Episode 139 – All In A Day’s Work

Bagratuni Armenia circa 1000

Bagratuni Armenia circa 1000

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.

Period: 968-9

Download: All In A Day’s Work

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Episode 138 – Abhorring the Palace

The new walls of Nikephoros Phokas from The Making of Byzantium by Mark Whittow

The new walls of Nikephoros Phokas from The Making of Byzantium by Mark Whittow

Monastery of Megisti Lavra (Great Lavra) in Athos - the oldest monastery on Mount Athos

Monastery of Megisti Lavra (Great Lavra) in Athos – the oldest monastery on Mount Athos

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

Period: 967-8

Download: Abhorring the Palace

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Episode 137 – Cilicia

Cavusin Church, Cappadocia. Inside the left apse you can see the Imperial family (global-geography.org)

Cavusin Church, Cappadocia. Inside the left apse you can see the Imperial family (global-geography.org)

Here is a close up (cappadociaexclusivetravel.com)

Here is a close up (cappadociaexclusivetravel.com)

Top - the Crucifixion. Below - Roman soldiers in procession in support of the Phokades. John Tzimiskes on horse (Alamy Stock photos)

Top – the Crucifixion. Below – Roman soldiers in procession in support of the Phokades. John Tzimiskes on horse (Alamy Stock photos)

Byzantine cavalry charge outside the walls of Tarsus (from the Byzantine military history facebook group)

Byzantine cavalry charge outside the walls of Tarsus (from the Byzantine military history facebook group)

Roman bridge at Mopsuestia, originally built by Justinian (now Misis in Turkey)

Roman bridge at Mopsuestia, originally built by Justinian (now Misis in Turkey)

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

Period: 964-6

Download: Cilicia

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Episode 136 – The White Death of the Saracens

Nicephorus Phocas (from 'Rulers of the Byzantine Empire' published by KIBEA)

Nicephorus Phocas (from ‘Rulers of the Byzantine Empire’ published by KIBEA)

The image of Nicephorus which the modern illustration is based on

The image of Nicephorus which the modern illustration is based on

Nicephorus II, Virgin Mary on left (Dumbarton Oaks coin collection)

Nicephorus II, Virgin Mary on left (Dumbarton Oaks coin collection)

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

Period: 963-4

Download: The White Death of the Saracens

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Episode 135 – Triumphal Procession

960 - Battle of Andrassus, Leo ambushes Sayf (weaponsandwarfare.com)

960 – Battle of Andrassus, Leo ambushes Sayf (weaponsandwarfare.com)

The Citadel of Aleppo (thewallwillfall.wordpress.com)

The Citadel of Aleppo (thewallwillfall.wordpress.com)

The Citadel of Aleppo (wikipedia)

The Citadel of Aleppo (wikipedia)

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.

Period: 959-963

Download: Triumphal Procession

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Episode 134 – Third Time’s the Charm

Romanus II (Dumbarton Oaks coin collection)

Romanus II (Dumbarton Oaks coin collection)

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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.

Period: 954-960

Download: Third Time’s the Charm

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Episode 133 – Sowing the Dragon’s Teeth with Eric McGeer

Byzantine Cataphracts (from Byzantine Armies 886-1118 by Osprey)

Byzantine Cataphracts (from Byzantine Armies 886-1118 by Osprey)

Square infantry formation (from Sowing the Dragon's Teeth by Eric McGeer)

Square infantry formation (from Sowing the Dragon’s Teeth by Eric McGeer)

Reinforced infantry anticipating an attack and closing the gaps (from Sowing the Dragon's Teeth by Eric McGeer)

Reinforced infantry anticipating an attack and closing the gaps (from Sowing the Dragon’s Teeth by Eric McGeer)

Cavalry formation (from Sowing the Dragon's Teeth by Eric McGeer)

Cavalry formation (from Sowing the Dragon’s Teeth by Eric McGeer)

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.

Period: 10th century

Download: Sowing the Dragon’s Teeth with Eric McGeer

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Episode 132 – Escalating Violence

Another view of the frontier fortresses from CPlakidas

Another view of the frontier fortresses from CPlakidas

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.

Period: 948-954

Download: Escalating Violence

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Episode 131 – False Economy

The court of Sayf al-Dawla (from the Chronicle of John Skylitzes)

The court of Sayf al-Dawla (from the Chronicle of John Skylitzes)

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

Period: 945-949

Download: False Economy

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Episode 130 – The Empire That Would Not Die with John Haldon

The Empire That Would Not Die by John Haldon (Harvard University Press)

The Empire That Would Not Die by John Haldon (Harvard University Press)

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.

Period: 640-945

Download: The Empire That Would Not Die with John Haldon

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