Tag: Byzantium & Friends


Pre-Islamic Arabia, with Valentina Grasso

A conversation with Valentina Grasso on Arabia before Islam. This used to be known primarily from preserved Arabic poetry, but the picture is now filling in from inscriptions and contemporary texts. There were competing kingdoms, tribal coalitions, and foreign empires with a stake in trade routes. There were pagans, Jews, and Christians, as well as generic or “cautious” monotheists. The cultural background of the Quran has never been known in such richness and complexity.


At the dawn of Byzantine Studies: Martin Crusius (1526-1607), with Richard Calis

A conversation with Richard Calis about Martin Crusius (aka Kraus: 1526-1607 AD), one of the first philologist-historians who tried to reconstruct Byzantine history from the sources. We talk about his interest in the Greek language and the Ottoman empire, in using Byzantine sources to understand antiquity, and his working methods — all in an era before there was much scholarship to guide him.