Recommendation: The History of Byzantium (Podcast, Robin Pierson)


Hello everyone! For today’s post, I will be recommending a history podcast I recently found, The History of Byzantium. This podcast, narrated by Robin Pierson, views itself as a spiritual successor to The History of Rome, by Mike Duncan (which I have not listened to but have heard is excellent), and although I cannot comment on whether or not it succeeds in this respect, I can guarantee it does an excellent job in all other respects. The podcast has been going for three years, since 2012, and has currently reached as far as 811 CE. Though I have only currently listened as far as the death of Emperor Anastasius, I have found the story riveting, and am enjoying myself immensely, not to mention learning about a period of history that has always fascinated me.

For more, continue past the link.

The style of the podcast is a narrative style, focusing on the reigns of the emperors as a base for telling the story of Byzantium as a whole. Pierson does a wonderful job of evoking the character of the Byzantine Empire and of the characters who made it tick, and succeeds in crafting a compelling narrative on a subject about which too many are ignorant. Furthermore, Pierson attempts to ensure that listeners, even those who have not previously listened to The History of Rome, are fully enmeshed in the Byzantine world by describing the institutions and geography of the great Empire; this method ensures the approachability of the show, even for those who may  not know a great deal about the Byzantine Empire.

I would recommend The History of Byzantium to anyone who is interested in the Byzantine Empire, the history of the 5th-15th centuries CE in Europe, or indeed in history in general; it is rare to find someone who can make history so easy to engage with as does Pierson, and such a talent should be embraced. I hope you all enjoyed this post, and let me know what you think and what you would like to see next. Have a wonderful day!

EDIT: If anyone is reading this now, I just want to say that only a short month later I have already reached episode 27, and am still enjoying this podcast immensely. I give it my highest recommendation.

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