Harry R. Schwartz

Code writer, sometime Internet enthusiast, attractive nuisance.

The author at the Palais du Luxembourg in Paris, November 2022. hacker news gitlab sourcehut pinboard librarything 1B41 8F2C 23DE DD9C 807E A74F 841B 3DAE 25AE 721B


British Columbia



12 Byzantine Rulers


Published .
Tags: books, history.


If you think listening to a 7-hour series of podcasts about Byzantine history sounds like a great idea, (1) we should probably be friends and (2) you’ll almost certainly enjoy Lars Brownworth’s 12 Byzantine Rulers.

It’s surprisingly fascinating stuff. The Byzantines are strangely easy to overlook, but they spent a millennium debating theology, appreciating Aeschylus, engaged in atrocious internecine conflict, maintaining a Mediterranean-wide economy, and almost single-handedly holding back the tide of Arab conquest while the rest of Europe was struggling to retain literacy. Makes for good listening.

On a related note, I’m really enjoying Chris Wickham’s The Inheritance of Rome, which covers a similar time period but concentrates on the former Western empire’s perspective. It’s also a bit more concerned with the details of slower-moving social and economic trends than with individual derry-do, which Brownworth’s podcasts very entertainingly emphasize.

Infinite Jest had me hoping for a discussion of Byzantine erotica, but no such luck.

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