Ep 12. The Byzantines
- December 25, 2006
Brilliance and brutality. Intellect and intrigue. Christianity and carnage. As much of the world descended into the Dark Ages after the fall of Rome, one civilization shone brilliantly: the Byzantine Empire. With ruthless might and supreme ingenuity, the Byzantines ruled over vast swaths of Europe and Asia for more than a thousand years. A bridge to antiquity, it was Byzantium that preserved the classical learning and science that would one day give rise to the Renaissance. Led by rulers who exercised absolute power and architects who pushed beyond Rome's engineering marvels, the Byzantines constructed the ancient world's longest aqueduct, virtually invincible city walls, a massive stadium, and a colossal domed cathedral that defied the laws of nature. The Byzantine Empire was the dominant civilization during the Dark Ages. But after a millennium of rule, its engineering feats would betray them - as an ancient light was extinguished in the glare of modern warfare.