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April 17, 2011


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Chris Culpepper

I have a question that's I keep asking myself since covering the dissolution of the Tertrarchy:
During the battles of Maxentius and Constantine, and now Maximinius Daia and Licinus, what were the Sassanids doing during this time? Were they dealing with their own internal problems? It would seem to me to be that during Rome's constant civil war, It would have been a good time to either annex Armenia, or press into Rome's eastern provinces. So what exactly were the Sassanids doing?

Account Deleted

An irony I've been buesing for a few episodes is, that I've always associated Constantine with the eastern half of the Empire because of the city he built in Byzantium. But, starting out in Gaul and with Rome in the bag now, Constantine is one of the few emperors I can see who can claim to be ruler of the entire Roman world.


There is always a lot of discussion about Christian persecutions by the Roman emperors. I've always wondered, how unique was this? Is the singularity with which we devote attention to this a case of the victors writing the history? That is, do we give this disproportionate attention because most writers on the subject have themselves been Christian? Who else was persecuted for religious practices in these times and, numerically, who was persecuted more, Christians or other populations?


Is that history nerd humor? I thot machiavelli doesn't write his book for another few centuries.

Luise (Tasmania,Australia)

Anachronism! Funny!



I don't know the actual numbers, but Christians probably were a main target for persecution.

The Romans didn't tolerate dissent, and Christianity was seen as a significant threat, not only to existing religious beliefs, but to the authority of Rome's rulers.

Kent Stater

I have been wondering for while now about how life was different in the time of Constantine from say the times of Augustus. Surely the military tactics and social customs must have changed. Would be great if we could have an episode on that.



I thought I'd post just to say that I'm working my way through your podcasts and enjoying them very much. I was a Classics major long ago and it's lots of fun getting reacquainted with old friends. Keep up the good work.


@ Iain
The reason chirtians were mistrusted was because they wouldn't 'partake' in any celebration of thte old pagan gods!
The Romans didn't care who you worshiped so long as you showed a little bit of veneration to their gods as the protectors of the people.
In the pagon mindset( such as the Romans ) they didn't see the 'big deal' in not doing so as polythiesm was natural to them anyway.
Ironically nowadays we do still celebrate the old pagan festivals but now with a christian make over.


Hi Mike, I really liked Constantine podcasts till now. I read my roman history after Marcus Aurelius always with pain and grudge. In fact after ur final Marcus Aurelius podcast, i didn't listen to next episodes for few weeks. But I have to say you have made later part of Roman Empire history an interesting revisit. I loved podcast on Aurelian; title ‘restorer’ really suits him. I sincerely believed if he had lived 15 more years, Western Empire's life might have increased by at least 75 years. But of course in History if and buts doesn't matter.

I have one request though. I remember u saying it is not possible to extend podcast till Fall of Constantinople. But can u later do small podcast for great roman figures in republic and empire. I specially thought Cato, Cassius etc. could have got little more pod time.

BTW I read “The Poison King: The Life and Legend of Mithradates”, Rome's Deadliest Enemy” completely. I am disappointed but I will take those comments to Adrienne Mayor rather than you :-)



I started The History of Rome at the end of February, and this is the first time I've had to wait for the next episode. So I've filled the void with other history podcasts and have come to appreciate the quality of what you do: your pace of delivery and the clarity of your story set you apart. Thank you!

I finally get to ask about things that have made me go "Hmmm..." over the past couple of months:

- At what point did the concept of "the state" gain acceptance?

- Did "SPQR" continue to be used during the empire, or was it applicable only to the republic?

- In my Latin 1 class I learned that librum means book, but I've been puzzled by the actual form books took. When did the transition from scrolls (or a collection of scrolls since each surely has a finite length) to cut sheets and bound volumes take place?

- It seems like the internet was alive and well in the ancient world: the speed by which communications and news arrived is impressive; the speed by which individuals or even armies arrived at their destinations is astounding. Might there exist a "time chart" (sort of like a distance chart) which lays out how long it might take to get from one place or city to another? Did the Roman "highways" exist outside of Italy?

I'll be poking around the web for answers, but since you prompted the questions, I'd like to give you a crack at answering them.

Carol Watson

I have been following these podcasts since last October, and they are simply the best podcasts I have downloaded on any subject. I think your style and delivery set you apart, and have a mesmeric quality. I am a big fan of radio and I find the podacsts are great in th evening when I am about to go to sleep... a sort of book at bedtime. I am Scottish but live in south west France, so find the stuff about Gaul fascinating. Many thanks

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