Tuesday, August 21, 2007

The Byzantine Empire on podcast

The history of the Byzantine Empire has greatly escaped me on the whole. Only podcasts and a book by Umberto Eco (Badolino) have bring it closer to me and I have begun to understand its tremendous importance. One podcast series is entirely dedicated to the Byzantines: 12 Byzantine Rulers.

Lars Brownworth, who presents the podcasts, is a lecturer of History at the Stony Brooks School on Long Island, New York. In order to squeeze in the podcasting with his other duties and still maintain a professional level of the show, he puts them out about once every two months. As a consequence, the series is still running after 2 years - though the last episode is expected by the end of the summer. He conducts the lectures in a straightforward monologue style producing episodes taking twenty to thirty minutes. In spite of his great diction, sound level and text, it makes for the more demanding sort of podcast. Tougher to listen to, but in its style, the very best I have met.

So if you are in for a light and easy introduction to Byzantine History, the series is far too heavy. Too long, too many details, too slow a pace. This is the stuff for the discerning. You wanted the history of the Byzantine Empire? You will get it all. In 15 lectures, going from the third century, step by step, touching on all the leaders up to the fifteenth century, without too much analysis, mostly the facts.