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June 27, 2010


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Great episode as always. Title is a little odd


Enjoy your vacation!


A completely dumb question....

Did we get the word "Severe" from this emperor?
Or was he named so because of his hard attitude?
Or is there no relationship between the two?

Mikey in PHX


I've wondered this same thing too Mike. Do our modern english words like severe (latin: severus) and crass (latin: crassus) get their modern definition from the characteristics displayed by those famous romans who were known by these names? I mean, if Pompey was anything, he was pompous.


Funnily enough I was wondering whether severe comes from Severus. Taken from an online dictionary:
Etymology: Middle French or Latin; Middle French, from Latin severus

Still doesn't fully answer the question, but it can be inferred.


What I can say though is:
Quidquid latine dictum sit, altum videtur.


Also found this.

late 15c., "austerity or strictness of life," from M.Fr. severite, from L. severitas, from severus "stern, strict, serious," possibly from *se vero "without kindness," from se "without" (see secret) + *vero "kindness," neuter ablative of verus "true" (see very). Meaning "strictness in dealing with others" is recorded from 1520s.


As always though, a great episode. Have a great vacation.


Hello, found this recently and am very much enjoying it. Is there anywhere to find all the episodes? It appears the site starts with episode 35. Can 1-34 be had somehow?

Thanks! And I HOPE SO!!


Hi Kurt,
Welcome to THoR-dome. Older posts can be found here: http://thehistoryofrome.blogspot.com and here: http://thehistoryofrome.wordpress.com . Mike had to move them due to server feed number limitations. You can do as I did and download all episodes, from episode 1 (December 30, 2007) from these sites. Enjoy!

Luise (Tasmania,Australia)

Isn't language wonderful!

Tom (London)


I love the history of Rome podcast, cooking dinner on a Monday wouldn't be the same without it!

Just noticed that Amazon use the same music in their kindle demonstration video.

All the best and keep up the good work.

Ryan Reyes

Did you know there was a THoR iPod app? I just saw that in the previous discussion. Mike, are you making money off that app? If so I am going to purchase it. Otherwise I am not sure how I feel about someone else making money off your podcast.

Arthur Rizer

Mike I wanted to email you something can you email me so I can send it your way (dealing with something you said on your 100th Ep). Also, I grew up in Seattle (went to Federal Way Hi) and got a Poly Sci Degree from PLU - most importantly, I am a crazed Seattle Mariners fan.


hey Arthur Rizer! I'm in Federal Way too!!

I'm not a crazy Mariners fan, but I'm definitely a Seahawks and Sounders fan.

Plus I see Federal Way high school everyday during my commute.

Helen Davenport

Channel 4, the british broadcaster, has a documentary all about Septimius Severus' invaision of Britain: 'The Untold Invaision of Britain'. It is available to watch again on 4OD on the Internet here in the UK, maybe people can get it overseas. It's enjoyable if a bit '300'ish in the reconstructions.

Wicked Chicken

Dan Carlin's hardcore history has an episode [and possibly a series of them] on Rome


Hey, is it just me or is episode 28 not on the Itunes feed?

Luise (Tasmania,Australia)

Bill! No, I don't see it either, though I do have it, just not in podcasts. Mine downloaded to a separate file called "Mike Duncan" in the Artists section of My Music. Try looking there.
Good Luck!

Luise (Tasmania,Australia)

I found this recently. Seems like the chap has done a lot of work to put this up. He describes with drawings and references, the Roman Army, camps, the march, animals used, equipment and a few section on the battle formations etc. Quite interesting.


If this has already been posted...oops!
It's worth a visit though!

Steve Gad

I may be stating a fact that most of you already know here, but should anyone who doesn't already know the works of Lars Brownworth, seek to gain more knowledge on the later pariod of the empire, then read on.
As Mike moves ever onward - yet has stated he may not go much further - I have found the lectures by Lars to be very good. He has a similar easy pace of delivery to Mike, and the articles are very well done.
Check the Byzantine Emperors items at:


Cheers all. Steve.


Helen was right about the Channel 4 show 'The Untold Invasion Of Britain'. Well worth a look if you get the chance.
And Steve is right on the money with Lars Brownworth, '12 Bizantine Rulers', although I would still like to see that period given the Mike Duncan treatment, unlikely though it may be.


@FredBear -- a belated Thank You!! for the links and information.

In one of the early episodes Mike states there are transcripts available. Is that still true, and if so, where might they be?


Luise (Tasmania,Australia)

Hi All!
Here is a link to a page on the decline of the Empire. Enjoy!


Luise (Tasmania,Australia)

Also a link to an amazing list of books on all things Roman. This site is dedicated to The Roman Army. Happy Reading!


Christopher Marcel

I only started listening (ep.55). I feel I missed out on this journey with others, but I have thoroughly enjoyed this podcast so far! Yes I am posting my comment on the wrong episode, I only wanted to make sue that my thanks was heard. Thank you for the extensive history, and the insight you bring to this subject. You have made the world better by sharing your knowledge and research.


Hi Mike--I'm a long time fan of the podcast, and part of the audio team at Adobe. We're working on a Mac version of Audition, and it occurred to me you might be interested. Get in touch if you are, and keep up the awesome work.


Tom: don't make Mike self-conscious about the intro music! He sounded kinda like he didn't like it that much in Episode 100, but I always thought of it as very Roman-y until he let on it was just Garage Band stock or whatever.

Wicked Chicken: Hardcore History has 3 episodes (like an hour or 1.5h each!) about the Punic Wars, and they are amazing. Dan Carlin is a compelling speaker, really painting a picture for the listener, and the story is chilling. A MUST DOWNLOAD for THoR fans!


is he back this week or next week cant wait either way

Miguel Angelo

Am I missing something? Was this podcast moved to another site or something? I need my fix man. *shivers*

Ben Nicholson

Mike had 2 weeks off, I believe he should be back for the latest episode, as off either late Sunday or early Monday British time, so within the next 12 hours (I believe), it should be here

Luise (Tasmania,Australia)

For those interested in the religious life of the Romans and other Mediterranean peoples, iTunes has a "Religions of the Ancient Mediterranean" podcast. Episodes 4.1- 4.6 deal with the gods of Rome. Other episodes comment on Hebrew and Christian events. The creator of this has other web sites, one looks to be dedicated to food in the Greco-Roman world. Have yet to explore it further.
Thanks for posting episode 28 again, it downloaded successfully to join the others.


I'm not sure if anyone has answered this, but I noticed that several of you were wondering about the etymology of Severus and I thought I'd provide my two cents.

In the "classical" Latin (or variously, "lingua Latina", "Latinitas", "sermo urbanus") of the late Roman Republic and the Empire, "Severus" was an adjective that meant "strict", "stern"; "severe", "austere"; "grim", "terrible". "Severe" was an adverb that meant "sternly", "severely". Lastly, "severitas" (-atis) meant "strictness" or "austerity".

That the term was employed during the Republic means that it predated Severus. I write that because as I referenced my materials, I initially wondered if Severus' father disliked him by naming him "stern" or "austere" or if the word was introduced during/after Severus' reign. Cassius Dio doesn't seem to indicate anything etymological about the name either.

Anyway, that's my take.

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