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December 04, 2011


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Hey Mike awesome show, quick question. What is the source you used to assert the premise that the Romans tied up Pyrrus's war elephants like the Imperial walkers at Hoth? I want to be able to effectivelly reference it in the future as a fun factoid. Thanks always for your insanely hard work on the podcast!

R. Mowat

Another great episode. I had been unexcited about the end of the Empire: I've been very partial to the late-Republic period. But there is something attractive, now, about the looming collapse. Partially it is because this is how we get from 'there' to 'here', historically. But I think it is also because there are some great figures caught up in this, trying to stem the tide. I've found Stilicho to be a pretty interesting guy.


R. Mowat

I think you mentioned at once point, but what edition of Gibbon's Fall & Decline do you prefer?


My sister and brother in law named their son Aleric. (Slightly uncomfortable moment at his Christening.) Have been looking forward to these epiodes so I can encourage him to emulate the example of his near-namesake.

Joseph Dietrich

A nitpick, but you mentioned in the last episode that Trier is "located along the lower Rhein," instead of "in the lower Rhein region." Was this just a simplification for the audience? I ask because Trier is actually on the Mosel, and it would have taken a 1-2 day boat ride downriver to get to the Roman fort/settlement of Koblenz at the confluence of the two rivers.

It is only a minor detail, and I only bring this up because a) I am a pedant, and b) I lived in Koblenz for several years, and had often been to Trier, since the ex-wife's grandmother lived a stone-throw away from the ruins of Valentinian I's summer palace in Konz.


Great detail work, Mike Duncan. It is so sad to see the end of the empire so near. I like the explanation of events here. Most history books just tell you the main events but not the details. It seems that the Romans at this time were still able to fight off barbarians. I always thought that by this time the empire could not handle the mass of barbarians coming to the territories. Because, you know, the high light is the sack of Rome. Also, the Huns were fought earlier than it is popular believe for what you are telling. Not just from Attila, but they came earlier and recognizing the power of Rome. So how come the Huns are not really talked about before Attila, and how they were beaten by the Romans? Anyways great work man.


Wow, things are really winding down for Rome. Late antiquity is such a strange period, one foot in the ancient world, one foot in the middle ages. It's fascinating seeing the fall of the Western Empire narrated practically blow-by-blow in such depth.

Steve O'Grady

Some time ago, (back in the days of the Julio-Claudians in fact,) I posed a question regarding the Sibiline Oracles, and whether they should have some mention since they were a central part of Roman superstition, with origins dating back to Tarquin. No response to that one at the time, but now we have reached that time when the Oracles were supposedly destroyed by Stillico, presumably when he did away with the Pagan cults once and far all. Still no mention of them. Have I overstated their value when it comes to Roman history and culture? Just wondered why they haven't been included in any of the shows.


I got a chill up my spine at the end of this podcast. The thought of such a monumental political entity as Rome collapsing is inconcievable really. It's just too many lives, resources, institutions and ideas bound up together to just... go away. And yet it did.

So I've decided to listen to the entire podcast again from the beginning once things have ended. Your podcast is one of the unique and I hope permanent features of the net, and I am incredibly grateful, Mike, for your having made Roman history accessible to the millions and me.

Other commenters are right - the detail view is remarkable... on the power figures. I just want to know more about how the other 99% of Rome were living also. Do you suppose you could add something more about the actual conditions of life, in addition to the excellent insight into the high-level power politics?

Again, many thanks, Mike.

Ryan Leonard

Man, this is getting depressing.

Your little speech about how the mighty have fallen really sent a chill up my spine.

The emeperors in a recliner on the palantine, then on the walls of Milan ready to spring into action, then hiding behind the swamps of Ravenna.

I can't belive Rome is about to collapse.


I look forward to whatever project yo want to do next mike. I will Evan pay for it as long as i is something.

Rob Shinnick

"The end times are upon us, and the walls are crumbling down."

Your narration really shone in this episode, Mike. That last line was spoken with just the right note of ominous-sounding gravitas- so much so that I almost could feel the chill wind blowing. I could almost hear somebody like James Earl Jones narrating it, though someone like that might have gone over the top.

You've nailed it in this series overall, I think; finding just the right balance between humor and sarcastic modern irony on the one hand and sober historical drama on the other. This series has been extremely educational and entertaining without being overly scholarly (and thereby stuffy and boring).

Bravo, sir. A tip o' my hat to thee.



Stitcher says that the podcast is no longer available. Any story behind that?


Part of the problem is that I still visualize Romans of this time as "Classic" Romans, and it felt odd a while back when the Emperors just decided not to live in Rome anymore.

I don't have a clear vision of how the society has changed, how the City of Rome has changed. The story is very much a procession of names and battles.

I know you have tried to point out how the army has become more and more Gothic, and how the various provinces have become more independent to the point of regularly being essentially separate entities.

But it's hard to visualize.


i also listen(ed) to HoR via stitcher when i was away from my computer and heard the same message that Casey mentions above.

What happened with the stitcher connection?

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