Episode 191 – The Sack of Ani

Nomisma histamenon of Isaac I Komnenos

Nomisma histamenon of Isaac I Komnenos

Isaac Komnenos comes to power urgently trying to restore the budget. But when he dies two years later his successor Constantine X Doukas reverses his economising. As he cuts from the military budget instead Turkic raiders sack the Armenian city of Ani.

Period: 1057-64

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Categories: Podcast | 9 Comments

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9 thoughts on “Episode 191 – The Sack of Ani

  1. jeandukeofalecon

    Something interesting to note is that Isaac’s coins showing him with drawn sword, though unique in being mentioned and interpreted by multiple contemporary historians, are actually just a slight evolution of a numismatic iconography already established by Monomachos, in which the Emperor is shown in military garb holding a cross in his right hand and a sheathed sword in his left, similar to the famous portrait of Basil II. A few examples:



    The innovations introduced by Isaac were to apply this format to the gold coins (though Constantine had already minted gold coins in a different style depicting himself holding a sheathed sword, albeit wearing a civil chlamys instead of true military dress: https://i.imgur.com/TsndZxx.jpg) and, more importantly, to depict the sword unsheathed, which was evidently rather controversial at the time.

  2. Pierre

    Finally we are getting to the Komnenoi, my favorite dynasty and truly some of the most capable leaders in history. Thanks for this wonderful podcast and keep up the good work!

  3. Pierre

    Are you planning on doing future episodes on the Trapezuntine empire as well?

  4. Hubert Schoen


    I have two questions. What would you say is the starting date of the byzantine empire?
    Why was the byzantine empire called the byzantine empire when the capital was changed to Constantinople since 330?
    I really enjoy your podcast, I was listening and these questions arose.


    • I’m glad you’re enjoying the show. It sounds like you haven’t listened to episode 41 yet where we talk all about the term Byzantine. As for when the ‘Byzantine’ Empire starts – there is no answer. The Romans in Constantinople thought of themselves as Romans. So from their point of view their Empire started in 800BC in Rome. But it’s academically more logical to chart its history from the founding of Constantinople in 330 AD. Post 476 AD most of the Empire’s history was determined by Constantinople’s existence. But between 330 and 450 many people would have had strong feelings about parts of the Western Roman Empire and therefore not seen themselves as a separate entity. I started the podcast in 476 simply because that’s where ‘The History of Rome’ podcast ended 🙂

      • Hubert

        Thanks for you answer,

        But if de academic start of the empire is at the founding of Constantinople, why not call it the Empire of Constantinople instead?

  5. Well again you haven’t listened to episode 41! The Empire is the Roman Empire. Always was called that. When Constantinople was built it was referred to as New Rome. It was just another capital of the same Empire. Byzantium is a term coined by academics much later. Listen to episode 41. You’ll like it 🙂

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