Roman Emperor Zeno (Kindle)
The Perils of Power Politics in Fifth-century Constantinople
Peter Crawford examines the life and career of the fifth-century Roman emperor Zeno and the various problems he faced before and during his seventeen-year rule. Despite its length, his reign has hitherto been somewhat overlooked as being just a part of that gap between the Theodosian and Justinianic dynasties of the Eastern Roman Empire which is comparatively poorly furnished with historical sources.
Reputedly brought in as a counter-balance to the generals who had dominated Constantinopolitan politics at the end of the Theodosian dynasty, the Isaurian Zeno quickly had to prove himself adept at dealing with the harsh realities of imperial power. Zeno's life and reign is littered with conflict and politicking with various groups - the enmity of both sides of his family; dealing with the fallout of the collapse of the Empire of Attila in Europe, especially the increasingly independent tribal groups established on the frontiers of, and even within, imperial territory; the end of the Western Empire; and the continuing religious strife within the Roman world. As a result, his reign was an eventful and significant one that deserves this long-overdue spotlight.
This is an interesting biography, looking at a period in which the Eastern Empire managed to survive a series of crisis almost a serious as the ones that destroyed the western Empire. The story of Zeno’s reign resembles a fantasy novel, with rivalrys within his court (even leading to his being briefly deposed soon after coming to the throne), family rivalries, barbarian invadors, some of whom threatened Constantiniple itself, revolts, religious disputes, and in keeping with this period of later Roman history an impressive cast of strong women, not least Zeno’s wife Ariadne, daughter of Leo I, who went on to play a major role in selecting Zeno’s successor, who she then went on to marry.History of War
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Who Was Emperor Zeno and How Did He Deal with the Fall of the Western Roman Empire?History Hit, September 2019
Author article for History Hit
As featured on Omne Ignotum Pro MagnificoOld Barbed Wire Blog
As featured byVaeVictis - n° 144 - mars/avril 2019
As featured inThe Armourer, June 2019
This is a highly researched biography full of detail.Army Rumour Service (ARRSE)