Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Byzantine conclusion

Lars Brownworth has completed his podcast series 12 Byzantine Rulers. The high school history teacher, so we are told, is moving on to other enterprises. It doesn't look like it, he is going to do another history podcast. I recommend everybody to go listen to the whole series, including the concluding episode that describes what legacy Byzantium left and hopes to show how Europe and with it Western Civilization is indebted to the Byzantine Empire for holding off the spread of Islam, of the Turks and delivering the classics in time for the Renaissance.

In the mean time I'd like to also spend some words about this podcast as such. When in June 2005 the first episode came out, the podcast landscape was different from today and especially history podcasts were still very rare. Consequently Lars Brownworth filled a considerable gap and that probably explains his success, which is that his podcast considered a top 50 podcast. I am not sure whether today, even a person with the great diction and careful reading Brownworth delivers, can make a success out of a monologue style history podcast that delivers an episode less than monthly. There are too many more frequent, more sexy, more academic and more professional sources out there.

When the pioneer goes and can no longer be emulated, it is a bit like Constantinople finally falling to the siege of the Turks. The Roman empire finally belongs to history, but its legacy has been maintained. The New World can freely take up the torch and hold it high. The Byzantine podcast has opened up the world of podcasting for history buffs and now that he is finished (I'd not say podfaded, but that is actually so, with its conclusion albeit fresh), we can see there is a thriving world of history podcasts, rich in subjects, styles, lengths and depths and it is ever expanding.

The Byzantine Empire on Podcast,
Byzantine Podcast,
The Making of Europe in 1453,
Holy Sepulchre,
The Nicene Creed.

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