A Rus raid delays John Kourkouas from leading a raid into Syria. When he does though he captures the sacred Mandylion and brings it back to the capital. Soon afterwards though he and Romanus are ousted from power.
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Awesome episode as always. Your post recollection of Romanus’ reign got me thinking though. Would it be fair to compare his reign to someone like Antoninus Pius. Military conquests aside he seems like the kind of emperor we know very relatively little about except that he oversaw a time of peace and prosperity. Additionally, where do you think John Kourkouas ranks in terms of Byzantine military leaders? He appears, as you said to be an expert in siege warfare and marching through unfamiliar/ difficult terrain, but do you think he deserves to stand alongside the likes of Heraclius and Belisarius when he was only really going after a highly fragmented group of Islamic emirates?