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12 Byzantine Rulers, a podcast history of The Byzantine Empire
May 11, 2007 7:52 PM   Subscribe

12 Byzantine Rulers is a podcast lecture series about The Byzantine Empire by Lars Brownworth, a history teacher at The Stony Brook School on Long Island, New York. 1123 years of awesomeness ready to go onto your iPod! [iTunes link]
posted by Kattullus (19 comments total) 44 users marked this as a favorite

 
Note: To get 1123 years, I count say The Byzantine Empire lasted from AD 330 to 1453. There are many different years to choose from and really, nailing down specific dates is kind of pointless. Nonetheless, on Nov. 23rd each year, I try to read something new about Byzantium. Yes, when it comes to Byzantium, I am a big nerd.
posted by Kattullus at 7:57 PM on May 11, 2007


arguably the most undertaught period in american schools. thanks.
posted by phaedon at 7:57 PM on May 11, 2007


Bit of an easy choice to play in Mediaeval: Total War though :D. Thanks!
posted by Abiezer at 8:03 PM on May 11, 2007


Awesome post, love the Byzantine's I didn't know about this...just this site, that I've known for years.
posted by StrikeTheViol at 8:40 PM on May 11, 2007


Is there a downloader for these that doesn't require itunes?
posted by meehawl at 8:42 PM on May 11, 2007


Ah, brain fart, got it, thanks!

My sympathies are with the Donatists over the Greeks and the Caesaropapists any day of the week!
posted by meehawl at 8:44 PM on May 11, 2007


How can this NOT be a double? :) (It has been mentioned in Ask Metafilter.

But I am damn happy to see it getting more popular. It is amazingly excellent. I have listened to each one about three times so far.
posted by smallerdemon at 8:47 PM on May 11, 2007


Not to nitpick too much, but if they only cover up through Alexius Comnenus, they're missing a big chuck of Byzantine History. A depressing chunk for fans of the empire to be sure, but still an important one.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 9:13 PM on May 11, 2007



Not to nitpick too much, but if they only cover up through Alexius Comnenus, they're missing a big chuck of Byzantine History. A depressing chunk for fans of the empire to be sure, but still an important one.


They've stated that it is a work in progress. They come slowly, but they are worth it.
posted by smallerdemon at 10:18 PM on May 11, 2007


Love it. Love it. Love it. Thanks Kattullus.
posted by tellurian at 10:55 PM on May 11, 2007


My sympathies are with the Donatists over the Greeks and the Caesaropapists any day of the week!

I don't know, meehawl, they were kinda insufferable little twits weren't they? All like "why didn't you let yourself be tortured to death, traditor, huh, why didn't you? Had I been there I would gladly have bared my bosom to the brand of the invidious infidel! Look at me now! I'm slapping my own face. [slap slap slap] That's how frickin' pious I am! Why don't you love Jesus as much as I love Him? [slap slap slap] Bet you can't even attain mystical communion with your mom! [slap slap slap] Damn wanker!"

/fighting the theological battles of late antiquity.

Oh, and the Catholic Encyclopedia attributes the whole thing to the Donatists being excitable Africans.
posted by Kattullus at 12:15 AM on May 12, 2007


Super, thanks.
posted by johnny novak at 12:58 AM on May 12, 2007


I paid Y9000, which was a day's wages, back in the 90s for this book that I fell in love with at a Japanese English-language bookstore.

The history of Byzantium is something that seemingly belongs more in an anime-esque genre than the mundane.
posted by Heywood Mogroot at 4:36 AM on May 12, 2007


I've been interested in the byzantine empire for awhile now, and I'm looking forward to checking these out. I'm especially curious to see why he chose to start this out with Diocletian. Thanks!
posted by Eekacat at 6:25 AM on May 12, 2007


Oh, and phaedon, you're correct, but I'd add that until the middle of the last century I'd say the byzantine empire was not only under studied, but also not repected. Folks like Gibbon treated the Byzantine empire as a laughable afterthought. Dumbarton Oaks has some really good resources on Byzantine studies, including an excellent coin collection.
posted by Eekacat at 6:33 AM on May 12, 2007


Excellent post, thanks. Empress Theodora (the wife of Justinian) was one of the most remarkable figures in Byzantine History but remained obscured by later historians. Methinks she deserves a lecture about her alone. (disclaimer, remarkable for the period means canny, scheming, and overly religious and manipulative, but you know, better than the rest!)

And for you all, byzantium hotheads, here are some Byzantine chants (scroll down a bit) from the monks of Mount Athos. Peruse the monasteries' pictures (if you are not lucky enough to visit) in Aghion Oros (The Holy Mountain).
posted by carmina at 8:03 AM on May 12, 2007


they were kinda insufferable little twits

I admire their passion. But yeah, their jihadist vigilante proselytizing factions, the Circumcellions, were annoying. Running up to people and clubbing them to death with "Israelites" while chanting Praise the Lord!, all the while hoping they would in turn kill you with edged weapons so that you could become a martyr is a little Monty Python. But I think it's clear that most of the extant literature on the Donatists was created after the fact by the Roman and Greek churches, and has a definite propaganda slant. Augustine had a clear agenda.

Anyway, by snuffing out the Donatists as an organized political force and basically destructively occupying North Africa, the Byzantines and the various claimants to the western Empire eliminated the Berber/Arab Christian church and destroyed the social and economic fabric, which I think made it a lot easier for first the Vandals and then the Islamic Arabs to claim North Africa so quickly and comprehensively. It was this kind of sectarian intolerance by the Greeks that led to their defeat at Yarmuk by the Muslims. By oppressing their Christian Arab allies (and not paying them promptly!), the Ghassanids (because they tended to lean towards the monophysite Christian ideology), the Greeks influenced their decision to switch sides during the battle, depriving the Armenians of cover on their flank and leading to the collapse of the Byzantine's line.
posted by meehawl at 9:00 AM on May 12, 2007


Another Byzantine fan here—I second the recommendation for Dumbarton Oaks (great gardens too), and anyone interested in Byzantium should seek out Warren Treadgold's A History of the Byzantine State and Society (Stanford UP, 1997), which is comprehensive and well written.
posted by languagehat at 10:25 AM on May 12, 2007


Oh my! I'd never fully comprehended the total and absolute ridiculousness of the Circumcellions before I read this article about them on Rotten Library. It's hilarious.

Also, what got me into Byzantium was the tv documentary series Byzantium — The Lost Empire by John Romer, which I saw on Discovery Europe in the late 90's. Good introduction to the subject.

I was happy to see that one of the Rhode Island libraries had Treadgold's A History of the Byzantine State and Society. Well, I guess I have another book to read. As I'm sending off a manuscript on Monday it'll probably be a good thing to read so that I can get my mind off the manuscript.
posted by Kattullus at 11:53 AM on May 12, 2007


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