More from our summer series. Today’s third part is relatively short to read and listen to, but sure is packed with misery! Think a season of ‘Game of Thrones’, condensed into about a page…
If you’ve fallen behind (already??), we’re in the first half of the sixth century and the Italian peninsula is independently ruled by the Ostrogoths, which Wikipedia describes as a Roman-era Germanic people. ‘The Roman Empire’ still exists, but is based in the east, in Constantinople, and is now rebranded as the Byzantine Empire, perhaps to avoid associations with crazed pagans burning Christians alive in mega stadiums, and similar reputational hazards.
Anyway, to cut a long story short, the Ostrogoth king dies (episode 2), is succeeded by weaker figures (end of episode 2) and things go downhill from there (episode 3). The Byzantine Emperor spies an opportunity, invades the peninsula via Sicily, so inflicting on the poor Germanic ‘Italians’ years of war and, as a consequence, the plages, famines and cannibalism mentioned in the title of this piece.
But never mind the general misery, in the end the ‘Roman’ empire gets united again (hurrah!), under one Emperor (yipee!), and even the Pope is happy, because the heretics have been defeated (hallelujah!)
Sounds like it wasn’t the greatest time to be alive, though. And, apparently, there’s worse to come on Monday!
N.b. All episodes in this series so far, as well as the thirty episodes of last year’s summer series on The Romans, can be found on the club’s History page.