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The History of Byzantium

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A podcast telling the story of the Roman (Byzantine) Empire from 476 AD to 1453
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58:20 | Aug 12th

Robin interviewed on the Roads to Liberty Podcast For information regarding your data privacy, visit

02:39 | Jul 28th

Live Facebook recording today For information regarding your data privacy, visit
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02:39 | Jul 25th

2020 Istanbul, Cappadocia and Ephesus Tour information For information regarding your data privacy, visit

33:04 | Jul 23rd

We follow the flailing administration of Michael VII as it slowly collapses under the immense weight of events. Then we watch as the remaining Roman Generals line up one after another as each attempts to burn the Empire down in order to become King o...Show More

30:58 | Jul 4th

Turkic nomads begin to raid Anatolia. The Imperial response is hampered by the defection of their Norman mercenaries. Under their commander Roussel de Bailleul they begin operating independently leading the government to squander precious resources i...Show More

1:47:59 | Jun 28th

Doukas' widow Eudocia marries Romanos Diogenes to empower a General who can stop the Turkic raids. Diogenes does his best but ends up meeting the Sultan, Alp Arslan, in battle on the fields outside the city of Manzikert. For information regarding yo...Show More

25:43 | May 31st

Constantine X Doukas spends his reign doing little to help the eastern front. We explore the possible reasons for this inactivity. We also cover Doukas' death and the oath he made his wife swear. For information regarding your data privacy, visit ac...Show More

21:40 | May 24th

Isaac Komnenos comes to power urgently trying to restore the budget. But when he dies two years later his successor Constantine X Doukas reverses his economising. As he cuts from the military budget instead Turkic raiders sack the Armenian city of An...Show More

25:44 | May 12th

Theodora resumes control of the Empire but dies a year later. Her eunuchs choose Michael Bringas to replace her but he is not approved of by the Empire's military establishment.

29:16 | May 3rd

An interview with Professor Barry Strauss about his new book '10 Caesars' and his podcast 'Antiquitas.' I quiz him about the two Emperors with most relevance to Byzantium: Diocletian and Constantine.

48:45 | Apr 26th

Our fourteenth Kickstarter backers reward episode looks at the city of Rome and its development from the height of Antonine Rome to the post Justinian world of Gregory the Great. You will be in the capable hands of Steve Guerra from the History of th...Show More

20:17 | Apr 7th

Our thirteenth Kickstarter backers reward episode looks at the legacy of Byzantium and why it seems so forgotten today.

31:17 | Mar 25th

As Constantine IX leaves the stage we see him desperately searching for ways to raise tax revenue.

35:45 | Mar 15th

The rapacious behaviour of the Normans in Italy brings together an alliance against them. The Byzantines and the Papacy try to get on the same page but discover that they may never be able to.

29:39 | Mar 7th

After the Pecheneg Wars the Roman treasury was empty. We look at Constantine Monomachos' response to this and other Imperial expenses which may have exacerbated the situation.

39:09 | Mar 1st

The first large Seljuk raids on the Empire lead to a series of events which unravel Byzantium's Western defences.

11:09 | Feb 22nd

A quick interview with me about the History of History Podcasting

31:16 | Feb 15th

Constantine Monomachos faces yet more challenges in the early years of his reign. We cover the annexation of Ani, the Pechenegs crossing the Danube and the revolt of Leo Tornikios.

27:39 | Feb 7th

Zoe chooses Constantine Monomachos to be her new husband and Emperor. We discuss his character and relationship with our historian Michael Psellos. Then move on to two major challenges which greeted his arrival on the throne.

26:34 | Feb 2nd

Our twelfth Kickstarter backers reward episode looks at the life of Harald Hardrada in conversation with Noah Tetzner from the History of Vikings Podcast.

03:05 | Jan 25th

If you'd like to hear about the dramatic fall of Michael V then episode 183 is now available to buy

29:42 | Jan 18th

We cover the Bulgarian uprising of 1040 and the events elsewhere in the Balkans which led up to it.

28:06 | Jan 11th

Michael IV marries Zoe and becomes Emperor. Despite ill health he rules well with his brother John the Orphanotrophos. Their invasion of Sicily goes well initially but soon falls apart.

25:54 | Dec 28th, 2018

Romanos III is faced with the same problems which troubled his predecessor. He decides that a campaign against Aleppo will solve some of his problems. Meanwhile Zoe is left alone and frustrated in the Palace.

20:16 | Dec 22nd, 2018

We return to the narrative with a short introduction and the short reign of Basil's brother Constantine VIII.

20:03 | Dec 14th, 2018

Our eleventh Kickstarter backers reward episode explores Byzantium's Jewish communities.

29:20 | Dec 7th, 2018

Listener questions on Varangians, provincial administration, diplomacy, family mottos and the ever popular top 5 best and worst Emperors.

30:00 | Dec 1st, 2018

Listener questions on houses, slavery, citizenship, vacations and common sayings amongst others.

45:16 | Nov 25th, 2018

An interview with Peter Adamson from the History of Philosophy Without any Gaps podcast. We talk primarily about Michael Psellos and his role in the intellectual history of Byzantium. But we also talk about Byzantine philosophy in general.

20:15 | Nov 20th, 2018

The Turks are coming to the borders of Armenia and we examine why.

37:10 | Nov 7th, 2018

Our tenth Kickstarter backers reward episode answers a series of questions about the growing population and economy.

27:21 | Nov 1st, 2018

We explore the economic recovery of the Empire.

25:37 | Oct 19th, 2018

Our ninth Kickstarter backers reward episode discusses the sweep of history during our period and what lies under the maps.

42:12 | Oct 12th, 2018

I was a guest on the Dead Ideas podcast to discuss the Varangian Guard. We talk about their role in the palace and the field armies and contrast their role to Eunuchs in Byzantium. Do check out Dead Ideas for episodes covering Titoism, Serfdom, Cunei...Show More

28:25 | Oct 5th, 2018

We discuss the past century of success for the Roman military and answer some listener questions

16:38 | Sep 27th, 2018

Our eighth Kickstarter backers reward episode features questions about the use of Greek Fire on land.

29:02 | Sep 21st, 2018

We head to the Eastern frontier to see what Byzantium's expansion into Armenia meant for the Empire.

03:23 | Sep 19th, 2018

The 2019 History of Byzantium tour is here. Book your place now!

16:45 | Sep 14th, 2018

Our seventh Kickstarter backers reward episode features questions about Georgia, the Orthodox nations around the Black Sea and Ravenna.

31:51 | Sep 7th, 2018

We head to the Eastern frontier to see what Byzantium's expansion into Armenia meant for the Empire.

17:29 | Aug 24th, 2018

Our sixth Kickstarter backers reward episode features questions about the institutions which influenced Byzantine life and the legal punishments for everyday crimes.

37:54 | Aug 19th, 2018

Having covered the famous monuments thoroughly we take a look around the rest of Constantinople. We survey changes in the population, harbours, architecture and palace amongst other things.

01:55 | Aug 7th, 2018

Byzantine Stories Episode 7: Women in the Roman World is now available

12:49 | Jul 8th, 2018

Our fifth Kickstarter backers reward episode features questions about what makes a good Emperor and more about feeling attached to the Romans.

16:07 | Jun 28th, 2018

Our fourth Kickstarter backers reward episode features questions about Constantinople and some personal ones for me.

22:15 | Jun 23rd, 2018

Our third Kickstarter backers reward episode features a lot of chat about my trip to Istanbul. I talk about the experience of visiting for the first time and answer listener questions.

17:03 | Jun 12th, 2018

Our second Kickstarter backers reward episode featuring some book recommendations and me describing a day in the life of a podcaster.

25:41 | Jun 6th, 2018

What would a foreign visitor to Constantinople expect to see and hear?

25:59 | May 28th, 2018

We survey the main structures and services of Constantinople to see what has changed since 518 AD (episode 10 of the show)

05:36 | May 23rd, 2018

An explanation and some credits from Episode 166 - To The City.

37:32 | May 21st, 2018

You visit Constantinople, guided by a stranger.

09:54 | May 12th, 2018

Our first Kickstarter backers reward episode showcasing the Byzantine board and role playing games available.

01:47 | Apr 12th, 2018

For those who pledged £65 on the Kickstarter I need to hear from you. Get in touch with me about having your voice on the podcast.

25:51 | Mar 20th, 2018

We explore the reasons why the Bulgarians never became Romans.

31:32 | Mar 19th, 2018

The maps commonly used in books and the internet give a misleading impression of the Byzantine occupation of Bulgaria. We tour the Balkans and discuss the reality on the ground.

02:12 | Mar 15th, 2018

I am doing an AMA. That's an Ask Me Anything for a website called WhatPods. I will be answering questions on the 21st March at 4.30pm US eastern standard time. Post your questions now.

34:45 | Mar 10th, 2018

A replay of episode 89 "The House of War"

25:47 | Mar 6th, 2018

We trace the interconnected developments of the Magyars, Pechenegs and Rus.

17:00 | Mar 1st, 2018

My Istanbul Kickstarter Campaign launches today. Please consider supporting it.

25:58 | Feb 27th, 2018

We move on to Venice and Normandy to discuss the development of two peoples who will play a key role in the future of Byzantium.

29:31 | Feb 19th, 2018

We talk about developments in the Frankish realm as they relate to Byzantium across the past century.

21:02 | Feb 6th, 2018

We talk about the big picture status of Italy during the 10th century and why it mattered to Byzantium.

28:45 | Dec 22nd, 2017

We discuss Byzantine funeral practices and the burial places of Emperors.

27:42 | Dec 15th, 2017

I answer some listener questions about Basil II and Byzantine first names.

34:13 | Nov 8th, 2017

We cover Basil's last few years as he deals with the Fatimids, the Georgians and his own rebellious soldiers. We then wrap up his reign and bring our century to a close.

40:18 | Oct 27th, 2017

We discuss campaigning in the Balkans, the end of the Bulgarian war and the legend of the Bulgar Slayer.

26:46 | Oct 23rd, 2017

Basil continues his campaigns against the Fatimids and the Bulgarians. We also discuss the turning of the year 1000.

30:11 | Oct 13th, 2017

We discuss the origins of the revived Bulgarian Empire and follow Basil as he campaigns against them and the Fatimids in the East.  

27:26 | Oct 6th, 2017

Finally Basil II stands alone as master of the Roman world. Let's get to know him.

51:25 | Sep 29th, 2017

Civil war resumes as both Bardas Sclerus and Bardas Phokas rebel against Basil. An epic showdown follows which drags the Bulgarians, the Rus, Varangians, Arabs, Armenians and Georgians into the contest.

30:41 | Sep 20th, 2017

The civil war continues with Bardas Sclerus and Bardas Phokas locking horns. Although the Imperial side emerge victorious, the price is years of tension with their new Domestic.

03:38 | Sep 14th, 2017

Your feedback needed on the idea of me travelling to Istanbul to record material for the podcast.

22:50 | Sep 8th, 2017

The narrative resumes with Basil Lekapenos elevating his great-nephew Basil II to the throne. However Bardas Sclerus immediately rebels and declares himself Emperor.

1:01:25 | Sep 7th, 2017

The full interview with Professor Kaldellis about his book "Streams of Gold, Rivers of Blood." The book is a narrative history from the time when Nicephorus Phokas took charge of the military through till the First Crusade. In our conversation we tal...Show More

31:46 | Sep 1st, 2017

We return to our interview with Professor Kaldellis to discuss Basil II's reign. We talk about our sources, about his decision never to marry and his relationship with the landed magnates.

19:02 | Aug 24th, 2017

We look at a series of questions about what's been happening in Bulgaria since the peace was signed in 927. Why were the Rus able to defeat the Bulgarians so quickly? What did the Roman occupation look like? And more.

25:44 | Aug 18th, 2017

Did the Romans dream of reconquering their eastern provinces? Or were their border acquisitions enough?

24:27 | Aug 13th, 2017

We discuss the eastern conquests and how valuable they really were. As well as the deployment and organisation of the military in the borderlands.

22:43 | Aug 3rd, 2017

We begin our mini end-of-the-century series by talking about our sources. Huge thanks to Professor Anthony Kaldellis for talking to me about his new book "Streams of Gold, Rivers of Blood." It's a narrative history covering the period from when Nicep...Show More

30:10 | Jul 17th, 2017

Part 1 is an overview of the history of Greek medicine. How it developed and what kind of treatments were on offer.

27:57 | Jun 23rd, 2017

John returns home triumphant but must deal with the Fatimid attacks in the east.

01:37 | Jun 19th, 2017

Please help the show by filling out our listener survey

30:42 | Jun 18th, 2017

John Tzimiskes faces down the Phokas rebellion and then marches for Bulgaria to take on the Rus.

25:15 | Jun 8th, 2017

John Tzimiskes pacifies his domestic and foreign enemies as he consolidates his rule. However the Rus leader Sviatoslav makes the decision to move his capital to the Danube forcing the Romans to respond.

26:03 | May 26th, 2017

Nicephorus Phokas is murdered by his nephew John Tzimiskes. We discuss the plot, the aftermath and the personalities of both men.

31:11 | May 21st, 2017

We cover Nicephorus' foreign policy issues during his final two years in office. Armenian, Bulgarian and Italian concerns then go on hold for one last march through Syria.

31:54 | May 12th, 2017

Nicephorus stays at home to administer his realm and manages to alienate every strata of society.

31:23 | Apr 28th, 2017

Nicephorus leads the armies in person against Tarsus and Mopsuestia, bringing Cilicia and Cyprus back into the Empire.

27:59 | Apr 23rd, 2017

We discuss Nicephorus' life and career and what his rise meant for Romania.

34:35 | Apr 13th, 2017

We catch up on what Romanus II and Sayf were up to during the Cretan expedition. Then we move forward with Nicephorus Phokas as he sacks Aleppo.

32:49 | Apr 9th, 2017

With Nicephorus Phokas in charge of the military the Romans win a string of victories against Sayf al-Dawlah. Constantine VII decides to attack Crete again but dies before the expedition sets off.

57:27 | Mar 24th, 2017

An interview with Eric McGeer about his book "Sowing the Dragon's Teeth" which charts the changes in the Roman army as it moved to an offensive deployment in the 10th century.  

27:08 | Mar 18th, 2017

948-954. We return to the frontier where the Phokas family inflict a series of sharp defeats on Sayf al-Dawla. Sayf starts again by restoring his border fortresses and driving off Roman attacks. When Constantine Phokas is captured alive the war begin...Show More

28:52 | Mar 10th, 2017

Constantine VII seeks peace in the east but Sayf al-Dawla is not interested. The Emperor presses on with the attempted pacification of Crete.

36:50 | Mar 3rd, 2017

An interview with Professor John Haldon about his book "The Empire That Would Not Die: The Paradox of Eastern Roman Survival, 640-740." In particular we discuss environmental research which helps us understand important changes in Anatolia. I think y...Show More

29:33 | Feb 17th, 2017

A Rus raid delays John Kourkouas from leading a raid into Syria. When he does though he captures the sacred Mandylion and brings it back to the capital. Soon afterwards though he and Romanus are ousted from power.

29:07 | Feb 10th, 2017

John Kourkouas captures Melitene, providing the Empire with its first eastern conquest in centuries. The Islamic world is alarmed at this news and the Hamdanid family begin to provide resistance. However their preoccupation with Baghdad means they ma...Show More

28:52 | Feb 3rd, 2017

927-8 was a terrible winter. The suffering of the common people led many to sell their farms to their wealthy neighbours. Romanus legislated quickly to put a stop to it. Meanwhile John Kourkouas led the army into Armenia with Melitene in his sights.

32:51 | Jan 27th, 2017

Back in the tent with Symeon and Nicholas we learn that a title was granted that day. Symeon wanted to be hailed as Emperor. Wrangling over this title would lead to another decade of war before the two sides could come together.

32:36 | Jan 20th, 2017

The new Emperor Alexander dies after only a year on the throne. The next six years see an interregnum as the Patriarch, Empress and leading Generals vie to become the guardian to young Constantine VII.  

29:14 | Jan 10th, 2017

We review the players in the impending struggle over the throne. And answer some more listener questions on the way.

34:11 | Dec 18th, 2016

I answer more of your questions including sports, Iconoclasm, prices, symbols, literature and more.

31:49 | Dec 11th, 2016

Aside from the rise of the landed magnates there have been some other important changes in the Roman military in the past century. We cover the Themes, recruitment, payment, skirmishing and all the rest.

26:47 | Nov 30th, 2016

The fruits of the recovery were unevenly distributed. The wealthy landowners of the plateau were building huge estates and developing family histories to go with them.

31:26 | Nov 17th, 2016

We explore arguments for and against the idea that commerce was a huge source of revenue for Byzantium.

25:41 | Nov 9th, 2016

The Romans are finally recovering from three centuries of struggle. One of the lesser-discussed reasons for this was the payments made to the elites for their loyalty.

32:42 | Oct 28th, 2016

Its time for some of your questions. We cover queries about the Bulgars, Slavs, Greece, Coins and modern Romania.

23:17 | Oct 19th, 2016

We place the Khazars, Magyars, Pechenegs and Rus on the map and explore their relationships with Constantinople.

34:13 | Oct 12th, 2016

The 9th century was a period of amazing social and political change in the Balkans. We follow the Khans as they plot a path toward recognition of their right to exist.

37:27 | Oct 5th, 2016

We explore the diplomatic and trade exchanges between Byzantium, the Caliphate and the Franks.

23:30 | Sep 28th, 2016

Charlemagne's empire could not last. Frankish customs saw the realm divided and it would never be put back together.

33:25 | Sep 21st, 2016

With the Caliphate in decline the Romans take a greater interest in the Armenian lands on their eastern border. We explore the fragmented landscape and politics of Armenia and take a quick glance at Cilicia and the forts beyond.

29:07 | Sep 14th, 2016

We begin our end of the century episodes in the East. Since 838 the great Caliphal armies have not been seen in Anatolia. We explore why as the Caliphate slowly pulls itself apart across the 9th century.

28:48 | Jul 12th, 2016

Leo enters the second half of his reign desperate to leave the Empire to a healthy son. Meanwhile his military are successful on land but suffer at sea.

28:07 | Jul 5th, 2016

Basil's son Leo was known as "the Wise" during his lifetime. We get to know the new Emperor and explore if this reputation was justified.

35:56 | Jun 18th, 2016

We follow Basil's time in office as tries to wash away the sin of murder and secure legitimacy for his new dynasty. He also tests the limits of Byzantium's growing power in East and West.

27:00 | Jun 10th, 2016

We chart the rise of Basil the Macedonian and his murder of both Bardas and Michael. We also look at how Basil's descendants would re-brand Michael as "the Drunkard" before saying goodbye to the Amorion Dynasty.

03:38 | Jun 2nd, 2016

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

33:09 | May 30th, 2016

Theodora and Theoctistus rule for young Michael until he comes of age. Then Uncle Bardas takes over the government. Meanwhile the Romans begin to gain the upper hand in Anatolia while a schism with the Papacy looms.

34:17 | May 20th, 2016

Theophilus reorganises the army and leaves the throne to his wife and two year-old son. Theodora decides to restore the Icons and we discuss the end to the Iconoclast era of Byzantine history.

38:28 | Apr 27th, 2016

We focus on Theophilus' record on the eastern front. The last gasp of true Caliphal power sees the Emperor harshly punished for his support of the Khurramite rebellion.

33:35 | Apr 14th, 2016

Young Theophilus becomes Emperor at a rare moment of internal peace. We look at his domestic policies across his 13 year reign and touch on his non-Anatolian foreign policy.

24:19 | Mar 26th, 2016

Michael II tries to secure his regime now that the civil war is over. However attacks on Sicily and Crete prevent him from returning to "normality."

1:13:53 | Mar 13th, 2016

Leo's murder is greeted with disgust in Anatolia where men rally behind Thomas the Slav. But back at the capital men get behind Michael of Amorium as a suitable replacement. This split leads to a three year civil war and a stalemate which suggests th...Show More

41:32 | Feb 19th, 2016

Thanks to all of you for helping us get to episode 100. And of course our eternal gratitude to Mike Duncan and The History of Rome podcast.  

36:05 | Feb 14th, 2016

Leo restores Iconoclasm and defeats the Bulgars in battle. After signing the peace treaty he raid the Caliphate and returns to domestic matters. However a palace conspiracy overthrows him in favour of his old ally Michael of Amorium.

26:23 | Feb 6th, 2016

Leo the Armenian becomes Leo V and waits out Krum's slaughter in Thrace. He also makes plans to restore Iconoclasm.

34:25 | Jan 31st, 2016

Nicephorus' successors are his wounded son and his unsuitable son-in-law. Between them they ensure that the dynasty comes to a sad end while Krum improves his position considerably.

42:18 | Jan 24th, 2016

Why were the Bulgars so successful compared to their larger neighbour? We look at this question and the limitations of the Byzantine army on campaign as Nicephorus leads his men to their doom.

34:24 | Jan 17th, 2016

Nicephorus turns his attention to the Balkans and begins settling colonists in the Peloponnese. His plans for Macedonia though are thwarted by the Bulgars. The Emperor organises a mass migration from Anatolia to Europe and reorganises the Themes and ...Show More

30:13 | Jan 10th, 2016

The General Logothete Nicephorus becomes Emperor and embarks on a wide ranging programme of reform. In this episode we focus on relations with the Caliphate, Charlemagne and the clergy.

17:08 | Jan 3rd, 2016

A reminder of where we've come from in the 8th century and where we are going in the 9th.

30:06 | Dec 23rd, 2015

I answer your questions about the Themes, the Khazars, China, daily life and blinding. I also update our Constantine acrostic.   

28:02 | Dec 21st, 2015

An Interview with Paul Kastenellos (the pseudonym of author Vincent O'Reilly) about his two historical novels "Antonina - A Byzantine Slut" and "Count No Man Happy."

35:58 | Dec 16th, 2015

I flesh out some details and answer your questions about the Roman army in 800AD.  

33:30 | Dec 4th, 2015

I present a fantasy narrative of a soldier's life during a raid in Cappadocia. The details are all taken from Byzantine sources.  

15:04 | Nov 22nd, 2015

More Thoughts on "The Byzantine Republic" and my interview with Anthony Kaldellis.

1:16:56 | Nov 12th, 2015

An interview with Professor Anthony Kaldellis about his book "The Byzantine Republic." It's a fascinating discussion about Byzantine political culture. He explores what the Romans really thought about their government and what all those rebellions re...Show More

39:08 | Oct 31st, 2015

We explore the lives of the people of Byzantium. From the Emperor through the court down to the farmers, merchants and minorities who made up the population.

36:04 | Oct 17th, 2015

We explore the remaining provinces of the Roman Empire from Sicily to Cilicia. Ok Cilicia is no longer a part of the Empire but its on the border and I liked the alliteration.

33:37 | Oct 3rd, 2015

We explore the lives of the former Romans of Syria, Palestine and Egypt. We discuss the survival of language and Christianity and answer other listener questions. We also look at what the Romans and Arabs really thought of one another.

35:50 | Sep 25th, 2015

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.

23:47 | Sep 11th, 2015

How did Charlemagne and Leo each spin the coronation of 800AD? And how did the Byzantines react to the growth of Frankish power? After examining these questions we look at your questions about the 8th century West.

39:05 | Sep 4th, 2015

We look at developments in the West during the 8th century. We follow the rise of the Carolingians and the amazing career of Charlemagne. We also see the various dilemma faced by the Papacy and how the collapse of Byzantine influence created a new po...Show More

36:02 | Aug 22nd, 2015

Irene rules alone but the search for her successor undermines her. Then I recap the century and look at what Iconoclasm really represents.

32:53 | Aug 14th, 2015

An army revolt leads to Constantine becoming sole ruler. But soon Irene is back in the palace while her son searches in vain for military glory. Eventually though her desire to rule again overwhelms her love for her son.

41:27 | Aug 5th, 2015

The Empress Irene becomes Regent for her son Constantine VI and sets about securing their rule. She manages to gain the support of the bureaucracy, army and church. Then she organises another Ecumenical Council to restore the Icons.

27:50 | Jul 26th, 2015

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...Show More

14:38 | Jul 24th, 2015

Listen to the latest podcast to find out about the new fundraising sale and your chance to get 4 new episodes of "The History of Byzantium."

28:11 | Jul 9th, 2015

Constantine V faces a conspiracy against his throne and his response is violent. He continues to rebuild his capital and campaign against the Bulgars. Yet despite all his success he was remembered as the Dung named.

29:37 | Jun 24th, 2015

Constantine V gathers an Ecumenical Council to gain acceptance for his views on the place of icons. He also goes to war with the Bulgar Khanate. We close by discussing his personal life and the capture of Ravenna by the Lombards.

31:29 | Jun 2nd, 2015

Constantine V becomes Emperor but is immediately forced into a two year civil war. Once back in power we follow his reorganisation of the army and military planning in the face of the Caliphate's own internal struggles.

21:32 | May 15th, 2015

We look at Leo's second decade in power. First tracing the military and political developments and then going back to look at the development of Iconoclasm.

32:56 | May 1st, 2015

We look at Leo's first decade in power. First tracing the military and political developments and then going back to look at domestic policies.

27:50 | Apr 19th, 2015

We take a look at the whole period of Iconoclasm as an introduction to this era.

31:36 | Apr 12th, 2015

An interview with author Sean Munger about his book "Zombies of Byzantium." The novel is set during the Siege of 717-18 and sees an outbreak of the undead just as Maslama and Leo battle in Constantinople.

1:20:31 | Mar 31st, 2015

Maslama puts Constantinople under siege. The Romans look to the heavens for a sign that God still favours them.

22:59 | Mar 13th, 2015

We trace the origins of Leo III from his family's relocation to Thrace, his service in the Caucasus through to his interaction with the invading Arabs.

28:00 | Mar 3rd, 2015

Justinian II tries to return to vigorous action but things quickly fall apart. The Arabs advance in the east and a rebellion in Cherson blows up. We meet our fourth, fifth and sixth Emperors.

21:34 | Feb 24th, 2015

Justinian II heads off into exile but dreams of returning to Constantinople. He makes friends in Cherson and talks openly of rebellion. The city's authorities report this to Apsimar and Justinian flees Cherson looking for an ally who can return him t...Show More

25:03 | Feb 13th, 2015

The Arabs capture Carthage and the new Emperor Leontius is forced to send a fleet to recapture it. When that mission fails the men of the fleet wonder if one of their own might make a better Emperor.

36:20 | Feb 10th, 2015

We finish our 7th century tour by answering more of your questions. We cover nose slitting, coins, education, fashion, when did Late Antiquity end and did the Romans miss the Persians?

49:08 | Feb 3rd, 2015

An interview with David Gyllenhaal, a PHD Student at Oxford University discussing his thesis on how the 7th century changed Byzantine self conception.

26:28 | Jan 27th, 2015

What did the Romans think was responsible for their defeats? We look at the Christian thought-world of the 7th century and the reactions from Byzantium and those left behind in the Caliphate.

32:24 | Jan 20th, 2015

We look at the changes the Roman army and government went through in the 7th century and consider why the Romans survived.

35:18 | Jan 9th, 2015

We look West at Spain, Gaul and Italy to see what has changed since 600AD. Then we head into the Balkans to peer into the darkness and try to understand who lived there.

30:11 | Dec 12th, 2014

Now that the Arabs have conquered Syria and Mesopotamia how did they organise themselves? And how did this contribute to their continuing military victories?

11:04 | Dec 4th, 2014

Find out how you can buy the sale episode on the Origins of Islam by listening to this episode.

38:48 | Nov 16th, 2014

We explore more issues surrounding why the Arabs won. We look into their society. We explore the great battles themselves and the armies who fought in them.

35:18 | Nov 6th, 2014

An interview with Tom Holland, author of the book "In the Shadow of the Sword." The book traces the origins of Islam by looking at the Jewish, Roman and Persian worlds of late antiquity. In the interview he gives his views on how this process worked ...Show More

17:10 | Nov 4th, 2014

Why can't we entirely trust the traditional Islamic account of the conquests?

22:53 | Oct 24th, 2014

Why did the Romans lose control of their Eastern provinces so easily?

31:34 | Oct 6th, 2014

Justinian II comes to power aged 16 and begins imitating his namesake in ambition and productivity. He orders campaigns in east and west, begins building and taxing and calls for an Ecumenical Council. All the while though his popularity  plummets.

29:43 | Sep 25th, 2014

Constantine IV calls an Ecumenical Council to discuss the issue of Monotheletism. He also has to deal with an invasion of the Balkans by the Bulgars.

25:48 | Sep 18th, 2014

Constantine IV inherits his father's throne together with his ceaseless war with Mu ŅńĀwiyah. As the Caliph builds a fleet to threaten Constantinople the Emperor responds with the weapons at his disposal.

26:31 | Sep 4th, 2014

Constans II uses the Muslim civil war to reorganise the Roman military in the East. Then he travels to the West making a new home for himself in Syracuse in Sicily.

36:36 | Aug 26th, 2014

Heraclius' family fall out with each other over the succession. The crown eventually comes to rest on the head of the fourteen year old Constans II. He is left with an Empire under attack in Egypt, Armenia and the Mediterranean.

23:07 | Aug 8th, 2014

The Arabs march on into Mesopotamia and Egypt. Meanwhile the bad news keeps piling up for Heraclius as he nears his final days.

29:15 | Aug 1st, 2014

The Muslim Arabs invade Syria and begin to sweep away Roman resistance. Heraclius gathers the Army of the East for what he hopes will be a decisive battle.

25:36 | Jul 11th, 2014

Heraclius surveys his shattered realm and plans how to remake things. We deal with three issues specifically - the Imperial title, the Empire's Jews and the Monophysites.

2:19:35 | Jul 8th, 2014

Heraclius takes the winter off to plan what to do next. He needs to buy off the Avars as he removes all the remaining troops from the Balkans. After training the last Roman army left in the Empire, Heraclius prepares to march East and either restore ...Show More

25:16 | Feb 14th, 2014

The Persians conquer Egypt as Nicetas fails to defend Alexandria. Heraclius tries to find a way to avoid blame for this disaster and acquire the resources to fight back.

24:47 | Jan 31st, 2014

Heraclius fails to push the Persians back and has to watch in horror as they capture Jerusalem.

27:17 | Jan 17th, 2014

Phocas is overthrown by Heraclius but the Empire's problems are only deepening.

24:10 | Jan 9th, 2014

The narrative resumes with the new Emperor Phocas having to deal with yet another Persian invasion.

39:08 | Dec 21st, 2013

We explore who the Byzantines thought they were and whether they were right.

33:01 | Dec 14th, 2013

I answer your 6th century questions from education to eunuchs and food to fleets.

29:09 | Dec 5th, 2013

We travel through Spain, Gaul, Italy, the Balkans, Anatolia, the East and Persia to uncover the geo-political situation in 600AD.

19:06 | Nov 29th, 2013

We look at how Christianity spread more deeply into Roman culture across the 6th century and see how this affected the Empire's cities and Jews.

31:20 | Oct 4th, 2013

We look at how the Roman army has changed up to the end of the 6th century. To guide us we are using the Byzantine army manual the Strategikon. We learn how the army fought, who fought, what they looked like and how they were organised.
ARCHIVED: The podcast creator has made this episode no longer available for listening.

38:35 | Sep 13th, 2013

Maurice has a tough decision to make about his role in the Persian civil war. Once that is over he turns his attention to the Balkans. Success in the field is ruined by the cost of paying the army.

28:34 | Sep 13th, 2013

Maurice has a tough decision to make about his role in the Persian civil war. Once that is over he turns his attention to the Balkans. Success in the field is ruined by the cost of paying the army.

31:03 | Aug 30th, 2013

The new Emperor Maurice continues fighting on the Eastern front trying to convince the Persians to sign a peace treaty. But they won't.

26:00 | Aug 16th, 2013

The new Emperor Tiberius II decided to throw the Empire's strength into the war with Persia. He spends liberally and recruits new men to bolster the Eastern Empire.

26:28 | Aug 2nd, 2013

The new Emperor Justin II comes to power with the conviction that the Roman Empire should not be paying tribute to anyone. But after cancelling subsidies to the Avars, the Ghassanids and the Persians he finds himself with war and disaster on all side...Show More

23:29 | Jul 11th, 2013

A series of natural disasters and domestic disturbances mar the final years of Justinian's reign. We also meet the Avars, bring silk to Byzantium and give Belisarius one last chance to shine.

26:11 | Jun 28th, 2013

The men Justinian puts in charge of his military operations keep getting older or more unlikely as the 550s unfold. However they bring success in Italy, the Balkans, Lazica and then most surprisingly in Spain.

31:47 | Jun 14th, 2013

With the sack of Antioch, the Italian conquest falling apart and the Plague, the years 540-45 were like a nightmare for Justinian. The next five years would continue to bring bad news as war continues on every front and members of the Imperial family...Show More

41:09 | May 27th, 2013

The Plague arrives at Pelusium and spreads to Alexandria where it rages for four months. By Spring 542 the Egyptians have to begin sending out the grain fleets. They export the Plague with them and Constantinople endures a nightmare summer of death.

02:01 | May 13th, 2013

A clarification on the fundraising sale of Episode 28.

25:18 | May 10th, 2013

Khosrou leads the Persian Army across the border into Syria and begins extorting money from every city he passes. The Byzantine army is nowhere to be found as the army approaches the Empire's third largest city: Antioch.

23:59 | Apr 26th, 2013

We take a look at what else was going on in the Empire during the 530s including: monophysites, tax and administration, buildings, Africa and possibly a meteor strike.

27:31 | Apr 12th, 2013

Belisarius is content to leave John to die in Ariminum but the Chamberlain Narses arrives and begs to differ. Conflicts over how to complete the conquest of Italy lead to disaster at Milan and a long delay in finally reaching Ravenna.

29:43 | Mar 29th, 2013

When Athalaric, Prince of the Goths dies in 534 his mother has to choose whether to flee East or try to cling to power. Amalasuntha makes the wrong choice and calls in her cousin Theodahad. When he has her killed he hands Justinian the chance to inva...Show More