Je n'aime pas dans les vieux films américains quand les conducteurs ne regardent pas la route. Et de ratage en ratage, on s'habitue à ne jamais dépasser le stade du brouillon. La vie n'est que l'interminable répétition d'une représentation qui n'aura jamais lieu.

Podcasts: 12 Byzantine Rulers!


12 Byzantine Rulers: A History of the Byzantine Empire

Studio: Lars Brownworth

Category: History

 What It Is

Lars Brownworth is a historian who’s written several books, including one called Lost to the West that focuses on the Byzantine Empire, which, according to Brownworth has been overlooked in historical scholarship and is basically one big patch of ignorance for the average person.  In this podcast, Brownworth picks twelve of the Byzantine Emperors and discusses one to an episode (except for a couple that stretch out over multiple episodes).  In this manner, over eighteen episodes (plus a nineteenth episode/teaser for another series he’s done called Norman Centuries), he takes us through the fascinating history of the Byzantine Empire. 

Technical Details

Episodes run between fifteen and thirty minutes.  The podcast is decidedly no frills; the entire thing is simply narrated straight up, in the form of a lecture.  No sound effects, no music, no dramatics, not even an opening theme.  The podcast is complete, nineteen episodes in length. 

What About It

Yeah, you need to download this and listen to it.  Brownworth is an engaging lecturer, with an accessible, warm style.  He captures both the human characteristics of the people he’s talking about and the interesting historical events of the period.  The podcasts aren’t exactly short sometimes, but in each episode, the end surprised me; it never seemed like I’d been listening to it long enough for it to be over.  At the end of a few painless hours of listening to a guy tell interesting stories, you’ll be more knowledgeable about a significant period of history than probably anyone you know.  That would be a win. 

Essential If

You’re interested in history at all.

Avoid like the Plague If

This happens to be your specialty.  More than likely, you’ll find Brownworth’s style frustrating since he’s moving at a rapid pace and therefore not going into detail.  You’ll probably just get angry over all the stuff he’s leaving out.  God, we all know how history majors are *cough*Zaz*cough*. 

Best Entry Point

Here’s an easy one.  Download episode one, Introduction.  Then . . . well, you know how to count. 

Next time, it’s an award winning podcast that I didn’t care for at all.  It’s defunct and, in my opinion, deservedly so.