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October 17, 2010


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Excellent the two week hiatus is over!

I've been dying to share a little story regarding THoR all week..

I went into the local bookshop in suburban Melbourne and picked up a new release called "A Cabinet of Roman Curiosities" by J.C. McKeown. Utterly hilarious book detailing some obscure, bizarre and sometimes profane facts about roman life (let's just say Augustus had a filthy mouth).

Anyway so I went to the counter to pay for it and got chatting to the sale guy. Upon seeing that the book was about a mutual interest it took us close to 3 seconds flat to realize we were both THoR nerds. I never realized there were so many of us that we could randomly run into one another!

Needless to say, the point of this story is Ave M. Duncan! May he be as wise as Trajan and as lucky as Augustus.

ps. I also might happen to be in Europe come early next year... is it possible a lone wanderer could share a bear or two with the traveling THoR legion at some point?


Hurrah for the return of THoR!

The "decline" episodes have got me wondering about the life chances of all these usurper generals being hailed emperor. We have heard of a few who succeeded, and a few more who did not. The common theme is that all were dead within a few years - did these guys not read their history?!

@ Benjamin, and anyone else living around / coming through Mogontiacum - Roman themed beers an excellent idea.

Micah Hall

That was a long couple of weeks. Has anyone wrested an assurance from Imperator Duncan that he will keep this going until the fall of Constantinople?

In my very humble point, ref the usurper Generals:

The fall of Rome becomes very likely when Caesar crossed the Rubicon and inevitable after the death of Germanicus in my opinion.

Mike made a great point about the living memory of the Kings of Rome. Once the living memory of the republic was fading/gone, probably only Germanicus could have made it a reality once again being both strong enough to withstand military adventurers and principled enough to refuse ultimate power himself. If he could have persuaded Tiberius to step down and lived for thirty years while a Republic was reborn then perhaps the strength of a Republican generation might have stood the test of time.

The history of Rome might have been very different.

Its also a very interesting point ref the British Empire; had the British Parliament started accepting MP's from major colonial cities between the wars then perhaps the Empire would have survived a lot longer.


@ Micah

From the March 6th chat at the forum

"(19:15:24) MikeDuncan: I'll just keep plugging away until it's done
(19:15:42) MikeDuncan: And by done I mean 476"



As we get further along into the waning of the Empire, I hope Mike can spare some thoughts on the European legacy of Rome.

Few things in Western history have been as enduring as the idea of Rome - it's virtues, it's style, it's luxury. Heck, it's why we're all listening to THoR. As a once-upon-a-time student of European politics, that endurance has fascinated me. It shows up in studies of the Carolingians and the HRE, of course, but also is a touchstone for imperial Britain, the Ottomans and the United States. There's even a town in China that claims a Roman connection.

it would be great to hear Mike's perspectives on what Rome meant not just to the Romans themselves, but all the successive civilizations that followed.

Micah Hall

476???? He must be persuaded otherwise. I had visions of us all growing old together.

Jonathan Newstead

I would just like to point out an odd fact of Roman History. Why did the Praetorian Guard, being so large and skilled, never actualy defend Rome against her enemies. Another great example of this was given this week when a 'hastily raised militia' had to beat back the Germanic incursion into Italy. Just seems crazy to me, or were the Praetorians simply too spoilt and lazy by this time?

Val in Vancouver

@Jonathan I think Mike referenced the forming of the Praetorian Guard as being strictly to protect the Emperor, beginning with Octavian, ok Augustus. I did find this link which goes into some detail:


"The History of Rome" is a great podcast. Thank you, Mike.
The last episodes are really interesting to me as long as they covered a "grey area" of Roman history - one concerning a period when the historical sources became scarce, but it had deep implications in the future of the prigin of the new countries of Europe.
For example, I'm looking forward to the one of the next episodes about emperor Aurelian (born in Dacia Ripensis) who decided to abandon Dacian provinces north of Danube. The history is not clear about the reasons of the emperor (if it was forced to get out due to Gothic and free Dacian attacks) and what this abandon really means: i.e. was a general retreat or only an army/legions retreat?

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