Episode 184 – Act Two Begins

Constantine IX Monomachos (left) and Zoe (right) (mosaic in Hagia Sophia)

Constantine IX Monomachos (left) and Zoe (right) (mosaic in Hagia Sophia)

Constantine IX Monomachos (mosaic in Hagia Sophia)

Constantine IX Monomachos (mosaic in Hagia Sophia)

Zoe chooses Constantine Monomachos to be her new husband and Emperor. We discuss his character and relationship with our historian Michael Psellos. Then move on to two major challenges which greeted his arrival on the throne.

Period: 1042-44

Download: Act Two Begins

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Categories: Podcast | 5 Comments

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5 thoughts on “Episode 184 – Act Two Begins

  1. Myriokephalon

    Having read Streams of Gold, Rivers of Blood, who are the other recent historians besides Kaldellis who are attempting to rehabilitate him?

    • Michael Angold and Dimitris Krallis are the two covering this period extensively. I wouldn’t say either attempt specifically to rehabilitate him but both are trying to iron out biases in Psellos’ account.

  2. Brenda

    A brief sentence in this episode brought to mind the topic of the Italian mafia. You mention that Normans were known to take “protection money” from civilians, and this made me wonder about the possibility of the Normans being the culture that brought this type of activity to the areas we now know as Sicily and Naples. Of course, extortion has probably been around as long as people have been, but I am curious if it was a widespread practice across Byzantium, or if it was introduced by the Normans. And if it was in fact introduced by the Normans, then it makes sense that what we think of as the mafia grew to be somewhat dominant in these certain areas of Italy/Europe.

    • Hey, great point. I’ve also thought about the connections between the mafia and Byzantium given the obvious crossover in spheres of operation. Byzantium and then the Normans certainly kept the South of Italy disconnected from the currents of change in northern Europe. My understanding is that the modern mafia developed in the 19th century https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sicilian_Mafia#Post-feudal_Sicily so there may not be a direct connection to Norman brutality. But certainly the domination of the south by large landowners is a direct continuation of Byzantine/Norman times.

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