Author Archives: thehistoryofbyzantium

Episode 252 – The Sack of Thessalonica

Killing of Stephen Hagiochristophorites by Isaac Angelos, c. 1473, miniature by Jean Colombe in Les Passages d’outremerBNF.

A 15th century depiction of the death of Andronikos. Original in the Bibliothèque Nationale, France.

Andronikos continues to terrorise his relatives. Many leave Byzantium seeking help from foreign courts. One arrives in Sicily and calls on the Normans to help him. They launch an invasion and sack the city of Thessalonica.

Period: 1184-85

Stream: The Sack of Thessalonica

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Episode 251 – A Lion Pouncing on a Large Prey

When Manuel Komnenos died he left an 11 year old son as his heir. The Regency Council set up to protect him fails. Manuel’s cousin Andronikos seizes the throne instead and begins a reign of terror.

Period: 1180-83

Pic: Andronikos I Komnenos. Miniature portrait from a 15th-century codex containing a copy of the Extracts of the History by Joannes Zonaras

Stream: A Lion Pouncing on a Large Prey

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Update on my progress

Hello everyone,

My baby girl was born in early October and I’m now 3 weeks into being a parent. I am very tired as you can imagine. She is happy and healthy so far which is wonderful and I’m really grateful for all your kind messages.

Here’s an update on my progress: I have finished writing all the episodes between Manuel’s death and the 4th Crusade. The sack of Constantinople will be one of those 2 hour long episodes which takes several weeks to put together.

The plan is to wait until all the episodes are finished before I release any. So that you get a complete story told one week at a time – rather than having big gaps between episodes.

As soon as I can I will finish the 4th Crusade and you will get all these episodes in a once a week ‘Season’ of podcasts. Thanks so much for your patience and kind support.

Best wishes,

Robin

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Episode 250 – Retaking Anatolia

The Battle of Myriokephalon (from weaponsandwarfare.com)

We talk about why the Romans didn’t have more success in fighting the Turks. Was there a better way to fight the nomads? Or was it not really about tactics but strategy?

Period: 1070-1180

Stream: Retaking Anatolia

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Episode 249 – Life in Byzantine Anatolia

A somewhat inaccurate map of the Empire in 1173 AD

We look around the Roman provinces in Anatolia to review their defensive situation and the lifestyle of its people. We also briefly talk about Turkic people who lived in Byzantium.

Period: 1070-1180

Stream: Life in Byzantine Anatolia

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Episode 248 – Life in Turkic Anatolia

We take a look around the parts of Anatolia which were controlled by Turkic peoples between 1080 and 1180 AD. We don’t have a huge amount of written sources to draw on but hopefully there’s enough information available to give you a better picture of what’s been happening there. We also discuss the two different groups of Turkic peoples in Anatolia – the settled and the nomads.

Period: 1070-1180

This beautiful drawing of Manuel Komnenos is by Diogo DaCunha. Check out more of his work on Instagram, at his website or on Vimeo.

Stream: Life in Turkic Anatolia

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Baby and New Schedule

Available at Highspeedhistory.com – use code: Byzantium at checkout

I have big news. A History of Byzantium baby is on the way. The purple room in the Palace is being prepared for the Autumn and I can assure you that the names Justinian and Theodora will not be under consideration.

Of course I’m very excited. But it means I think we need to change the way the podcast is scheduled. I plan on being as involved as possible during the first few months of my baby’s life. And so it won’t be possible to keep a normal podcast routine.

So what we’re going to do is switch to a sort of TV schedule. Where there is silence for a few months and then I will release a complete series of episodes. So that when the podcast is on air, so to speak, you know that it will be out every week without fail and that whatever period of narrative we’re in will reach a natural conclusion. This will include bonus episodes for those who subscribe over at Patreon.

I feel more comfortable switching to this new schedule thanks to Patreon. It means that those of you who kindly support the show can manage your subscriptions however you see fit. And if you’re still in any doubt about how Patreon works – you can pick up a subscription or cancel one any time you like. There is no contract or commitment. And when you resubscribe you get your benefits back instantly.

We’re going to switch to this new schedule immediately. So there will now be a period of silence before a run of episodes that will take us from the death of Manuel through to the sack of Constantinople in 1204.

I won’t be announcing any dates for this new schedule. The periods of silence will take as long as they take and then there will be loads of episodes in a row to enjoy. It will be an adjustment for all of us but I think it’s for the best.

I have pushed myself hard in the past to try and produce the podcast weekly and to leave as few gaps as possible and it can cause a lot of stress. History podcasting just does take a long time. Some topics take weeks to research. And the more I read the better the show gets.

I’m hoping this new schedule will make life easier for you and for me. Thank you for your patience and for your support.

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Episode 247 – Writing Byzantine Fiction with Gordon Doherty

I talk to historical fiction author Gordon Doherty about his Byzantine book series ‘Strategos.’ We talk about inspiration and research but also what advice he’d give to aspiring writers.

We also give you the chance to win a copy of the first book in the Strategos trilogy.

Find out more about Gordon and his other book series (including more Roman era stories) at his website.

Strategos: Born in the Borderlands by Gordon Doherty
A young man with a dark secret holds the key to the coming battle between Byzantium and the Seljuks. This is the first book in the trilogy.

Stream: Writing Byzantine Fiction with Gordon Doherty

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Episode 246 – Travelling to Turkey with Şerif Yenen

While I’m away on the third ‘History of Byzantium’ tour I thought it was time to talk to the man behind them – Şerif Yenen. Şerif has been a tour guide in Istanbul for decades and has published many excellent books on the subject. He has also gone online to share his love for travel through podcasts and Youtube videos. I talk to Serif about his career and ask him listener questions about what to do and see in Turkey.

Contact me if you’d like to be on the mailing list for future ‘History of Byzantium’ tours.

Check out Şerif’s Youtube channel and his podcast ‘Turkish Odyssey.’ Or visit his website to find out more about his books, lectures and tours around Turkey.

Stream: Travelling to Turkey with Şerif Yenen

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Episode 245 – Means and Ends

I answer listener questions about Manuel’s reign.

Period: 1143-80

Stream: Means and Ends

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