« 95- The Beginning of the End | Main | 97- The Fall of Hercules »

May 30, 2010


Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.


Here's a link for a gray-scale map from the time of Marcus Aurelius's death and the start of the reign of Commodus



so it's true that Commodus wasn't slain by a Gladiator named Maximus

Joseph RJ

Lots of info in this podcast, I am going to have to do some research to supplement my understanding of it, and then listen to this once again. Very awesome episode!


Thank you for addressing my question from the 100th episode thread! Great episode as always and awesome closing remark, I literally lol'd. What are you going to say when we get to the Year of the Six Emperors i wonder?


So an emperor finally got to pass his title onto his son, and the son promptly flushed the whole business right down the toilet? Is George W Bush involved in this scenario somehow?


not a single mention of Maximus Decimus Meridius ? i'm confused. Keep up the great work

Luise (Tasmania,Australia)

Hi Mike!
I wonder if the name "Commodus" does have any connection with the word "commode", quite apart from his behaviour, it might have been a very noble name in his time. I will have to go over his new episode a few times, there is, as already mentioned, so much in this one. Great work!


Just wanted to say I LOVE this podcast, it is the # 1 podcast that I listen to and look forward to it every week. I just read that you are not going to be taking the podcast into the byzantine empire which stinks but thank God Rome has so much more history to cover.


(more personal than informative) I seem to be more akin to your grandfather at least re dealing with iTunes/podcasts. Somehow I stumbled on your podcast >1 year ago and am a devoted (if sporadic) 'reader' now being up to 66. This beautiful afternoon I learned not only some Roman history but belatedly of Grandpa's passing and your (then) upcoming marriage. Sympathies on the former, congratulations on the latter. I hope your wife shares the passion. I cannot believe you got me hooked on this. You are terrific in content and delivery. A delight! Thank you.



A wonderful podcast. Thanks for letting us share in your passion for all things Rome.




BTW, did you know that if you re-name past episodes to be three digits with leading zeroes, all your sorting problems would retreat into the Gallic wood?

As you have no doubt realized, alpha numeric sort of episodes places episode "3" next to episode "30". Just add the zeroes and stay consistent on the length and it all works out ;-)

You da Patron!



Not being up to the latest episode, one is always late to the party with comments, but here it goes. Your recommendation of Zinn was quite surreal. My conservative brethren have outed him sufficiently so I will not drag out the dead and now swollen horse for more critique. Let me just say that you have spent over a hundred episodes building your reputation on solid research and a heart-felt search for the truth. Why blow it with Zinn, who is not up to your standards? His works are agenda-driven and see American history through a leftist victim-hood prism. Lefft is right.




Thanks for helping me impress my attending physician today on rounds. I'm on an infectious disease rotation at my med school and today the boss asked us about a fungus called Candida lusitaniae, specifically why its species name was lusitaniae. He was amazed when I was able to recite that Lusitania is basically modern day Portugal so the fungus was probably discovered there - he said I was the first student he'd ever taught to answer that question correctly. I only knew it because I'd listened to the "Provincial Matters" episode last weekend, so seriously thanks man.

I thought you might enjoy the anecdote!


I discovered this podcast about 8 episodes back. Listen to it on my way back home from work. It makes the commute so much more tolerable. Thank you!

It would be a good idea to have a small Android or Iphone program with all the eps to choose from..maybe so people can listen to them in order or catch up? I listen to it on Stitcher on my android phone.


Hi Mike,

I also want to say first of all, thanks for many hours of happy listening. I have dozens of podcasts on my iPod and yours is the first one I listen to every week.

The thing I like best about the podcast is the way understanding Roman history sheds light on so much contemporary life from wedding ceremonies to conflict in the Middle East to country names, the Bible and salt and pepper.

I had a question I wanted to submit to the 100th episode, but was too late:

I've seen it written (in "Health of Soil" by Albert Howard) that the fall of the Roman Empire was due to a decline in soil fertility because of unsustainable farming practices. It seemed unlikely until I thought of "Collapse" by Jared Diamond in which he talks about how the people of Easter Island, the Norse colony in Greenland and several others disappeared because of unsustainable farming. Is this something to be takes seriously in relation to Rome's decline?


Hi Mike,

I'm a huge fan. I love listening to one episode after another, so it's really difficult for me to wait a whole week for a new episode. I found the podcast when you were on #65 or so, and I listened to about 4-5 podcasts a day while I worked out. Man - I've never looked so forward to my workouts. Alas, now I've caught up and only work out about 20 minutes a week :)

I just wanted to throw my support behind your recommendation of The People's History. Zinn's masterpiece opened up an entirely new perspective that we now take for granted as an alternative viewpoint into our history and culture. The fact that the book and Zinn have been picked apart for decades by those who feel uncomfortable with it's and his conclusions is a testament to the importance of the work and man.

With that said, it is ironic to look upon today's historians and the histories they write in relation to the roman historians. First off, as has always been the case, most of the written history seems to be about the elite and military campaigns vs. the common person (which is one of the main reasons Zinn's book stands out as being so important). Even in today's free-thinking western cultures, there is societal pressure not to rock the boat. It is so interesting to think of the roman historians in the time of emperor x writing about the life and times of emperor x-1, and how much the popular and elite perceptions of the past would have played into what actually ended up being written. I know you've talked about this during episodes and I appreciate the insight. Finally, even with all the bias that ran rampant in Roman histories, it's hard to imagine a Roman historian practicing critical introspection about the grandeur and righteousness of the Roman state.

The comments to this entry are closed.