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March 18, 2012


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Kacey A

Hi Mike,

I love the podcast, and have just caught up after discovering it in a roundabout way - I was listening to the British History podcast which picks up after the Romans abandoned Britain, and wanted to know more about the history of Roman Britain, so...there you go.

But my comment is actually only tangentially related to THOR. I remember that not long ago you recommended Monopoly by Mike Daisey as an Audible item to look at. I don't know if you listen to This American Life on NPR, but they featured an excerpt of Daisey's monologue on Apple manufacturing in China not very long ago. Well, in the podcast episode of This American Life that came out today (which means the episode would have been broadcast over the weekend in most markets) Ira Glass and his team have discovered that many parts of the story about Daisey's alleged trip to China were made up. He apparently lied about many of the details in his monologue, and then lied to the This American Life producers to cover up his lies during their fact-checking process. Many of the things he said are indeed true, but many of the more poignant, personal details of his trip were completely fabricated.

The TAL producers eventually tracked down Daisey's interpreter Kathy, and she was able to give them the real story- backed up by emails. I suspect you might be interested to hear that episode of This American Life, since you mentioned that Daisey is an inspiration of yours. The episode is entitled "Retraction"

I was unfamiliar with Daisey until the TAL episode, so perhaps he always admits to embellishment during his "regular" gigs.

But sadly, when he went on This American Life he agreed to be held to journalistic standards of truth and not report on anything that had not happened.

I haven't even finished listening to the This American life episode! Supposedly Daisey himself will come on and explain himself, so it should be very interesting. As soon as heard Ira's introduction I went straight to the computer because I felt like I had to let you know!

Many thanks from a grateful listener,
Kacey A.


Finally, Been waiting all day!


2309 Bloodwine has nothing on Romulan ale!

Andrew Maxim

I was just wondering where the maps for this episode are? I am sure you mentioned in this week's episode that there were maps associated with the battles. I cannot seem to find them


Yes. I just heard the comment about maps and there don't seem to be any. :-(


Could I have more information on that British History podcast, Kacey?


PS I'm missing the maps too. Got to have maps.

Stephen Spencer

Hi Mike,

I heard about your podcast when listening to the History of England Podcast by David Crowther (http://historyofengland.typepad.com/), maybe the same one that Kacey mentions.

I started listening to your podcast on 3rd January. Every time that you gave your introduction to the next podcast, it was already available in iTunes. Now I have caught up with you I have to wait for your next installment.

Thanks so much for this podcast and all of the work that you obviously put in to it.



Kacey A

Hi Walter (and Steve),

So I've discovered two good podcasts for British/English history on iTunes, and I actually confused the two in my first comment...sorry about that!

The one I MEANT to mention, that picks up after the Romans abandoned Britain, is indeed (as Steve said above) "The History of England Podcast" by David Crowther. It is on iTunes for sure, and the web site is http://historyofengland.typepad.com/blog/archives.html

The other one, the one I actually named, is called "The British History Podcast" by Jamie Jeffers. It can also be found on iTunes. http://thebritishhistorypodcast.com/

The major differences between the two are style and starting points.


BRITISH (Jamie Jeffers): Starts with prehistory and quickly moves along through the original inhabitants, and DOES cover the Roman occupation, in quite a bit of detail.

ENGLAND (David Crowther): Starts with the arrival of the Jutes, Angles, and Saxons, and the Britains' appeal to Aetius for help, which is ignored. He specifically calls it the ENGLISH history podcast because he said he will not cover the individual political histories of Scotland, Ireland, & Wales, except when they overlap with (or, more accurately, clash with) that of England.


BRITISH: Jamie has an American accent, although he is a British citizen. He sounds like a younger person, perhaps in his late 20's or early 30's. He has a fairly informal, conversational style, and will interject comments like: "I mean really, what was this guy thinking?"

ENGLISH: David Crowther has an English accent (actually, he sounds Welsh to my non-expert ears). He sounds older than Jamie, but not at all "old." I would guess he is in his early 40's, perhaps. Crowther also uses an informal style, but it is less conversational and more dryly humorous. For instance "It's at this point that, if you listen carefully, you can begin to hear the embarrassed shuffling of Baronial feet."

Personally, I prefer David Crowther's delivery. I only wish that he had covered the Roman occupation! But I subscribe to both and find them both very enjoyable. Although I listened to ENGLAND and THOR together to understand the timeline of both areas at once, after ENGLAND moved on I've pretty much stuck with BRITISH. I'm biased in favor of possibly-Welsh accents, I suppose!

Kacey A

P.S. The Daisey monologue in question was called "The Agony and the Ecstasy of Steve Jobs." After listening to the entire TAL episode, I am very disappointed in Daisey. His delivery may still be excellent, but his credibility is completely shot. It's impossible to believe a word he says now, which is very, very sad.

Tony Aguilar

Check out a replay of the Battle of Chalons here:


Jamie Redfern

Here's a good account of the Battle of Chalons by military historians Dr. Aryeh Nusbacher and Dr. Saul David on a BBC show.


Start the video at 2 minutes, here is the full show if you like it:


There are other battles too, a handly list is here




Hey Mike,

Am currently making my way through the back episodes (up to 127) but thought I'd post here just so people would see it.

Throughout the whole period after Augustus/Octavian the Romans were threatened almost constantly by Germanic tribes across the Danube and Rhine. Why didn't one of the stronger emperors like Trajan or Augustus himself just annex the whole of modern day Germany and Austria i.e. eliminate these overtly aggressive tribes? It seems foolish to have just left them there on the doorstep of the Roman empire.

Love the podcast btw.

Ryan Leonard

@ Harry

I think i might be able to answer this for you. Alot of Roman Emperors wanted to stay at the defensable borders Agustus had set up. By that i mean behind the Rhine and Danube rivers. If they had gone past those rivers, the frontier line would be a lot larger and harder to defend.

My 2 cents anyway.


I found the The History of England Podcast - thanks.


Augustus wanted to have the frontier along the elbe because the Danube - Elbe frontier was shorter than the Rhine- Danube frontier.

Candidly, I think the Romans could have managed the Elbe had the moved north from the Danube instead of advancing from the west. The Germans would have awakened one day to find themselves in Roman territory and that would have been that.

However, the Romans had more contact with Germany both before and after the famous defeat than was commonly thought. Archaeology is showing more Roman military presence in Germany further east than previously thought.

I think that transportation and a very thin money economy were limiting factors. The Romans were not big on small change and the military was paid in large denominations which limited the usefulness of the money, so barter was more important.


Dear Mike,

I absolutely love you podcast and haven't missed a single episode.
After Aetius successfully drives out Attila, could you update the military and economic situation of of both east and west.

Areg Danagoulian

Can we make the 2nd map smaller?

Areg Danagoulian

Also, it would be useful to put a distance scale on the maps.

Areg Danagoulian

Here's the full size map:



Thanks Ryan. It's just something that's been bugging me for a while. I guess nowadays we forget how difficult if was to cross major rivers back then...

Luise Hayes Tasmania, Australia

Thankyou to Kacey A, I'll check into the Jamie Jeffers podcast. I also enjoy David Crowther's work.
I can recommend
for a glimse into the origins of western philosophy and as a story in itself, to complement Roman History from the point of concepts and understanding of learned people at the time of the Romans and before them. (If there was a podcast of the history of history, I might be interested in that too!)
Peter Adamson's work on the history of philosophy (without any gaps) is easy to listen to, his speech is precise and measured and what I always imagined as concepts way above my understanding, are presented in a way I can cope with, with history being the main theme.
I have learnt so much from these podcasts and in particular this forum, from people I may never meet, thankyou everyone


I think the reason Chalons is confusing to follow is because it actually was a confusing battle. I imagine that having such large forces under so many commanders from different peoples really made the ancient modes of communication inadequate. I am sure they didn't have a computerized bird-eye view simulation thingy in a room where they can sip soda and direct each detachment in real time the way those BBC "experts" do. Also, looking at the plan I get the feeling that Theodoric's plan was all about glory possibly including death in battle from the start. He's getting old, he has a son and he is ready. I feel like from the beginning he is gunning straight for the enemy camp.

Patrick Baker

Using "Rome: Total War" game to describe the battle.


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