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May 17, 2009


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Zhe Lu

I'm not sure that future legions not using XVII, XVIII, or XIX is like retiring an athlete's number. It's more like retiring the name of a hurricane that's caused mass devastation...


I'm really looking forward to this one (it just came up on Itunes)--I've been to this site twice, once for a reenactment of the battle.


@ Carolyn,

I dug around quite a bit trying to get the battle straight in my head and then recount it without getting too bogged down in the details. Having seen the experts reenact the attack, do you think I pulled it off OK? Do you have any pictures of the site you'd be willing to share- I'd love to post them with the episode.


(BTW, the above comment is from me, Mike Duncan, writer/director/producer/editor/best boy grip of The History of Rome)


I just got back from a nasty three hour exam on Roman archaeology and, for the first time ever, was not ecstatic to see a new History of Rome episode waiting for me :P

Thought I'd share this momentous event.


another awesome listening experience
for a good viewing reenactment of the Teutoburg forest battle, check out History Channel's decisive battles they use Rome Total War's video game technology (battles in the game)its very very well done.
Glad you finally were able to catch I Claudius truly classic material.
i like randy more because he's lefty too
have a good holiday weekend will miss your pod next week

Mike B.

Hi Mike,
I recently discovered your podcast and just wanted to say thanks. I was listening at the office today and was furious when a conference call interrupted my enjoyment of Hannibal's exploits.

Great stuff.


Dear Mike

I've been listening to your podcast from the start, but never posted a comment. Thought I ought to since I must've listened to the series all the way through about ten times! How sad am I? :) The series has only gotten better and better and I've learnt so much.

'I Claudius' is indeed awesome. Livia is the best thing in it. This podcast is every bit as awesome. I look forward to the next installment, as always.


And now sir, you've got to read the book, and Claudius the God. Good scandalous page turners.


:) I'd be thrilled to contribute! I can't find an email address for you on this site; if you can email me at carolyn dot webmail at ntlworld dot com I'll send you some stuff.


Awsome as always listened to it right when i woke up on mon. If you could suggest some reference books to get for the starting of the empire and on I would love them.
Me and my friend are writing and illustrating a comic to go from Aeneas and on.
Keep up the good work!!


I have to say having stumbled upon the history of rome, in january of this year. It is now compelling listening for me. so much so that I am now visiting Roman sites in Scotland.. Thank You Mr D

Teresa neal

My favorite part of I, Claudius is at the very beginning when he catches the (what was it? a fox?) and the soothsayer says "Rome will be wretched one day, and he--HE will save it!"

The History of Rome

@ Bowdezafa

I would highly recommend reading the ancient historians (Livy, Polybius, Plutarch etc)- that's where all the good stuff is buried. Good luck on the project, the world has always needed a good Roman comic book. I would love to see what you come up with.

@ Teresa

It was a wolf cub, representing Rome. Filed under S for Subtle.

-Mike D

Petty Officer Joedy Yglesias

I discovered your podcast just before I left the States for a tour of duty in Iraq. I try hard not to listen to more than one or two a night so I can maximize the number of days that I can enjoy them, but I am certain I will be listening to them over again before my tour is up. Thanks for such a great program! I was stationed in Italy for over 4 years (end of 2000-beginning of 2005)and loved studying and walking the streets of Rome. Keep up the great work! Fai bene!!! Bravo!

Chris, Australia

Absolutely loving the podcasts and had serious withdrawals during the break in the program a few months back, managed only with the help of the '12 Byzantine rulers' series of podcasts.

Yes, enjoyed the BBC version of I, Claudius, however Robert Graves' book is a must read (as is his autobiograpgy 'Goodbye to all that') and other writings.

Hugh Yeman

Mike: I just discovered this podcast last Friday and I'm enjoying learning about Rome during my morning walks, and now during my commute. Thank you! I have to tell you that you faked me out a bit during the bit in the Second Samnite War episode about Quintus Fabius in the Ciminian Forest. When you made the "Rodents Of Unusual Size" comment, I hadn't yet tipped to your sense of humor, so I was amazed to "find out" that the "Princess Bride" scene must have come from an actual Roman legend. Then I heard your deadpan delivery of lines like "...at least they could be the subject of another podcast..." and "...this is the same strategy that worked so well for the Rebel Alliance against the Imperial Walkers on Hoth...".

I'm almost to the bit about the Battle of Cannae - one of the few bits of Roman history I actually remembered - and I look forward to catching up.

By the way, Chris from Australia: If you liked the "12 Byzantine Rulers" podcast, I highly recommend Prof. Kenneth Harl's "World of Byzantium" lectures from The Teaching Company.

Mike in Phoenix

Great episode as always Mike! I have a question for you though. I just finished reading Anthony Everitt's Cicero and came across a few aspects of Roman society that I was not familiar with. Mainly, the practice of human sacrifice in times of distress. While I was aware of the brutaluty of the age, I wasn't aware that they took part part in this practice. I believe the story the author refrenced was about several Greeks that were buried alive after the defeat at Cannae. A) is that account acurate? B) If so, how wide spread was this practice within the society and why is it a subject that is brushed aside? I think it's common knowledge that other cultures around the world have taken part in this sort of thing but I've never associated it with that of the Romans or the Greeks for that matter.


Thank you very much for the advice I have a copy of The Rise and Fall of the Roman Empire from
Polybius and am reading as much as I can If you want to email me with the info where I can send you some of the work we are starting on I always wanted something like this for a long comic series.


This podcast series is truly awesome. I don't usually comment but after listening to over 50+ episodes I am compelled to thank you for not only the excellent podcasts but also the recent addition of diagrams, which further my understanding so much.

Keep up the great work! :)



There are Roman sites in Scotland?

Michael In Houston

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
53- Reigning Supreme 23 BC - 17 BC
54- All in the Family 17 BC - 6 BC
55- Teutoburg Nightmares 6 BC - 9 AD

And, it is my duty to argue my point passionately...

Michael Duncan decides...I comply, I remain his Agrippa...and loyal. :)

Michael In Houston

Michael In Houston

Someone check my dates? please?


An article about the fall of the Roman Empire, which may be of interest to you:


And once again thank you for getting your podcast going!



Hugh Yeman

Mike: Thanks again for the podcasts. I'm up to the end of the Third Macedonian War now, and I've had some thoughts and questions.

I've been looking up names of people and places that I don't know, which means almost all of them. Since the spelling is often quite ambiguous, this can take a nontrivial amount of time. It occurred to me that if I took a moment to annotate your entries, my effort would prove useful to others. Should I post any names I find - along with a Wiki link - on the comments for the episode?

Yesterday I was taking notes on a map printout in the hope that this would help me learn and retain the information. Again, it occurred to me that such efforts could be useful if shared. I'm considering making a Google map for each episode and linking to it in a comment. Do you think this is a good idea?


I recently finished the audiobook Caesar's Legion: The Story of the X Legion. I was confused when reference was made to the 17th and 18th Legions around the time of the Jewish Revolt, AD 67-70. The book also states that the legions involved were likely the 19th, 25th, and 26th. The author supposedly used contemporary sources, but most of the online sources I found agree with Mike, that the 17th thru 19th were wiped out in the Teutoburger Wald.

Can anyone offer clarity on this?


Great pics.

Reminds me of HBO's Rome. God, I miss that show


hey there man - love your podcasts, i've been a romanaphile - actually more like a romanojunkie - since childhood, but i've learned some new and great stuff listening to you... i've probably missed it but is there somewhere where you cite your sources?
also - i've always wondered about this: did the roman legionaries actually wear *sandals* in the German winter? in the above pics they are but i find it hard to believe that they could've done so... in WWI and II soldiers were getting frostbite wearing wool socks and boots... so what's the story?
anyway thanks a lot for all your work and the handrawn maps and all - keep it up... what are we going to do after the fall of Constantinople??


also - how bout a link to the source of the pics - i'm curious about this reenactment...


Hi Bennett--it was me that took the photos; a friend of mine used to live near the battle site and she invited me out for the reenactment a few months after I'd badgered her to take me there on an earlier visit. We had a fantastic time--I cheered for the Romans and she cheered for the barbarians, since she's a descendant from them on her father's side. Re sandals--I've seen reenactors and models in museum exhibits wearing rabbit fur (fur side in) between their sandals and their feet, and the sandals excavated in Germany were actually a little more solid than the standard calligae. Have a look here for examples:



Good story on the BBC News website today, on how the Varian Disaster might have changed the face of Europe: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/in_depth/8236016.stm

Val in Vancouver

Salve Mike,
Was the website you referenced for the map of the site of the Teutoburg Forest livy's.org? I can't find it. I've got Livy's History of Rome under a variety of listings. No map yet. I'm cautious to say for certain and then find it as soon as I post this.
Perhaps you have a lead for me?
Thanks, Val
ps I've got your map of Augustus Provinces and the senatorial provinces as my screen saver perfect reference material.
I really appreciate the maps and wow on Carolyn's pictures. What a lot of work it must have been just to prepare the armor and tools, weapons and horns, did you see that long horn and the clothes. Amazing.


The missing link in the "Livia killed everyone" theory is that she did not act alone. To ignore the hidden hand is to see only the surface of the 'fate' that put easily controllable Tiberius on the thrown. A puppet to such an extreme degree he spent the last decade outside of the city! The true power players remain hidden, they act through their front men, sometimes using deliberate sacrifices like Brutus, sometimes ones who are agents for the inner circle like Livia. The same kind of front me are used by this very same, but immensely expanded shadow governance. "His" story becomes much more clarified when the hidden hand, and it's nefarious motive and intent, comes into focus.

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