We cover Basil’s last few years as he deals with the Fatimids, the Georgians and his own rebellious soldiers. We then wrap up his reign and bring our century to a close.
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Hey Robin! Hope you’re enjoying your well deserved break! Seriously, thanks for consistently producing one of the best history podcasts out there.
I had a number of end of the century questions, the first set about the new hinterlands. How was the newly acquired Armenian and Georgian territory administered? Did the emperor let the new nobles carry on as they always had when it came to governing or did they have to adopt some symbols of Roman hegemony like officials and bishops? Where these new areas rich enough to fund further campaigns? Finally, you said in this episode that Rome had never been this far before, but I thought Trajan had made it all the way to the Caspian sea of course I could just be remembering wrong.
What does Constantinople look like architecturally? Does the city scape look any different since we last visited? Have there been any drastic new building projects?
Also, I know you touched on this in previous episodes, but just how sophisticated and developed was Byzantine diplomacy with other states at this point? Were the Fatimids and Byzantines sending embassies back and forth like they were in the days of the Sassanid wars?
Finally, I think in one of the end of the century episodes awhile ago someone asked about any more relations between Byzantium and Ethiopia, and you said you weren’t able to find anything. Well it may not be much, but the “History of the Patriarchs of Alexandria” is a record of the patriarchate. It was the Patriarchs of Alexandria that, until the mid 1900’s supplied the Ethiopian church with their metropolitans. In part 6 section 196, (There are links to a full English translation on the texts wikipedia page) there’s a story of how a Christian monk convinces the Mad Caliph himself to allow Christians to travel to Byzantium or Abyssinia whenever they wish and states that this action was illegal before. So, I guess at the very least this is the answer to why relations disappeared after Justinian.
First of all, phenomenal work! I have been very much enjoying learning about the Macedonian dynasty and their rivalry with the Anatolian magnates.
Secondly, I have a couple of questions for you regarding Venice for your upcoming “end of the century” tour…
1) What was the relationship between Venice and the court of Basil II like?
2) Is there any truth to the tale that Venice was founded by Roman citizens of northern Italy looking to escape the Germanic invasions of the 5th century?
Thanks for continuing to put out this podcast, Robin. It really is tremendous.