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History

12 Byzantine Rulers: The History of The Byzantine Empire

Updated 14 days ago

Society & Culture
History
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This lecture series by Lars Brownworth covers the history of the Byzantine Empire through the study of 12 of its greatest rulers.

Read more

This lecture series by Lars Brownworth covers the history of the Byzantine Empire through the study of 12 of its greatest rulers.

iTunes Ratings

717 Ratings
Average Ratings
648
39
15
9
6

Very informative

By glomdi - Mar 16 2019
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Very well put together podcast.

Visit Constantinople

By Hhfgffd - Nov 04 2017
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Where will the next refuge from the chaos be? Now want to visit Istanbul and see those walls.

iTunes Ratings

717 Ratings
Average Ratings
648
39
15
9
6

Very informative

By glomdi - Mar 16 2019
Read more
Very well put together podcast.

Visit Constantinople

By Hhfgffd - Nov 04 2017
Read more
Where will the next refuge from the chaos be? Now want to visit Istanbul and see those walls.
Cover image of 12 Byzantine Rulers: The History of The Byzantine Empire

12 Byzantine Rulers: The History of The Byzantine Empire

Updated 14 days ago

Read more

This lecture series by Lars Brownworth covers the history of the Byzantine Empire through the study of 12 of its greatest rulers.

Rank #1: Episode 1 - Introduction

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What is the Byzantine Empire? Why would a Byzantine citizen call himself Roman and not know what the Byzantine Empire was? In this introduction to Byzantine history, Lars Brownworth describes where Byzantium came from and why defining Byzantium is a murky and difficult task.
Jun 27 2005
14 mins
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Rank #2: Episode 2 - Diocletian

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The Emperor Diocletian was to erase civil war within Byzantium for the next thousand years but walked away from it all to become a cabbage farmer. Who was this military man and how could he just give it all up? Join Lars Brownworth as the story of Byzantium's first great emperor unfolds.
Aug 09 2005
20 mins
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Rank #3: Episode 3 - Constantine - Part 1

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From the chaotic background of the tetrarchy, a vulnerable staff officer would navigate the treacherous waters of the empire and eventually emerge as Emperor. How could such an unlikely man unify the empire under one ruler? In this lecture, Lars Brownworth explores the rise to power of one of Western History's most pivotal figures: Constantine.
Nov 30 2005
17 mins
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Rank #4: Episode 4 - Constantine - Part 2

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Constantine has achieved supreme power and made one of the most momentous decisions in history, that of founding a new capital and rescuing a faith seemingly on the brink of schism. However, his megalomania undid most of his work unifying the church and threatened the very stability of the state. Does such a man truly deserve to be called great? Join Lars Brownworth as he looks at the apogee of Constantine's career and his impact on history.
Dec 29 2005
18 mins
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Rank #5: Episode 13 - Basil II

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By the time Basil II was crowned at age two, the Macedonian Dynasty had led the Byzantine Empire to seemingly endless military victories and unprecedented heights of glory. However it was not the emperors who had accomplished so much, but their powerful generals. In fact Basil's dynasty seemed to be in danger of becoming purely ceremonial or disappearing completely. The young emperor, dominated completely by his regents, seemed unlikely to change things. There was no trace of the heroic about him, no charisma or sparkling personality, and yet he was to emerge as the greatest emperor of his dynasty- bending the army, the empire, and foreign princes alike to the force of his will. Join Lars Brownworth as he looks at the reign of Basil II, the last great conqueror Byzantium ever produced.
Jan 01 2007
31 mins
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Rank #6: Episode 14 - Alexius

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When the 24 year old Alexius Comnenus came to the throne, the glories of the Empire seemed long gone. Its "invincible" army had been smashed at the battle of Manzikert, the frontiers were collapsing, and enemies on every side threatened to overwhelm what was left. It would take an extraordinary ruler to salvage something from the wreckage much less restore Byzantine prestige. Join Lars Brownworth as he takes a look at Alexius Comnenus, the man who did just that, even as the First Crusade erupted around him.
Mar 19 2007
32 mins
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Rank #7: Episode 16 - Constantine XI

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The 14th century was not a kind one for Byzantium. The Fourth Crusade had left it a hollow shell of itself, fatally crippled in the face of Turkish aggression. A series of forgettable rulers did what they could, but by the middle of the next century all hope was lost. Surrounded on all sides by the hostile Turks, the once vast empire had shrunk to little more than the city of Constantinople itself. Led by the indomitable Constantine XI, the Byzantines faced certain destruction and fearsome new weapons of war with dignity and courage, determined to go down fighting with heads held high. Join Lars Brownworth as he talks about the last of the Byzantine Emperors, Constantine XI whose heroic final defense of the city earned him recognition as the first Greek National Martyr.
Sep 24 2007
37 mins
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Rank #8: Episode 12 - Basil I

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Basil I was hardly a promising candidate to usher in a new golden age to the Byzantine Empire. A poor, illiterate Armenian peasant, he was kidnapped by raiding Bulgarians as a boy, and only managed to escape in his mid twenties. Renowned for his great strength and skill with horses, he found work as a stable hand and grew into a violent, ambitious man, whose thirst for power led him to commit two of the foulest murders that even Byzantine history has to offer. And yet, against the odds, his reign was the most successful of the century, and the Macedonian dynasty that he would found, would bring the empire to the height of its power and prestige. Join Lars Brownworth as he looks at the reign of the emperor Basil the Macedonian.
Dec 02 2006
23 mins
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Rank #9: Episode 15 - Isaac

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Isaac Angelus was never meant for the throne. He should have lived out his life in comfortable obscurity, but instead found imperial power thrust upon him as Alexius I's brilliant dynasty came to a bloody and decadent conclusion. Unfortunately he and his son were to prove completely unfit for the office, inviting one of the greatest calamities in history down upon their heads, fatally weakening the empire. Join Lars Brownworth as he looks at the reign of Isaac Angelus as it inexorably descended into the tragedy of the Fourth Crusade.
Aug 13 2007
33 mins
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Rank #10: Episode 10 - Heraclius

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In the years following Justinian's death, the empire was rocked from within and without. Barbarians pushed in on every border and the empire's ancient enemy Persia ravaged the East unchecked. The empire met this challenge with a series of weak and foolish rulers who squandered what resources they had, and crumbled before the Persian onslaught. By the start of the 7th Century, the emperor was a virtual prisoner in his own palace, the Persians were beneath the walls of Constantinople, and the rest of the empire was in the hands of rebels. It looked as if the end had come at last, and yet, against all odds, an Armenian general was to defeat the Persians, sweep away the old Latin traditions and reform the empire on a Greek model. Join Lars Brownworth as he looks at Heraclius, whose reign saw this glittering triumph yet ended in such tragedy.
Oct 12 2006
26 mins
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