And here we are, at the END of our thirty-part series of free articles with audio, ‘La storia di Roma‘.
As mentioned earlier this week, the Eastern Roman Empire, with its capital Constantinople, lasted nearly a thousand years longer than the Western Roman Empire, which officially ended in 473 CE when its leader chose to become ‘King of Italy’ instead, silly man.
The citizens of the Eastern Roman Empire (which initially included places like Egypt…) thought of themselves as the true Romans, though they spoke Greek, and their version of Christianity was Greek Orthdox.
But of course, so did those inhabiting what used to be the Western Roman Empire but was now a jumble of kingdoms and suchlike (the earliest versions of what would eventually become Italy, Germany, France, etc.), strongly influenced by the Catholic church, which was based in Rome and looked unkindly on the eastern cousins.
So naturally, the two sides fell out, violently, during what became known as the Fourth Crusade, Constantinople was sacked by Christian armies from the west, many were killed and fortunate survivors were sold as slaves to the Turks.
It was a hammer-blow to what remained of the idea of the Roman Empire, one which resulted in the fragmentation of the Byzantine empire and, two hundred and fifty years down the road, to the loss of Constantinople to the Ottomans. Who renamed it İstanbul, and have held it ever since.
Fun fact to quiz your family members with over dinner this evening: what’s the capital of the Republic of Turkey? Bet they say İstanbul (great place, by the way – do visit!) But in fact, it’s Ankara, which lies further east, up on the plateau in the middle of Anatolia, so much easier to defend from perfidious Europeans. It’s also, coincidentally, where I started teaching (and language-learning), back in ’91.
Anyway, you can read all about the rivalry between east and west in today’s final episode of the Roman Empire saga:
My goodness, haven’t we come a long way since 753 BCE?
A lunedì, allora.
Coming next week…
We’ve put the thirty FREE episodes of ‘La storia di Roma‘ into an ebook easy reader, which will be published on Monday. If you’d like to read them all on your Kindle, or to have the whole set in one convenient .pdf, to print or treasure for ever, then it’ll cost you £5.99. Watch this space for details.
Also next week, the thrill of revolution! We’ll be publishing a new, advanced-level easy reader ebook set during a wool-workers’ revolt in medieval Florence. Justice for the opressed workers! To the prisons! Burn the houses of the rich!
Makes me feel young again.