Tag Archives: Roman Empire

Politics I-2 Byzantium and Islam

This is the second of the medieval history lectures.  In the run-through of politics, I cover major political and power questions from the end of Rome to the end of the fifteenth century.  This lecture talks a bit about the structures of the Eastern empire after Constantine – the political entity that we now call the Byzantine empire after the old name of the great city of Istanbul/Constantinople, originally called “Byzantium” by the greeks.  I also talk about the rise of Islam – I don’t discuss a lot about the Islamic empire after this point, as the course focuses, perhaps overly much on Western Europe.  At any rate, here’s something about these two incredibly important players in the Mediterranean throughout the history of medieval Europe. Continue reading Politics I-2 Byzantium and Islam

Politics I-1 The End of Rome

This is the first of the medieval history lectures.  In the run-through of politics, I cover major political and power questions from the end of Rome to the end of the fifteenth century.  This lecture covers a little bit about late Roman politics, and focuses on the reigns of the emperors Diocletian and Constantine.  I also discuss something of the barbarian groups to the north, although this comes up more completely in a subsequent lecture. Continue reading Politics I-1 The End of Rome

The Emperor Nero with Will Guast

This month on the History Cafe, we are talking about the notorious emperor Nero.  Perhaps most famous for “fiddling while Rome burned,” (and to be fair, when everything was pretty much burned down, Nero built one of the largest palaces ever constructed in Rome, complete with gardens, courtyards, and all the gold one might imagine necessary to such an enterprise), Nero’s actual legacy was cemented by successors who often wanted to portray a more negative image of their predecessors.  Within Nero’s life, there is some evidence that he took reasonable steps as emperor, returning to Rome to help fight the fire, supporting the rights of some of the provinces (he might have been particularly popular in the Eastern provinces), and generally working to consolidate power as any of his more famous predecessors (Julius Caesar, Claudius, and others) would have done equally. Continue reading The Emperor Nero with Will Guast