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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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What we do know about Cornelia is mostly through the lens of her famous sons, but to the Romans she was much more than that. She was put on a pedestal, in bronze, no less, as the ideal mother for Romans to aspire to, and may have been quite influential in politics at the time. Guest: Associate Professor Rhiannon Evans (Classics and Ancient Hist ...…
 
Octavian was barely an adult when he arrived in Rome in 44BCE. Two months had passed since his adopted father, Julius Caesar, was murdered by members of the senate who resented his control as dictator. Octavian stood to inherit Caesar’s fortunes, but few could have imagined that he would inherit Caesar’s power. He would become emperor in 27BCE, ...…
 
The Vestals were an order of priestesses who were sacred to Rome, and were respected and referred as symbols of a safe and stable empire. They had the all-important duty of maintaining the sacred flame, and if it were extinguished, it would be a sign of impending disaster. Guest: Dr Peta Greenfield (Public Historian, co-host of 'The Partial His ...…
 
Elagabalus has long been remembered as deviant and sexually depraved. His behaviour was shocking for a Roman citizen, let alone the leader of the empire, and Rome was relieved to see the end of him. Guest: Dr Caillan Davenport (Senior Lecturer, Roman History, Macquarie University/Humboldt Research Fellow, Goethe University, Frankfurt)…
 
When Elagabalus finally reached Rome, the city seemed to hold its breath. The young Emperor embraced both the roles of ruler and high priest of a foreign religion, and there were many that questioned where his priorities lie. Guest: Dr Caillan Davenport (Senior Lecturer, Roman History, Macquarie University/Humboldt Research Fellow, Goethe Unive ...…
 
Macrinus has made a treaty with the Parthians and at long last, the two mighty empires are at peace. It likely won’t last, but at this point it matters little: now he can finally get down to the business of ruling the empire. Guest: Dr Caillan Davenport (Senior Lecturer, Roman History, Macquarie University/Humboldt Research Fellow, Goethe Unive ...…
 
With the murder of Caracalla one of the most unlikely men steps into power. Macrinus is unassuming, of the wrong position, and the wrong class. He’d argue he’s the best man for the job, but very few in Rome would agree with him. Guest: Dr Caillan Davenport (Senior Lecturer, Roman History, Macquarie University)…
 
Assassination was a regular occurrence in the right Roman circles, and the gossip around the senate floor must have frequently turned to who's knifing who. An emperor would need to keep the senate, the army, and the people on side, or risk a well-placed dagger. Guest: Dr Rhiannon Evans (Senior Lecturer, Classics and Ancient History, La Trobe Un ...…
 
By modern standards the Romans had some fairly unusual ideas, which could be putting it mildly when it comes to the subject of adultery. For the most part the Romans were lack lax in repercussions, unless of course you were embarrassing a man of high status. Guest: Dr Rhiannon Evans (Senior Lecturer, Classics and Ancient History, La Trobe Unive ...…
 
While we are lucky that much Roman literature from the late republic and the imperial period comes down to us complete or almost complete, most of the historical and poetic works from the mid-republic have been lost and only survive in fragments. Guest: Dr Hannah Čulík-Baird (Assistant Professor, Classical Studies, Boston University)…
 
The Roman calendar was important to the civic management of Rome - it told when to plant and harvest crops, when to celebrate festivals and when to go to war. The calendar designed by the Romans is used today, more or less unchanged for 2000 years - including paying homage to both Julius Caesar and Augustus. Guest: Dr Rhiannon Evans (Senior Lec ...…
 
The historian Edward Gibbon perhaps summed up Caracalla quite succinctly, when he used this phrase to describe his demise while answering a call of nature on the side of the road: "Such was the end of a monster whose life disgraced human nature, and whose reign accused the patience of the Romans." Guest: Dr Caillan Davenport (Senior Lecturer, R ...…
 
The Roman Empire had engaged in Parthian wars for generations, stretching back, off and on, to the days of Pompey the Great. Caracalla makes his foray into this arena, but as always, he’s going to do things a little differently. He shall have a wedding. Or a hanging. Either way he’s going to have a lot of fun. Guest: Dr Caillan Davenport (Senio ...…
 
After unleashing his unique brand of rule on the people of Rome, Caracalla becomes the problem of the provinces. After 212 he’ll spend the rest of his reign either at war or on tour, making the beast of Italy a problem for all Romans to deal with. Guest: Dr Caillan Davenport (Senior Lecturer, Roman History, Macquarie University)…
 
Now that Caracalla is the sole emperor of the Roman empire he’s able to act as he wishes. While he does little to please anyone outside the military, it’s his economic and social reforms that will affect the empire for years to come. Guest: Dr Caillan Davenport (Senior Lecturer, Roman History, Macquarie University)…
 
The death of Septimius Severus left a strong line of succession with two sons ready to take control of the empire. There was no love lost between Caracalla and Geta, and it would be the Roman empire that bore the scars of their relationship. Guest: Dr Caillan Davenport (Senior Lecturer, Roman History, Macquarie University)…
 
The Roman poet Ovid penned The Book of Love in three volumes as a manual for how to deal with the art of love and seduction during the slightly austere days of the reign of Augustus. This isn't exactly 'Men are From the Temple of Mars, Women are From the Temple of Venus', but happy Lupercalia everyone! Guest: Assoc Professor Peter Davis (Visiti ...…
 
The equites belonged to a class of Roman citizen dating back to the kingdom of Rome. Ranked below the senatorial class, they grew in power and influence, occupying key positions in the government and military. Guest: Dr Caillan Davenport (Senior Lecturer, Roman History, Macquarie University)By Dr Rhiannon Evans.
 
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).By Dr Rhiannon Evans.
 
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).By Dr Rhiannon Evans.
 
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).By Dr Caillan Davenport.
 
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).By Dr Caillan Davenport.
 
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).By Dr Sonya Wurster.
 
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