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.
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Thank You for another interesting episode!
For those interested, youtuber Sam O’Nella Academy (yes, spelled like that) had quite a different take on Olga of Kiev in his episode on Medieval Warfare: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n1hR9rpvS74 (which also deals with Greek fire, BTW.) A mild language warning regarding that video, though.
Incredibly exciting to be getting to some of the most famous episodes in Eastern Roman history. Everything’s coming together – the emperors are intelligent and decent, the generals are glorious and genius, the balance of power in the region is favorable – time for the Empire to shine =)!
As an Eastern Slav, I also hope Robin gets into detail about Princess Olga of Kiev (Knyaginya Ol’ga Kievskaya). This episode explains the Realpolitik logic behind her visit to Constantinople and conversion, but in traditional Rus history her actions are held with far more reverence and significance. She is Saint Olga (Helga in Scandinavian), the first convert to Christianity, “Equal to the Apostles”. Her conversion mirrors that of Saint Helena, the mother of Constantine the Great, who had converted before her son did. The Christian name Olga took on conversion is also Helena (Yelena/Olena in Russian/Ukrainian). Unlike her husband and son, who were pagan, polygamous warriors and spent their time warring and exacting tribute, she is seen as a wise, peaceful governor who created many early institutions of the Rus state. This all goes with the idea of Christianity as a civilizing force for the heretofore barbaric Rus, and Olga, being of the gentler sex, the first to recognize its value, just as Saint Helena did. She also personally raised her grandson Vladimir, who would end up Christianizing the Rus. So to the Rus and their descendants Olga is a figure of great importance, especially from the Orthodox Christian perspective.
For those reasons, I would not recommend the video user Anders linked. It’s a bit of silly fun, sure, and recounts a story recorded by the early Rus in the Primary Chronicle, but the author is clearly unconcerned about historical accuracy and probably heard the story second-hand. The point of the tale is Olga’s revenge for the murder of her husband and defense of the rights of their son, the rightful dynastic heir. And she’s an Orthodox Saint, recognized by Eastern Rite Catholics, not a Catholic Saint.