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July 31, 2011


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The bit about irony at the beginning really cracked me up!


Hello. I am a long time listener and all around Romantic. I'm with Fiona; that irony bit at the beginning, brilliant. Thank you so much for your elegant and diligent work. THOR is the best podcast man has yet to produce. Cheers and thanks from your fans in NYC.


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w-Nh-zSMzqo its from a kids show in the uk called horrible histories. its amazing: its won 3 baftas and best sketch show at the british comedy awards even though its for kids, anyway, there singing about the 4 worst emperors of rome and i was wondering if you or anyone thinks that the 4 theyre talking about really are the 4 worst?


Yeah, the intro was fabulous. :)

I must say that it seems quite unlikely that the main temple of interest in the area just "accidentally burned down from a lit candle" within days of the Emperor's kerfuffle. Seems more like Christian historians wanting to paint it as a purely one-sided conflict?

It'd also be worrying if anyone these days actually think an edict to get rid of oppressive discriminatory laws is actually "Infamous" on it's own merits, rather than what would come after it. If he actually was trying to make sure there was equal religious freedom then you'd have to be quite a scoundrel to say that's terrible. Even if he was trying to stir up conflict between different christian views (What, you have more of a right than they do just because you're the former Emperor's pet? I'd also wager today's Christians would not be getting along with that time's favoured version). Now when he starts explicitly banning the non-corrupt loyal Christians from jobs and positions in the administration then he's obviously wrong (not too unlike how Christians later would restrict the jobs Jews could have, which we certainly shouldn't look favourably upon).

It's also interesting how horrible and inhumane it is for Julian to reclaim non-Christian religious buildings from the desecration of the Christian rule at the expense of the citizenry now living there, but most wouldn't bat an eye when the conversation is regarding Constantine oppressing and forbidding and throwing out pagans on behalf of the Church.

Such transitions are quite jarring and I do like it when they're pointed out, like for example with the clip of you going "He did, after all, execute no more men than Dear Old Uncle Claudius" back in the day. They're sobering reminders to not get too biased about certain historical favourites. :)


Love the episode and as others noted the irony bit at the beginning was great! Question for Mike: as we see the end of the Roman Empire on the horizon can you give your listeners an idea on what your next project will be? Thanks!


@Luke: I think he's mentioned having an interest in doing something on American Civil War stuff? Quite a limited interest outside of the USA itself for that, but oh well, I'm sure Mike would be the one capable of making me give a rat's ass. ;)


If I remember correctly, a THoR book is not too far off. If Mike could make the prose he used in the irony quote standard in his book, Gibbon would be impressed! ;-)


Oh right. Forgot to mention: Mike, at the end you said "his far more mundane and worldly war with Persia", but Mundane = Worldly, so that's a bit odd to hear right after eachother (directly from Mundus, meaning world). Unless you used it as "banal", which I don't understand why it's even considered synonymous to in the first place. The world isn't. :)


Mike, this series is brilliant. I have found it so interesting and informative. You MUST publish!


We're in the End Run now, I guess.
The Western Empire steadily goes down into a mess from here on.


I love the way it is being explain, the whole start of the end of Roma. It was very enlighten how the structure of the western empire gave birth to the feudal era. That was always cunfusing,eveb today the Catholic church uses dioceses.


As you said rome gave way to the fuedal era... Tht would be interesting to learn about. Anyway, someone watch the horrible histories song lmfao

Jared Roberts

I suspect the intro bit about Julian being ironic vs. interesting stems from this wikipedia edit:


Some guy


Luise (Tasmania,Australia)

Well spotted Jared!


I am reading Julian by gore Vidal at the moment and re listening to the episodes about the Antonnies keep up the good work Mike

flyer printing

A member of the Constantinian dynasty, he was made Caesar over the western provinces, by Constantius II in 355, where he campaigned successfully against the Alamanni and Franks.


This time of pulls and tugs between Christianity and Paganism, has a parallel in England after Henry VIII. Mary being Catholic, Elizabeth being CofE... down to James II who tried to favour Catholicism again and had to flee the country for his troubles.

It must have been a tricky time for clergy to tiptoe through whatever was considered Politically Correct. Being able to marry, then... sorry, you're a wicked sinner again for having a wife and family.


Mike, did Roman school kids study Homer, or did you mean Virgil? There is an Iliad in Latin, but did Romans actually study it?


Mr. Duncan, you are a genius! Your podcast is amazing; it has made me fall in love with the splendor that was Rome. You have the perfect voice for podcasting and your content is fascinating. The humour you add to often gory or boring history certainly brightens my day. Thank you so much for doing such a good job! Listening to your podcast helps me get through nearly nine hours of extreme boredom at work. Again, thank you!

Trevor Bailey

Mike, I've been avoiding posting a comment here for a long time now! I'm a carer of two with Huntington's (My parent's)and after giving up work, your podcasts HONESTLY keep me sane mate!!! YOU are the Sandy Kovacs of modern interpretation of history bud!!! I don't wanna gush too much though! Your words.........Trev Bailey Nottingham UK...damn it, you'll be both peak and career!!!!

Account Deleted

Another fantastic episode Mike. I really really want to thank you for all your hard work. I don't even know how to quantify the enjoyment I've gotten from it.


I am finally caught up--having started with the first episode about four months ago. It's great listening while I am on the treadmill for an hour or while going for long walks. Now that I am caught up, I am going back to listen again to the Julius Caesar-Augustus-Claudius ones again, having just watched the BBC "I, Claudius" DVDs because of this podcast. Great mini-series BTW. The acting by all throughout was the best. (I especially enjoyed the scene where Caligula informs Claudius of his metamorphosis; Derek Jacobi is delicious from when he is told Caligula wants to see him--and wondering whether he's about to be killed--until the end of the scene where he pours the drink over his head. Too funny! Brilliant! Starts at the end of this video, at the time of 8:42: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O1RbZQ_32kA&feature=related .

And ends at 5:25 of this video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ITuvkuYKz6I)


This episode's opening about irony was just plain awesome.

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