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August 14, 2011


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Mike, for this week's Audible recommendation, can I suggest '2001', a highly speculative history of space exploration at the turn of the century?

Seriously, well done! 147 great podcasts and getting better all the time!


Mike I have learned SO much from you and your podcast. Please do the Eastern empire if you can.

James Rathbun

I'm trying to get beyond that Milvain bridge. I'll catch up soon! I liked your careful interweaving of Christianity and the history.


Poor Jovian. That seems to be a similar theme of many emperors.


The job of Emperor... once in a while it works out and you're fabulously successful and wealthy and famous, but much of the time you end up dead within a year.

It's a brave gambler who takes on the job.


I love how THOR has spawned so many other copycat podcasts.

"The History of".... Russia, China, Japan, World War II.
People trying to copy THORs success.

With THOR of course having it's roots in "12 Byzantine Emperors" and things like "Napoleon 101".

And you can see that they are taking to same arc. They start out a bit stiff and sounding like they are reading an essay, but gradually they loosen up and get comfortable.

It's cool to hear the entire journey of a historical story in this way.

CA Bennett

With the fall of Rome now just 100 or so years off, I'm beginning to think of how it all ends.

I'm struck by how the empire post476 still thought of itself as Roman and given that the city was recaptured 60 years after it was lost, might you not consider carrying on to Justinian at least?


Another great episode.

I've loved this podcast for years now...are we nearing the end so soon?

But I for one am interested in hearing your take on American History, as you've discussed before.



I have a suggestion I'd like to throw out there. Why not continue the podcast until March 24, 617 AD, which is Rome's half-millionth day. That would take us into the medieval transition period, the decay of the western reconquests, and the active reign of Heraclius. Most importatly, 500,000 is a nice big-round number! :)

Mike just messin' wit' you :) If the train stops in 476 it will still be one heckuva ride!

Michael C

Only 90 more years of Western Empire to go? I am sad.

And I'm wondering where to go next. I loved "Twelve Byzantine Emperors" (it's what led me to THoR), and have Lars' "The Norman Years" on deck. But I feel like there's many centuries in between that I want to savor first!

Byzantium is covered. Anyone know a good podcast on the Muslim caliphates and kingdoms? Or the early medieval ages?


An "A History of The Dark Ages" podcast would be great by someone. Frankish Kingdoms and so forth.

I know "History According to Bob" did a run on the Carolingian Franks, which was a bit heavy going to be honest.

"Europe from its Origins" was a rather wonderful attempt at describing life after the Romans.


Of course, THoR could just keep going....
The story gradually becomes more about Vandals and Ostrogoths and so forth, than the ever weakening Romans anyway. You could plot a comfortable course into Theodoric the Great and onwards to Charlemagne.

But I guess the show has to end eventually.

John Poole

There are other 'The History of...' out there eh? I will check them out. I have been enjoying The History of England at http://historyofengland.typepad.com/

David Crowther

As a self confessed imitator of THOR, I have to say that THOR is still the best. The last 2 episodes have been brilliant - Mike I don't know how you keep it going. Doesn't inspiration fail you every so often? I agree with everyone - keep going on the Eastern Empire, afterall they called themselves Romans. Or maybe the Holy Roman Empire?

Anyway, enough flattery. If we are in recommending mode, I have loved the 'Europe since it's orgins' podcast.

And on books I've read 2 Excellent ones recently - neither have anything to do with Rome. 'A Time Travellers Guide to Medieval England' by Ian Mortimer, and 'The English Civil War first hand' by Tristram Hunt. Both seriously good books.

Account Deleted

"I love how THOR has spawned so many other copycat podcasts."

I'll be the first to admit that the reason I started doing my Korean history podcast was because I listened to THOR and found myself thinking "why am I not doing something like this?" Mr. Duncan has inspired so many history fans to start getting creative.


I forgot about "Europe from its Origins!" It's another really great one, though it focuses on larger historic trends more than the individuals.

And I just downloaded a History of England and of Russia, just so I'll be ready when the empire falls.

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He then ruled the Empire for eight months before suddenly dying on his way to Constantinople in early 364.

Dean Radinovsky

I'm bummed that Julian did not have more time to manage his estate, and enact his policies--truly a fascinating and potentially great (influential) emperor.
Belatedly thought of a great read, available through Audible: Gustave Flaubert's "Salambo". Flaubert is one of the greatest writers of historical fiction, and "Salambo" gives a wonderful description of Carthage as it was vying for regional dominance with Rome. Carthaginian distaste for fighting resulted in the hiring of mercenaries, and Flaubert gives a colorful account of the huge cultural variety of participants: "Four great funeral piles were built for the men of Latin race, the Samnites, the Etruscans, the Campanians and the Bruttians. The Greeks dug graves with their sword points. The Spartans took off their red cloaks and with them shrouded their dead; the Athenians laid them out with their faces toward the rising sun; the Cantabrians buried them under a heap of pebbles; the Nasamones trussed them double with ox-hide thongs, and the Garamantes went down and interred them on the shore, so that they might for ever be washed by the waves. The Latins mourned because they could not collect the ashes in urns; the Nomads sighed for the hot sands in which they mummified their dead, and the Celts for their three rough stones under a rainy sky at the end of some gulf of many islands." The military and technological contributions of the different peoples are also admirably described. Hamilcar, Hannibal's father, is the main character; Salambo is his daughter.

Rob Shinnick

Did I miss something? (I don't think so...) At 15:27, you say, "Some sources point to carbon monoxide poisoning". And then... nothing! That's it! Even if this freak accident was mythical, wouldn't it have been nice to have at least a sentence or two about it? If I hadn't already known the story about the charcoal brazier in the tent, I would have been a little stumped. Was Jovian sucking on the tailpipe of a taxicab? Did the Greyhound bus from Ancyra to Nicaea pass by, leaving the emperor and his retinue in a cloud of fumes? I mean, c'mon, that's one of the (slightly) juicier mysteries, and you swept right on past it! But hey, look at it this way- at least you know I was listening, right? I am that- an avid listener for sure. Thanks, and keep up the good work! (But when there's something unusual like suffocating emperors, hey- give us a little more color, man!) :-)

Mark Escobedo

Finally caught up! Great podcast. It pushes me to learn and study more on this topic than I ever would without it. Thanks Mike!


Great Episode again Mike. It seems that Adrianople is just around the corner and the fall of the western empire is coming soon. I would definitely love to hear you continue onto byzantine History but "12 Byzantine Rulers" has already done a wonderful job on some major figures. I would also love to hear your "planned" American political history. Thanks for all your work. You have really opened the door to Roman history for me:)

Bicycles in Bangalore,

It works out and you're fabulously successful and wealthy and famous, but much of the time you end up dead within a year...Thanks, and keep up the good work!


Mike - Thank you once again for a great podcast. And everytime I think of "I for one am under the impression that Livia did it" I giggle.

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I would have been a little stumped. Was Jovian sucking on the tailpipe of a taxicab? Did the Greyhound bus from Ancyra to Nicaea pass by,.. It seems that Adrianople is just around the corner and the fall of the western empire is coming soon.


Is it just me or does the script include a lot more swearing that it used to? I think most THOR fans understand what you're trying to say without needing any trite references to Hell.

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