Episode 187 – Hey Big Spender

Principle stages in the debasement of the nomisma (from the Economic History of Byzantium, Dumbarton Oaks)

Principal stages in the debasement of the nomisma (from the Economic History of Byzantium, Dumbarton Oaks)

After the Pecheneg Wars the Roman treasury was empty. We look at Constantine Monomachos’ response to this and other Imperial expenses which may have exacerbated the situation.

Period: 1042-54

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Categories: Podcast | 2 Comments

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2 thoughts on “Episode 187 – Hey Big Spender

  1. Deane Jennings

    Hi, thanks for the informative podcast. One question I would like to ask – given that the Roman empire lasted almost 1500 years if we count the full period, is it actually fair to say that Europe needed the empire to collapse before innovation, science, art and philosophy could develop in Europe? I reason I ask is that technologically the Roman empire was very limited in its innovation. This seemed to be limited to methods of war, buildings and roads. But essentially the level of technological advancement didn’t move on much over the 1500 years. As an empire it was not on an upward technological projectory, and in fact seemed very static. This is ironic because we ascribe great engineering to the Romans, but maybe Roman society was actually a block to real innovation and advancement.

    • It’s an excellent question and you’re right that technological progress was fairly static in the Roman era. I will be producing a Byzantine Stories episode (eventually) on this subject and I look forward to exploring how the Empire’s structure stifled certain innovations. But I don’t think the Romans were alone in this. Most of the surrounding Empires/Civilisations were operating with the same level of technology throughout this period.

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