Posted by Powee Celdran
Welcome back to the Byzantium Blogger! This is going to be my final post for this year. Another special edition article where I finish with a unique and more personal article about my own experience with Byzantine history. This year-ender post is about what I really did in 2021, which was creating an ambitious campaign on social media sites to raise more awareness on the still lesser-known history of Byzantium. Of course, for this year my biggest project was undoubtedly my 12-part Byzantine Alternate history series which I did from February to September. I also made a special edition article for it specifically about the behind-the-scenes of my alternate history chapters (read it here). Since I already discussed how I made my alternate history series there as well as what inspired me to do it, and how I created the stories, this article is about the other things I did for Byzantine history, mainly how I used social media. In this article I will briefly discuss my progress in creating awareness for Byzantine history on social media, discuss a few lessons I learned from it, including my own discoveries and tips to success. Other highlights include interviews on other Byzantine history sites and works I’ve done for other sites other than my own, plus a few quick reviews on the Byzantine history social media groups I’m part of. Lastly, some updates for what I will do as I continue my Byzantine history journey in 2022.
I began doing this entire Byzantine history social media campaign this year by creating a Byzantine history Instagram account at the very beginning of the year, followed by a Facebook page, and so on. I also use these sites to promote my blog. The great thing is that it helped me meet so many people from across the world with the same interests as me. Another new thing I have begun doing and developing this year were my Byzantine themed artworks. I recreated historical figures in my style including Byzantine era manuscripts. Other than that, I also used this year to continue producing more Byzantine history content on my Youtube channel No Budget Films, specifically retelling the entire story of the Byzantine Empire under the Palaiologos Dynasty (1261-1453), its last ruling dynasty in the form of an audio epic entitled The Last Roman Dynasty, which I began back in February and have recently finished and uploaded the last episode a few weeks ago.
I’d also like to show the progress of my Byzantine journey this year, therefore I will be posting my artworks in chronological form from the earliest ones I made this year to the most recent ones to show its development. The 12 chapters of the Byzantine Alternate History series, in which I recently updated all with so much toil will be linked as well as the 9 episodes of my audio-epic series. Take note that this article will not be too informative, rather it is more personal in nature, therefore I would just be speaking everything that comes out of my mind. Literally, as a year ender article, this article will be a throwback to everything I’ve done in 2021 Byzantine related while at the end, I will credit all those who have supported me and played a major role throughout my Byzantine journey this year.
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Read the 12 Chapters of Byzantine Alternate History Here:
Other 2021 Byzantine Articles from the Byzantium Blogger
My 2021 Byzantine History Social Media Journey and Lessons Learned From It
Exactly a year ago on December 31 of 2020, shortly before welcoming 2021, I created the Byzantine history Instagram account Byzantine_Time_Traveller. When I created it, I clearly had no idea where it would go, whether if it would last a full year or just die out after a month. Little did I know back then that it would actually have a following. When I began the account together with the Facebook page created a month later, it had quite a slow start. I started out in the first few weeks by just posting Byzantine era destinations that I have travelled to in the past for my IG account. Although likes and followers were few, I still had a lot of hope, excitement and optimism to post new content which is the feeling you have when starting something new. In the beginning my IG would seem like another Byzantine history or general history IG that would just die when its creator loses interest, but it was not the case. Like I said I had quite a slow start only reaching over 100 followers at the end of the first month and only over 300 followers by the 3rd month, not to mention many challenges along the way. It seemed like my posts were not going in any direction, but I chose to not give up but persevere and continue to grow the account. Eventually without really expecting it, I got over 1,000 followers and then 2,000, and now as the year ends over 6,000 followers with some posts getting up to 3,000 likes, over 30 comments, and multiple tags from other accounts. My Facebook page of the same name now has over 1,300 page likes considering that it has only been a year since I started these sites. These may not seem like big numbers in the social media universe, but considering how specialized Byzantine history is, for me these are substantial numbers and more importantly, an engaged audience.
Here are some of my tips on how I reached this far in my Byzantine history social media sites as well as some discoveries I made in posting content:
Always set a goal and a plan out your posts. When I started out my Byzantine history IG, I honestly did not know where it would take me. I just started by posting whatever was “Byzantine” in my mind, whether they were photos I took of Byzantine landmarks from my previous trips to Constantinople or Ravenna or my old Byzantine inspired drawings from years ago. However, I started becoming more and more hooked in posting Byzantine related content that I would end up just posting and posting, although as I kept posting, I started realizing that I needed to have a plan on what to post. In my case, my plan was to post things in chronological fashion beginning with the founding of the Byzantine Empire in the 4th century and finishing off with the 15th century. There were some exceptions which included posting events that happened on a certain date no matter what century in Byzantine history, which were my “On This Day” posts, although these posts were planned out carefully as well. This trick of having a plan, whether posting events that happened in Byzantine history on a specific date, posting in chronological order, or having a specific date on when to post would help a lot to not confuse your followers. On the other hand, it is also fun to go spontaneous and just post something randomly without having much of a plan, and this has happened to me a lot, especially after completing my alternate history series. However, by the time October came, I had completed the entire 12-part series, thus the posts would no longer follow any timeline. One post would be set in the 7th century, then the next one in the 12th. Although some of my posts especially these days are basically just thought of a few hours before posting, I still use the same formula for the sake of consistency.
Another major part of planning out all your posts is to set a mission and vision to your own account as a way to make it clear to your viewers not only about your content but how you intend to post your content and what kind of people you want to reach. In my case I try to make my posts highly informative and understandable yet light. One that targets not only hardcore scholars and historians but a wider audience including those hardly familiar with Byzantine history in order to get more and more people from around the world to know about it. Part of this tip in planning out your posts is to also choose the content you are going to share. I made mine an account to share Byzantine related content whether it is historical trivia, on this day events, Byzantine themed artworks, Byzantine travel destinations around the world, and once in a while Byzantium in Lego as part of the films I make for my channel No Budget Films.
Lastly, another tip I have to mention in posting content is to post them on a regular basis which is a sure way to get people more engaged. I recommend posting every 2-4 days as this kind of interval could get your viewers hooked giving them the right amount of time to expect a new post. Sometimes posting things irregularly like just once a week or every other week may cause a loss of interest among viewers considering that they would have to wait too long for a new post while posting too often like every day or even more than one post a day can be tiring, which I have noticed from other accounts. After all, when it comes to posting social media content, it is not like producing a movie which takes time, in fact things are very instant, but when it comes to posting about history the trick is to give some waiting time especially if your posts are very well planned. When posting history related content you have to be very thorough about the facts which is why you can’t just post things too instantly unless you are just simply describing a historical image.
Create original content and develop your own style of posting. Of course, when it comes to Instagram accounts, Facebook pages, and Youtube channels that post historical content, those that post Byzantine history content are still not too common, however if you do have a Byzantine account just like my own, you still have to be original as there are other accounts that post Byzantine related content. What I mean by original content does not necessarily mean creating your own Byzantine themed artworks- although in my case I do – rather this would mean looking for certain topics that other accounts have not posted yet. In my case, how I developed my own personal style other than creating Byzantine themed artworks was by using a series of emojis in the captions, having rather long and informative captions to explain my posts clearly, the use of filters to add some more color and life to the images I post, and having a signature trademark at the beginning of every post – a specific diamond emoji with a dot. When it comes to the post itself and not just the image or the format I use for the caption, I try to post something in Byzantine history that is interesting and not talked about as much. It could be something to do with a lesser known emperor, a lesser known but very interesting battle, a lesser known Byzantine location, or something no one would really know about such as Byzantine relations with other foreign lands like India, China, or Scandinavia rather. I try to avoid the usual things that many others who are familiar with Byzantium would already know about like Emperor Justinian I and the mosaics depicting him, the Hagia Sophia, or the Fall of Constantinople in 1453. Of course, posting about the more popular things in Byzantine history works too as these posts get a lot of engagement due to how significant they are in history, but in order to make posts more engaging I post things that no others have posted yet. These posts based on my experience happen to spark a lot of interest especially in the comments. Part of posting your own original content too is to post something that you wrote yourself rather than just reposting another post or worse copy pasting some information from the internet. On the other hand, when it comes to posting original content, I strongly suggest posting your own original artworks. This very much applies to those content creators who are already artistic in nature, but if not, it is best also to be in another way original by collaborating with another artist who would do the artwork while you as the creator write the caption, and I have also done this a couple of times. Another way of posting something original and unique that I highly suggest is to post real Byzantine objects such as artifacts or landmarks if ever you come across them. This usually helps in making viewers take you seriously as by actually travelling to see these landmarks or artifacts, they will see that you are really the real deal. They will appreciate that you saw these things with your own eyes rather than just seeing them online without actually knowing what they truly look like and what they are truly made of. Other ways you can be original in posting in this case Byzantine history content would be in following trends such as creating Instagram reels on Byzantine history or doing a series on a certain topic about Byzantine history. For example Justinian I’s long Italy campaign (535-553) which could not be done in just one post but rather in a series. I notice other historical Instagram accounts do this if they want to explain a certain event in history in full detail, and I too have done this a few times. Basically, the key in posting is to let your creativity and inspiration flow and lead you wherever it takes you, and this way you would end up creating countless original works.
Stick to historical facts but write your posts in your own unique way. When it comes to posting things especially where historical facts are involved, the number one rule is to stick to the facts, as a lack of sources that verify what you posted could trigger tensions especially if it has a lot to do with ethnicity, national identity, and religion, although this does not necessarily mean citing your sources. In this case when it comes to posting content in Byzantine history, always double check and cross check the facts as there is always a possibility someone would comment noticing that there is something off about the facts. However, when creating a post, use your own words and do not copy paste it from the source. Most importantly do not ever copy another user’s post and share it by just pasting exactly everything it has on your feed, otherwise this would all be considered plagiarism. Now as for verifying the facts you wrote in your post, my trick here rather than citing the entire source in a very scholarly way is to mention the historian who wrote about a said emperor or a said race of people. For example when I posted something about Emperor Justin II (r. 565-574), I still mentioned the historian John Ephesus that mentioned that the emperor went insane in 572. When posting images, I usually also cite the source of the image especially if it’s another person’s artwork, while I also make sure to credit the the artist as I want to let my audience know who the artist is. So using your own unique way of writing while citing historical sources is also part of the last point on being original when posting content. I like to present my content in a more entertaining way such as by writing a historical post in a fun and light manner while still being historically accurate.
Know your audience and have your own way of posting for a particular audience. The major thing I learned when creating Byzantine history content is that your way of posting content cannot please everyone and it has a particular and very defined audience. As I mentioned earlier about posting your own original content in your own unique way, know that it will not catch the attention of everyone, even if the audience interested in Byzantine history is quite small, you still will not get them all. In the audience of the Byzantine history enthusiasts online, there are usually two groups one being the authorities mostly being scholars, historians, and established historical sites with a large following and the other group being Byzantine history fans including history buffs and artists that do historical related art. In my case, my content focuses on Byzantine history trivia or my own fan art. I post things in a generally light and entertaining yet still smart and factual way and end up pleasing more Byzantine history fans than authorities, as usually the enthusiasts enjoy seeing something lighter and more creative. On the other hand, more serious content like those on actual Byzantine era artifacts would please the authorities more. In my case the posts I made that actually managed to catch the attention of the authorities were those that showed more serious content such as my post on the Dumbarton Oaks Byzantine collection as these showed actual Byzantine era artifacts. In the end, it doesn’t really matter who you are pleasing, as long as it is content that makes you happy. I won’t deny that it also feels great to get recognized or noticed by the global authorities on Byzantine history, but of course it is also great to please the fans as they are much greater in number and they are the ones too that keep the spirit of Byzantium alive. Posting things to please your fans is also a way to get them to know more and more about Byzantine history. Remember that you shouldn’t dumb down your posts and you shouldn’t underestimate your viewers, for all you know, they may know as much or more than you when it comes to Byzantine history. Having said that, I have definitely come to realize that my posts please the fans more than they do the authorities, as after all my content was really envisioned to spread knowledge about Byzantine history not just to scholars and historians but to literally everyone whether they are familiar with it or not. Another thing too that I have to mention is that now when it comes to doing posts, I always have my audience in mind. It’s natural to want to keep them engaged and this can sometimes be stressful but it’s still worth it.
Engage more in other posts and share your content. One of the things I learned very early on when starting my Byzantine history IG account was that to get others to know who you are and what you post, it is not as simple as people finding you, rather you have to interact with similar accounts. In this case, this would mean following other accounts similar to yours which in my case were other Byzantine as well as ancient, medieval, and general history accounts, liking their posts, dropping a few comments, sharing their posts to your stories, and tagging them in some of your posts which surely boosted my followers and got a lot of others to know about my account. When it comes to sharing your content to a wider audience, the best way to do it in my case was to share it to other Byzantine history Facebook groups. It is for this reason I created a Facebook page mirroring the content on my Instagram. I noticed that my Facebook page usually gets a different set of audience and less engagement so my Instagram site is still my primary account. I also use my Facebook page as a platform to share things I also do not share on my Instagram, and this includes content by other Byzantine history creators, Byzantine history videos from other Youtube channels including my own, and links to other blogs.
Once in a while post something that has a controversial angle and be prepared for a heated argument in the comments. It is not always guaranteed that every post you make will get tons of likes, comments, and shares. If you really want to post something that has a sure chance of getting plenty of engagement, you have to take the red pill. By this I mean taking the risk of posting something that may be controversial. Based on my experience, there were some posts I just posted to my feed basically because I thought it would be a great idea, little did I know that it would spark such great controversy. For other posts I already knew there would be a lot of controversy, but I still chose to post them anyway for the sake of engagement. Just recently, I’ve had 3 posts that I first shared on my Instagram and later on my Facebook which sparked a lot of controversy, but still got a lot of likes, comments, and shares. For a content creator, genuine engagement is everything. These controversial posts included one on the Byzantine victory over the Sassanids at the Battle of Nineveh in 627, the Byzantine defeat to the Seljuks at the Battle of Myriokephalon in 1176, and very recently one I made about the consecration of the Hagia Sophia in 537. The controversy these posts raised mostly had to do with national identity and ethnic origins which led to numerous comments and heated debates about these said topics. It would be too lengthy to go into detail about what exactly was debated in the comments, but the comments on the post never stopped and so did the likes. In fact there were already too many comments to reply to. The main thing I am trying to point out here is that no matter how much of a headache it can give you when you post something rather controversial, these posts will no doubt get a lot of interaction and feedback, thus this could help grow your account and its following. The same thing could be said as well when I shared these posts to my Facebook page, as there these same posts did get a lot of likes and shares, thus boosting my page likes and following. Now when it comes to posting things that are rather controversial especially when you get a lot of comments in which some may be critical or even negative or sometimes plainly silly, the trick is to read them carefully to understand what they mean and do not take them personally. You can simply reply to these comments saying that you did not mean to offend anyone with the post, or you could simply ignore the negative comments and delete them from your feed if you want to avoid this kind of headache, and personally I do both. On the other hand, I would say that having comments no matter how negative they are is a sure sign that your posts are on the right track as it is better to get negative feedback rather than having none or half-hearted ones.
Sometimes the most popular posts are those that you least expect to be popular. Based on my 1-year experience of posting Byzantine related content, it so happens that the posts that you least expect to have the most interactions are the ones that do rather than the posts that you expect a lot of interactions from. An example of this is just recently when I posted something about the consecration of the Hagia Sophia in 537 and at first, I thought it would just be an ordinary post, however it wasn’t. The same too could be said about the Battle of Myriokephalon post as well as one I did on the Byzantine history of Thessaloniki, another one on the 11th century Viking Harald Hardrada who famously served in Byzantium’s Varangian Guard unit, and one about how the Byzantines saw the Slavs in which I posted months ago. I first thought they would just be rather ordinary posts but in the end they turned out to be posts that just kept on getting likes, comments, and shares. The point you can’t really tell which post will get a lot of likes no matter how well-planned it is or how much analyzing you make before posting it because it is hard to predict human behavior and their reactions.
Stick to what you know and what you are good at but also be open to exploring other things that are related. This means that for example if your account or page is really focused on Byzantine history which happens to be your specialty, then stick to it in order to improve your knowledge of it. The moment you post something else, your viewers may either get confused thinking you are not really serious about what you are posting about or this could also mean that you don’t really care but rather just want to post something because it is popular. On the other hand, posting things you may not know too much about just because you want to experiment can be very risky especially if those new topics such as for example Ottoman history, British history, or World War II history are not your specialty, thus you could get into more trouble that way when posting the wrong facts especially since you are not familiar with them. However, if you are a general history enthusiast, this would all be fine especially if you already know the facts. Now, the one thing I suggest when it comes to experimenting to go a bit off-topic just to try out new things and to be open-minded about it is to post something related to what you do but not exactly the same old kind of things you do, and in my case, it would mean posting something that is not entirely about Byzantium but has a Byzantium related angle to it. I have done these kinds of posts a number of times such as when I posted an artwork of mine depicting the famous 13th century Crusader ruler Jean de Brienne whose story was not entirely about Byzantium but about a Western Latin and there just happened to be a Byzantine angle to his story. Keep an open mind in exploring other things to post as sometimes it could end up becoming boring to just stick to the same range of topics, however I suggest that you experiment in doing this kind of trick only if you feel comfortable in doing so, as if not then it would seem either awkward, confusing, or that you posted something without knowing anything much about it as after all it is always important to get your information right and know what you are posting very well before posting it.
Enjoy what you do and let your passions flow. Last but not the least, this is the most important lesson I’ve learned when it comes to creating online content. It is after all my passion for Byzantine history and posting things about it that kept my sites going on and growing. Surely, there were times when there was little progress in my sites such as a slow growth of followers and interactions, but this still did not stop me from continuing to post content, in fact all these setbacks made me rethink how to post my content and what I should post. It was through persistence and determination that kept me going on, thus at the end I never stopped creating posts. In just a year I have posts with hundreds and some with even thousands of likes as well as over 6000 followers, and this is certainly why I should keep moving forward. If Byzantine history was not really a real passion but just a short-lived interest, then I would have possibly given up on posting just a few months later. Of course, other than passion, it is also vision that keeps me going as after all I do not just post because I want to or out of money but because I want to continue sharing more and more about the endless world of Byzantine history to others. Surely, success does come with time especially when you do something like mine that is passion driven, so basically you just have to wait and one day things will just fall in to place as in my case, it really did take time for my account to grow.
2021 Byzantine History Videos from No Budget Films and Byzantine Themed Artworks
For the past 2 years now, I have been doing Byzantine Lego films for my channel No Budget Films, however for this year rather than doing a full-feature Lego film or Lego short-films on Byzantine history, I did a 9-episode mixed-media audio-epic series on the last years of the Byzantine Empire from when the Byzantines gained back Constantinople from the Latins in 1261 ending with the fall of Constantinople to the Ottomans in 1453. This 9-part series was a follow-up to the previous 3-part audio-epic series I made last year The 57 Years: Byzantium in Exile (2020) wherein the previous one discussed the 57 years between 1204 and 1261 wherein Constantinople was under the Latin Empire ever since the 4th Crusade captured it in 1204 ending when the Byzantines recaptured it in 1261. The follow-up series I made this year which was The Last Roman Dynasty now focuses on the Palaiologos Dynasty which was the last ruling dynasty of the Byzantine Empire beginning with its founder Michael VIII Palaiologos (r. 1261-1282) and ending with the last Byzantine emperor Constantine XI Palaiologos (r. 1449-1453). Each episode of the series discusses a set of years between 1261 and 1453 and all episodes were narrated by myself while the visuals were either artworks by other online artists and myself, photographs of real locations, historical images, and maps of the era, and only in the last episodes was there dramatization wherein I role-played as the last emperor Constantine XI voicing over as him while 3 of my friends voiced over 3 other characters in the 1453 Fall of Constantinople story mainly the conquering sultan Mehmed II, the Byzantine-allied Genoese general Giovanni Giustiniani, and the Byzantine emperor’s top advisor Loukas Notaras. All 9 episodes of this series will be linked below including what years these particular episodes were set in.
Apart from creating articles and videos on Byzantine history, another major highlight of 2021 for me was undoubtedly creating a vast set of Byzantine themed artworks wherein I’ve experimented using different art styles and subjects whether they were acrylic paintings on canvas, black and white art, purely traditional art, a mix of traditional and digital art, Byzantine-Star Wars crossovers, miniature character portraits, genealogies of dynasties, and recreations of historical manuscripts from the Byzantine era. For my colored artworks, I manually drew the characters by hand while I used Photoshop to polish and add more details to it including the colored backgrounds, and Greek pattern frame in which some of my colored drawings use for design purposes. One artwork here which happened to be the first one I did for this year which happened to be very memorable as well as successful online was my own visual structure of the Late Roman army with its ranks illustrated by myself. Other kinds of art styles I experimented with as well included one I did quite recently in the form of an intricate medieval stained-glass which here was my own artwork depicting the Latin emperor Jean de Brienne (r. 1229-1237)- which was already mentioned and seen earlier, thus I would no longer include it in this part- and one kind of style I have also done for the first time which was in illustrating a woman’s dress as well as the female physique considering that it was quite a revealing fashion piece wherein I did this artwork as a Byzantine inspired fashion concept for today’s fashion scene. Not to mention, another unique style I once experimented on was in the Portuguese blue and white style azulejo tiles wherein I made a portrait of the last Byzantine emperor Constantine XI in this said style. These said artworks of mine this year will be displayed below in chronological form with a quick description of what they are, although first I will go with my colored artworks this year. The miniature character portraits on the other hand will not make any appearance here as they are too many in number, however some of them will appear in the dynasty genealogies I’ve made which will be displayed here as well, while if you want to see the other miniature character portraits I’ve made, you can check the rest of the 12-chapters of my alternate history series which were linked above.
Another new art style I’ve experimented on this year was in doing black and white drawings wherein 4 were portraits of Byzantine emperors namely Zeno (r. 474-475/ 476-491), Constans II (r. 641-668), Constantine VII (r. 913-959), and John III Vatatzes (r. 1222-1254) wherein the emperors appear as the central object surrounded by a black and white frame with an intricate pattern which was honestly very complicated in the process of sketching it. This kind of art style however was not my own creation, but rather it was inspired by another artist who I follow, and other than doing portraits of Byzantine emperors in this kind of style, I also experimented in doing a Byzantine-Star Wars crossover in this kind of style by making a portrait of Emperor Palpatine from Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi (1983) dressed as a Byzantine emperor in a Byzantine throne but on Death Star II as in the movie. Another black and white artwork I’ve done was one of the 6 emperors of the 22-year anarchy period (695-717) and an architectural sketch of the 12th century Pantokrator monastery in Constantinople which also happens to be the only architectural artwork I’ve done for this year.
Now one of the most memorable things this year when it came to doing Byzantine themed art was experimenting by recreating historical Byzantine era manuscripts depicting emperors and other historical figures in their history. Clearly, I had no idea at first about recreating historical manuscripts in my own style until just out of boredom I experimented on recreating the one-dimensional and partially faded 14th century manuscript depicting the Byzantine emperor Andronikos III Palaiologos (r. 1328-1341) and his wife the empress Anna of Savoy seen next to him, and at first I honestly thought I was just doodling, however I ended up deciding to recreate the entire manuscript itself wherein I drew the emperor and empress on their respective frames and afterwards colored it, then following it after about a week of drawing I filled in the background using photoshop, thus recreating my first Byzantine era manuscript. This first Byzantine era manuscript I recreated may have been quite accidental, but up to this point it happens to be one of my most notable works which I in fact even still use as the cover photo for my Facebook page and when asked to present an artwork of my own I choose that one. Now following the creation of my first recreated Byzantine era manuscript, I did another one recreating the 1301 Chrysobull or golden bull of Emperor Andronikos II Palaiologos (r. 1282-1328) which is actually the front page of a 4-page imperial document where the emperor Andronikos II is depicted presenting this document to Christ, however my recreation of this may have not been exactly accurate to the original but it was really my take on it. Another Byzantine era manuscript I recreated was one depicting the historian Niketas Choniates (1155-1217) and another one showing the imperial Komnenos family wherein you see the emperor Alexios I Komnenos (r. 1081-1118) with his wife Empress Irene Doukaina and in the middle their son and the future emperor John II Komnenos (r. 1118-1143) crowned by angels with Christ enthroned above them. These 4 recreated manuscripts right next to the original one they were based on will then appear below.
Lastly, another form of art I have also tried and made a number of this year was in creating visual genealogies of some Byzantine imperial dynasties in which this required more digital skills than manual drawing as this required a lot of photoshop skills to create in order to make it a systematic chart with equal measures while the only part drawn by hand were the miniature images of the people on the chart, and so far, I have made 4 of these. The first genealogy I made this year was of the Justinian Dynasty (518-602) which however included a mash-up of my own miniature drawings of members of the dynasty while others were already existing portraits of these emperors. Following this I made a visual genealogy of the Isaurian Dynasty (717-802), and later one of the Doukas Dynasty (1059-1081), and just right now one of the Heraclian Dynasty (610-711), and to add more depth to it rather than making it appear as simple as a plain white chart seen in schools, I chose to add a faded texture over the charts to give it a bit of a historical touch. On the other hand, I included some imperial symbols such as the double-headed eagle and Byzantine flags to add more of a historical touch to them as well. Now, the 4 imperial genealogies of 4 different dynasties I made over the course of this year will appear below.
Interviews and Works on Other Byzantine Sites and Quick Reviews on Byzantine History Groups on Facebook
Of course, I have to mention that as of this year, my greatest milestones were not only creating the 12 chapters of my Byzantine Alternate History series, creating 9 episodes for a Byzantine audio-epic series, or creating numerous works of Byzantine Themed art, rather the greatest milestones for me were the interviews I had by other Byzantine history content creators and writing an article for another Byzantine history site. Truly it was such an honor to do these things as this year was the first time for me to actually be asked to do an interview on my passion for Byzantine history and my first time to be a co-author for another Byzantine history site which was surely something I have long been dreaming to do. In June of this year, I experienced a truly great and memorable moment as this was my first ever interview on my Byzantine history enthusiasm and about the things I create for the history of Byzantium, and this here was a simple 3 question interview for the site of Byzantine Tales, the creators of the graphic novel Theophano: A Byzantine Tale and just recently they too have created a new graphic novel on Emperor Basil II (r. 976-1025). This first interview of mine was truly a very proud moment for me as I really wanted to let others know what I think of Byzantine history and what got me into it which are exactly the questions asked of me there. My next interview then came in November of this year and this was for the site of Associzione Culturale Byzantion by the author of the other Byzantine era novel The Usurper in which I have also made a review on (read it here), and now this interview happened to be more complex than the first one as it not only asked me 3 but 10 questions and not only were they questions about what got me into Byzantium or what I think about it but more specifically about the Byzantine content I create including my alternate history series and my favorite and least favorite emperors. Again, it was truly an honor to do this interview as here I got to explain more to others my thoughts about Byzantium and what it means to me. However, the biggest milestone for me this year was really writing an article for the Byzantine Real History site as ever since the beginning of this year it was my dream as it was really this site that taught me a lot on Byzantine history especially about the lesser-known things, thus it became really my dream to write for it. Now the process to write for this site was surely a challenge, and if not even an ordeal as first of all I had to step out of my comfort zone by writing something more scholarly and historically accurate instead of in the more loose and creative way I write my blogs as after all this would be an article scholars would read, while writing for that site needed intense research as well and to write about my topic which was about the failed 1235-36 attempt of the exiled Byzantine Empire of Nicaea and the Second Bulgarian Empire to besiege Constantinople from the Latin Empire, I had to go as far as buying a rare book to do the research. Writing the article was a major challenge too especially since it was for another site and not to mention it was quite stressful too especially on whether the article will actually be posted or not, however at the end it all fell into place and thus this article was true enough published, and the medieval stained-glass style artwork I made of the Latin emperor Jean de Brienne as well as the black and white artwork of the Emperor of Nicaea John III Vatatzes as mentioned earlier were part of this article. Now, the two interviews as well as the article I made for the Byzantine Real History site which was therefore my ultimate achievements for this year will all be linked below.
Reviews on 6 Different Byzantine History Facebook Groups:
Here, I will be reviewing some of the Byzantine history Facebook groups I am part of wherein I share my posts to, although I have joined a lot of them, I will only be mentioning 6 here in which all of these are the ones I am most active in as for the other groups, I hardly share posts to it. Take note that my reviews on these groups are all based on my experiences as others may have had different thoughts on these groups and different experiences in them. The titles of each group will also serve as links if you want to check these groups out.
Byzantine Real History (BRH)- If there is any group where I like to share my Byzantine history content to the most, it is definitely this one Byzantine Real History (BRH). This group is possibly where I learned the most especially on new information on Byzantine history while this group among all other groups offers the most detailed content posted by other group members as after all this group is made to show what Byzantium really is as a great and sophisticated empire rather than the stereotyped corrupt, decadent, and treacherous empire Westerners describe it as. Members in this group too happen to be very enthusiastic about Byzantine history and are eager to learn new things about it, and not to mention the page that runs it Byzantine Real History does offer very informative posts on Byzantine history and in fact their way of posting served as an inspiration for the way I post my content on Instagram and Facebook. A lot of what I know about Byzantine history especially when it comes to lesser-known elements of it was mostly due to the BRH site and it is for this reason as I mentioned earlier that it was very much my dream to write for their site in which I finally accomplished before finishing off the year. Now back to the group, what I like most again is the passion for Byzantium shown by its members that when I share something to it, it is in this group where the content I share gets quite a lot of interactions, at least most of the time; thus overall, I would say this group is really the most hard-core when it comes to groups on Byzantine history which is why I would suggest that you should not be a beginner but already know a bit about Byzantium to be in this group. However, when posting to this group, sometimes it does take time for the admins to approve a post but it is still a good sign in a way as it shows that the group admins would really thoroughly examine what you share to make it fit everything with what is shared in the group and to make sure it is factual. On the other hand, something both positive and negative about sharing content to this group is that you have to make an extra effort to share something, meaning you have to be a bit more serious as a lot of the members here are authorities in Byzantine history whether they are professors or authors, the positive part here though is that in this group you could actually get the attention of these authorities if you are lucky. Overall, this group no matter how much rules and restrictions it has when it comes to sharing content is really what I would call the gold standard of online Byzantine communities as it is in this group based on my experience where you can get the most valuable information on Byzantine history, and the perfect thing here is that this group is focused on the entire history of Byzantium as a whole and all aspects of it not just certain elements of Byzantine society or a certain period of it, thus making it certainly the gold standard Byzantine history group.
Roman and Byzantine History- Now this was in fact the first ever history Facebook group I joined all the way back in 2018 and basically, I joined this group because back then I was very much into Roman history, and it was in fact through this group where my interest for Byzantine history started, as after all if not for my interest in Roman history, I would’ve not really been interested in Byzantine history. Now the previous group I mentioned being Byzantine Real History happens to be a more hard-core one that I would not really suggest for beginners in Byzantine history, thus for beginners in both Roman and Byzantine history, this group here is THE group. The reason to why I recommend this group for beginners in Roman and Byzantine history is that this group generally is made up of students and beginners in this kind of history while the environment too is mostly relaxed meaning that posts do not get much interactions and there are usually not so much heated debates in the comments, thus this group with its chill nature is a good starting point to get to know others who share a common interest in this kind of history while the lack of heated arguments in the comments also makes it a good start as you would not really want to start an interest already getting into arguments. What this group lacks however is enthusiasm and insider knowledge as usually the content shared here are things those very familiar with Rome and Byzantium already know very well, but again if you just want to chill and learn a few things here and there, this is the perfect group. On the other hand, this group’s name is also misleading as “Roman” and “Byzantine” were the same thing as after all Byzantium was really the Eastern Roman Empire, thus the old Roman Empire itself continued, but other than that I still think this is also a very good group to share information on Roman and Byzantine history especially more general information. This group although specializes more on Roman history before the founding of Constantinople and the Eastern Roman Empire in 330AD based on my experience as from what I’ve noticed here, most things that members share here are about the Roman Republic and empire with less being on Byzantium, but really I would say this group is the most general of all as here you can post things from the founding of Rome in 753BC all the way up to the Fall of Constantinople in 1453.
Byzantine Army- Now this group is what I would call something rather very specific when it comes to interests as not only does it specialize in the history of Byzantium but more specifically on Byzantine military history, thus I strongly suggest that you join this group if you are very much more into Byzantine weapons, soldiers, battle tactics, armor, and military structures, while when it comes to sharing posts to this group, it is always best to share it if it has to do a lot about Byzantine warfare, thus it is usually the posts I make that have to do with warfare or my drawings of Byzantine soldiers and generals, or posts about battles that I share to this group. Overall, I highly recommend this group especially if you want to know more about the arms and armor of the Byzantines or if you even want to buy them, though for me I basically follow this group when I want to know more exactly about Byzantine arms and armor. Now when it comes to sharing posts to this group, usually members are often enthusiastic and interact a lot with your posts especially since this group has a very specific interest, thus its members which would generally be a more specific group of people more specifically interested in Byzantine warfare and the military would more or less be more enthusiastic seeing your posts. Overall, I would suggest this group for beginners as it is easy to reach and posts are usually easy to understand, however it is for those who are more specifically interested in historical warfare that I suggest this group to.
The Late Roman Group- If you are looking for a group that is very specific about a certain era in history, I suggest joining the Late Roman Group especially if your main interest is Roman history from the 3rd to 7th centuries which includes the early phase of Byzantine history. Now I wouldn’t say this group is a good starting point for beginners as the content shared here is usually a bit too insider and more niche as it is basically all about late Roman/ early Byzantine history rather than Roman history as a whole, but if you are really into this era, this is the best group. If you like reenactments or if you are a reenactor especially when it comes to late Roman military, this is definitely the perfect group. Since from my experience this group is very insider, the interests are in many ways very narrowed down but surely the members here are really enthusiastic especially if you share anything most especially about the late Roman army, thus certainly sharing this kind of content will get a lot of interactions as very early this year when I shared my visual chart of the late Roman army structure, it was in this group where this post got the most interactions, most especially passionate comments and the same thing could be said here about my drawing of Emperor Theodosius I (r. 379-395) as when I shared it here, it received a lot of likes and comments in which the comments were true enough very honest ones wherein members really spoke out their opinions about the historical context and about the emperor Theodosius I himself rather than simply comments praising your work. On the other hand, the members in this group as I can say are very dedicated to what they do which in this case is anything about late Roman history and just like the previous group I mentioned, this is another perfect one if you are very interested in historical warfare.
Rome and Constantinople (New Rome). The Roman (and Byzantine) Empire- This group would be in many ways similar to the Roman and Byzantine History group I mentioned earlier as the subject matter here is very general that you can discuss anything about Roman and Byzantine history from the founding of Rome in 753BC to the Fall of Constantinople in 1453, thus I would say this group with it being most general and not very specific about anything in Roman and Byzantine history, it is another good group for beginners. However, although this group has the same kind of relatively chill environment as the previously mentioned Roman and Byzantine History group, this one has a lot more enthusiasm in the likes and comments, but the major difference between this group and the previously mentioned one is that this one has more Byzantine content shared whereas the previous one mentioned has more Ancient Roman content shared. However, unlike the other group previously mentioned in which content is mostly general knowledge of Roman and Byzantine history, this one has more insider knowledge, although still very general when it comes to history.
Love Letters to Greece- Now this group would simply be an honorable mention in this list of groups as I do not really share things that much to this group but I just want to mention it because a lot of my content was shared to it as true enough it is managed by my friend and fellow Byzantine history enthusiast. This group now is not overall a Byzantine history group but rather is something generally about Greece and Greek history, thus when I share content to this group it is usually things in Byzantine history that have a lot to do with Greece as Greece true enough had always been part of the Byzantine world. Byzantine history now is just one of the many things you can share to this group as really you can share literally anything about Greek history from Ancient Greece all the way to modern day Greece as well as Greek entertainment and sports, and anything about Orthodoxy and the Orthodox world including things about Russia, Serbia, Armenia, Ethiopia, etc. Now if you are really passionate about Greece and its Byzantine heritage, this is the perfect group to share your posts to while if you are here, you will also discover a lot of new information about Greek culture.
What’s in Store for 2022 and Conclusion
To put it simply, 2021 was a hell of a ride when it came to creating Byzantine history content and I sure went a really long way starting all the way from the bottom and now rising up to actually creating content that does have a following. Now as 2021 comes to an end, it is time to briefly discuss what I will do in 2022 and basically, I will continue whatever I did this year except expand more on it. For next year, I will continue posting the same Byzantine themed artworks and trivia as well as in experimenting on posting contemporary style art portraying Byzantine characters, but also to post things others don’t know much about yet including lesser known battles in Byzantine history, more about the Byzantine army, lesser known emperors and their stories, and again I will do the same trick of experimenting with posting things that are in a way related to Byzantium but not exactly about Byzantium, and in this case I will do a series on pre-Constantinople Byzantium meaning more on the history of the city of Byzantium before it became Constantinople in 330. Of course, for next year I will follow the same tips I just shared with you, thus I will continue to post original content as well as keeping the posts factual and informative but at the same time fun and engaging, and of course once a while I would still take the risk of posting something that may spark controversy as I just learned this would help in boosting your posts. Now other than the posts I make, I also have other much bigger plans when it comes to anything Byzantine related next year and although I would not really be doing an alternate history series anymore except for maybe a few extra chapters, I still plan to publish all 12 chapters into a sort of book; now, the articles I have in mind for next year would be again more interactive ones like the ones I did this year wherein I had some interviewing other Byzantine history enthusiasts, and one of them would be an article about how Byzantine history can be popular and why it does surprisingly happen to have a following these days. Of course, there is a lot more in store for 2022 that I have no idea yet as of now but for my channel I am in fact now in the process of creating the script for a new Lego film set in the 12th century that is fact inspired by chapter IX of my alternate history series in which filming will begin very soon. Lastly, for 2022 the biggest project I have in mind is to finally launch my own Byzantine related business wherein I will launch my Byzantine themed board game as well as card games with my art in them, but of course it is just the beginning of it as this will be a whole long process altogether while my Instagram account as well as my Facebook page will be channels to promote and sell my Byzantine themed products. Another thing too that I will hope to achieve in 2022 is to write more articles for other history sites in which I have already made plans of doing but of course my other ultimate goal for the new year is to again travel to another Byzantine era destination whether Greece, somewhere in Turkey, the Balkans, or possibly even Armenia or Egypt, but to simply put it short I really see the new year will be another great one when it comes to my Byzantine journey.
Again 2021 was one hell of a ride, one with many ups and downs, great achievements and great defeats, there were times I have been so optimistic and enthusiastic especially about posting things and some moments wherein I was very down and defeated, but at the end all I can say is that it ended well. I was able to accomplish many things that I have set my goals on at the early part of the year. Sometimes at this point, I still feel like it was just yesterday when I started my account and all that, but when looking back at everything I accomplished in the year, I just have to say that I’ve done so much. Sure 2021 wasn’t entirely all full of highlights and adventure that at some times I did not nothing else but write blogs and create videos to the point that everything just kept feeling the same, but it was truly a year where I got deeper and deeper into my passion for Byzantine history. It was the first time I created content for a much wider audience. I am truly grateful to have met many others who share the same interests as me from different parts of the world and also to get the chance to see actual Byzantine era artifacts when travelling to New York and Washington DC, and before I finish off this post, I would like to thank them all for playing a major part in my 2021 Byzantine journey. Really what 2021 taught me especially when it came to creating online content is that you are not really going to get everything your way that easily, you have to fight for it but of course in a smart and friendly and not aggressive way but this definitely means you have to show some persistence and determination as well a competitive streak especially when it comes to getting yourself recognized. Of course, the most important thing is still your passion for what you do and, in my case, the real reason to why I am here now with a much larger following and more interactions yet still more and more posts coming in is all because of how passionate I am with Byzantium and how I want to keep on sharing its interesting history. Anyway, I guess this is all for now, and so it is time to close my 2021 Byzantine journey, and again I want to thank you all viewers as it is because of you why my posts just keep on going, this is Powee Celdran the Byzantine Time Traveler signing off, have a great year ahead thank you all and goodbye!
Thanks to all those that supported me and had a major role in my Byzantine Journey this year, IG accounts will be linked with their names:
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