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March 22, 2009


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Kris Syme

I want to thank you for your effort in creating what is (IMHO) the best podcast series I've ever listened to. I started downloading them about 6 months ago and have recently finished listening to the entire series (It took 3 days).
I want to thank the author for three reasons.

1. Your willingness to take all the available historical accounts with a grain of salt. No other historical commentator shows as much freedom of interpretation as you do and in doing so you have set a wonderful example for us all.

2. Your willingness to explore the entire history and not just the over advertised parts (ie. 2nd carthaginian war, Julius Caesar and the split of the empire) Thanks for all the other parts.

3. The humor you show in commenting on the opinions of ancient characters and the only too human reactions they make when cornered, challenged or otherwise threatened. By holding these people up on a pedastal some history teachers make out that they were not like normal men, when they so obviously were. While these events have been recited to me by old men with dusty chalkboards and even dustier books your humorous comments on the stupidity of some of these historical charachters is as welcome as a fresh breeze in those dusty classrooms.

Thank you for these podcasts they are now the best part of my week and I thankyou for all your effort.
Keep up the good work

Kris Syme


Mike-first, absolutely love the podcast. I discovered it right before the long hiatus last year and was overjoyed when you came back. I was wondering if you were going to give any mention to the HBO series Rome (I apologize if you've already answered this in another post, I haven't read all of them)? Back in the Spartacus episode you gave a few shoutouts to the movie, and from what I've gathered the movie took a few liberties with the historical fact. However, the HBO series, of which material you are currently covering, seems to be remarkably accurate historically-speaking, at least for a Hollywood production. Of course some things are fudged here and there, but they seem to have gotten it right more often than not, and I was wondering your thoughts on it. I actually just watched the episode last night from season two when Antony and Octavian patch things up.

And for what it's worth, I don't know why, but referring to your fiancee as The Future Mrs. History of Rome is absolutely hilarious to me.

Keep up the good work. My Monday-morning train rides to work are considerably easier with your podcasts downloaded on my IPod to cheer me up.


John M.

I really had no idea that Octavian's involvement at this juncture was as peripheral as it was. That's a very interesting point. I also wonder how the Roman public reacted to these somewhat arbitrary-seeming proscriptions. I would have thought they would react negatively and maybe done something, but maybe they were just too tired and scared after so many years of civil war.

C. Watson

Hi there,
I just wanted to give my thanks for this great series. I've been listening to it for about two months now, and I have enjoyed each and every episode.
Keep up the great work, and thanks again!

Derrick G.

Hey Mike.

Like the others I want to thank you for an excellent podcast. Your dry humor and attention to the facts that matter make your commentaries truly enlightening. I discovered it last July on a forum and I've listened to every episode since. Again thanks! Wish you the best from up here in Canada


Robert Thompson

Just a thought but when Christmas rolled around you did A History of Rome Christmas, when you and the soon to be Mrs. History of Rome get married will you do A History of Rome Wedding?


@ David,

I liked most of the first season of Rome (CiarĂ¡n Hinds was a great Caesar), but I will confess that I haven't watched the second season. In all, I thought the history tracked pretty well, but some of the subplots drove me nuts (could there be a more thoroughly unlikeable man than Lucius Vorenus?). I hear that Brutus and Cassius are shown dying in battle though, rather than committing suicide, but I suppose that can be forgiven.


It is interesting that the junior member of both Triumvirates came out on top. Something to watch out for, I suppose.

re: proscriptions, I think the 100,000 troops the Triumvirs commanded stifled most dissent. No one liked it, but what could they do?


That's a great idea. I'm pretty sure the whole carrying-your-wife-over-the-threshold thing got started in Rome because it was bad hoodoo for a wife to trip on her first step into a new home.

(The Date is September 23 by the way. No one will ever believe me, but she picked it out.)


Van Irvin


Your podcast is fabulous.

It seems to me that there must have been many a military wife widowed at all social levels throughout the history of Rome. Did they continue with the family business and what happened to the women whose husband's job was the military? Was plural marriage institutionalized? What role did women slaves play in this fabric? This may be obvious to most of your listeners but I am a neophyte to Roman history.


Mike, I highly recommend the second season. The series is what made me fall back in love with Roman history to begin with (hadn't read or studied anything about it since high school). Season 2 does lack a little focus at the beginning because you don't have such an influential character like Caesar around (agreed about Ciaran Hinds) and I didn't think they did a good enough job addressing the power vacuum after his death, but once Brutus/Cassius get their act together in the East and Octavian grows up and patches things up with Antony, it really picks up steam. And the stuff between Antony and Cleopatra, I thought they nailed it. You heard right about Brutus/Cassius' deaths, Brutus' being particularly brutal, but that's all I'll mention. Thanks again for a great podcast.


nat nabob

OMG they're all falling on their swords for their honor it's just like a Shakespeare play!!!

Does anyone else feel that sometimes the volume is just a tad low? My ipod quit and I got a cheaper player and I have to turn the volume all the way up on this podcast and it makes my pillow speaker clip. (or whatever the words is) (It cuts out whe the volume is all the way up) I fault the pillow speaker mostly, but does anyone else have to turn the volume all the way up particularly when Mike gets that elegaic tone?


Mike - Your work here is definitely the best podcast I have ever encountered. Having majored in Greek and Roman studies I had expected to just receive a sort of refresher as I listened. But I have yet to listen to an episode in which I have not learned something new about people I spent years reading about. I have also never been able to chronologically order the events you have covered in my mind so easily. Thank you for reviving my passion for Roman history.

Mikkel Lodahl

Ode to Mike Duncan from a happy excerciser

Atop machines of excercise and sweat
I listen to my iPod to endure it
I sought a podcast interesting and great
And lo: I found a way I could procure it

I thank you, Mike, I cherish and salute you
For all your work with Roman chronicling
I hope my praise and gratitude will soothe you
(and else: I sent some twenty dollars in)

Kind regards,
Mikkel Lodahl

Sans Testicles

Thanks for another great update


I got an iPod for christmas but am not overly fond of music, so podcasts were a great alternative. And yours are by far the best! I do latin at school and am starting a classical civilisations course and your podcasts have helped me get ahead of the game. Keep up the good work, you OWN Melvyn Bragg.


I too wish to thank you for a very addictive podcast. I listen to it every day walking to and from school. It's like audio crack, and I start going into withdrawl if I don't listen to at least one episode per day.

Re:Rome (HBO series)
When watching the final half of the second season, keep in mind that the events you watch were originally going to be spread over two or three seasons. They found out half way through the second season that they would be canceled and decided to incorporate as much as they could. I read the original plan was for the 3rd or 4th season to end with a certain carpenter being born.

I also read HBO is considering bringing it back in some fashion which I hope is true (though it was the most expensive series HBO ever produced).


I like podcasts that vary, i.e. Hardcore History, but it's nice to have a few that really go into one subject- in that area, the only contenders are Napoleon 101 and this one.


I just thought it was time to see if you had started making the great podcast again and to my surprise you had! Now I have 14 episodes to listen to =) I hope you will finish the history of Rome! Good luck!

Alex Raines

Mr. Duncan,

Thanks for the great podcast series. I've spent the past month or so catching up to real time with your series and it has been a pleasure. I look forward to many more quality episodes...

For those who like this podcast, I would suggest the Napoleon 101 podcast from The Podcast Network.

Jesse Quebbeman-Turley

Dear Mike,
I would like to thank you for this podcast, which is, without a doubt, the single best podcast I have yet to come across. The humanity with which you imbue the far past renders history an art form.

I discovered your history six days ago, and in those six days have listened to every installment. Upon learning all that I have from your generous work, I have a request--one that I will fully understand you not granting; could you, so as to not distrupt my current listening habits, produce your podcast, rather than once a week, ten times a day?

Thank you for your time, your work, and the gift you have given all of us,
-Jesse Quebbeman-Turley

Jesse Quebbeman-Turley

Oh ya, I forgot to ask.

By the time of the second Triumvirate, were the legions still made up of Cohorts, as per the Marian reforms? On a later episode I thought I heard you say Maniple when talking about the legions.




Have a look at this site for the roman army development, it's pretty good.




Ellen Hart

Go ahead and earn some stable income from THOR. I love it and wouldn't mind a commercial. Go with audible!

Bruce Jackson

I have enjoyed your podcast immensly and I don't see any problem withtaking on an advertiser like audible books. I also listen to Dan Carlins podcast and his advertising is not too distracting. Keep up the great work. Bruce in El Salvador

William Edwards

This is a ripper of a podcast and one not to be missed


These are so incredible.

I have been refering these to everyone I know and forcing my history professor mother and uncle to listen.

I am so impressed with how Mike can keep all the info together. This is a huge amount of material and for those of us who read this stuff a lot, I can assure you that it is no easy task to keep it all together AND THEN to present in a form that is fun and still retaining all the brilliant matter.

THanks, Mike. Don't stop. You are getting a lot of fans.

Ryan Mills


A few years late, but I just found your podcast a month ago when I began my 50 mile journey too and from work each day. Awesome podcast... I tell all my coworkers and friend about it. I listen to the History of Rome too and from work every day... it actually helps me get out of bed at 5:15am. Thank you for doing this...

When I Googled triumvirate, the other one was in China. Have you thought about doing the history of China?

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