I've just been alerted to the fact that an interview I did with Podcast Squared a few weeks ago is now posted. We talk about the end of The History of Rome, podcasting theory and the proper legionary formation to deal with angry hippos. Interview starts at minute 25.
I also blew a golden opportunity to plug friend-of-the-show Scott Chesworth's new podcast on the ancient civilizations of Mesopotamia.
The history of The History of Rome...Why the Western Empire Fell when it did...Some thoughts on the future...Thank you, goodnight.
In the last few years of the Western Empire a series of Emperors came and went. The cycle finally ended in 476 with the exile of Romulus Augustulus.
In 468 the two halves of the Empire combined forces to dislodge the Vandals from North Africa.They failed spectacularly.
From 461-465 the Western Empire was ruled by Ricimer through a puppet Emperor named Libius Severus. Not everyone in the west was supportive of the new regime.
From 457-461, Majorian marched around trying to reassert Imperial authority over the provinces while Ricimer remained in Italy.
Following the death of Valentinian III there was an Imperial power struggle in the West. In the midst of this struggle, the Vandals sacked Rome in 455 AD.
In the early 450s a string of deaths changed the political dynamic of Roman world. Between 450 and 455 Galla Placidia, Aelia Pulcheria, Atilla the Hun, Flavius Aetius and Valentinian III would all die- leaving the stage wide open for the next generation of leaders.
Also, an announcment.
In 451 Atilla the Hun invaded the West. He was repelled by a coalition of forces lead by the General Aetius.
Also some great links from listener Jamie:
Here's a good account of the Battle of Chalons by military historians Dr. Aryeh Nusbacher and Dr. Saul David on a BBC show.
Start the video at 2 minutes, here is the full show if you like it:
There are other battles too, a handly list is here
And listener Tony:
Check out a replay of the Battle of Chalons here:
After placating Atilla with yet another indemnity, Theodosius II fell from his horse and died in 450, leaving the Eastern throne vacant.
In the 440s, the Huns began to direclty attack the Roman Empire.
In the 430s the Romans dealt with increasingly agressive and confident barbarian tribes living both inside and outside the traditional borders of the Empire.
In the late 420s AD, the Roman General Flavius Aetius connived and backstabbed his way up the chain of command.
The Emperor Honorius died in 423, leading to a brief civil war between the Theodosian dynasty and a self-proclaimed Imperial regime in Ravenna.
Constantius III continued to lead the Western Empire as its defacto Emperor until 421, when he was officially elevated to the rank of Augustus. Unfortunately, this elevation was not recognized by Cosntantinople.
Between 412 and 415 relations between the Romans and Goths shifted back and forth between alliance and antagonism.
After failing to secure a deal with Honorius, Alaric sacked Rome in August of 410. It was the first time the Eternal City had been sacked in 800 years.
Following the death of Eudoxia, the Praetorian Prefect Anthemius took control of the Eastern Empire and ran it wisely for the next decade. Meanwhile in the West, anti-barbarian policies will lead to the invasion of Italy by Alaric.
Here are Mrs. The History of Rome's pictures from The History of Rome Tour May 2010 (http://historyofrometour.com)
The poor foot-soldier's view as he approaches the wall. In front is the outer 8 meter wall. Behind it is the inner 12 meter wall and the 20 meter guard towers. This isn't going to work is it?:
The no man's land between the two walls. This is where that poor soldier is going to die:
Looking down from atop the Inner wall into the no man's land and the outer wall. This is where the guy who killed that poor foot soldier stood:
And it just goes on like that from the Sea of Marmara to the Golden Horn. Um General, I don't want to attack Constantinople. I want to go home:
The line on the far left is the Theodosian Walls:
On New Year's Eve 406 a horde of barbarians crossed the lower Rhine into Gaul. Their arrival would have severe consequences for the Western Empire.
Alaric and his Goths invaded Italy in 402. After they were pushed out, Stilicho moved the seat of the Western Imperial Court to the city of Ravenna.
In the late 390s, the generals and ministers who dominated Arcadius and Honorius battled with each other for control of the Empire.
After winning the Battle of the Frigidus River, Theodosius stood alone as the last sole ruler of the Roman Empire. He would be dead just four months later.
In 392 Valentinian II was found hanged in his bedchamber, paving the way for another Roman Civil War.
So the History of Rome went to the ER on Friday complaining of abdominal pain and we wound up having our appendix removed about six hours later*. I'm doing fine and am resting comfortably, but unfortunately that means this week's episode has been cancelled. Shouldn't have any trouble getting back to work next week though, so I'll see you then.
C'est la vie,
*No word on whether my footnotes were also removed, but thanks for your concern Scott...
After defeating the usurper Maximus in 388 AD, Theodosius found himself facing an even greater opponent in Ambrose of Milan.
From 383-387 the tense quasi-partnership of Maximus, Valentinian II and Theodosius ruled the Roman Empire. During those years Bishop Ambrose and Nicean Christianity pushed themselves to dominance over their Arians rivals.
In 383 the General Magnus Maximus rose up in revolt against Gratian. The power sharing agreement that followed Maximus's victory would be negotiated in part by St. Ambrose, the influencial new Bishop of Milan.
Update: The first Sack of Rome was in 410 not 406. Brain fart corrected.
Following Adrianople, Theodosius was brought in to salvage the situation. After determining that he could not beat the Goths in battle, the new Emperor was forced to sign a peace with the barbarians that treated them as, gasp, equals.
Operating with faulty intelligence and desperate to defeat the Goths on his own, Valens forced the disasterous Battle of Adrianople in August 378.
In 375 the Huns exploded into Gothic territory, sending refugees fleeing for the saftey of the Roman Empire.
Valens spent the late 360s and early 370s dealing with hostile Goths in the north and hostile Persians in the east. In 375 he would be left to face these threats alone when Valentinian suddenly died.
n the late 360s and early 370s AD Roman mismanagement of three different regions in the Western Empire led to armed conflict.
In the winter of 367, Britannia was hit from all sides by a coordinated barbarian invasion. It would be more than a year before the Romans were able to reassert control over the island.
Shortly after Valentinian and Valens ascended to the throne, one of Julian the Apostate's maternal cousins seized control of Constantinople.
Jovian extracted the Roman legions from the east at a heavy price. He then ruled the Empire for eight months before suddenly dying on his way to Constantinople in early 364.
In 363 Julian launched an invasion of Sassanid Persia. He would die in battle just three months later.
Update: OK, wow, passing along the recommendation for 1421: The Year China Discovered the World was a huge blunder. I have re-recorded the ad to correct the mistake. The embedded link reflects the newer version, so if you want to forget this grizzly business, just erase the episode you have and replace it with the one linked to above.
The new ad script:
"This week I initially passed along a listener recommendation for 1421: The Year China Discovered the World. However, I must confess that I did not do my usual due diligence on researching the merits of the book and so am just now discovering that 1421 is basically pseudo-historical nonsense that relies on no good evidence whatsoever, speculates wildly beyond the facts and that the author Gavin Menzies is basically a novelist pretending to be a historian. I am embarrassed to have given 1421 The History of Rome’s seal-of-approval, it is not good history, and I sincerely apologize for what can only be described as a sloppy recommendation. How about next time I just recommend The History of the World in 100 Objects or maybe one of those Star Wars books people keep wanting me to plug?"
Julian came to power in late 361 and immediately set about trying to turn back the clock on both Church and State.
Once he was established as a force to be reckoned with in the west, Julian revolted against Constantius II in 360 after the Emperor ordered half the Gallic army redeployed to the eastern frontier.
After a childhood spent mostly in exile, Juian was elevated to the rank of Caesar in 355. His first assignment was to clear Gaul of Germanic invaders.
After two years of sporadic war, Constantius II defeated the usurper Magnentius in 353. Following his victory the Emperor let his advisors talk him into executing first Gallus in 354 and then Claudius Silvanus in 355.
Constantius and Constans shared the Empire for a decade until Constans was overthrown by a rebel general named Magnetius in 350 AD.
Update: Redirect issue fixed. Sorry about that.
The three sons of Constantine took control of the Empire following the death of their father and the murder of most of their extended family.
Constantine was baptized on his deathbed after arranging a plan for succession.
Live and direct from the Old Rome!
This episode brought to you live and direct from Constantinople! After defeating Licinius, Constantine found his dream of a united Christian Empire foiled by a very disunited Christian Church.
War between Licinius and Constantine flared up again in 324 AD. This time Constantine would finish the job.
Constantine and Licinius divided up the Empire following the death of Maximinus Daia in 313. It did not take long for relations betweent the two Emperors to turn sour.
In 313 AD, Maximinus Daia and Licinus fought for control of the Eastern Roman Empire.