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Peter Frankopan

Director, Oxford University Center for Byzantine Research

Dr. Peter Frankopan is a historian at Oxford University, where he is senior research fellow at Worcester College and director of the Oxford Center for Byzantine Research. He works on the history of the Mediterranean, Russia, the Middle East, Persia, Central Asia and beyond, and on relations between Christianity and Islam. He also specializes in medieval Greek literature, and translated The Alexiad for Penguin Classics.

ISIS, Russia, and the Rejection of the West

So, mercifully, the latest glossy video released by ISIS does not show innocent people being executed, or cultural treasures of the world being destroyed by thugs. For once, the high production values gives some hope that those at the top of ISIS are moving out of the teenage phase of blood-lust and wanting to play a new game that is basically good news (well, it could hardly get any worse). The new game is for adults only. It is called Government.
21/09/2015 11:59 BST

History, Fools and Russell Brand

Celebrity culture is not new to the digital age. One and a half thousand years ago, there were plenty of commentators who threw their hands in the air in bewilderment at the way that poseurs gained followings.
10/11/2014 18:05 GMT

How the Byzantine Empire Would Have Dealt With Scottish Independence

Such is the crisis that last week David Cameron and Ed Miliband not only agreed to cancel Prime Minister's Question Time, but to head north (along with Nick Clegg). It's that serious. They could take some solace - and learn some lessons - from the Byzantine Empire. Much maligned and long ignored (the word 'Byzantine' is highly pejorative), Byzantium was a highly successful state that survived more than a thousand years.
15/09/2014 13:41 BST

Putin - A Byzantine Emperor in All but Name

Despite Putin's immense power (and rumoured vast wealth), he consistently presents himself as a servant of his people - a trick learned from the Emperors of Byzantium. His divorce, announced last week with his wife at his side after seeing a performance of La Esmeralda, was straight from the imperial textbooks.
12/06/2013 12:36 BST

Mongols, Global Conquest and the Champions League

The other night, the light-bulb came on when I watched Real Madrid and then Barcelona being dismantled by German teams on successive evenings. The excitement was partly about the football itself, but mainly at the way two powerhouses of European football were swept away with barely a whimper. It was the same with the Mongols. The great empires of China and Persia went up in a puff of smoke, demolished without throwing a punch in self-defence.
14/05/2013 12:03 BST

David Bowie, the V&A and Medieval Pilgrimage

It is in many ways the perfect exhibition. Simply called <em>David Bowie Is...</em>, it showcases the glittering career of one of the most versatile and thoughtful artists of the last century. The range of collaborations with artists and designers 'in the fields of fashion, sound, graphics, theater, art and film' is astonishing. And the music ain't bad either.
22/03/2013 18:57 GMT

Derek Zoolander, Fashion and the Byzantine Empire

I never expected that I would have one of the world's leading fashion houses to thank for putting a spring in my step until I saw pictures of Dolce & Gabbana's autumn collection for 2013, unveiled at Milan Fashion week a few days ago.
08/03/2013 15:48 GMT

On History, Homer and Ben Affleck

We should, I think, cut Hollywood some slack. It is easy to forget that history is all about dramatic license. Who wants to read a boring account of the past? Which historian does not want to spice things up? And even as far as flaws, errors and distortions go - well, bring them on.
03/03/2013 10:21 GMT