Historical Notes

  • Although a work of Alternate History, Of Summer and Winter takes place during the period of the powerful Komnenos Dynasty of Byzantium. It needs to be enforced that the current emperor is not Alexios I Komnenos, and that Anna is not his daughter, Anna Komnene, who penned The Alexiad in the 1100s. Anna was a common Greek name of the period that is as comparable to naming a girl Jane in the English language. The name “Alexios” did inspire me to name Anna’s son “Alex”, which could very well be a short form of “Alexander”. Before finality, I may change the dynastic name, or eliminate it completely in the next edit to avoid confusion.
  • The account of the Nika Riots as described by Anna to the Norman lord, Patricius, is an actual historical event that occurred during the reign of Justinian I in the 6th Century.
  • A detailed and interactive map of Constantinople is available at http://www.byzantium1200.com/. It’s a fantastic project with lots of great information that has helped me immensely. I highly recommend the site to anyone with a desire to learn more about the city, or just wants to follow along.
  • The use of the Boukoleon and Great Palace complex during the 11th Century is debatable. I just found out that at the period this takes place, the Imperials preferred the Blachernae Palace, which was set further back on the peninsula cornered by the Golden Horn and the Theodosian walls. I’m sorry for that inaccuracy, but I’d prefer to live right on the sea. 😉
  • I’m not 100% sure of chariot racing still being done in the Hippodrome in the 11th Century, or the continued use of the Green and Blue factions, however, I cannot find evidence to the contrary. My research has shown that games were still being played there, and with the Byzantines love of all things still Roman, they probably would have kept up traditions for as long as fiscally possible, which wasn’t long after the Crusades started to drain the coffers and the Ottomans started knocking on the walls.
  • I’ve been told that the Varangians were out of Constantinople by this time. That is incorrect. The “Viking Age” supposedly ended in 1066 with the death of Harald Hardrada (who served in the Guard himself) in England, but that did not stop the flow of men from the North to Constantinople to seek their riches. Anna Komnene describes them in The Alexiad,  and other sources even later still attest to the presence of the Varangian Guard up until the fall of Constantinople in 1453.
  • I portray both Thorfinnr and Ragnvaldr as maintaining the Norse religion. This is shaky, as by this time, Christianity was spreading rapidly through Scandinavia; probably coming back from Constantinople with Varangians who served. That doesn’t mean that everyone was Christian, and paganism was probably more prevalent in small towns and villages, rather than in the larger settlements, such as Birka and Visby. However, despite their non-Christian beliefs, Varangian Guardsmen were permitted access to the Hagia Sophia during liturgy and they even…

Got bored. 😉

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