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April 26, 2009


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Mike in Phoenix

Another grat episode Mike! However, I'm have a question about the untimely death of Marcellus. I've always thought his death was attributed to the hand of Livia, at least so said the Roman gossip circles. Is there any historical evidence to support this? I also recently watched the 1970's BBC production "I, Claudius" which would lead one to believe that Livia had a hand in many deaths in the Julio-Claudian family tree. While I'm sure their dramatic license was in use, how far off base are these kind of implications of murder by Livia? Oh yeah, I also love the maps.


Love your podcast! And have recommended it to several friend. I listen to you during my commute, but today I nearly landed in the ditch when you started talking about the Pantheon in Rome.
! The one standing in Rome today was built by Hadrian--not Trojan. Its design is not modeled on the original one built by Agrippa, but was designed by Adrian himself. The dedication by Agrippa is actually on the pediment

Allen in Southampton, England

Hi Mike,

As ever a great episode. I like your balanced accounts, particularly the neutral way that you talked about Marcellus' suspicious death. The Robert Graves version is not backed up by any serious historical record save some hearsay Repeated by Dio Cassius - "Livia, now, was accused of having caused the death of Marcellus, because he had been preferred before her sons".

I would like to pick up one small pronunciation thing - Marcellus is, I believe, pronounced Marsellus - not Markellus. Keep it up Mike, it's fascinating stuff, and I would agree the Pantheon in Rome is awesome while the Colloseum - overrated.


@ Mike,

I think the consensus is that Livia was not the serial murderess her contemporary enemies made her out to be. While she did have a thing for concocting homemade potions and remedies, I plan to mostly avoid the whole Augusta-poisoned-everyone meme.

@ Samantha,

You're right, I totally faceplanted on the Pantheon. I'm sorry I almost made you drive into a ditch. I promise I'll make it up to you.

@ Allen,

The funny thing is that when I was talking about the original Marcus Claudius Marcellus (he of the Second Punic War) I got grief from Latin students for using the soft C. Oh well.

Thanks for listening. Love the feedback- it keeps me honest


Mike, come on, the Alps actually have 21 pointy lines, not 22. Watch the accuracy, man!

Kurt Watkins


I've been listening to your podcast for a while now but never posted before so I figure now is as good a time as any. First off I love the work you have done with this. I am a classics major and I can tell you that the accuracy and clarity of your work in my mind has no rival. I wait with baited breath every Sunday in anticipation for the new episode. Also with Latin pronunciations the Romans never did have a soft 'c' all of them were pronounced like a 'k' and whenever there is a 'ae' it is pronounced like a long 'i'. But when the names are pronounced in English most of the time the 'ae' remains a long 'i' sound, while the hard 'c' often becomes a soft 'c'. For instance to the Romans "Cicero" would be pronounced like "Kikero." Really though don't sweat it, the transliterations confuse me at times. Thank you so much for the fantastic work.



Just stopping by to tell you how much i enjoy your podcasts. Its the only one i cant bear to delete an episode of.


Thank you for the awesome podcast. Listening to this has gotten me very interested in Rome and the classical world in general, and now I'm devouring books about it!

A minor mistake in this episode I'd like to bring to your attention. You said the Pantheon was rebuilt in 126 B.C., when it is obviously 126 A.D.

Mike in Phoenix

One other point on the Pantheon, you said it was commisioned to be rebuilt by Trajan in 126BC after being destroyed in 80AD...... Something tells me that's not quite possible. I'm sure you meant 126AD. Also, I'm not sure if I missed something along the way but.... What happened to Cicero? I know you mentioned Antony wanted him dead but has Rome's greatest orator and philosopher exited the stage so unceremoniously? I've read accounts of his head and hands being nailed up for display in the Forum and Cassius Dio's story of Fulvia stabbing Cicero's tongue while on display. I'm just wondering how accurate those accounts are?

Andrew Payne

Really enjoyed this episode!


Man I've never wanted a paragraph back so badly in all my life. What a disaster.

Mike D


My first time posting. Listen to you all the way from France so have to wait till I get back on monday eve to load.
I'm no specialist but I just love your episodes. I haven't found anything quite like this on any other subject, and would love to.
'Bons baisers' to Portland, OR. Lived in Vancouver,WA for a while and used to hop over.
Sue form Toulouse


I think I owe you and the blog participants a small apology for my posting above. I was typing the posting on my BlackBerry. Although great for using to listen to the History of Rome on, not the best for typing. Sorry for the couple of mis-types (should be "Trajan" and not "Trojan" and "Hadrian" not "Adrian" ;)

Thanks! and looking forward to your next installment.



Once again you do a great job. Thank you for all your hard work and effort.

I wonder if you could comment on the HBO series Rome. I found it fascinating, but realize that there were some poetic liberties. However, your podcast has made me understand and appreciate the political intrigue and the parties involved even more.


I assumed that since podcasts are a tech medium, that your maps would be digitally created. As a graphics person, I laughed out loud (with pleasure) at your new maps. I'm imagining you tracing the country outlines out of your encyclopedia set from 1980. They are charming, and I appreciate that you drew all those parallel lines and didn't even draw over the mountains.I hope you had a podcast as fun as the History of Rome to listen to while you labored at those maps!


I agree completely with the above post (Jen) and was thinking the exact same thing. When you mentioned maps I figured you would just do a Google Image search. These hand drawn maps are delightfully charming. Keep them coming.


Dear Sir,

I have been listening to your podcast from the beginning. The clear narrative accented with a little wry wit makes every episode informative and easy to digest.


Mike- I really enjoy the podcast. Rome is so interesting. One thing I did notice. When I listen to the podcast, the volume on my ipod is turned all the way up but your voice doesn't seem to be very loud. Not sure if others have brought this up. I try to listen on the bus but find I have to cram my headphones in to hear you. Keep up the good work!

Michael In Houston

so far? I have:
01 - Birth of a Nation ?? BC - April 21, 753 BC
02 - Youthful Indiscretions 753 BC - 673 BC / 673 BC – 641 BC / 640 BC – 616 BC
03a- The Seven Kings of Rome 717 BC - 673 BC / 673 BC - 616 BC
03b- The Seven Kings of Rome 616 BC - 578 BC / 534 BC - 510 BC
04 - The Public Thing 510 BC - 509 BC
05 - Trials and Tribulations 509 BC - 450 BC
06 - The Twelve Tables 450 BC - 519 BC
07 - The Roman Washington 519 BC – 430 BC
08 - Decades of Gloom 450 BC - 446 BC
09 - A Trojan War 446 BC - 387 BC
10 - Barbarians at the Gates 387 BC - 386 BC
11 - The Morning After 386 BC - 343 BC
12 - The First Samnite War 343 BC - 341 BC
13 - The Latin War 340 BC – 338 BC
14a- A Phalanx With Joints 338 BC -
14b- A Phalanx With Joints - 326 BC
15a- The Second Samnite War 326 BC -
15b- The Second Samnite War - 298 BC
16 - The Third Samnite War 298 BC - 290 BC
17 - Pyrrhic Victories 290 BC - 272 BC
18 - A History of Rome Christmas * Christmas Special *
19 - Prelude to the First Punic War 272 BC - 264 BC
20a- The First Punic War 264 BC -
20b- The First Punic War - 241 BC
21 - Interbellum 241 BC -
22 - Prelude to the Second Punic War - 218 BC
23a- The War with Hannibal 218 BC -
23b- The War With Hannibal - 216 BC
23c- The War With Hannibal 216 BC - 212 BC
23d- The War With Hannibal 212 BC - 209 BC
23e- The War With Hannibal 209 BC - 201 BC
24 - The Second Macedonian War 200 BC - 196 BC
25 - The Syrian War 196 BC - 188 BC
26 - The Third Macedonian War 188 BC - 168 BC
27 - Mopping Up 168 BC ~
28 - Taking Stock ~ 100 BC
29 - Tiberius Gracchus 168 BC - 154 BC
30 - Gaius Gracchus 160 BC - 121 BC
31a- Marius 157 BC – 109 BC
31b- Marius 109 BC - 100 BC
32 - The Social War 100 BC - 91 BC
33 - Marius and Sulla 91 BC - 84 BC
34 - No Greater Friend, No Worse Enemy 85 BC - 78 BC
35 - Crassus and Pompey 78 BC - 71 BC
36 - I Am Spartacus! 73 BC - 71 BC
37 - Go East Young Man 74 BC - 62 BC
38 - The Catiline Conspiracy 63 BC - 62 BC
39 - The Young Julius Caesar Chronicles 62 BC - 59 BC
40 - In the Consulship of Julius and Caesar 59 BC - 58 BC
41a- The Gallic Wars 58 BC
41b- The Gallic Wars 58 BC - 52 BC
42 - Meanwhile, Back in Rome 58 BC - 49 BC
43 - Insert Well Known Idiom Here 50 BC - 48 BC
44- Caesar Triumphant 48 BC - 47 BC
45- The End Of The War 47 BC - 46 BC
46- Sic Semper Tyrannis 46 BC - 44 BC
47- Octavius-Octavian 44 BC - 43 BC
48- The Second Triumvirate 43 BC - 42 BC
49- Apollo and Dionysus 42 BC - 37 BC
50- The Donations of Alexandria 37 BC - 31 BC
51- Actium 31 BC - 30 BC
52- Caesar Augustus 30 BC - 23 BC

someone check me?
Is Michael D, kicking historic butt or what? :)

Michael In Houston


@ Michael,

It looks so impressive when you post those recaps.

(btw, you wouldn't happen to be a Rockets fan by chance? If so, congrats, but man that was painful to watch.)

Michael In Houston


And, Michael D? I just did a quick scan of my accounts and I take pride in depositing another $50.00 into the THoR account, in the hope that you will choose to continue what I believe is an Historic Account of...The History of Rome. :)

Michael In Houston

Michael In Houston

I am a Computer Scientist...I do not like History, cause we programmers are always looking Forward.

But, you have made it fascinating, and you have set a bar, that now all Professors must meet, exceed or simply match.

We have traveled from 753 BC to 23 BC, some 730 years...so? Look at it this way?

Only 610 years to go? :)

After that? I would recommend to everyone, the
"12 Byzantine Rulers: The History of The Byzantine Empire" by Lars Brownworth, also available for free on iTunes...


Well Done, Michael!
Michael In Houston


Just wanted to say I love your podcast before I dove into a bit of oversensitive geekery.

I thought you might want to know that recently the role of the Pantheon as, well, a Pan-Theon or a temple of all gods has come into question. For one thing, if you've ever been there you might notice that the inside is GORGEOUS, and that the marble you see in there today matches the exact pattern (though it is from a recent discovery of a cache of ancient marble rather than the original) of the ancient "temple".

However, ancient temples were never entered by any but the clergy, thus there would have been no point in making the inside beautiful. It seems more likely that the site was a monument. To who? Well, to Romulus, by Agrippa. In the time when it was built it would have been facing Augustus' own mausoleum, not to mention its on the site on the Campus Martius where the Romans believed Romulus disappeared (apotheosis, or torn to pieces?). It was only in later years that the site lost its original meaning and was reinterpreted as a Pantheon.

Not sure if this has been confirmed yet, but its what I've gleaned from my studies. Once again, I love the show and thank you for all your hard work!

robert scalise


Your way of delivering history in a way that is so "listen-able" and the amount of work you have put into your podcasts are incredible. Roman history has fascinated my since I was 12 when I read "The Twelve Caesars." Your podcasts have me delving once again into the many fascinating characters in Roman history.

I've listened to almost all of them in sequence and on the bus home today I'll be listening to episode 53.

From your blogs it's apparent that you have listeners from around the world. Your work is truly appreciated !


"Stele names Roman Emperor Octavian Augustus as Egyptian Pharaoh"
April 6, 2010 article in "The Independent"

Laura Kenny

Hi Mike,

I just wanted to post a comment to say thanks for your incredible podcasts!

I live in Sydney, Australia and have conscientiously followed your podcasts as they chronicle the 'Fall of the Roman Republic' which is my favourite topic area of my favourite subject at school - Ancient History. I'm two days away from my High School finals and still listening to your podcasts (especially from 34 - 53!) :D

The way you both write and deliver this wonderful material has completely revolutionised the way I have learned this subject - I am now top of my class and remember many of the stories in your podcasts as close to verbatim as I can get - absolutely fascinating stuff.

Just wanted to extend my sincerest congratulations for such a wonderful enterprise - albeit from half a globe away!

Well done Mike!

Laura in Sydney


Dear Mike,
I can't donload this file.
It leads to chapter 53 Reigning Supreme: The History of Rome and not to 52.
Thanks for your great effort!

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