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May 16, 2010


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First time commenting and looks like the first comment too, so extra specialness. Just want to say thanks Mike for such a great podcast, its a wonderful start to the week and (for me) one of life's simple pleasures.

Cheers from Melbourne, Australia.


Thanks Mike. I am always happy to have this to listen to at lunchtime.
Second those cheers from Melbourne.


Wow, excellent podcast, particularly the bit on Stoic philosophy. It really is fascinating.


Thanks for all the hard work you put forth, Mike. The quality of your podcast really reflects your commitment. Also, being Marcus Aurelius must have been very, very stressful.


Thanks for the great podcast. I just wanted to give you a heads up that the episode order is SUPER goofy on an android phone. I'm using google listen to download the podcast, and they're all out of order with ep.73-84 totally missing. Might be an RSS thing. I know you've had trouble with feeds in the past; hope it's an easy fix on your end, because I've tried everything on my end. Keep up the good work!


I found your podcast incidentally about a week ago, and its pushed both radio and other casts off my schedule. Good news is that I've had my classical education refreshed, bad news is that I have no idea what's going on in the world today ;)

Luckily I should be caught up by the weekend, and things can return to normal again.

I am in awe of your storytelling-skills, and have been recommending your excellent podcast to anyone who will listen.


I agree Harald,

I've often had to restraint myself from running up to randoms in the street and shaking them demanding to know if they have heard about just how awesome Trajan was or something similar. I've also gotten odd looks on the train for bursting out in laughter or smiling like a nut when some of the Mike-esque wit comes up.

Needless to say THoR has ruined my public image.


Inspired me to look up Marcus' quotes!

Patrick H


I thought your offhand comment about "Plug away on some discordant b flat" was interesting. A while ago I head a story by Robert Krulwich (Radiolab) about B flat, and the frequency of the universe.

The story is very accessible and I encourage you to check it out:


Thank you again for your podcast. I have been listening from the beginning and it is a highlight of my week.


I'm trying to figure out why Rome was abandoned for the east. Trajan and Hadrian separated the Emperor from Rome, but what were the macroeconomic factors that led to empire being split, the build up of the eastern empire, and the hollowing out of the western empire? The fall of Rome seems more like the dissipation of the west, with momentum carrying it for another couple of centuries.


Are there any books you can recommend that cover the east/west divide particularly well. The 5th century gets a lot of attention due to the sack of Rome and the many Roman military defeats, but the 3rd and 4th centuries seem more important (causal). Also, why were the Germans, among others, so effective militarily? Sheer numbers? If so, what allowed their population to be so large?

Joseph Fredericks

listening to this most recent podcast while sitting in the oval forum of Jerash. Mike, you're awesome to bring this history alive!


Mike...I have no way of getting a hold of you, and the customer service e-mail address for Audibles that they sent me was bogus. I never got the "free" download, and I have so far been charged about 30 bones over the past 2 months for a service I have not used, and attempted to cancel. Repeatedly. I cannot get a hold of anyone there to rectify the matter, and the only reason I embraced it to begin with is because I LOVE your podcast. In retrospect, I should have just sent the cash as a donation to your new lair in Austin! It would have been less frustrating and more worth it to me! I wouldn't have reached out to you, but I can't get a hold of ANYONE at AUDIBLE.

From the people's Republic of Portland,


anyone else having trouble downloading this episode from itunes?

Jeff Moriarty

Thank you for this most superb podcast! I discovered it about a month ago and listened straight through. You break it down into nice, compact narratives and the only complaint is that I often want more. I enjoy your detours from the Emperors to explore life at the time, and you will get no complaint here if you did it more often. For example, in the past few episodes I was wondering how the plague impacted life outside of the Legions. Were all the provinces hit? Was it viewed as divine retribution? Did Rome try to appease the Gods somehow? Did they lock up Rome to keep the sick out? etc.

I'd love to know more of these sorts of facts, but I see how much time you already put into these episodes so am quite happy with whatever you are able to put together. Thank you!

Richard Eppert

Curious-Try downloading Lars Brownworth's 12 Byzantine Rulers podcast. The first three podcasts cover some of this information you're seeking.

Mikey Magnus

Hi Mike, Love the podcast and yeah, I know I'm like a week or so late and others have already commented on this matter........ but Howard Zinn????? Really???? That's a bit disappointing from a "High Rebublican era" kind of guy. I think Mr. Zinn's work should be read but there should probably be a precursor to that recommendation like "yeah, if you've ever wondered how someone with wild socialist views recounts american history.... you might want to listen to...." Not sure if it's available on audible but may I recommend A Patriot's History of the United States. Either way the podcast still rocks, keep up the good work! Can't wait for that Joaquin guy to come of age (if he ever actually did) and start naming everything after himself.


I just wanted to say that I started listening after your third podcast and though this is my first comment I have been wanting to tell you how much I look forward to "The History of Rome" every week. Though I admit to some disappointment about your plan to not follow the history of the east after Romulus is deposed I can understand and simply want to add my voice to those who beg you to give it a second thought when the time comes. My focus has been Mediterranean History from a time before I was in college and love your boiled down pieces of great story telling and dry wit and the way they hold my attention and engage my imagination in a way that even Livy sometimes fails to do. Go luck and bonus fortuna quod se gero. Cheers!


I also look forward to History of Rome every week. My 10-year-old and 12-year-old boys also love listening.

I ran across this article on Constantine and thought you might be interested in it when you come to that topic. It's a bit vitriolic here and there but still very interesting reading.


Thanks again for all your work.

Matthew Cohen

Curious - Richard Eppert beat me to it. Run to your itunes and download the 12 byzantine emperors podcast asap.

Have any of you all read Meditations? I just read a Gregory Hays translation, which i liked, but some of the online versions didn't seems as accessible.
I borrowed mine from the library but i liked it so much i want to have one to flip through - does anyone have a translation they like to recommend?


@Matthew Cohen

I have the book (in a Norwegian translation, mind you), but I've not read it in a dog's age. I has floated up on my reading list, though.

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