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January 25, 2009


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Hi Mike,

Would it be possible to post some maps of Gaul. It would be a great help when listening along. As always, a fantastic podcast, keep it up

Med Illustrator

Your podcast is great! I really look forward to it and missed it when you were on break. Always interested in history, I took Latin in high school (years ago) and was always fascinated at the stories. Much of it is very relatable to our times today. Many lessons to learn. I love the humor and casual delivery. Keep up the great work.


if carlsberg did podcasts, they'd probably do this one. Magic - Majestas (UK)


Fantastic, i'm so happy you're back, this is the only podcast i listen too. i guess it has an added bonus of being educational, but it hardly feels like it. Just enjoying the excitement and intrigue, as well as your delivery.


I have been listening for a while and really missed those 5 months. Welcome back.

Could you try to add a little technical detail whenever possible? How many people were in the *** tribe. How many Romans on each of the 80 or 800 ships?

It would help my mental image.

p.s. If you need some tickets to see your Mariners play my Padres, let me know.

Peter Tonellato

Hi Mike,

I - amongst many others I'm sure - are so glad you've returned. How exciting to see that new 'cast' under our precious 'the history of rome' itunes link - never thought I would be so happy to see a blue button!

You'll find a small contribution to the cause - please buy a good Italian wine before your next recording - and something to add (although you've already past the early era...:

"Although wines had been elaborated from the wild Vitis vinifera grape for millennia, it wasn't until the Greek colonization that wine-making flourished. Viticulture was introduced into Sicily and southern Italy by the Mycenaean Greeks[3], and was well established when the extensive Greek colonization transpired around 800 BC.[4][5] It was during the Roman defeat of the Carthaginians (acknowledged masters of wine-making) in the second century BC that Italian wine production began to further flourish. Large-scale, slave-run plantations sprang up in many coastal areas and spread to such an extent that, in AD92, emperor Domitian was forced to destroy a great number of vinyards in order to free up fertile land for food production.
During this time, viticulture outside of Italy was prohibited under Roman law. Exports to the provinces were reciprocated in exchange for more slaves, especially from Gaul where trade was intense, according to Pliny, due to the inhabitants being besotted with Italian wine, drinking it unmixed and without restraint.[6] Roman wines contained more alcohol and were generally more powerful than modern fine wines. It was customary to mix wine with a good proportion of water which may otherwise have been unpalatable, making wine drinking a fundamental part of early Italian life."

From: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Italian_wine

Finally: Per "Anonymous" recent request - a link to the wiki Gaul site that includes a nice map of Gaul:

per ove sleen

I have been listening to you from episode nr. 03, and I must say this podcast is something else. I admit that I am an avid user of podcasts, but this one I have listened through from first to last episode at least 5 - 6 times by now. I love history, and podcasts/audio books are a fantastic way of turning tedious work (like rendering ink drawings and stuff....I am an illustrator/designer)in to a pure joy...
I know....I should have nipped by before, but....eeee well...here I am now.
Thank you very much, and next time my pay check aloud it (I am an alone parent)I will kick some appreciation your way....it is well deserved.
Take care and keep'em coming.
Your soothing voice has more than once turned a dark day in to something bearable....once again thank you...

POS 2009


Hello Mike,

I've been enjoying your series a great deal since finding it on iTunes a couple of weeks ago. I can see by the other comments I've read here that you've met with virtually unanimous praise for your work. I would like to add my voice to the throng of admirers, with one small difference...
a minor criticism.

Your pronunciation of some of the names and terms needs a bit of work. I don't want to bore you with a complete list but as examples:
'Vercingetorix' is pronounced with a hard G, not a soft one and apparently you haven't had much experience using the word,'Centurion'. I've never heard it pronounced with such a heavy emphasis on the last syllable. Please forgive me but I would have thought that someone so obviously interested in Roman history would show a more comfortable familiarity the language.
I would like to encourage you to spend some time listening to people actually speaking in reference to ancient Rome, rather than just reading it out of a book.HBO's Rome, is an excellent series which you must've already seen, but there are others as well.
Another roman drama series, I Claudius, was produced by the BBC in the seventies, based on the novel by Robert Graves. I cannot recommend this show highly enough. British Documentary series have also been very entertaining and informative, such as The Celts, which if memory serves, has a good section on Vercingetorix. Another would be Testament, by John Romer. This is a history of the Bible and has a facinating section on the early christians and there eventual dominance over the Roman empire; a must for any student of Roman history.

My only purpose here is a sincere desire to help. I would hope that a presenter of history such as yourself would want to project an air of knowledge and ease with the facts; not one of youthful ignorance and naivete'. I'm not accusing you of being the later, just encouraging you to be more like the former.
I hope you have found this criticism to be constructive and I wish you the best of luck in your continuation of this fine and excellent series.

Well done.


I just wanted to say what an amazing thing youre doing here. But i cant download episode 1 2 3 and 5. Could you fix that? Thank you.

Sans Testicles


also, baldicat = simpsons comic book guy. Why not send an email rather than write all that shit for all to see? dumbass.


Excellent podcast! I spent a little time in college studying Roman History, however the teacher made the subject ineffably dull.

Your delivery however makes this subject fascinating.

Andy Szurek

Hi Mike, I love your podcast. Thank you for your fine work. Episode 41-b will not download in iTunes (I have tried several times during the last week)and I was wondering if others were having this problem. I'd sure hate miss this episode.
Thanks again.

Alexanda Laesig

When I was listening to your episode it was hard not to insert an obligatory Asterix joke here. :-)

Good job. You are making the information so entertaining. I look forward to every new episode.

Bill Lukin

Here is a quote from Momsens History of Rome.
This is the reason why Caesar is justly famous. His impact on the shape of the modern world cannot be underestimated.
Taken from The Project Gutenberg eBook

"But the fact that this great people was ruined by the Transalpine wars
of Caesar, was not the most important result of that grand enterprise;
far more momentous than the negative was the positive result.
It hardly admits of a doubt that, if the rule of the senate
had prolonged its semblance of life for some generations
longer, the migration of peoples, as it is called, would have
occurred four hundred years sooner than it did, and would have
occurred at a time when the Italian civilization had not become
naturalized either in Gaul, or on the Danube, or in Africa and
Spain. Inasmuch as the great general and statesman of Rome
with sure glance perceived in the German tribes the rival antagonists
of the Romano-Greek world; inasmuch as with firm hand he established
the new system of aggressive defence down even to its details,
and taught men to protect the frontiers of the empire by rivers
or artificial ramparts, to colonize the nearest barbarian tribes along
the frontier with the view of warding off the more remote,
and to recruit the Roman army by enlistment from the enemy's country;
he gained for the Hellenico-Italian culture the interval necessary
to civilize the west just as it had already civilized the east.
Ordinary men see the fruits of their action; the seed sown by men
of genius germinates slowly. Centuries elapsed before men understood
that Alexander had not merely erected an ephemeral kingdom
in the east, but had carried Hellenism to Asia; centuries again
elapsed before men understood that Caesar had not merely conquered
a new province for the Romans, but had laid the foundation
for the Romanizing of the regions of the west. It was only a late
posterity that perceived the meaning of those expeditions
to England and Germany, so inconsiderate in a military point of view,
and so barren of immediate result. An immense circle of peoples,
whose existence and condition hitherto were known barely through
the reports--mingling some truth with much fiction--of the mariner
and the trader, was disclosed by this means to the Greek and Roman
world. "Daily," it is said in a Roman writing of May 698,
"the letters and messages from Gaul are announcing names of peoples,
cantons, and regions hitherto unknown to us." This enlargement
of the historical horizon by the expeditions of Caesar beyond
the Alps was as significant an event in the world's history
as the exploring of America by European bands. To the narrow circle
of the Mediterranean states were added the peoples of central
and northern Europe, the dwellers on the Baltic and North seas;
to the old world was added a new one, which thenceforth was influenced
by the old and influenced it in turn. What the Gothic Theodoric
afterwards succeeded in, came very near to being already carried
out by Ariovistus. Had it so happened, our civilization would have
hardly stood in any more intimate relation to the Romano-Greek than
to the Indian and Assyrian culture. That there is a bridge connecting
the past glory of Hellas and Rome with the prouder fabric of modern
history; that Western Europe is Romanic, and Germanic Europe
classic; that the names of Themistocles and Scipio have to us
a very different sound from those of Asoka and Salmanassar;
that Homer and Sophocles are not merely like the Vedas and Kalidasa
attractive to the literary botanist, but bloom for us in our own
garden--all this is the work of Caesar; and, while the creation
of his great predecessor in the east has been almost wholly reduced
to ruin by the tempests of the Middle Ages, the structure of Caesar
has outlasted those thousands of years which have changed religion
and polity for the human race and even shifted for it the centre
of civilization itself, and it stands erect for what we may
designate as eternity."
I would recommend it as good reading in parallel with THOR

Roy "Roman Swords" Thomas

Another great episode!

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