“The History of Byzantium” is a podcast dedicated to the story of the Roman Empire from the collapse of the West in 476 to the fall of Constantinople in 1453. Byzantine history is fascinating, world changing and largely forgotten. Listen and discover who they were.


The show was created to continue the narrative established by Mike Duncan’s wonderful podcast The History of Rome.” I have tried to remain faithful to Mike’s structure of half hour instalments told from a state-centric perspective. My innovation is to pause the narrative at the end of each century to take time to cover wider issues to do with Byzantium. I’ve also taken time to produce feature length episodes on the most dramatic incidents.

After a year of research and recording I asked the audience to support me by purchasing episode 28 (May 2013). Making the podcast had begun taking up almost half of each week. Thankfully the listeners responded and donated and I was able to keep going for another two years. By then though the podcast had occupied more like 70% of my time. So I offered listeners a yearly subscription (July 2015) to support me in exchange for six special episodes each year. By 2017 the podcast was my full time occupation.

I launched a Kickstarter in 2018 to fund a trip to Istanbul to document the surviving Byzantine buildings and to prepare the ground for listener tours. In March 2019 the first ‘History of Byzantium Tour’ spent five days exploring Istanbul’s Roman past and it was so much fun.

I continue to search for the most interesting and entertaining way to communicate the Byzantine story. With listener support I’m confident that we will reach 1453 with a complete audio narrative of the whole sweep of Roman history. It’s a huge privilege to be able podcast for a living and I love exploring the world of Byzantium.

Robin Pierson is from London in the UK. Contact Robin at thehistoryofbyzantium at gmail.com (all one word with @ instead of at) or on Twitter.


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  1. Ju

    Have you read The Byzantine – a novel, written by the author and historian Miguel M. Abrahão? It’s just fantastic…!

  2. M.A.

    Hello Robin,
    I don’t known if anyone has brought this to your attention yet, but I thought this video may be some small interest to you. It is about the Fourth Crusade, and as that is looming ever nearer in the narrative I thought I would be appropriate.

    Thank you for all your wonderful work.

  3. Daniel

    I know this is late in the day given how far into the history the podcast is, and I also know that there’s no way to say this without being seen as a villain, but I shall try to be fair. I love the podcast. I love the presentation, I enjoy listening to your voice, but there’s one thing that has persisted through the 50 episodes I’ve listened to so far.
    You have an unfortunate tendency to make the most cringe-inducing lip-smacking, saliva splashing, noises as you speak, and it just sends waves of revulsion though me as I’m trying to hear what you say. I have to take breaks, whereas I’d love to just binge the show, as it were. I had to stop twice during the Last War.

    The only reason I bring it up is in hopes that maybe, some of the last episodes, or any new projects you enter into, don’t have this in it.
    I apologise sincerely if this gives offence, I just couldn’t take it anymore after 50 episodes.

    • Libro e Moschetto - Fascista Perfetto

      Wow Daniel, lol…

      Personally I’ve never heard any ‘saliva splashing noises’ from Robin in all the time I’ve listened. He sometimes like, clicks his tongue at the end of sentences or when he’s thinking but millions of people do that… If a little tic like that bothers you so much I think the issue lies with yourself, seems fairly autistic to me (as does your rudeness).

      • Jeffrey W Percival

        I agree with Libro. I’ve always been impressed with Robin’s clear and precise enunciation. Distinctive and agreeable.

    • Shawn

      I love the podcast too but ever since I read your comment I can’t help but gag, cringe, and like you I’ve had to stop listening multiple times bc of whatever the heck is splashing on in there. It’s when he pause, thinks he says something clever, and at other times. I can’t take it anymore. I feel bad, but I feel like he needs to know tho. Mouth to close to the mic? Taking a drink? Or a type of tic of some sort? I dk, but it’s so bad I’m done and that’s a darn shame. He’s done good work and seems like a good dude but I can’t handle the lip smacking or to hear the word hugely one more time.

    • Kris from the Venetian Quarter

      Daniel, you are obviously a Latin Crusader looking to destabilize the empire for your own glory!

  4. Joe Targett

    Hey just so you know there’s been a splinter group from Byzantium Novum and some other Roman Reconstructionist groups, this group is fairly small but I’ve been hearing lots about them. They claim to be emulating the Roman and Byzantine empire.

    Just wondering if you’d like to cover them in a future post or podcast:

    Their email, according to their website, is:

  5. Arthur

    Hi Robin,

    Just listening to episode 144, and I wanted to say thank you for making a subject that I only had a very cursory knowledge of prior to starting the podcast so engaging and easy to grasp. The huge amount of effort and care that you’ve put into this shines through, and I look forward to continuing to listen to what is easily the best history podcast series I’ve come across so far.

  6. Menno

    Hi Robin,
    I am so incredibly happy with the podcast. I only just found out that you haven´t reached 1453 yet. I guess you could me oldskool, that I am (was) more interested in the fate of the Western Roman Empire. You changed that perspective. I am thankful to now think beyond 476.
    I just would like to leave a small comment. I sometimes get the feeling that the timeline / narrative episodes are shorter than the question round episodes, together with the information that follows. I feel that 20 years passes really fast in comparison to all the episodes that follow when we reach the end of a century. The city, borders, provinces, you know.. you´re Robin.
    Thank you for the great work.

  7. A J

    Just started listening to your podcast. It takes me back to 50 years ago when a copy of History of the Byzantine State by George Ostrogorsky in hand I entered a whole new world. Thanks to Dr. Demetrious Constantelleos and visits to Dumbarton Oaks Byzantine study center in Washington, DC.

  8. Scott Taylor

    Robin. I just heard the announcement about your baby due later this year. You are about to embark on quite a ride. Savor it. Enjoy it for all it is worth. Some day that baby will be an adult and you will wonder where the years went. Don’t worry about all of us.

    I jus had a thought. Some podcast companies will host a sister show for an episode. You have teased other shows. What about a sample show from another pod cast or two to fill the time?

    Just a thought.

  9. Kim

    I was an avid follower of Mike Duncan’s History of Rome podcast series back in the day. I waited for each of Mike’s new episodes with great anticipation, what a journey when it finally ended. I enjoyed Mike’s great History of Rome content and would have readily listened to anyone who did the same treatment for Byzantium.

    But somehow I missed your fantastic History of Byzantium podcast series. I mean I had no clue you were doing this for the past NINE years. I must have been living under a rock or something!! But better late than never I finally found your History of Byzantium podcast series. I have made it to Justinian’s plague and I can safely say that you have lived up to the standard of Mike Duncan. Congratulations on an amazing podcast series!

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