Cassandra Marcella October 20, 2011 Byzantine's Bad Rap Cassandra Marcella October 20, 2011 I love Slate's Explainer column. Today's edition is on how Byzantine came to mean "deviously convoluted" Here's the crux: Was the Byzantine system of government especially complex?Only compared to those of medieval Europe. Read more here. And related, I LOVED LOVED LOVED these free podcasts - 12 Byzantine Rulers by Lars Brownsworth. The podcasts are also available on iTunes. Very lively, very political and very interesting history. Also a good bit of church history. Many of these great stories not commonly known or taught in US schools. His book Lost to the West: The Forgotten Byzantine Empire That Rescued Western Civilization alludes to that (and is very readable too).