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May 10, 2009


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Surely if Drusus and Tiberius were only (planned to be) temporary heirs they should be "heirs presumptive" not "heirs apparent"?

Would the Romans have referred to the emperors using the names we use now, or are they a later invention?

Jim from Superior

I would like to add a follow up to Lain's question, though it may be a bit premature.

Did the later Julio-Claudian Emperor's keep the title of Princeps? Or did the use the more formal Caesar or Augustus. I know that by the time of Diocletian they were using the latter titles but I also know that Princeps eventually became Prince in Italy and beyond.

Another great podcast. Tough job sorting through the confusing politics here and it only gets tougher as Rome adopts a revolving door policy for its Emperor's. Looking forward to it.


Hmmm... I have mixed feelings about progressing into the Imperial age. Previously, it seemed like we were talking about a society and a culture that strove to make its way in the world and thrive, but now, it seems like we're descending into a list of names and family intrigues that will just string itself out over the next 400 years until it dies. Is there anything that we, as modern citizens, can learn from the Imperial age? Only Mike can tell us.

Travis Bickle

Thanks for the maps, they are a great addition, and a big help.

Alison Macro

Dear Mike,
First of all, thank you for your fantastic podcast! My husband, my son (age 12) and I here in Rome, Italy have been avid fans since its beginning.
You asked in your last podcast for comments on going "slightly" commercial. Frankly, we are sure you will continue to ensure the high quality and integrity of the podcasts - with or without sponsorship. So, as there is little your fans can do other than lavish praise upon you and your work, we think your true fans will hardly begrudge you some financial recompense!!! Anyway the proposed sponsor has many brilliant products, so GO AHEAD!
Kindest regards from Rome (and look forward to hearing my surname in a future podcast...),
Alison Macro

Sarah Marshall

Dear Mike
I'm one of your many English fans and many thanks for the hours of entertainment your have provided in your podcast. You asked for comments on advertising and I think it is a great idea. I'm sure any commercial mentions won't change the quality of the presentation at all and if you are able to make some money out of what we receive free then I'm fully behind you.


I love your podcast. I have been listening from day one, along with the rest of my office. I noticed your voice sounds differently in the post recent episode, and I wanted to bring it to your attention.

Also, Audible.com will be a good sponsor. They provide a good product, and I know they have sponsored other pod casts with good results.


I want to say that I really appreciate your show. I think you deserve to reap the rewards of your hard work. So by all means take the offer from audible.com but keep it short. I think a great example of this is BuzzOutLoud. Despite being around 40 minutes long, they have one short pre-recorded ad during their podcast. It is so short that it is not even worth fast-forwarding. At the other extreme is Leo Laporte. He goes on and on for a ridiculous amount of time (not pre-recorded). I always fast-forward through his shows. Lastly, because of the structure of your shows I think it would be best to put the ad at the beginning, maybe after you introduce that episode's topic. At the end would be too easy for people to skip and in the middle would break the flow.
Patientia in Constantia


great episode, and thanks for the maps and the family tree.
I am exited about moving in to the imperial period, I loved reading the "I Claudius" books by Robert Graves (Grieves?), and I'm exited to get a less florid, (but I expect no less entertaining) version of the Julio-Claudian dynasty from you.

Mike in Phoenix

Hey Mike! I have a thought about the self-imposed exile of Tiberius. You mentioned that is was telling that while he stepped down from an official office he did not relenquish his tribunate powers. While that could be used to step back into power at a later date it could have also been used as a defensive mechanism if Tiberius did truly wish to retire from the public eye. Surely considering the times he and his mother Livia came of age in they would have had a clear understanding that if Augustus did die, whether Tiberius wanted to retire or not, he would find himself in the center of it all. Either as the new first citizen of Rome or as the number one marked man on the list of "must go's" for whatever new power crazed general that filled the vacuum left by Augustus. As much as the tribunate powers could be used to gain power, they could have been equally used as a shield to protect and assure the safety and peace of his retirement. I'm not sure that this act is a nod in either direction of what Tiberius' intentions may have been.


Mike, I have listened to all your episodes and very much appreciate your commitment to accuracy. There is an old, although not necessarily accurate statement that says "Anything worth doing is worth doing for money." You have a very professional podcast, you should be paid like a professional.

David Dovey

Dear Mike,

I have just started listening to your podcast and have burned my way through all of your episodes in about a week, listening pretty much non-stop every chance I get.

This is essentially my first foray into studying Roman History and I feel that your podcast is quite possibly the best way I could've done so, and will be recommending it to others.

As mentioned this is my first time reading or hearing Roman History and one thing that struck me is the way that almost every individual, from Romulus onwards can never be characterised as being a pure hero or villain. Those that did things that on the surface may seem great and selfless were often done to curry public favour, or were done at the expense of other's lives, and those that categorically ignored the rules, laws and traditions were often doing it because they felt it was the only way to defend their city, their republic or their constitution.

Is this something you deliberately set out to do, to not present things in black and white terms, and is this approach common within Roman scholarship? Because it is something that I really appreciate.

As to the commercials, I think it is absolutely fine, but I do hope that this podcast does not become too much like a job and not enough like a hobby or a passion, because your enthusiasm for the subject is something that I truly admire.


I've been listening since Episode 42 and I can't thank you enough for the knowledge I've gained. I usually listen twice to make sure I've got a good understanding of what's going on. I'll have to print out the family tree before I listen to this episode a 2nd time.

I plan to go back and pick up the first 41 episodes as I have time too.

Thanks again.

Sally-Ann Cyr

Hi Mike,
Love the podcast -- very professional. I had a question regarding the information you relayed about Augustus and his develop of a bureaucracy. I would like to read more on this particular subject, and was hoping you could recommend some literature.
Thanks again for all the hard work.
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada


I, like most, love the podcast. I have a suggestion for an episode for a rainy day in the future. How about a special episode on the history of gladiators and games. There is much information available as well as much MISinformation. I'd love to here an episode with your perspective on the truth.

Robert Brucato

I love this podcast. When I was a kid I saw I, Claudius on Masterpiece Theater and I have been hooked on Roman History ever since. I have read the Graves books as well as seen the miniseries at least a half dozen times. It never bores me and I keep trying to get my wife to watch as I think she would get hooked as well.

Excellent podcast--I have learned quite a bit, despite having taken a college level course on Roman History.

Randy Plant

Not to nitpick, but there is a short vertical line missing coming down onto the box for Tiberius Claudius Nero, (that Claudius, brother of Germanicus).

Colin Zwanziger

One quibble from a Latin pronunciation in the episode: the legal term is not "causus belli" but "casus belli"- "the incident of war", with casus pronounced ka-SOOS. The Latin closest in meaning to "cause of war" would be "causa belli".

Other slight errors I noticed in earlier episodes: Hannibal's father's cognomen Barca (this itself actually a romanization of the Semitic baraq as in Barack Obama or Ehud Barak) should be BAR-ka, not bar-Ak-a. Also, Cannae is perhaps best pronounced KAHN-eye, not kan-EI, although this is based on the conventional scholastic pronunciation as opposed to church pronunciation.

Anyway, I really enjoy your podcast and can't thank you enough for the time you put into it.


On advertising in your podcasts. I say go ahead as long as you give the option of skipping over the ad. iPods allow this but I think you have to add something to the podcast. The thing is I listen to a lot of podcasts and Audible advertises in almost all of them. So it gets tiring having to listen to the same advertisements all the time.

Thanks for the great podcast/netcast!


I have been reading I, Claudius. If I hadn't listened to your podcast, I am certain it would be far less interesting, since I would be less familiar with the cast of thousands. I printed off your Julio-Claudian Family Tree and have taped it inside the cover of the book. Thanks so much!

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The history of Rome is empty.

Roy Thomas

Love the maps and family tree.

And don't worry about going commercial, you deserve whatever you can get for your hard work!

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