Author Archives: thehistoryofbyzantium

Episode 210 – What did Urban say?

Pope Urban preaches the Crusade from Cassell's Illustrated History of England, Volume 1

Pope Urban preaches the Crusade from Cassell’s Illustrated History of England, Volume 1 (highly inaccurate!)

We follow Urban as he crosses into France and spends over a year on tour. We talk about the steps he took to prepare for the announcement of the Crusades. Then we break down what we believe he said and why he said it.

Period: 1095-6

Download: What did Urban say?

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Episode 209 – What about Jerusalem?

Jerusalem in the Nuremburg Chronicle 1493

Jerusalem in the Nuremburg Chronicle 1493

We briefly talk about events in Jerusalem and the wider Levant on the eve of the First Crusade. Had anything happened there that could have sparked the Crusades?

Period: 1050-95

Download: What about Jerusalem?

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Episode 208 – The Call from the East with Peter Frankopan

Peter Frankopan, The First Crusade - The Call from the East

Peter Frankopan, The First Crusade – The Call from the East

An interview with Professor Peter Frankopan about his book ‘The First Crusade: The Call from the East.’

Peter Frankopan is Professor of Global History at Oxford University and Stavros Niarchos Foundation Director of the Oxford Centre for Byzantine Research. He specialises in the history of the Byzantine Empire, Russia, the Middle East, Central Asia and China. He translated the Alexiad for Penguin Classics in 2009 and wrote ‘The First Crusade: The Call from the East’ in 2012 which I highly recommend. Since then he’s written two award winning books about the Silk Roads. Tracing their impact on world history as well as contemporary events. Find out more about his work at peterfrankopan.com.

Period: 1050-95

Download: The Call from the East with Peter Frankopan

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Episode 207 – What did Urban want?

Pope Urban II (illustration by Chevalier Artaud de Montor 1842)

Pope Urban II (illustration by Chevalier Artaud de Montor 1842)

We talk about Pope Urban’s shaky political position on the eve of the Crusade. As well as discussing the wider Papal reform movement and how military violence came to be a part of their plans.

Period: 1050-95

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Episode 206 – What did Alexios want?

Robert II of Flanders by Henri Decaisne (the son of the man who sent Alexios five hundred Knights)

Robert II of Flanders by Henri Decaisne (the son of the man who sent Alexios five hundred Knights)

We discuss what Alexios really wanted from the West. Was he surprised by the Crusading army that formed or had he been lobbying for something similar?

Period: 1050-95

Download: What did Alexios want?

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Episode 205 – Introducing the Crusades

Taking of Jerusalem by the Crusaders, Émile Signol (1847)

Taking of Jerusalem by the Crusaders, Émile Signol (1847)

A quick introduction to the Crusading topic and a discussion of how religious interpretations of historical events can be particularly distorting.

Find out more about the Intelligent Speech conference here

Period: 1095

Download: Introducing the Crusades

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Episode 204 – Komnenian Reforms

A Nomisma Hyperpyron of Alexios I (Ancient.Eu)

A Nomisma Hyperpyron of Alexios I (Ancient.Eu)

Aspron Trachy of Alexios. Dumbarton Oaks Collection (I assume John II on left with Christ. Alexios and Irene on right)

An Aspron Trachy of Alexios. Dumbarton Oaks Collection (John II on left with Christ [I assume]. Alexios and Irene on right)

A Billon Trachy of Alexios I (baldwin.co.uk)

A Billon Trachy of Alexios I (baldwin.co.uk)

A Tetarteron of Alexios (hourmo.eu)

A Tetarteron of Alexios (hourmo.eu)

We look at events in Constantinople during Alexios’ first fifteen years in power. Including reforms to the court, the coinage and social care. We conclude by talking about Alexios’ personality.

Period: 1081-95

Download: Komnenian Reforms

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Corona Virus update

Hello everyone,

Two things have happened in the last 48 hours. I have been told to self isolate for 14 days and the British Library has closed its doors.

I am fine right now it’s just a precaution. I am not taking any time off. I am working on the podcast as usual. I am very lucky that about 80% of the material I need is now available online. So I can continue to research and prepare episodes throughout this difficult time.

Unfortunately some articles and books are only available at the British Library and if I judge that I need to see them before completing an episode then the podcast schedule will suffer.

So the good news is that the work is being done and episodes are being pummelled into shape. But the bad news is I may not be able to release them all until the world outside regains some normality. I know this is not what you wanted to hear when many of us are starved of new content.

I recently asked listeners on social media about their ‘History of Byzantium’ likes and dislikes. The depth of research was mentioned many times as a plus and the schedule of release as a negative. It’s a constant dilemma when putting the show together. The more I read the better the show gets but the longer it takes to produce. Now with Coronavirus this conflict may become even more acute.

Thank you in advance for your patience and understanding,

Robin

 

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Episode 203 – The Pecheneg Wars, again

Varangian Guardsmen tangle with Pecheneg tribesmen

Varangian Guardsmen tangle with Pecheneg tribesmen

Alexios campaigns in Europe for a decade dealing with Pechenegs, Cumans and Serbs. But his supporters begin to question his priorities as Anatolia sinks into the mire.

Period: 1085-95

Download: The Pecheneg Wars, again

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Episode 202 – A Wild West Vibe

Monument to Malik-Shah I and Alp Arslan in Ashgabat, Turkmenistan

Monument to Malik-Shah I and Alp Arslan in Ashgabat, Turkmenistan

With Alexios constantly at war in Europe during the 1080s he could only deal with Anatolia through diplomacy. He searched in vain for allies who could stabilise the situation but by 1095 realised he would have to turn West for the manpower needed to campaign in person. For the Romans who actually lived in Anatolia the situation had a Wild West vibe.

Period: 1081-95

Download: A Wild West Vibe

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