The History of Byzantium


Episode 229 - John Komnenos with Dr Maximilian Lau

Today we talk to the man whose research has guided our last few podcasts Dr Maximilian Lau.

Dr Lau is Adjunct Professor of Economic History at Hitotsubashi University in Tokyo, and also a Research Associate in History at St Benet’s Hall, University of Oxford. He has been studying 12th century Byzantine history for many years now and the fruits of that labour can be found in his forthcoming book “Rebuilding New Rome. The Foreign Policy of John II Komnenos.”

The book is written and will be out next year and Dr Lau very generously shared it with me in advance. It’s been incredibly helpful in part because of its quality but also because it follows a format similar to our narrative episodes. It is a chronological account of John’s military and political activity with a discussion of the sources as each incident unfolds. As Dr Lau explains in the interview – John’s reign often gets short shrift in popular Byzantine books because our Roman sources cover him fairly briefly. But there are plenty of other sources to work with and Dr Lau has synthesised them to create a new history of John's reign.

Period: 1118-1143