Byzantium: A Tale of Three Cities

BBC series romps through history

By Roger Williams | December 12, 2013

Tonight (December 12) Simon Sebag Montefiore presents the second of his excellent three hour-long TV programmes on the history of Istanbul (BBC4, 9pm). Last week Byzantium: A Tale of Three Cities rattled along at a necessarily swift pace from the founding of Constantinople and the Christian era. Tonight takes the story from the fall of Byzantium and the rise of Ottoman Istanbul. This is the third recent TV series from Dr Montefiore, who likes to hurl himself into big themes. The first, based on his acclaimed book, was a history of Jerusalem, the second was on Rome. His next project is a book on the Romanovs, followed by The World: A Biography. But Byzantium: A Tale of Three Cities is a good appetizer for the city, and it follows a number of recent programmes on both BBC radio and television this year that have helped to bring Turkey into better perspective. The first part of Byzantium: A Tale of Three Cities can still be seen on iPlayer and the third part will be broadcast next Thursday December 19.

The latest Cornucopia 50 features a 32-page special by Professor Robert Ousterhout unravelling Istanbul's Byzantium past

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