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The History of Byzantium
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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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373 Episodes
Theodore Laskaris II beds down his father's conquests in Europe. But his early death sees his family sidelined by Michael Palaiologos. The new Emperor needs some victories to legitimise his seizure of power and the fates reward him beyond all expectations. Hosted on Acast. See for more information.
With the Bulgarians and Turks hobbled by the Mongols the field is clear for Nicaea. John Vatatzes annexes a huge swathe of European territory and is widely recognised as the true Roman Emperor. Hosted on Acast. See for more information.
We talk to Dr Nicholas Morton about the arrival of the Mongols into the Byzantine world. Their confrontation with the Seljuks of Anatolia will have serious consequences.Dr Morton is Associate Professor in Middle Eastern and Global history at Nottingham Trent University in the UK. His new book The Mongol Storm: Making and Breaking Empires in the Medieval Near East is available now.In it he offers a panoramic account of the Mongol invasions of the Middle East during the thirteenth century, examining these wars from the perspectives of the many different societies impacted by their conquests, including of course Byzantium. Hosted on Acast. See for more information.
While Epirus was rising and falling, Nicaea was consolidating. John Vatatzes, the new Emperor, was competent at home and abroad. After years of consolidation he decided to besiege Constantinople. But he didn't act alone he invited an unlikely ally to join him.Period: 1215-37 Hosted on Acast. See for more information.
Theodoros Doukas the leader of the Roman state of Epirus leads his people to ever greater heights in the 1220s. He captures Thessalonica and drives towards Constantinople itself. Doukas declares himself Emperor but does he have the resources necessary to reach the Hagia Sophia?Period: 1215-30 Hosted on Acast. See for more information.
Today we look at Constantinople itself. What was the physical state of the city and what was the Latin administration like? Guiding us today is Dr John Giebfried.John completed his PhD in Medieval History at St Louis University in 2015 and has subsequently worked at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Georgia Southern University, East Georgia State College, and since 2022 has been a faculty member at the University of Vienna, where he teaches History and Digital Humanities. His academic work focuses on the Crusades, the Crusader-States, and European interactions with the Mongols.Reacting to the Past Games: Hosted on Acast. See for more information.
Today we look at the parts of the Roman Empire we haven't covered so far in the post-siege narrative. This includes Attalia, Trebizond and the multiple acquisitions of Venice. Helping me is Dr John Giebfried from the University of Vienna. Hosted on Acast. See for more information.
Michael Komnenos Doukas would have had a forgettable career if it wasn't for the chaos which followed Manuel Komnenos' death.But the twists of fate allowed him to found a new state in Epirus (Western Greece) which would eventually seize huge parts of the Roman world.Period: 1204-15 Hosted on Acast. See for more information.
We follow Theodore Laskaris as he escapes from Constantinople and establishes a new state at Nicaea. Crowned as the new Roman Emperor he must face down rivals on every side including the Turks.Period: 1204-12 Hosted on Acast. See for more information.
With Baldwin and Boniface dead the Bulgarians run riot across Thrace. Their Tsar Kaloyan attempts to capture Thessalonica and ponders whether he could become the new Roman Emperor.Period: 1204-07 Hosted on Acast. See for more information.
After throwing a huge strop Boniface, the Marquis of Montferrat, is made King of Thessalonica.He sent his men to conquer most of Greece but the Bulgarians were on his tail.Period: 1204-07 Hosted on Acast. See for more information.
The Latins agree to stay for another year and to conquer the whole of the Roman Empire. They elect Count Baldwin of Flanders and Hainaut to be their Emperor and all seems well. It only takes a year for everything to fall apart. Hosted on Acast. See for more information.
The narrative returns as we head back to 1204 and the sack of Constantinople. The arrival of the Latins had actually splintered the Roman world into at least 13 different states.With a little help from the 2008 film 'Vantage Point' we will be following the different perspectives of these actors as they deal with the fallout from the sack.We begin with the story of Alexios V Doukas who fled the city just before it fell.Period: 1204 Hosted on Acast. See for more information.
I speak to Rob and Jamie from the podcast Totalus Rankium. Their show is a light hearted ranking of every Roman Emperor from Augustus to Constantine XI. It's a really fun listen and they include all the amusing stories which I edited out of Byzantine history.They have a sister show where they rank American Presidents. Find both shows here. Hosted on Acast. See for more information.
Alexander Christie-Miller was the Turkish correspondent for the Times Newspaper between 2010 and 2017. He has written a book called ‘To the City’ about the people who live along the Theodosian Walls in Istanbul today. He tells the story and charts the sweeping changes they've experienced in Turkey over the past 50 years. It's a brilliant read, ideal for those of you who have visited Istanbul or plan to.Alexander Christie-Miller is from Wiltshire in the UK, studied in Dublin and was then in Istanbul for 7 years. He was the Times Turkish correspondent during that period and his writing has also appeared in Newsweek, The Atlantic, Der Spiegel and the White Review amongst other publications. Hosted on Acast. See for more information.
Professor Kaldellis' new history of Byzantium is out now in the USA and on Kindle everywhere.In the final episode in this series he answers more of your questions. Amongst the topics we cover are citizenship, class, counter-factuals, academia and AI. Hosted on Acast. See for more information.
Professor Kaldellis' new history of Byzantium is out now in the USA and on Kindle everywhere.In this episode he answers your questions. Including succession mechanisms, taxation, the Senate, usurpers, Belisarius, Maurice and many more topics. Hosted on Acast. See for more information.
Update February 2024

Update February 2024


On today’s update I’m going to tell you about when the narrative is coming back, about podcast tours to Turkey in 2024 and about how Anthony Kaldellis is answering more questions than I told him to. Hosted on Acast. See for more information.
A new book has come out about that most famous of Byzantines. It's called Justinian: Emperor, Soldier, Saint by Peter Sarris and it is excellent. It is not a dramatization of his career but a brilliantly researched account of his life and time in office.Track his evolving thinking through the amazing range of sources we have for his reign and gain a deeper understanding of the interesting times he lived in.The book is on sale everywhere including on To listen to the book for free check out Audible's service here. Hosted on Acast. See for more information.
This beautiful map of the Crusader States has just been put on sale. Adomas, the artist, is offering 15% off any map at his store for podcast listeners. Just use the code Byzantium at his online store.‘The Emperor’ by Matthew Storm: The Heraclius story is so epic that it took two books to cover. Book 1 is called the Exarch’s son. And Book 2 is THE EMPEROR: Heraclius Battles Persia for the Life of Rome.‘The Gardens of Byzantium’: A romance about Asana (a Persian woman) and a Roman soldier who are brought together by Heraclius’ war. Hosted on Acast. See for more information.
Comments (46)

Abdul aziz


Feb 9th

Christopher P.

The Ribbon model for imperial decline (i.e. Rome converting to Christianity, giving up the martial traditions of their pagan pantheon coupled with universal citizenship left the empire culturally weaker than in the 'pure' old days of the republic, leaving them defenseless before hordes of barbarians) is seen as outdated based upon more recent archeological evidence. Its more a tale of the imperial center (the city of Rome\Constantinople) economically exploiting the imperial periphery (the imperial provinces). As wealth is extracted from the periphery for the creation of a higher standard of living (welfare state) in the imperial center, the periphery, over time, is strengthened at the imperial center's expense, as the means of wealth generation is displaced. Eventually, the periphery a masses enough political power to exert its will upon the center, retaining more and more of the wealth used to power the engine of empire, until the standard of living in the center collapses leading to

Jan 13th
Reply (4)

Jon Findley

This file is corrupt and won't play.

Apr 6th

Adrian Gabura

Eastern Roman history is a favorite of mine. I believe Robin does a great job. Woo to those who criticize him for making a couple of premium episodes to support himself. You all try to get income somewhere so don't be hypocrites. The vast majority of episodes are FREE. Don't be greedy woosies please.

Jan 29th

Alex Maclean

a generally pesimistic narrative of aincient life, missing no opportunity to downplay any positives

Dec 23rd


Making merchandise over making podcasts.

Mar 29th
Reply (1)


loving catching up on this podcast!!

Mar 28th


Very well produced.

Mar 10th

Jesse Kane

Just starting your podcast after recently finishing History of Rome. Really enjoying it so far!

Jan 5th

Katie Louise Tyers

I am trying to get hold of episode 183 the fall of Michael v but the link does not seem to work. Is this episode still available to buy? Thanks Katie

Nov 1st
Reply (1)

Matthew Schmidt

The link is corrupted

Oct 4th

Paul Miailovich

omg, omg, omg! i feel like ive been waiting as long as the Byzantine Empire lasted for this! Welcome back.

Feb 9th

Casey Wollberg

wow. could do without all the hamhanded, self refuting speculation and rationalization to put a modern feminist gloss on this ancient literature.

Jan 25th
Reply (2)

Casey Wollberg

i guess a pampered emperor's daughter being able to do all she wanted is what passes for oppression these days.

Jan 25th

Jim McShea

we 2

Jan 18th

Bobby Hill

So is this just a premium podcast now? There hasn't been a numbered episode in going on 4 months now. It's not like Robin's putting out Dan Carlin-length episodes here... How is it that Mike Duncan can record literally more than 10x the amount of content Robin does in the same amount of time? Sometimes I question his commitment to this series.

Nov 9th
Reply (3)

Rachel Lawrence

I love this podcast. It's very well-researched, well-narrated, and very interesting. Robin does an excellent job!

Nov 7th

Charlie Duckworth

brilliant podcast, unfortunately I've now caught up with the narrative so can't binge anymore!

Sep 24th

Joseph Smits

Good continuation to the History of Rome. I enjoy it very much.

Aug 30th

Vanya Bikepunk

Great stuff! Author refers to it as continuation of Mike Duncan's History of Rome podcast (which is great, everybody knows it) and truly it is, equal in scope and quality.

Jul 26th