Byzantine Stories

Byzantine Stories Episode 4 – Procopius of Caesarea. Part 2 – The Allusions

Justinian by Antoine Helbert (antoine-helbert.com)

Justinian by Antoine Helbert (antoine-helbert.com)

In part 2 we delve into the hidden criticisms in Procopius’ work. Not only the dirt in the “Secret History” but the many allusions and comparisons in the Wars which we are left to wonder about. What do they tell us about Procopius? And people in the 6th century? What do they tell us about the process of writing history? How much do we really know? (39 minutes)

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Byzantine Stories Episode 4 – Procopius of Caesarea. Part 1 – A Full Life

As far as we know Procopius is not featured in the famous mosaic but it remains the obvious image to pair with his work

As far as we know Procopius is not featured in the famous mosaic but it remains the obvious image to pair with his work

Procopius of Caesarea (c500-555) was the biographer of Justinian. Officially he simply wrote the history of the Emperor’s wars. But thanks to the “Secret History” and “The Buildings” he managed to provide an all round view of the Basileus including both bile and gushing praise. In part one we follow the outline of Procopius’ life story and open his books to see what was in each work (40 minutes).

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Byzantine Stories Episode 3 – Porphyrius the Charioteer. Part 2 – Joining the Sun

The Imperial District in Constantinople

The Imperial District in Constantinople

The Hippodrome by Antoine Helbert (antoine-helbert.com)

The Hippodrome by Antoine Helbert (antoine-helbert.com)

Relief of Porphyrius the Charioteer (now in the Istanbul Archeological Museum)

Relief of Porphyrius the Charioteer (now in the Istanbul Archeological Museum)

2nd relief of Porphyrius the Charioteer (now in the Istanbul Archeological Museum)

2nd relief of Porphyrius the Charioteer (now in the Istanbul Archeological Museum)

In part 2 we go down to the Hippodrome floor to see the glorious arena Constantine built and discover how a race was won. Then we cover the life story of Porphyrius from child prodigy to retiring champion. Finally we see the historical detective work which made this story possible.

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Byzantine Stories Episode 3 – Porphyrius the Charioteer. Part 1 – The Spectacles

Chariot race in the Circus Maximus (turkeyfile.com)

Chariot race in the Circus Maximus (turkeyfile.com)

Chariot racing depicted on the Lampadii Diptych (art.com)

Chariot racing depicted on the Lampadii Diptych (art.com)

The life of Porphyrius the Charioteer is not one we can dive in to. Very little is known about him but thanks to two unusual sources we can sketch the existence of this fascinating character. In part one we explore the history of Roman spectacles so that we can fully understand the context of Porphyrius’ world.

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Byzantine Stories Episode 2 – Symeon the Stylite

Symeon the Stylite (oca.org)

Symeon the Stylite (oca.org)

Church of Saint Simeon Stylites (wikipedia)

Church of Saint Simeon Stylites (wikipedia)

Pillar base at the church (wikipedia)

Pillar base at the church (wikipedia)

What the church would have looked like

What the church would have looked like

An image from the film Simon of the Desert (cca.org)

An image from the film Simon of the Desert (cca.org)

Plaque of Symeon (in the Louvre)

Plaque of Symeon (in the Louvre)

Symeon's enclosure in Syria

Symeon’s enclosure in Syria

We explore the life of Symeon the Stylite (c388-459 AD). A Syrian country boy, Symeon joined a monastery as a teenager and would go on to found his own establishment. There he built a pillar and spent decades standing on it praying to God. He also became a miracle worker and wise-man for local towns and villages. We learn about the stories told about Symeon but also ask what do they mean? How did he survive up there? Did he really perform miracles? (63 minutes)

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Categories: Byzantine Stories | 6 Comments

Byzantine Stories Episode 2 Announcement

Listen here for an announcement about the second episode in the Byzantine Stories series and an increase in the subscription price.

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Episode 83 – The Decline and Fall of the Arab Empire

Baghdad in the 8th century (Wikipedia)

Baghdad in the 8th century (Wikipedia)

We return to 700AD to chart events in the Caliphate throughout the century. We follow the disintegration of Umayyad rule and the establishment of Abbasid Baghdad.

Period: 695-802

Download: The Decline and Fall of the Arab Empire

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Byzantine Stories Episode 1 – John Chrysostom. Parts 2, 3 and 4.

 Jean-Paul Laurens 19th century painting of John confronting the Empress Eudoxia. Very dramatic but nothing like this actually happened.

Jean-Paul Laurens 19th century painting of John confronting the Empress Eudoxia. Very dramatic but nothing like this actually happened.

John Chrysostom (integratedcatholiclife.org)

John Chrysostom (integratedcatholiclife.org)

John Chrysostom (from oca.org)

John Chrysostom (from oca.org)

St John Chrysostom in a mosaic from the Hagia Sophia

St John Chrysostom in a mosaic from the Hagia Sophia

John from an 11th-century soapstone (now in the Louvre)

John from an 11th-century soapstone (now in the Louvre)

A sculpture of John in Saint Patrick's Cathedral, New York City

A sculpture of John in Saint Patrick’s Cathedral, New York City

Part 2 – Building Orthodoxy (349-397)

We follow John’s early life and education and his decision to disappear into the wilderness during his 20s. He then returns to Antioch to become a Priest and develop into the Golden Mouth.

Part 3 – The Snake Pit (397-400)

John is called to become Bishop of Constantinople and finds out that the politics in the capital is ruthless and unforgiving.

Part 4 – A Byzantine Story (400-407)

After a series of top officials lose their lives to the whims of Arcadius’ court John becomes the latest target. Only his congregation stand between him and exile or worse.

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Categories: Byzantine Stories | 6 Comments

Byzantine Stories Episode 1 – John Chrysostom. Part 1 – Welcome to Antioch

Ancient Antioch (pre 350AD) by kayhankaplan (deviantart.com)

Ancient Antioch (pre 350AD) by kayhankaplan (deviantart.com)

Ancient Antioch from above (pre 350AD) by kayhankaplan (deviantart.com).jpg

Ancient Antioch from above (pre 350AD) by kayhankaplan (deviantart.com).jpg

Engraving of Antioch by William Miller from a sketch by Byam Martin in 1866

Engraving of Antioch by William Miller from a sketch by Byam Martin in 1866

Map of Antioch (mappery.com)

Map of Antioch (mappery.com)

An introduction to life in Antioch in 350AD. Amidst the great buildings live the beleaguered poor of the Roman world. The Christians were destined to care for and convert these people but in 350AD the threat of losing souls to Judaism or Paganism was real.

Period: 349-350 AD

Download: Welcome to Antioch

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Categories: Byzantine Stories | 5 Comments

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