Best Roman Emire podcasts we could find (Updated January 2019)
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Emperors of Rome
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“Great empires are not maintained by timidity.” - Tacitus. A podcast series looking at the rulers of the ancient Roman empire, by Dr Rhiannon Evans and Matt Smith.
 
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The ultimate triumvirate! Three people present three Roman history topics each for three minutes. In this episode you'll here: - The unfortunate demise of Cinna the poet - Cicero's reluctance to send panthers to those in need - The sensitive subject of baldness - PTSD bought on by the Carthaginian War - Women donning a toga - Claudius' edicts a ...…
 
Saturnalia was the biggest festival on the Roman calendar - that special time in December when you gathered all your loved ones close, made a sacrifice to Saturn, and celebrated the festive season. Guest: Dr Rhiannon Evans (Senior Lecturer, Classics and Ancient History, La Trobe University).
 
The power and prevalence of Latin - how did it develop, how has it influenced language, and where can we still come across it today? Guest: Dr Rhiannon Evans (Senior Lecturer, Classics and Ancient History, La Trobe University).
 
Spartacus amassed an army and had some victories against the Romans. While he was ultimately unsuccessful, the story of his rebellion against oppressors would grow, and find a sympathetic audience in the modern time. Guest: Dr Rhiannon Evans (Senior Lecturer, Classics and Ancient History, La Trobe University).…
 
When Spartacus escaped the gladiator training school he may not have realised what he had started. What began as a simple bid for freedom soon became a cause for slaves around Italy, and he attracted thousands of followers. The Romans were forced to pay attention to this enemy from within, despite the fact that there was little glory to be foun ...…
 
The Roman empire was made mighty through the hard work of slaves, but occasionally they escaped, banded together and fought back. The last and greatest slave rebellion was lead by Spartacus, a man who has come to symbolise the oppressed and resistance against tyranny. We begin the story of his life by looking at his time as a gladiator. Guest: ...…
 
Slaves were an integral part of the Roman society, responsible for much of the domestic duties and manual labour for any self respecting and vaguely wealthy Roman citizen. Life as a slave was harsh – you were treated as property, the best you could hope for was freedom, and at worst being worked to death. But it’s unlikely Rome would be a city ...…
 
Classical authors such as Cicero and Plutarch would have us believe that the elderly were revered, active citizens of ancient Rome. But on closer inspection that may not be the case, and older people mightn’t have the power and respect in society that we first supposed. Guest: Professor Tim Parkin (Elizabeth and James Tatoulis Chair of Classics ...…
 
The women of Rome are largely missing from the written records, and often come up only tangently in works by and or about the men in their lives. They’re often painted as villains, temptresses, and poisoners – Clodia is no exception. Guest: Dr Rhiannon Evans (Senior Lecturer, Classics and Ancient History, La Trobe University)…
 
A silence settled over the Theatre of Pompey, and Rome moved quickly. Will Brutus and Cassius be hailed as liberators and restorers of the Roman republic, or will Rome lament the demise of its leader? Much of it comes down to the actions of Antony, and the legacy left in the will of Caesar. ‘Caesar’s Gallic War’ podcast is now crowdfunding on k ...…
 
Julius Caesar was popular with the people, but that didn't extend as far as the senate. Wary of the risk of a new monarchy and eager to restore the proud Roman republic, Brutus, Cassius and Decimus decide to do away with their dictator. Recorded live at the Wheeler Centre, Melbourne, on 8th August 2018. ‘Caesar’s Gallic War’ podcast is now crow ...…
 
For the fourth time, listeners provide questions and Rhiannon and Matt answer! In this episode: - Was Livia the scheming sociopath that Robert Graves portrayed? - What is the difference between Caesar and Augustus? Are the titles the same? - What did the Romans write their manuscripts on? - How did the Romans picture the shape of their empire? ...…
 
After his year as consul, Caesar heads north to govern the province of Cisalpine Gaul. He will spend years fighting against Gaul, extending the empire, and establishing his reputation as a mighty leader. We now give an introductory episode to his text. This is the first episode of a new premium podcast series, ‘Caesar’s Gallic War’, now crowdfu ...…
 
Sallust was a Roman politician and historian writing during the time of the fall of the Roman republic. The two main surviving examples of his work are The Cataline Conspiracy and The Jugurthine War and they give an informative and partisan view of the Roman events. Dr Rhiannon Evans (Senior Lecturer, Classics and Ancient History, La Trobe Univ ...…
 
The first triumvirate is over, but for Julius Caesar he got the desired outcome – he’s now poised with an army to march into Rome. Over the next few years he will exert his influence over the empire, and his legacy will bring and end to the Roman republic. Part VI of The Fall of the Roman Republic. Dr Rhiannon Evans (Senior Lecturer, Classics a ...…
 
The Roman republic is now at a point where it can be manipulated, particularly if powerful people decide to work together to further their interests, which is exactly what Caesar, Pompey and Crassus have in mind. Part V of The Fall of the Roman Republic. Dr Rhiannon Evans (Senior Lecturer, Classics and Ancient History, La Trobe University)…
 
Rome is now past the years of Sulla as dictator, but the rich and powerful are only encouraged, finding new ways to attain power. Both Crassus and Pompey use the might of the sword to force their agenda, while Cataline prefers the old fashioned method of a dagger to the back. Part IV of The Fall of the Roman Republic. Dr Rhiannon Evans (Senior ...…
 
As the senate clawed more power from the people, it was inevitable that a few would rise above others, and take over command and influence with an army. Marius, Sulla, and the civil war that followed would just be another log on the funeral pyre of the Roman republic. Part III of The Fall of the Roman Republic. Dr Rhiannon Evans (Senior Lecture ...…
 
The Roman Republic was still going strong 400 years after it had been established but cracks were beginning to show. We can put a year on when it started to go wrong: 133BCE. In this year there would be two significant deaths that would begin the end. Part II of The Fall of the Roman Republic. Dr Rhiannon Evans (Senior Lecturer, Classics and An ...…
 
The Roman Republic is often held up as a foundation model of western democracy, and while it worked well for some of the Romans at the time, it did have its flaws. These became more pronounced as the centuries passed. Part I of The Fall of the Roman Republic. Dr Rhiannon Evans (Senior Lecturer, Classics and Ancient History, La Trobe University)…
 
Herodes was a distinguished Roman senator from Greece, and also had the reputation of being the greatest sophist of the age. While he wasn’t always the most popular person in his home province, he did do a lot to elevate the culture and standing of Athens in the Roman Empire. Guest: Dr Estelle Strazdins, (Research Fellow, Australian Archaeologi ...…
 
Determined to end his time as Emperor on a high note, Septimius Severus sets his sights on what is one of the few places in the empire having trouble with the locals – Brittania, an island that has never been entirely under Roman rule. Guest: Dr Caillan Davenport (Roman History, Macquarie University).…
 
Three completely different events in the reign of Septimius Severus. Act I – If you build it they will come Septimius Severus was establishing a dynasty, and one of the best ways to do that is through building. Not only did you get to beautify the empire, but it gives the opportunity to list your names and accomplishments for all to see Act II ...…
 
Three different events in the reign of Septimius Severus. Act I - A hair of the beard Gaius Fulvius Plautianus was a trusted relative of Septimius who became pretorian prefect and remained a close advisor. There was no love lost with the rest of the emperor’s family, which led to a swift demise. Act II - Princes who adore you Septimius’ sons An ...…
 
Septimius Severus is now ruler or Rome without opposition, had been all things, and all was of little value. He is now distracted with the care, not of acquiring, but of preserving an empire. Guest: Dr Caillan Davenport (Roman History, Macquarie University).
 
Septimius Severus is proclaimed the new Emperor of Rome, but doesn’t have time to rest on his laurels. With rivals to the east and west, not to mention the problematic Parthians, he has an empire to consolidate. Guest: Dr Caillan Davenport (Roman History, Macquarie University).
 
The Roman Empire shudders in the wake of Commodus’ death, which if you recall, was a matter of months but a whole two emperors ago. Striding into Rome at the head of an army is Septimius Severus, ready to set the right path and found a new, powerful dynasty. Year of the five emperors, take three. Guest: Dr Caillan Davenport (Roman History, Macq ...…
 
Enraged at the lack of a decent bonus, the Praetorian Guard cut down the newly installed Emperor Pertinax and resolve to sell the throne to the highest bidder. Stepping forward with a sufficient bank balance is Didius Julianus, a man with a proven track record in both the military and the senate. What could go wrong? Year of the five emperors, ...…
 
Many saw Pertinax as a safe pair of hands to hold the empire - an old general and close advisor of Antoninus Pius, he represented a regime change from the days of lavish excess of Commodus. But was it too much too soon? Well they don't call 193CE the year of the five emperors for nothing. Guest: Dr Caillan Davenport (Roman History, Macquarie Un ...…
 
Livy was an historian writing during the Augustan age of Rome, who wrote one of the empire’s most famous works – an extensive and exhaustive history, spanning 142 books. Of those we have the first quarter, and they’ve influenced every work on Rome that has been written since. Guest: Professor Ronald Ridley (Honorary,Historical and Philosophical ...…
 
For much of our journey through the Antonine dynasty we’ve had Dio Cassius as our guide. As both a historian and a senator, Dio had a ringside seat to some of the greatest Emperors the Roman empire had seen. He wrote an extensive and what is considered reliable history of the Roman empire, spanning 80 volumes, many of which we have today. Guest ...…
 
Epicureanism was an ancient philosophy founded in Athens which became popular throughout the Roman world. It teaches that the greatest good is to seek modest pleasures, and this will lead to a state of tranquility. Guest: Dr Sonya Wurster (Lecturer in Literature and Philosophy, Yale-NUS, Singapore).
 
The borders of the Roman Empire grew and shrank throughout its history, reaching its greatest extent during the rule of Trajan. How the Romans viewed and managed their provinces changed with the politics of Rome, and their relationship with outside powers influenced what it meant to be a Roman. Guest: Dr Paul Burton (Senior Lecturer, Centre for ...…
 
One thing you can say about the reign of Commodus is that it must have been an interesting time to live in Rome. Between the spectacles in the colosseum and the lowered life expectancy in the Senate, it was just a matter of time until someone took a knife to Commodus, and after almost a century in power, the Antonine dynasty comes to an end. Gu ...…
 
One thing you can say about the reign of Commodus is that it must have been an interesting time to live in Rome. Between the spectacles in the colosseum and the lowered life expectancy in the Senate, it was just a matter of time until someone took a knife to Commodus, and after almost a century in power, the Antonine dynasty comes to an end. Gu ...…
 
Commodus took a hands-off approach to ruling Rome, but what was he doing with all that free time? It turns out quite a lot. Commodus redefined what it meant to be an emperor, on one hand debasing himself by fighting against the lowest classes in the arena, and on the other hand elevating himself to the level of a god and hero. Guest: Dr Rhianno ...…
 
Commodus wasn't the most attentive emperor to rule Rome, preferring to dedicate his time to indulging his vices. Inevitably, someone will step forward to call the shots, as someone has to keep the grain flowing. Guest: Dr Rhiannon Evans (Senior Lecturer, Mediterranean Studies, La Trobe University).
 
With the passing of Marcus Aurelius, his son Commodus is made emperor. The 19 year old youth had been raised knowing the empire would be his to rule, and he spent it doing what he pleased. The next twelve years under the reign of Commodus would be bloody and chaotic, and many historians believe it to mark the beginning of the end of the Roman e ...…
 
Marcus Aurelius faced many threats to Rome during his time as Emperor and spent more time at war than he did at peace. Unlike most Emperors, succession was never an issue, as he had a legitimate son, Commodus, ready to take his place. Guest: Dr Rhiannon Evans (Senior Lecturer, Mediterranean Studies, La Trobe University).…
 
"For it is on behalf of the State that I continue to toil and to undergo dangers and that I have spent so much time here outside of Italy, though already an old man and weak, unable to take either food without pain or sleep without anxiety." - Dio 72:24 An ageing Marcus Aurelius continues to toil and undergo dangers – be they warring tribes to ...…
 
The Meditations of Marcus Aurelius are the private musings of a stoic philosopher, primarily written while he was on campaign during the Marcomannic Wars. While they lack extensive details, they give a rare insight into the mind of an Emperor, and the popularity of the text has shaped our modern understanding of the thoughtful Emperor. Guest: D ...…
 
With the Parthians once again defeated and the Antonine plague sweeping through the empire, Marcus Aurelius must defend Rome from yet another opportunistic enemy – the tribes to the north, or as Rome called them, the barbarians. The northern borders were under threat from a rough coalition chiefly lead by the Marcomanni, and Marcus heads out to ...…
 
As the Parthian War comes to end the troops are dispersed throughout the corners of the Empire, and with them goes the Antonine plague. The effects of the plague will be felt for decades to come, and we know much about it through the extensive writings of the physician Galen. Guest: Dr Leanne McNamara (Classics, La Trobe University).…
 
The reign of Marcus Aurelius and Lucius Verus quickly erupts into war, a state which will continue for the rest of their lives. The first threat the empire encounters comes from the east, where the long-time enemy of the Romans, the Parthians, make their move. Guest: Dr Rhiannon Evans (Senior Lecturer, Mediterranean Studies, La Trobe University).…
 
Introducing Marcus Aurelius: scholar, warrior, philosopher,leader, lover. And his younger brother, Lucius Verus. Guest: Dr Rhiannon Evans (Senior Lecturer, Mediterranean Studies, La Trobe University).
 
When Marcus Aurelius was a young man he was important enough to be given the best education sestertius could buy, in the form of a number of prominent tutors. One of those was the respected senator, Marcus Cornelius Fronto, who remained close to Marcus for the rest of his life. His letters to and from the Emperor, as well their relationship, gi ...…
 
Antoninus became emperor in 138CE as part of a solid succession plan, keeping the empire safe until Marcus Aurelius and Lucius Verus came of age. No one expected him to be so successful, ruling over a peaceful and prosperous Rome for 22 years.
 
Listeners provide questions and Rhiannon and Matt answer! In this episode: - What did the Romans know about China and India? - At what point does someone who is conquered become a slave? - Where did the colours come from for Roman garments? - What did Romans celebrate? - What did Romans eat? - Do we know where Julius Caesar was stabbed? - Who i ...…
 
All our talk of Roman writing has focused on men, for the simple reason that, for the most part, that is all we have. This makes the fragments of work we have by Roman women an important aspect of life and culture in ancient Rome. Unfortunately, it can be covered in a single episode.
 
Juvenal was a poet from the second century CE, and was one of the last and greatest satirical poets of the Roman empire. His five books, collectively known as the Satires, can be a brutal critique of life in Rome, but his use of comedic expression and his tendency to exaggerate has made interpreting them a field of debate.…
 
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