

  Direct Link   Download 39 Minutes 10 Feb 2017

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 have already conceded the mountains to the Romans.. . .

  Direct Link   Download 38 Minutes 03 Feb 2017

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.. . .

  Direct Link   Download 42 Minutes 27 Jan 2017

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.. . .

  Direct Link   Download 43 Minutes 20 Jan 2017

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.. . .

  Direct Link   Download 39 Minutes 10 Jan 2017

We review the players in the impending struggle over the throne. And answer some more listener questions on the way.. . .

  Direct Link   Download 11 Minutes 05 Jan 2017

Byzantine Stories Episode Four Announcement. . .

  Direct Link   Download 44 Minutes 18 Dec 2016

I answer more of your questions including sports, Iconoclasm, prices, symbols, literature and more.. . .

  Direct Link   Download 41 Minutes 11 Dec 2016

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.. . .

  Direct Link   Download 36 Minutes 30 Nov 2016

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.. . .

  Direct Link   Download 41 Minutes 17 Nov 2016

We explore arguments for and against the idea that commerce was a huge source of revenue for Byzantium.. . .

  Direct Link   Download 35 Minutes 09 Nov 2016

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.. . .

  Direct Link   Download 42 Minutes 28 Oct 2016

Its time for some of your questions. We cover queries about the Bulgars, Slavs, Greece, Coins and modern Romania.. . .

  Direct Link   Download 33 Minutes 19 Oct 2016

We place the Khazars, Magyars, Pechenegs and Rus on the map and explore their relationships with Constantinople.. . .

  Direct Link   Download 44 Minutes 12 Oct 2016

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.. . .

  Direct Link   Download 48 Minutes 05 Oct 2016

We explore the diplomatic and trade exchanges between Byzantium, the Caliphate and the Franks.. . .

  Direct Link   Download 33 Minutes 28 Sep 2016

Charlemagne's empire could not last. Frankish customs saw the realm divided and it would never be put back together.. . .

  Direct Link   Download 43 Minutes 21 Sep 2016

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.. . .

  Direct Link   Download 39 Minutes 14 Sep 2016

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.. . .

  Direct Link   Download 10 Minutes 05 Aug 2016

Byzantine Stories episode three announcement 2. . .

  Direct Link   Download 12 Minutes 26 Jul 2016

Byzantine Stories Episode 3 announcement. . .

  Direct Link   Download 38 Minutes 12 Jul 2016

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.. . .

  Direct Link   Download 12 Minutes 11 Jul 2016

Subscriptions Update. . .

  Direct Link   Download 38 Minutes 05 Jul 2016

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.. . .

  Direct Link   Download 45 Minutes 18 Jun 2016

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.. . .

  Direct Link   Download 37 Minutes 10 Jun 2016

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.. . .

  Direct Link   Download 13 Minutes 02 Jun 2016

Listen here for an announcement about the second episode in the Byzantine Stories series and an increase in the subscription price.. . .

  Direct Link   Download 43 Minutes 30 May 2016

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.. . .

  Direct Link   Download 44 Minutes 20 May 2016

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.. . .

  Direct Link   Download 48 Minutes 27 Apr 2016

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.. . .

  Direct Link   Download 43 Minutes 14 Apr 2016

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.. . .

  Direct Link   Download 34 Minutes 26 Mar 2016

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.". . .

  Direct Link   Download 83 Minutes 13 Mar 2016

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 God favours neither man.. . .

  Direct Link   Download 52 Minutes 19 Feb 2016

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.. . .

  Direct Link   Download 46 Minutes 14 Feb 2016

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.. . .

  Direct Link   Download 36 Minutes 06 Feb 2016

Leo the Armenian becomes Leo V and waits out Krum's slaughter in Thrace. He also makes plans to restore Iconoclasm.. . .

  Direct Link   Download 44 Minutes 31 Jan 2016

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.. . .

  Direct Link   Download 52 Minutes 24 Jan 2016

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.. . .

  Direct Link   Download 44 Minutes 17 Jan 2016

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 finances of the state to make the new venture a success.. . .

  Direct Link   Download 40 Minutes 10 Jan 2016

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.. . .

  Direct Link   Download 27 Minutes 03 Jan 2016

A reminder of where we've come from in the 8th century and where we are going in the 9th.. . .

  Direct Link   Download 41 Minutes 23 Dec 2015

I answer your questions about the Themes, the Khazars, China, daily life and blinding. I also update our Constantine acrostic.. . .

  Direct Link   Download 38 Minutes 21 Dec 2015

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.". . .

  Direct Link   Download 46 Minutes 16 Dec 2015

I flesh out some details and answer your questions about the Roman armyin 800AD.. . .

  Direct Link   Download 45 Minutes 04 Dec 2015

I present a fantasy narrative of a soldier's life during a raid in Cappadocia. The details are all taken from Byzantine sources.. . .

  Direct Link   Download 25 Minutes 22 Nov 2015

More Thoughts on "The Byzantine Republic" and my interview with Anthony Kaldellis.. . .

  Direct Link   Download 87 Minutes 12 Nov 2015

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 reallysay about them. You will want to hear this!. . .

  Direct Link   Download 49 Minutes 31 Oct 2015

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.. . .

  Direct Link   Download 46 Minutes 17 Oct 2015

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.. . .

  Direct Link   Download 43 Minutes 03 Oct 2015

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.. . .

  Direct Link   Download 45 Minutes 25 Sep 2015

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.. . .

  Direct Link   Download 33 Minutes 11 Sep 2015

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.. . .

  Direct Link   Download 49 Minutes 04 Sep 2015

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 dynamic.. . .

  Direct Link   Download 46 Minutes 22 Aug 2015

Irene rules alone but the search for her successor undermines her. Then I recap the century and look at what Iconoclasm really represents.. . .

  Direct Link   Download 42 Minutes 14 Aug 2015

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.. . .

  Direct Link   Download 51 Minutes 05 Aug 2015

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.. . .

  Direct Link   Download 19 Minutes 03 Aug 2015

Thoughts on the John Chrysostom series. . .

  Direct Link   Download 37 Minutes 26 Jul 2015

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.. . .

  Direct Link   Download 24 Minutes 24 Jul 2015

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.". . .

  Direct Link   Download 38 Minutes 09 Jul 2015

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.. . .

  Direct Link   Download 39 Minutes 24 Jun 2015

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.. . .

  Direct Link   Download 41 Minutes 02 Jun 2015

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.. . .

  Direct Link   Download 31 Minutes 15 May 2015

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.. . .

  Direct Link   Download 42 Minutes 01 May 2015

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.. . .

  Direct Link   Download 37 Minutes 19 Apr 2015

We take a look at the whole period of Iconoclasm as an introduction to this era.. . .

  Direct Link   Download 41 Minutes 12 Apr 2015

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.. . .

  Direct Link   Download 91 Minutes 31 Mar 2015

Maslama puts Constantinople under siege. The Romans look to the heavens for a sign that God still favours them.. . .

  Direct Link   Download 32 Minutes 13 Mar 2015

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.. . .

  Direct Link   Download 38 Minutes 03 Mar 2015

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.. . .

  Direct Link   Download 31 Minutes 24 Feb 2015

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 throne.. . .

  Direct Link   Download 35 Minutes 13 Feb 2015

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.. . .

  Direct Link   Download 46 Minutes 10 Feb 2015

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?. . .

  Direct Link   Download 59 Minutes 03 Feb 2015

An interview with David Gyllenhaal, a PHD Student at Oxford University discussing his thesis on how the 7th century changed Byzantine self conception.. . .

  Direct Link   Download 36 Minutes 27 Jan 2015

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.. . .

  Direct Link   Download 42 Minutes 20 Jan 2015

We look at the changes the Roman army and government went through in the 7th century and consider why the Romans survived.. . .

  Direct Link   Download 45 Minutes 09 Jan 2015

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.. . .

  Direct Link   Download 40 Minutes 12 Dec 2014

Now that the Arabs have conquered Syria and Mesopotamia how did they organise themselves? And how did this contribute to their continuing military victories?. . .

  Direct Link   Download 21 Minutes 04 Dec 2014

Find out how you can buy the sale episode on the Origins of Islam by listening to this episode.. . .

  Direct Link   Download 48 Minutes 16 Nov 2014

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.. . .

  Direct Link   Download 45 Minutes 06 Nov 2014

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 then I ask him why did the Arabs win?. . .

  Direct Link   Download 27 Minutes 04 Nov 2014

Why can't we entirely trust the traditional Islamic account of the conquests?. . .

  Direct Link   Download 32 Minutes 24 Oct 2014

Why did the Romans lose control of their Eastern provinces so easily?. . .

  Direct Link   Download 41 Minutes 06 Oct 2014

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.. . .

  Direct Link   Download 39 Minutes 25 Sep 2014

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.. . .

  Direct Link   Download 35 Minutes 18 Sep 2014

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.. . .

  Direct Link   Download 36 Minutes 04 Sep 2014

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.. . .

  Direct Link   Download 46 Minutes 26 Aug 2014

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.. . .

  Direct Link   Download 33 Minutes 08 Aug 2014

The Arabs march on into Mesopotamia and Egypt. Meanwhile the bad news keeps piling up for Heraclius as he nears his final days.. . .

  Direct Link   Download 39 Minutes 01 Aug 2014

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.. . .

  Direct Link   Download 35 Minutes 11 Jul 2014

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.. . .

  Direct Link   Download 149 Minutes 08 Jul 2014

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 old borders or never return.. . .

  Direct Link   Download 15 Minutes 06 Mar 2014

Byzantine Project Update. . .

  Direct Link   Download 35 Minutes 14 Feb 2014

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.. . .

  Direct Link   Download 34 Minutes 31 Jan 2014

Heraclius fails to push the Persians back and has to watch in horror as they capture Jerusalem.. . .

  Direct Link   Download 37 Minutes 17 Jan 2014

Phocas is overthrown by Heraclius but the Empire's problems are only deepening.. . .

  Direct Link   Download 35 Minutes 09 Jan 2014

The narrative resumes with the new Emperor Phocas having to deal with yet another Persian invasion.. . .

  Direct Link   Download 49 Minutes 21 Dec 2013

We explore who the Byzantines thought they were and whether they were right.. . .

  Direct Link   Download 43 Minutes 14 Dec 2013

I answer your 6th century questions from education to eunuchs and food to fleets.. . .

  Direct Link   Download 39 Minutes 05 Dec 2013

We travel through Spain, Gaul, Italy, the Balkans, Anatolia, the East and Persia to uncover the geo-political situation in 600AD.. . .

  Direct Link   Download 29 Minutes 29 Nov 2013

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.. . .

  Direct Link   Download 41 Minutes 04 Oct 2013

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.. . .

  Direct Link   Download 38 Minutes 13 Sep 2013

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.. . .

  Direct Link   Download 38 Minutes 13 Sep 2013

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.. . .

  Direct Link   Download 41 Minutes 30 Aug 2013

The new Emperor Maurice continues fighting on the Eastern front trying to convince the Persians to sign a peace treaty. But they won't.. . .

  Direct Link   Download 36 Minutes 16 Aug 2013

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.. . .

  Direct Link   Download 36 Minutes 02 Aug 2013

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.. . .

  Direct Link   Download 28 Minutes 22 Jul 2013

Was Justinian a good Emperor?. . .

  Direct Link   Download 33 Minutes 11 Jul 2013

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.. . .

  Direct Link   Download 36 Minutes 28 Jun 2013

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.. . .

  Direct Link   Download 42 Minutes 14 Jun 2013

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 begin to die.. . .

  Direct Link   Download 15 Minutes 31 May 2013

An explanation of the fund raising podcast. . .

  Direct Link   Download 51 Minutes 27 May 2013

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.. . .

  Direct Link   Download 12 Minutes 13 May 2013

A clarification on the fundraising sale of Episode 28.. . .

  Direct Link   Download 35 Minutes 10 May 2013

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.. . .

  Direct Link   Download 33 Minutes 26 Apr 2013

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.. . .

  Direct Link   Download 37 Minutes 12 Apr 2013

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.. . .

  Direct Link   Download 39 Minutes 29 Mar 2013

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.. . .

  Direct Link   Download 43 Minutes 16 Mar 2013

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.. . .

  Direct Link   Download 41 Minutes 01 Mar 2013

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.. . .

  Direct Link   Download 40 Minutes 15 Feb 2013

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.. . .

  Direct Link   Download 35 Minutes 04 Feb 2013

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.. . .

  Direct Link   Download 33 Minutes 19 Jan 2013

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.. . .

  Direct Link   Download 41 Minutes 05 Jan 2013

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.. . .

  Direct Link   Download 35 Minutes 15 Dec 2012

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.. . .

  Direct Link   Download 38 Minutes 03 Dec 2012

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.. . .

  Direct Link   Download 38 Minutes 27 Sep 2012

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 our sources for the period with particular attention paid to Procopius of Caesarea.. . .

  Direct Link   Download 35 Minutes 27 Sep 2012

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.. . .

  Direct Link   Download 34 Minutes 27 Sep 2012

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 previous five episodes. Part 1 is the government as we look at the Emperor, his ministers and the wider civil service.. . .

  Direct Link   Download 38 Minutes 27 Sep 2012

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 other peoples from the Caucus mountains.. . .

  Direct Link   Download 50 Minutes 27 Sep 2012

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 itself in the 6th century from the Great Palace to the streets.. . .

  Direct Link   Download 31 Minutes 27 Sep 2012

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.. . .

  Direct Link   Download 37 Minutes 27 Sep 2012

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.. . .

  Direct Link   Download 30 Minutes 26 Sep 2012

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.. . .

  Direct Link   Download 29 Minutes 26 Sep 2012

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.. . .

  Direct Link   Download 28 Minutes 26 Sep 2012

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. . .

  Direct Link   Download 41 Minutes 26 Sep 2012

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.. . .

  Direct Link   Download 31 Minutes 15 Jun 2012

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.. . .

  Direct Link   Download 30 Minutes 01 Jun 2012

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.. . .

  Direct Link   Download 26 Minutes 02 May 2012

An introduction for listeners who haven't listened to "The History of Rome" podcast.. . .

  Direct Link   Download 20 Minutes 01 May 2012

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.. . .

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