Episode 9 – The Balkan Provinces

The Byzantine Balkan Provinces in the 6th century

The Byzantine Balkan Provinces in the 6th century

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.

Period: 376-518

Map: The map shows the administrative districts of the Byzantine Balkan provinces around the turn of the 6th century.

(Author: Konstantinos Plakidas, Source Website: http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/User:Cplakidas)

Download: Episode 9 – The Balkan Provinces

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Categories: Podcast | 12 Comments

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12 thoughts on “Episode 9 – The Balkan Provinces

  1. Dan

    Hi Robin,
    Another great episode. Enjoying the tour, and looking forward to hitting Constantinople next time around.

  2. Matt NL

    Hey Robin, very interesting stuff again! I’ve got a question about your theme song, which I adore. Is it related to the Heroes of Might and Magic series (pc-game)? It sounds very much like it could be.

  3. Thanks guys. Matt – I don’t think so 🙂 I found the music on Music Alley (link above and to the right). It’s by a guy called Rob van den Berg and it’s just the beginning and end of a classical piece he made.

    • Matt

      Hello, unfortunately the link is broken. Do you know the name of the song by any chance by Rob van den Berg?

  4. Patrick

    Do I take your comments to mean that none of the cities in the classical Greek mainland (Athens, Sparta, Thebes, Corinth, etc.) have populations greater than 15k during this period? If so, what is going on down there during this period of history? Were they depopulated during the Gothic Wars in the mid-late 4th century? Did the populations migrate to Constantinople and Ionia? Where are all the Greeks?

  5. Hi Patrick, yes you understood me correctly. Obviously we are guessing a little on exact numbers but yes the classical Greek cities were far smaller in size than their heyday by the 6th century.

    The major cities around the area were Constantinople, Thessalonika, Ephesus and the other cities of what was called Ionia. Most of those cities had better access to Imperial trade routes and farm land than mainland Greece. As well as being harder to raid by Goths and Huns as you pointed out.

    Certainly there were still Greeks living there. But all those cities I just mentioned would have been full of Greek speakers. Greek speaking “Romans” were the largest proportion of the Empire’s population and covered the area from Macedonia across to Central Turkey.

    As our story progresses mainland Greece will keep appearing…

    • Patrick


      I’m behind, but catching up and really liking the podcast. As you go, I hope that you will continue to add cultural, economic, linguistic, and demographic details that flesh out the story of this civilization. I thought this was lacking in the 12 Byzantine Rulers podcast (and Lost to the West), though I understand that focus was narrower.

  6. Yes I hope to do the “looking around” type episodes at the end of each century to see what’s going on across the civilization as you say 🙂

  7. Erica

    I know I am very late in the game, but I am just finding your podcast. I listened to the History of Rome quite regularly up until my daughter was born, and so I just finished up that podcast after a hiatus and was SO glad to see that I could pick up right where Mike Duncan left off with your podcast. Thank you for doing this and with my new schedule, I hope to be caught up quickly with your latest episodes. I was excited to see they are still releasing. Loving the look around in this episode and the maps have been amazing since my memory for geography is always very poor.

  8. Muhammad Al-Rabani

    I just began your wonderful podcast and I am enjoying it tremendously! I was wondering if any of the fellow listeners might be able to clear up a point that I am having a hard time figuring out.
    Are the Goths and the Franks the same as the Germanic peoples? That is to say did they all just think of themselves as different types of Germans? Or are there more significant differences between them? For instance would Goths like the Ostrogoths and Visigoths be “closer” to each other than to Franks and Burgundians?

    • It’s a great question. And not one I can give you a good answer to because it’s not my area of expertise. If you search for the group “History Podcasters” on Facebook and ask to join then you can ask there. I am a member as are most other history podcasters and passionate listeners on the web.

      I can say that those tribes recognised one another as German. Their languages were similar enough that they were able to communicate easily. And indeed the term “Frank” and “Goth” represent super confederations of originally smaller tribes that grouped together to try and get a bigger piece of the Roman pie. So they definitely knew they were from the same stock. But beyond that I’m sure there were big regional differences.

      The Ostro (East) and Visi (West) Goths were the same super-tribe of people. They only gained those distinctions based on how they entered the Empire.

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