Stunning medieval monasteries perched on infinitely steep precipices, the monasteries of Meteora are sanctuaries in the sky. But what happened in Byzantium to convince monks to seek solitude in such forbidding locales?
Stories of the collapse of Constantinople typically focus on the end, in 1453, but the fall really begins much earlier than that, fueled in many ways by the sheer incompetence of John V Palaeologos, the second longest serving Roman emperor, whose reign was a constant barrage of humiliations. He managed to be put in prison on four different occasions!
While we explore this fascinating loser, listener Roberto describes his trip to see the great monasteries in north central Greece, and we discuss dolmades, stuffed grape leaves.
Fodor’s Essential Greece
Gibbons, Herbert Adams. The Foundation of the Ottoman Empire: a History of the Osmanlis up the the Death of Bayezid I (1300-1403)
Herrin, Judith. Byzantium: The Surprising Life of A Medieval Empire
Luttrell, Anthony. “John V's Daughters: A Palaiologan Puzzle.” Dumbarton Oaks Papers
Norwich, John Julius. Byzantium: The Decline and Fall
Treadgold, Warren. A Concise History of Byzantium
Photograph by LucT