The History of Byzantium
Episode 247 - Writing Byzantine Fiction with Gordon Doherty
I talk to historical fiction author Gordon Doherty about his Byzantine book series 'Strategos.' We talk about inspiration and research but also what advice he'd give to aspiring writers.
We also give you the chance to win a copy of the first book in the Strategos trilogy.
Find out more about Gordon and his other book series (including more Roman era stories) at his website.
Friday, May 19, 2023
Episode 269 - Questions XIII
Our final batch of questions for this century includes queries about the Hippodrome, diplomatic marriages, national identity and political legitimacy. We also enjoy an update on the Crimea, the Jewish communities of Byzantium and the Varangian Guard. I also talk about the perception of time and rank some dynasties.
Sunday, May 14, 2023
Episode 268 - The Collapse of the Komnenian System
We take a look at the pros and cons of the Komnenian system. Then trace why it was causing enough resentment to lead to provincial separatism.We then move on to discuss the army and the bureaucracy and the people of Constantinople. Looking at how each was affecting political stability in the run up to the Fourth Crusade.
Friday, May 5, 2023
Episode 267 - Provincial Separatism with Nathan Websdale
Nathan Websdale is a PHD candidate at Oxford University and President of the Oxford University Byzantine Society. His work is focussed on ethnic identification, social inclusion and self-determination in the Byzantine World, c.1200-c.1230.Nathan graduated with a BA (First Class) in History from Royal Holloway, University of London in 2016 and an MA (Merit) in Late Antique and Byzantine Studies from the Intercollegiate University of London in 2017.I talk to Nathan about the thorny issue of provincial separatism before and after the Fourth Crusade.
Friday, April 21, 2023
Episode 266 - Questions XII
More questions to tackle this week. Comparing the sack of 1204 to the sack of Rome in 410. Questioning the Byzantine system of succession and the roots of their decline. And pondering whether other Emperors rose to power like Alexios Angelos - on the back of a foreign army.
Friday, April 14, 2023
Episode 265 - The 10 Greatest Emperors with Anthony Kaldellis
Professor Anthony Kaldellis has just completed a new history of Byzantium which will be published in October 2023. So I cheekily asked him if he would list his 10 greatest Emperors. Graciously he agreed to apply his immense knowledge to this frivolous topic.He is a Professor in the Department of Classics at the University of Chicago. This is his third interview on the History of Byzantium. I talked to him about two of his books 'The Byzantine Republic' and 'Streams of Gold, Rivers of Blood: The Rise and Fall of Byzantium, 955 A.D. to the First Crusade.' But he is the author of over a dozen books on Byzantium along with translations of texts and many articles. Find out more here.
Thursday, April 6, 2023
Episode 264 - Questions XI
I answer more questions about the Fourth Crusade and the sack of Constantinople. What was the reaction of other nations? Did people see it as sign of the end times? What did the Byzantines think of the Templars and Hospitallers? What were the religious differences between the Orthodox and the Catholics?
Thursday, March 30, 2023
Episode 263 - Questions X
I answer more questions about the Fourth Crusade and the sack of Constantinople. We talk about why the Roman response was so feeble and if anything else could have been done? Along with questions about the tombs of the Emperors, statues, coins and ships.
Thursday, March 23, 2023
Episode 262 - Questions IX
I answer listener questions about the Fourth Crusade. This episode focuses on the big picture. Who is to blame? Was it inevitable?
Saturday, March 4, 2023
Antakya Appeal with Andrea de Giorgi and Katherine Pangonis
This is a special episode to urge listeners to donate to the ongoing relief effort in Turkey and Syria. I interview two expert guests about the situation with a particular focus on the city of Antakya (Byzantine Antioch).Andrea De Giorgi is a Professor of Classical Studies at Florida State University. He specializes in Roman urbanism and visual culture and has written many books and articles on the subject. He co-authored the fantastic book Antioch. A History which I thoroughly recommend. Dr. De Giorgi has also directed excavations and surveys in Turkey, Syria, Georgia, Jordan, and the UAE. Since 2013, he has codirected the Cosa Excavations in Italy and, since 2021, the Coastal Caesarea Archeological Project in Israel; currently, he is studying the 1930s Antioch and Daphne collections at the Princeton University Art Museum.Katherine Pangonis is a historian and author of the book ‘Queens of Jerusalem’ who I interviewed back in episode 238 of the podcast. Her second book - to be published this summer - is called ‘Twilight Cities: Lost Capitals of the Mediterranean.’ In it she explores famous cities from antiquity like Tyre, Carthage and Ravenna. Cities who once ruled whole Empires and were littered with magnificent buildings but have been somewhat forgotten. One of the cities she covers is Antioch. She also hosts the podcast - Women Who Dared to Write. This is an appeal for you to donate to one of the various charities who are rushing to the scene at this moment to help the survivors. You have a number of options. You may have campaigns being run in your country by reputable organisations. So here in the UK the Disaster Emergency Committee have launched an appeal that has raised millions. This is an organisation which brings a group of charities together. In this case Oxfam, Save the Children, Tearfund and Islamic Relief amongst many others.dec.org.uk/appeals/To help specific groups directly:The White Helmets are volunteers who have been operating in Syria for many years. They help evacuate people from dangerous areas and offer medical help.https://www.whitehelmets.org/en/AKUT Search and Rescue Association. They are a non-governmental organisation offering emergency and disaster relief to people caught up in natural disasters in Turkey.https://www.akut.org.tr/en/donationAHBAP an independent civilian organisation who offer disaster relief to communities in need across Turkey. This is the organisation that the kind listener who prompted me to make this appeal recommends.https://ahbap.org/disasters-turkeyInternational Red Crosshttps://www.icrc.org/en/donate/syria-emergency