An update on the schedule of the podcast

Hello everyone,

I recorded a short update about the podcast and the likely schedule for the next few months. You can listen to it here.

The main takeaways are:

– The narrative will resume around Spring 2021

– In the meantime I will be producing bonus episodes and videos from Istanbul. As well as doing work for my Dad and taking a little time out for my mental health.

– At least two more free episodes about Alexios will be coming soon. Including a Q&A about his reign and the Crusades so do send your questions in. You can comment on the thread below.

Thanks for your support and understanding,
Robin

Categories: Uncategorized | 22 Comments

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22 thoughts on “An update on the schedule of the podcast

  1. Evan Mangone

    Hope your doing well, you deserve a break! Been loving the podcast so far πŸ™‚

  2. I’m sure that other people will ask these but:

    1) How is the current state of the army? It’s been a while since the last episode dedicated to it. I know that during the years past Basil II the divide between themata/tagmata becomes blurry in the sources, but do any of these even exist by now? An other than the elite mercenary units, how are the remaining native troops recruited (and what importance they have overall by now).

    2) What is the provincial administration? Do the themes still exist in the Balkans, and if so, has their administration/organization changed in any way?

    3) How has the re-incorporation of Western Anatolia been. Have the old theme provinces been restored? Was the population happy to be again part of the empire? And has the area been made profitable by the end of Alexios reign?

  3. Robin, just heard this update – as a listener since 2012 and Kickstarter subscriber I can only say you have given us literally years of your work, blood, sweat and tears and most of that for free, for nothing, countless hours of knowledge, entertainment and pleasure and you absolutely must take a break and look after your mental health, which as someone who has struggled with it for years is something you cannot ignore or try to work your way through.
    We all will understand and wait patiently and in anticipation of new material when it arrives.
    Rome, and indeed Constantinople either was not built in a day, nor 8 years even!
    Take care of yourself, your health, your Dad’s work and the new Mrs History of Byzantium.
    The Romans can wait and so can we.

  4. Zack

    Thank you for this incredible podcast, you deserve a break!

    A question:

    Why were the Popes in Rome so eager to support (or at least ignore) the princes’ break with Constantinople on who got Antioch? In hindsight it’s obvious that any support in Outremer would have been helpful as the new Latin states were surrounded by enemies (with the Romans soon among them) and far from home. Yet we see essentially nothing but increased antagonism between those who should, at least in religious terms, be allies with the Popes doing little to help. Was there any recognition in the West that turning an ally into an enemy could be a bad idea if the Muslim states got their act together? Or was this strategic level view ignored in favor of scrambling for what one could get now and let the consequences be what they may?

  5. George

    I do have two major questions.

    First of all, Robin, I must thank you for the amazing job you did explaining the real nature of maps and borders in a Medieval context, I truly believe that I have a much clearer understanding of the Medieval world now than I had ever before. I am especially speaking about your description of the Byzantine control (or thereof) in Bulgaria. Though seeing the Romans so incredibly weak and chaotic after the loss of Anatolia and knowing that there were attempts at Bulgarian independence not so long ago in the narrative and also knowing it will show its head again, I must wonder. Why didn’t Bulgaria simply slip out of Byzantine control at this point, were they too weak after the failed uprisings? Or did Alexios have some kind of strategy to keep the Balkans under control?

    My second question is a bit broader. But with all these talks about maps (And I do still love maps). What were they like at the time? Did the emperor have access to any simple way of visualizing controlled territory, or did he have to rely entirely on memory and geographical understanding?

  6. Thank you so much for your incredible podcast and the generosity of your output, it is a gift.

    Please look after your mental health.

    Good things come to those who wait and your episodes as so worth the wait.

    By the way, what is the name/link to your dad’s poetry podcast?

  7. Robin, just listened to the update. I’m sorry to hear your mental health has taken a hit. Boy, do I get that! My reason is different; as a natural hermit, the isolation isn’t too bad, but I’m having trouble handling watching the history happening around me. (I’m in the US. ‘Nuff said.) Take care of yourself and take all the time you need. I’d offer a hug if it weren’t for the isolation and thousands of miles, so consider yourself virtually hugged. You have friends out here who care but rarely speak up. Keep that in mind!

  8. Seth M

    First off, I cannot thank you enough for your many years of hard work in making a podcast that is a joy to listen to. It always brightens my day when I see a new episode in my feed. That being said, you definitely deserve a break. Speaking from experience, mental health is very important. So please, enjoy your time off. Take care of yourself and your loved ones, and we will be patiently looking forward to hearing from you in the spring!

    Thank you again for the many many hours of captivating and entertaining episodes that make the Byzantines/Romans come alive.

  9. Slaven

    Robin,
    Thank you so much for all the effort you put into teaching us about Byzantium. Your podcast is amazing! Your work on the narrative, the interviews with the historians, your humor (I still chuckle at your Yaroslav the Wise joke) have all made my life richer. You have built a community around your podcast, and given us so much. Take time for yourself, give yourself a well deserved break.
    Take care.

  10. Mystikos

    Thank you so much for all your hard work! You’re the definition of quality over quantity (and depth and breadth over brevity :-p). Please take care, especially when traveling, the plagues don’t distinguish between prince, scholar, or pauper.

  11. Thanks so much for all your kind words (and questions) πŸ™‚

  12. Andy

    I can’t believe it’s been 8 years. I hope you enjoy your break. Thank you for your excellent podcast. This will be a good opportunity to go back and relisten to the series.

  13. Seth M

    Thank you for making a podcast that is a joy to listen to. It always brightens up my day when I see a new episode appear. Enjoy your well deserved break! Take care of yourself and thanks for doing such a great job in making the Byzantines/Romans come alive for us

  14. Gregory Levitsky

    Robin!
    Thank you so much for all of the work that you do on this excellent podcast. I literally do a Yip! every time a new episode drops. I think I speak for a lot of your listeners when I say that you should take all the time you need! We have a few more β€œreal-time” years to 1453 (and beyond!), and you need to pace yourself πŸ™‚
    Sorry for not replying in the other thread; I WAS finally able to download the Antioch episode. Thank you for your help.
    I don’t know why I don’t just subscribe, but rest assured that I’ll be purchasing every extra episode!
    Regards from America,
    – Greg

  15. S.B.

    Robin,

    first of all take care of yourself – we will still be there whenever you return.

    Secondly I have two questions:

    1.) What was the general perception of the Westerners within Byzantium or more specific in Constantinople. Was it “those cursed Westerners get everything for free” (to put it over the top) or was it a more cooperative atmosphere? Were there any tensions between the orthodox greek population and the increasing western population within the capital?

    2.) Did the higher nobility of Byzantium misjudge the more western essential concept of honour? Was there the – typical – roman attitude of “those uncivilized barbarian customs”? Would it have been possible to counteract Bohemonds tricks with a more indepth understanding of what the regular knights wanted out of a liege?

    3.) Following up on the previous question: Where the Byzantines aware that the western troops were essentially surpassing their own military strength (as seen during by the first crusades success) and accepted them more of an equal or were they still only useful mercenaries? Given they beat Bohemond but it was more due to clever strategy than direct – more western – battle.

  16. Bruno B

    Hi Robin,

    This is my first comment. I just wanted to send some appreciation. I still need to fully catch up with the podcast, which I have been listening for the past three years or so. It’s really great and as an academic and history geek I really enjoy the level of detail you manage to get into this, without making it too academic-y. It is the only podcast which I have so far been really eager to listen to. Take care and hopefully things will be better by next spring!

    Small q: are any of the bonus episodes by any chance the final chapter about women in Byzantium?

  17. Ian

    Robin,

    In the same boat myself, your podcast has been helping me try to turn my life around. Waiting until next spring will be hard, but your health comes first, and it is going to be worth it to pick things up with the Komnenoi with a new life. 5-6 months: enough time to enact my own reforms.

    Personal question. How had this podcast changed you personally, and your views on history?

    • πŸ™‚ I hope things improve for you.
      The podcast has obviously transformed my life in the sense that I can now do this professionally and see a potential career beyond 1453.
      My view of history is probably something that would need more thought. But I guess it would come down to a sense that human nature doesn’t really change – just the circumstances of the day. The world the Byzantines lived in was incredibly violent and acquisitive as well as being ordered by religious belief and ritual. I would suggest that our own world is not so different. But annual raids by soldiers have been replaced by businesses trying to increase market share. And monotheism has been replaced by faith in either the market or human progress and various rituals have developed to enact those beliefs.

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