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Imperial Passions, The Porta Aurea, by Eileen Stephenson

Spreading the word about the Byzantines

Susan Weintrob, reader, foodie, and book blogger, recently contacted me after enjoying “Imperial Passions – The Porta Aurea”. She lives in Charleston and has a website, “Expand the Table”, full of both delicious recipes and wonderful book reviews. I can definitely vouch for the recipes! She asked me for an

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Coins from the Byzantine & Christian Museum in Athens, Greece

Overspending, Politics & Currency Devaluation

Above: coins from the Byzantine & Christian Museum in Athens, Greece. Few would argue against calling economics the dismal science. I’m not sure it is a science so much as wishful thinking, especially when it comes to the predictions economists make. However, my day job is in the finance industry,

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Carving of two of the "Four Tetrarchs"

Byzantium in Venice and Ravenna

Venice I took the photo above at St. Mark’s Basilica in Venice, Italy. The men of the Fourth Crusade absconded with it from Constantinople in about 1204. They are two of the “Four Tetrarchs”, in the highly prized purple porphyry marble. It is now housed above the narthex, or porch

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The royal wedding of Alexios I Comnenus and Irene Ducaena

Empress Irene Ducaena

Above: The royal wedding of Alexios I Comnenus and Irene Ducaena. Irene Ducaena was the wife and empress of Alexios I Comnenus, marrying him shortly after he seized the throne on April 1, 1081. Her daughter, the erudite Anna Comnena, wrote glowingly of her mother in her history, The Alexiad

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Romanos IV Diogenes - submitting to Alp Aslan after defeat at the Battle of Manzikert

The Unlucky Diogenes Family

Romanos IV Diogenes – submitting to Alp Aslan after defeat at the Battle of Manzikert Romanos’s Father, Constantine The Diogenes family first came to prominence during the reign of Basil II early in the 11th century. Constantine Diogenes rose through the ranks of the taghmata – the central armies under

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Byzantine Art – A historian’s view, Part 2

I continue my interview with Professor Lawrence Butler here. He has some great recommendations of places to visit when you’re in Istanbul! (Part 1 can be found here: https://eileenstephenson.com/byzantine-art-a-historians-view-part-1/) Q – Having spent some time in Istanbul, what other buildings do you recommend visiting to learn more about Byzantine architecture,

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Vlad Dracul, also known as Vlad the Impaler

Vlad the Impaler & the Byzantines

Most of us have heard of the legend of Vlad Dracul, also known as Vlad the Impaler, and later simply as Dracula. This prince of Wallachia had a reputation for viciously impaling his defeated enemies – a brutal practice during a brutal time. Not being much of a fan of

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