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Tony Diaz's Profile

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Location: Seattle, Washington
Member Since: Jan 21st, 2015
Last Online: Jan 21st, 2015
Like many others, I came to The History of Byzantium having just sailed through the entirety of Mike Duncan's riveting The History of Rome podcast. On the heels of Mike's description of the Rome's collapse in the West, I found myself hungry for the next chapter. What about the Greek-speaking half of the empire that survived for another 1,000 years, almost to the Renaissance? I have long felt like this is one of those gaping holes in Western history as it is customarily taught: a huge chapter of European history that we for some reason ignore.

Well, Robin Pierson has never disappointed as a successor to Mike Duncan. In his hands, Eastern Roman imperial history has unfolded with real fluency. After briefly reviewing how the late Roman Empire's power and wealth shifted toward the Greek-speaking east and toward Christianity under Constantine, Robin dove in to the bitter controversies and mysteries of Byzantine politics after the West fell. Since then, Robin has told a consistently engaging tale, balancing palace and church intrigue, military strategy, and broad social commentary.

Throughout, Robin always points up controversial issues and the difficulties of understanding ancient texts and archaeological questions. The website provides plenty of maps, illustrations, and a rich bibliography for further reading. I especially appreciate his inclusion of guest subject matter experts in the podcast, drawing listeners into controversies over (for example) the origins of Islam. I eagerly anticipate every broadcast. Always fascinating.

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