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Byzantium & Friends

History • Education • Religion-and-spirituality

Conversations with experts in the history of Byzantium and surrounding fields, hosted by Anthony Kaldellis.

Popular episodes

59. What exactly ended in Late Antiquity?, with Polymnia Athanassiadi

Nov 25 • 01:03:51

A conversation with Polymnia Athanassiadi (University of Athens) about the way of life that ended in late antiquity. Scholars of Byzantium and the Middle Ages may see this as a period of new beginnings, but Polymnia doesn't want us to forget the practices and urban values that came to an end during it. The conversation touches on issues raised throughout her papers collect...

58. The column and equestrian statue of Justinian, a landmark monument of Constantinople, with Elena Boeck

Nov 11 • 01:00:29

A conversation with Elena Boeck (DePaul University) about her recent book The Bronze Horseman of Justinian in Constantinople: The Cross-Cultural Biography of a Mediterranean Monument (Cambridge University Press 2021). Though it is often overlooked today, Justinian's column and colossal statue, which stood for a thousand years next to Hagia Sophia, defined the City almost a...

57. A global history of the Greeks, with Roderick Beaton

Oct 28 • 01:13:04

A conversation with Roderick Beaton (King's College London, emeritus) on his new book The Greeks: A Global History (Basic Books 2021). We discuss different ways to define who "the Greeks" were and are (in Byzantium Graikos meant a "Greek-speaker"); the diversity of groups that make up this story; how Byzantium can be featured in a diachronic history of Greek-speakers witho...

56. Cyril, Methodios, and the conversion of the Slavs, with Mirela Ivanova

Oct 14 • 01:02:55

A conversation with Mirela Ivanova (University Sheffield) on the creation of the Slavonic alphabet and the lives of its creators, the Byzantine missionaries Constantine-Cyril and Methodios. Despite the huge importance attributed to these men and their activities in modern scholarship, national narratives, and Slavic Orthodox identity, our knowledge about them rests largely...

55. If you could meet and interview one person from Byzantine history, who would it be and why? (Part II), with Paroma Chatterjee and Merle Eisenberg

Jul 29 • 01:15:30

We know so much about the Byzantines, and yet really so little. If we had the chance to meet and debrief one person from that world, who would it be? Join me in conversation with Paroma Chatterjee (University of Michigan) and Merle Eisenberg (National Socio-Environmental Synthesis Center, University of Maryland), as we wrestle with that question. Who might answer the burni...

54. The power and journeys of the True Cross and other holy relics, with Lynn Jones

Jul 15 • 01:00:44

A conversation with Lynn Jones (Florida State University) on how fragments of the True Cross were requested, gifted, traveled, repatriated, abducted, and returned in the early Byzantine period; how they were used to validate rival claims to power; and the anxiety caused by doubts over their authenticity. The conversation is based on a number of Lynn's publications, especia...

53. What can we know about the life of the Prophet Muhammad?, with Sean Anthony

Jul 1 • 01:12:45

A conversation with Sean Anthony (Ohio State University) about the earliest sources for the life of the Prophet Muhammad, including the Quran, papyri, inscriptions, and Christian sources of the seventh century, and how Muslims were initially perceived by the Romans of the eastern provinces. The conversation is based on Sean's book Muhammad and the Empires of Faith: The Mak...

52. Crowd behavior in imperial Rome and Constantinople, with Daniëlle Slootjes

Jun 17 • 01:02:14

A conversation with Daniëlle Slootjes (University of Amsterdam) on the behavior of crowds in late antique Rome and Constantinople, based on her chapter "Crowd Behavior in Late Antique Rome," in the edited volume Pagans and Christians in Late Antique Rome: Conflict, Competition, and Coexistence in the Fourth Century (Cambridge 2015) 178-194. As our own political world is in...

51. Byzantine poetry on its own terms, with Marc Lauxtermann

Jun 3 • 58:39

A conversation with Marc Lauxtermann (University of Oxford) on how to read Byzantine poetry on its own terms and in its own context. We talk about how modern Romantic notions of poetry as well as the ancient meters of classical Greek have distorted the expectations that we place on Byzantine poetry, and then discuss the specific contexts that gave rise to poetry in Byzanti...

50. If you could meet and interview one person from Byzantine history, who would it be and why?, with Fotini Kondyli and Alexander Sarantis

May 20 • 01:10:59

We know so much about Byzantium, and yet really so little. If we had the chance to meet and debrief one person who had experienced some part of it first-hand, who would it be? Join me in a conversation with Fotini Kondyli (University of Virginia) and Alexander Sarantis (University of Warsaw), which wrestles with that question. What person would answer the burning questions...

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