Episode 144 – Setting the Table

Streams of Gold, Rivers of Blood by Anthony Kaldellis

Streams of Gold, Rivers of Blood by Anthony Kaldellis

We begin our mini end-of-the-century series by talking about our sources. Huge thanks to Professor Anthony Kaldellis for talking to me about his new book “Streams of Gold, Rivers of Blood.” It’s a narrative history covering the period from when Nicephorus Phokas took over the military until the First Crusade. This is only part of our interview focusing on the task of sifting sources to create a more realistic narrative.

Period: 913-976

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Categories: Podcast | 5 Comments

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5 thoughts on “Episode 144 – Setting the Table

  1. schon fazio

    bought the book. great read so far!

  2. Russed

    Looking forward very much to reading the book, though I’m going to save it until you’ve passed the time period.

    Listened to your guest appearance on History Unplugged, which was very much more interesting than I thought it would have been since Justinian feels a bit “done” already. Really enjoyable. Also, I realise that this is a long, long way away (thank the gods!) but I feel like an interesting way to eventually tie up the podcast could be with Greek independence from the Ottomans. Not for the millitary action of that or anything, but just to see how they came to choose being Hellenes instead of Romans. It seems to have been quite an intersting discussion in Greek society at the time, with not just ideology but practicality involved (for example, one of the reasons that it went the way it did seems to have been because it was easier to get support from the European superpowers if you were the descendents of Ancient Greece instead of the “decadent Byzantine Empire” – after all this is only some 40 years after Gibbons book). It seems to me to have been the real death of the possibility of any Roman state (though I’m sure some Romanians would disagree with me).

    • Thanks for the kind words. And yes that is a very good idea. I have to say I am a little reluctant to touch it though. In part because I would be jumping into a topic I know little about. Rather than building a wide knowledge base before approaching it as I normally do. And in part because it’s a relatively modern issue and I suspect the historiography is debated and modern feelings are invested in it. I know I have quite a few Greek or Greek descended listeners who would know a great deal more about it than me. But it is an excellent suggestion, I may have to poll the audience nearer the time.

      • Russed

        Yeah, I completely understand that it’s a subject that is difficult in so many ways. Either way, the revival of Hellenism in the upcoming centuries is something I’m looking forward to learning more about. Gemistus Pletho is to me one of the most intersting philosophers of all of the medival period for example

    • There’s also the whole thing with the Russian Empire seeing itself as the natural successor of the Roman (Byzantine) Empire and adopting lots of its symbols, including the title of the Emperor (Tsar).

      And of course, there were the tendencies in the Ottoman Empire, especially in the beginning, to portray themselves as the successors of the Roman Empire. There was the whole concept of three Romes. The first Rome being pagan, the second Rome being Christian, and finally the third and last Rome being Muslim.

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