« 1- In the Beginning | Main | 3a- The Seven Kings of Rome »

November 05, 2008


Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

Ross Clague

I've only just found your podcast, and must say in the first two episodes, I've found it so interesting. I'm no student, nor professor, just an interested history 'buff'. To listen to this podcast (#2) struck a chord with my knowledge of Australian history (I'm an Aussie). When the first fleet settled in Australia, just as the first Romans, they were lacking an important commodity to survival, FEMALES. The then Governor, sent a request for women to be sent, and they were... The equivalent of those men first transported, criminals and such. While many of their crimes were trivial, especially by today's standards, the seeds of one of the greatest countries in the world were sown by criminals and vagabonds... :)

I look forward to learning much more of Rome in the time to come..

Sydney, Australia


And of course I can't help thinking of our American "Lady Liberty":
"Give me your tired, your poor,Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, The wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door!"
The Mother of Exiles

History does repeat itself...


What on Earth is an "indiscration"? You don't have a spellchecker? A misspelling this atrocious sort of calls into question this entire podcast series. For crying out loud, it is almost 4 years old and you still haven't corrected it!


Oh my Ed. Your comment speaks much more about yourself and your outlook than it does of Mr. Duncan's work. Feel free to take the door right over there, or perhaps you might take a moment to wonder why and listen on. It is your choice.
Mike's work stands proudly. He never made claims of perfection and you will find a lot of opportunities in the world for criticism.
THoR podcast won legions of fans around the world including many very well educated people with good reason. It has spawned online groups and an actual THoR tour of the sites.
Much Luck with your hobbies.

I did just come back to start listening again...
Thanks for your time and dedication Mike:)


Val-indeed it does say something about it me. It shows that I care about fundamentals such as correct spelling. This sort of thing would have been caught by any semi-qualified editor. I think it speaks volumes about the author's methods that he couldn't even be bothered to use a bloody spellchecker!

This podcast is rubbish. The reason that it is so popular is that people cannot be bothered to read a book. There is no information or perspective in this podcast that couldn't be obtained from a quality book. In fact, I suspect that "Mr. Duncan" paraphrased this entire series from books, or, or likely, websites. I'd wager just about anything that he did absolutely no original research nor did he examine any primary sources of Roman history at length. I also seriously doubt that he knows Latin. No intelligent person would consider the opinion of someone lacking Latin as any sort of authority regarding Roman history. What you fanboys such as yourself like is the fact that Mr. Duncan has spared you the onerous chore of cracking a book.

Brian Brewer

In my opinion fewer people listen to this podcast than statistics revel, and even fewer read these comments. So I doubt these anonymous bytes of data will ever shatter the destinies of mankind.


Ed - calm down and take the time to fix that huge chip on your shoulder.


Ed- You are a small and ingsinificant man to denigrate the entire piece of work due to a spelling mistake. If you are such an expert in the field where is your work in the area? of course there is none, just happy to criticise from the outside without actually doing anything yourself

btw i spelt insignificant wrong just to annoy you even more


@Jon,you do realize that the "work" for the podcast is probably nothing more than a paraphrase of Wikipedia articles? I stand by my contention that the podcast contained no original research, and that the man responsible for it quotes from primary sources only when they were found in a secondary (or tertiary, etc,) sources (despite the [You can criticize the quality of the show all you want, but please do not call me a liar-- Thanks, Mike]. I would love to see a text of the show, complete with specific citations for proof to the contrary. Indeed, if this work is so great, how come the text of the contents hasn't been collected and published as a history book?

No, I don't purport to be an "expert" on Roman history, but neither do I put websites into my own words via paraphrase and try to pass it off as some sort of achievement or act as if doing so makes me someone who can speak about the topic with authority.

Granted, the podcast isn't bad if you take it for what it is-some dude summarizing Wikipedia in his own words with occasional attempts at puns. One would be much better off for simply reading a good one volume book on the matter like "History of Rome" by Michael Grant. Of course, reading the primary sources would be best, but if you don't have the time to read one book, you probably don't have the time to read *many*, so a good one like Grant's will do. But I suspect that the appeal of the podcast is mainly for people who are to lazy to do much reading at all.

In short, no one should consider an audio recording of a rewording of an internet encyclopedia as some sort of accomplishment.


@Mike, to be fair to both me and you, I cannot say that I called you a liar, because, to the best of my knowledge, I have not seen an explicit statement to the effect of "this podcast has been written based on source X" or "this factoid comes from source Y".

However, the presence of a bibliography implies the the contents derive the works therein contained. Be that as it might, I refuse to believe that the contents of the podcast are not, with possibly a few minor exceptions, the paraphrases of Wikipedia articles on Roman history, and perhaps other websites. I would gladly and fully retract this statement were the contents somehow sourced/cited.

Further, I am not criticizing in any way the quality of the show, per se. In terms of reading modified text from of internet site(s), I guess the quality is more or less reasonable. What I do find fault with is the fact that fanboys see the podcast as something beyond what it is; an audio paraphrase of Wikipedia. It bothers me in no way that people would enjoy this podcast-but problem is that far too many are saying that it is something that it isn't.

Even a relatively short book that perhaps condenses Roman history a wee bit too much, like Grants "History of Rome" that I mentioned earlier, would have been a serious investment intellectual effort, selecting and reading the sources in Latin and Greek, etc, not to mention time consuming. It's the product of serious and thoughtful scholarship. This podcast, on the other hand, consists of simply restating the words of an internet encyclopedia. Again, there's nothing wrong with that, in and of itself-just say so instead of hinting that it mostly comes from Classical sources or even books by contemporary historians. Unless you're independently wealthy with no need to work and thus have a ton of free time, or you are some sort of super speed reader, there is no way you could have read more than a fraction of the bibliography, anyway.

The comments to this entry are closed.