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

 

Categories: News | 15 Comments

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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Episode 201 – A Narrow Escape

The Byzantine Balkans 1081AD. Major Roman garrisons in red.

The Byzantine Balkans 1081AD. Major Roman garrisons in red.

Alexios marches back out to fight the Normans only to be beaten again and again. Finally he comes up with a strategy to throw them out of the Balkans but must embrace the Venetians ever closer as a result.

Period: 1082-5

Download: A Narrow Escape

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Episode 200 – A Tribute to Professor Mark Whittow

Professor Mark Whittow

Professor Mark Whittow

For our 200th show I pay tribute to the scholar who has had the most influence on this podcast – Professor Mark Whittow. Sadly Professor Whittow died in 2017 and he is a huge loss to academia and Byzantine Studies in particular. I take you through three articles he wrote about political power in Byzantium to give you a taste of the kind of insights that have shaped the podcast.

For more information on Professor Whittow:

Wikipedia

Publications

Obituary

A Memorial

Remembering Mark Whittow

The three articles discussed in today’s episode were:

“Staying on Top in Byzantium” in Mélanges Jean-Claude Cheynet, Eds Béatrice Caseau, Vivien Prigent and Alessio Sopracasa, ACHCByz

“The Second Fall – the place of the 11th century in Roman History” in  Byzantium in the 11th Century: Being in Between, Eds Marc D. Lauxtermann and Mark Whittow, Routledge

“How the east was lost: the background to the Komnenian reconquista” in Alexios Komnenos, 2nd Belfast Byzantine international colloquium, Eds Margaret Mullett and Dion Smythe

Download: A Tribute to Professor Mark Whittow

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Episode 199 – The Battle of Dyrrachium

The Byzantine Balkans 1081AD. Major Roman garrisons in red.

The Byzantine Balkans 1081AD. Major Roman garrisons in red.

Robert Guiscard, the Norman leader in Southern Italy, invades the Empire. He surrounds the key port city of Dyrrachium and Alexios gathers an army to stop him.

Period: 1081-2

Download: The Battle of Dyrrachium

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Episode 198 – Heavy Lifting

Komnenos Family Tree

Komnenos Family Tree

Doukas Family Tree

Doukas Family Tree

Alexios Komnenos leads a revolt and quickly captures the throne from Nicephorus Botaneiates. But to truly understand this coup we need to explore the dynastic dual of Doukas and Komnenos.

Period: 1081

Download: Heavy Lifting

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Episode 197 – Anna Komnene with Leonora Neville

Our best primary source for Alexios Komnenos’ reign is The Alexiad written by his daughter Anna Komnene. I talk to Professor Leonora Neville about Anna’s life and writing and how she overcame the obstacles facing a woman trying to write history.

Period: 1080-1118

Download: Anna Komnene with Leonora Neville

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The House of War (special episodes)

Map of the locations in our story

Map of the locations in our story

Gumusler Monastery (planetware.com)

Gumusler Monastery (planetware.com)

Derinkuyu underground caves (planetware.com)

Derinkuyu underground caves (planetware.com)

Zelve cave homes (planetware.com)

Zelve cave homes (planetware.com)

Ihlara Valley (planetware.com)

Ihlara Valley (planetware.com)

A dovecot from Life and Society in Byzantine Cappadocia by Cooper and Decker

A dovecot from Life and Society in Byzantine Cappadocia by Cooper and Decker

As part of the 2018 Istanbul Kickstarter I was commissioned to create new fictional stories based around episode 89 of the podcast. The stories (based on the sources) describe life along the Byzantine-Arab frontier circa 850AD. They continue and expand upon the story told in episode 89 where YOU were a foot soldier who had to track and ambush an enemy army. Now we travel to Cilicia to see the Arabs preparing and to Cappadocia to see soldiers and civilians trying to cope with life during the Summer raid.

If you backed the Kickstarter at the third reward tier or higher then the episodes will automatically be added to your account. If you are a subscriber then all four episodes will appear in your account.

NB – you will see parts 1, 2, 3 and 5 are for sale. Episode 89 acts as part 4 of this story. Remember to listen in order for maximum enjoyment.

Buy episodes here

Plot your journey across the Roman Empire using the Geospatial Network Model of the Roman World

Original music by Savfk (www.youtube.com/savfkmusic http://www.facebook.com/savfkmusic)

If you want to send in feedback to the podcast:

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Categories: Kickstarter Rewards | 12 Comments

Episode 196 – Cultural Revival

Symeon the New Theologian (johnsanidopoulos.com)

Symeon the New Theologian (johnsanidopoulos.com)

We explore the revival of intellectual and literary culture over the past century. We focus particularly on the work of Michael Psellos and Symeon the New Theologian.

Period: 950-1080

Download: Cultural Revival

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