Episode 143 – Strange Trajectories

Byzantine-Arab Wars 780-1180

Byzantine-Arab Wars 780-1180

John's Triumph from the Madrid copy of the Chronicle of John Skylitzes

John’s Triumph from the Madrid copy of the Chronicle of John Skylitzes

John returns home triumphant but must deal with the Fatimid attacks in the east.

Period: 972-6

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Categories: Podcast | 16 Comments

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16 thoughts on “Episode 143 – Strange Trajectories

  1. ArcticXerxes

    The map shows Tiberius, in northern Palestine, also occupied in 975. Is that correct? If true, this would be the furthest south point for the Roman campaign that year, so I’m curious if you had a reason for omitting that city in the narrative. Thanks.

  2. Joshua

    Great eposide as always, I really enjoyed learning more about how the Byzantines interacted with the Arabs in the Levant. I do have a little bit of confusion that maybe you could clear up. I heard that when John was campaigning in the Levant the leaders of Bethlehem and Jerusalem came to the Emperor and asked for a Byzantine Governor. Also that John was marching South towards in that campaign towards Jerusalem and got within sight of it before turning back. It’s really campaign and I wish there were more sources about it available to us.
    Thanks for your great work. It’s hard to believe this podcast has gone on for 5 years now. It’s been great and I’ve eagerly awaited every eposide.

  3. Shawn

    Not a question but a comment: the narrative arc surrounding the Romanoi Revival seems to be one of its own success planting the seeds of its own decline. The infighting between military and civilian factions seems to be leading to opportunities for power-hungry magnates to claim the purple, civitas be damned. Is this accurate?

    • Shawn

      Ok, it is a question, but it’s one that’s clumsily asked. I hope I was able to get my point across, though.

      • We are definitely in a period where the policies which enabled the state to survive are clashing with those who see an opportunity to expand. Whether that leads to decline we will have to see.

  4. Jay

    Question for the end of century, Robin. I’ve noticed that we run across the name “Bardas” a lot but never an Emperor Bardas I. Luck of the draw, I assume, but it got me to thinking. What were more the Christian names of the average person in the Empire? Were there lots of John’s, Constantine’s and Michael’s, like the Emperors? Or were they Average Joe’s named differently. I see that the list of Patriarchs reflect a lot more “Latin” names, Polyeuctus, Euthymius etc.

    Thanks in advance and thanks for the great podcast. Reaching 976 is kind of sad. 100 more years to Manzikert.

    • Hermes

      Names like Polyeuctus and Euthymius are Greek in origin and not Latin. Easily recognisable by the prefix poly and euth respectively. Polyeuctos (Πολύευκτος) is a combination of ‘poly’ meaning many or large and ‘euctos’ meaning I am willing.

      When Patriarchs ascended to their throne they would take on the name of a Saint. Therefore, Patriarch Polyeuctus was probably given the name Polyeuctus from Saint Polyeuctus of Melitene who died 259. He was a Roman soldier of probably Greek parentage. Often, the name of Saints of this era reflect names that were popular at that time and were often pre-Christian given that many Saints were recently converted pagans. Tradition states that Saint Polyeuctus converted to Christianity in his lifetime rather than being born in the faith.

  5. Excellent podcast than you for putting so much time and effort into them, I listened to the first 4 on you tube driving from Texas to Florida

  6. Mark

    Hey Robin

    Been a few weeks since we heard from you. Hope all is well and you’re just taking a break?

    Look forward to hearding the latest when you’re back on deck.



  7. PB

    Hi Robin,

    I’ve taken an interest in the Tigris-Euphrates river system, as one does, and I noticed that your maps won’t be accurate until the next millenium. Here’s a timelapse video of the Ataturk Dam filling up: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rcd2nAu3_Os

    You’ll find it by Samosata on your maps, as you will for a reservoir created by the dam at Keban, which is by Melitene.

    I thought you’d appreciate this mildly humorous situation of confused topographies.

    Love the podcasts to bits,


  8. Diane

    Wanted to let you know that I cannot listen here or in my app, the link to this episode and many others following it are broken.

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