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June 19, 2011


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 Russell T Davis

That was a very funny confession at the start of this podcast regarding Pollos' quote, others may not have been so brave. I'm glad you all had a great time in Italy and Turkey. Keep up the good work.


Its possible though that Titus Pullo did indeed say that lol.

Pullo and Vorenus were used in ROME because they were real people

Ceasar mentioned them by name in his own"the conquest of Gaul" (its on page 152)

Mike need your thoughts on these internet rumors that HBO is going to remake "I Claudius" i dont know if i should be excited or afraid

Hume's Bastard

The succession "follies" of the emperors through the centuries is just fascinating. What has happened to the imperial bureaucracy, notably the provincial governors?

Jeff Larsen

If anyone is looking for a good read on this era try "The Fall of the Roman Empire" by Peter Heather.

C Nash

I began listening at pocast #1 about 2 months ago. I am officially up to date. Thanks for giving me something worthwhile to listen to while I push boxes around at work in the early am. Incredible show. Thank you.

It would be interesting to hear about changes in technology through the life of the empire (specifically agriculturally and militarily). And, when do the lauded Spanish silver mines dry up?


One suggestion (and likewise wish) would be the creation of a number of standalone podcasts dealing with various topics in Roman society, economy, culture, military, technology, etc, which don't necessarily fit into the standard chronological podcast format but which nevertheless podcast listeners could refer to and listen to whenever they want. Such a series of lectures would add further value to an already outstanding series...


re: People Front of Judea "What did the Romans ever do for us"? episode would be great.


@johnc, this is quite a good idea (sorry Mike) but I was just thinking today that a repeat of the 100th episode Q&A format may be worthwhile. It was a great episode... although we should be patient and wait for episode 200 or at a natural break.


This might be useful to some:



@Acidrain - Thanks for the link very useful for those of us who need a visual aid to 'get' this sort of information.

Gore Vidal wrote a novel called Julian based on the life of the apostate. I read it years ago but it has always stayed with me. A sign of a good piece of work.

Nexon Louis

Mike, glad to have you back and I don't think you should beat yourself up about the Saul Tigh quote, because I too just got into the BSG reboot and also have a memory of that quote from the show. There's no way for me to conflate anything because I've never seen HBO's Rome. I'm not absolutely sure it was Tigh, but he's the most likely character that would have said it. It's gonna bother me until I find it, so I'll get back to you on the exact episode number, but I'm pretty sure I'm right about the quote and as such, so are you.


Dear Mike,

My second comment so far.

I am currently at episode 109 and going through 3 to 5 eps a week. I wish I could slow down the rate so I won't catch up with the rest of you until later:) The down side to that is I am not able to ask question while the topic is fresh.

But this I have to ask before Goths start invading the empire in the next few episodes on my calender:

What was the climate like in Europe during the Roman expansion and retreat? Is there sufficient anecdotal evidence in ancient writings that might suggest climate was as warm if not warmer than now?

I am talking about the so-called Roman Warm Period, of course, which is a bit of a touchy subject for some people (Wikipedia won't even allow a page on it apparently because it is not considered as scientifically certain as Medieval Warm Period).

Each time I hear about one Emperor or another campaigning along the Northern frontier, I wonder how the climate was like then.

Well, Mike, how was the climate like in Roman times, especially in the North? Is there any historical anecdotal evidence to support the claim that Rome was invaded from the North by tribes running away from cold temperatures?

Kind Regards


I am also looking forward to the mention in the podcast of the city I was born and grew up in: Diyarbekir (Amida) on the Tigris.

I think it already got a mention in Episode 105 as one of those places taken from the Sassanids during Alexander Severinus's reign.

But the town (village, perhaps) had already been taken by Romans as far back as 66 BC, during the Third Mithridatic War.

From where I grew up Rome was a far, far away western city that couldn't possibly have anything to do with me.

It never occurred to me that my place of birth was conquered by the Romans even before Britain and Gaul.

But there is more. The city's iconic walls was built by Constantin II. It is still standing and it still looks imposing. It's a pity I never appreciated its historic value when we were little kids playing hide and seek in its shadows.




I went to bed last night listening to Episode 109, and there Mike unexpectedly talks about the Goths and adds climate change as one of the reasons the Goths may have come down South on Romans.

Oh, well, maybe I ought to have waited just a day longer before asking the question:)

Luise (Tasmania,Australia)

Wow, the dark stone of the walls of Diyarbak must have been one of the most unusual and beautiful in the empire. Amazing to have the childhood memories and being blissfully unaware of the significance of what was essentially your playground. The walls are well preserved. May that be because of the climate? Or has it served the community to maintain them? Thankyou for sharing.

Luise (Tasmania,Australia)

Adding a link for those interested in Roman architecture. Prof Kleiner's lectures are an introduction course. I have found them fascinating. The lectures are also available on iTunesU for free.



Hi Louise

The wall was built of black basalt, which is common in the area near an extinct volcano. All historic buildings in Diyarbekir (Amida) carries that signature look.

The wall was instrumental in winning a military conflict as late as 1925, when besieging Kurdish rebels failed to take the city quickly. Kurds consider it as their capital city and would very much like to change the name to 'Amed'.

City residents take immense pride in the walls, some calling it the 'Castle'. A few of the 82 round towers (many of which were added to the wall over the centuries) have their own individual history and mythology among the locals.

From the pictures it looks as though much restoration and preservation work has gone in to the wall. It certainly looks better than I last saw it more than two decades ago.

Luise (Tasmania,Australia)

Hi sHx
Ahh black basalt! I understand now. Where I live was once an active volcanic area. There are basalt outcrops along the north west coastline of Tasmania. Inland, the soils are distinctive red/brown as well, a byproduct of weathering, good for growing vegetables!
Hope to one day visit Diyarbekir to see the walls myself. Until you posted about this place I knew nothing of it. Thankyou for sharing.

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