Episode 108 – Known Unknowns

Basil I (from 'Rulers of the Byzantine Empire' published by KIBEA)

Basil I (from ‘Rulers of the Byzantine Empire’ published by KIBEA)

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.

Period: 867-886

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Basil on ship (from 'Rulers of the Byzantine Empire' published by KIBEA)

Basil on ship (from ‘Rulers of the Byzantine Empire’ published by KIBEA)

Scanned poorly from Treadgold's Byzantine State and Society

Scanned poorly from Treadgold’s Byzantine State and Society

Categories: Podcast | 8 Comments

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8 thoughts on “Episode 108 – Known Unknowns

  1. Rbills

    Questions for the end of the century. It’s hard to visualize what’s going on in different places at the same time. I’m listening to the History of England and other podcasts. Is there a way to figure out what’s going on in different places and how they impact each other if at all.

  2. ArcticXerxes

    End of century question:
    I remember your discussion on the decline of cities within the Roman world. As Byzantine prosperity now begins to return, are the cities becoming more important and populated again?

  3. I assume the title to be an allusion to Donald Rumsfeld. Lol.

  4. schon fazio

    Did Byzantium at this time still have its luster? was byzantine gold and pomp still the greatest thing in europe ?

  5. Elliott.T

    The Roman Empire is Back
    End of century Question: During the Roman Republic the Port city of Brendisi or Brendisium remained a strategically important port, how much was this so for the Byzantines?

  6. zblount

    The tenth century was in many ways Byzantium’s golden age, with it becoming resurgent, rich, and again by far the most powerful state in not only the Mediterranean, but in Europe more generally. Given where it was in 717 when Leo III came to power, it is utterly amazing where it will be when you end the tale of the tenth century with Basil II. It is one of the most interesting shifts in fortune in western history. However, it is clear that the stage on which the tenth century played out was set during the ninth. I am sure you will cover this in the retrospective, but I would really like to hear your take on what policies and occurrences made the later gains possible. What were the most important among them? What shifts were made intentionally, and which were the consequence of decisions made in response to unique needs of the moment, but which incidentally potentiated what came later? Was there are particular event or policy change that you think was the most critical? How much was due to changes in the Byzantine empire, versus changes that occurred in neighboring states, and which the Byzantines simply capitalized on? One obvious example of the latter is the decline in the caliphate. What caused that decline?

    Thank you, Robin, for the podcast. It is easily my favorite right not, and it gives me a thrill each time there is a new episode in my feed! I can’t tell you how much joy it has brought me to know that the empire that has fascinated me for so long also interests other, and much more has come from such a wonderful telling of its story!


  7. turvuhl

    Why did not barbarian peoples to the south of the Danube chose to not become Roman?

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