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April 22, 2012


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It's just fascinating that here we are merely 10 years away from the END of the Western Roman Empire, and we've had two episodes about serious attempts at a resurgence that might have grabbed a fair chunk of it back. Admittedly it would have been a hybrid Gothic-Italian affair, but if it had worked, poor Mike Duncan would have had another hundred episodes to fight through.


I don't know what your plans are, but I would like an episode about how the Empire changed the course of history in Europe even after its decline, key points only of course. An example might be attempts by others to unite the continent under one ruler, Hitler, Napoleon, the Hapsburg family; or even the establishment of the EU. I wonder if the goals of the EU would be possible without the historical foundation many of the nations (not all) adopted from their exposure to the Empire. How much of the expansion of the colonial era by countries like France and England, was modeled on Rome's expansion? Without a common tradition of language, law and culture, could Europe have remained a backwater civilization on the global stage?

Anyway, just a thought. I am thankful for all that you have done.


You seem really cheerful in your latest set of podcasts, I guess you are finally feeling you are in the home stretch!
This contrasts strongly with the scrappy end of the Empire as it limps to an end.
All your fans will be looking forward to your next work.


Of course no one (excepting maybe Mike) want this to end - my suggestion is to go do some supplemental podcasts that dive into some of the tangents such as social issues, etc that maybe you chose to skip as you were powering through the 1000 year history.

You could number them Podcast 91a to show where they belong in the chronology.

You did a few episodes covering trying to cover the everyday persons life, the evolution of the armies fighting tactics, etc. - maybe some of those could be done for different periods of time. I am sure there are some other topics that would be great supplements to this fantastic walk through the history of this great empire.

J.K. Bryant

Mike, I hope you consider a career in academia, because you'd be an outstanding history professor. And it seems to me like you probably have your dissertation mostly complete. :)

As they say in the US Navy, fair winds and smooth sailing.


I feel a bit naive here but what were the gifts that Geiseric offered to Basiliscus? My mind is leaning towards something sexual...but either way could someone help me here? :)


I think that the sarcasm that Mike was laying on was referring to the fact that these "gifts" were more like bribes and casts more doubt on the motivations of Basiliscus.


I recently read a book called "The Ruin of the Roman Empire." The book attempted to make the point that Rome did not fall until Justinian's war destroyed the city while reclaiming it for the Empire. It was a controversial conclusion. I'm not plugging the book, I'm just sharing my thoughts that the book offered a nice review for the history of the western empire just after 476. I'll be sad to see the podcast end, but maybe we can look forward to the possibility of reading or hearing future works on other topics from Mike.


The older episodes doesn't work. It only takes me to this http://i.imgur.com/EALvs.png


Thank you Ben. Haha my mind was going in a completely different direction!

Garry Stevens

I'd like to see Mike do a final assesment of the emperors. Back in ep 130 or so he listed:

Best: Augustus, Diocletian, Trajan, Constantine, Hadrian, Marcus Aurelius, Vespasian, Aurelian, (Claudius)

Worst: Commodus, Caligula, Caracalla, Nero, Elagabalus

And to plug myself, anyone wanting a free poster-sized chart of (1) the emperors or (2) the republic can download them from charts.archsoc.com. Great references, if I say so myself.

Account Deleted

I agree that Mike should look into academia--if he hasn't already. He would make the perfect professor because he does something that great teachers struggle to do for their whole lives: he encourages his audience to realize that there are lost worlds in the pages of history books, worlds that teem with as much life and event and character as a supermarket tabloid. Was I the only one who thought that the events covered in this week's podcast would make great fodder for an HBO miniseries?

I started out listening to the History of Rome as a dabbler in history, eager to fill in the blanks left by my education. Now, as the podcast is wrapping up, I'm embarking on the long road of being a history prof.

I loved the story today, and so wrote up my own post about the Battle of Cape Bon: http://bmackie.blogspot.com/2012/04/was-ancient-roman-911-inside-job.html

Best of luck, History of Rome podcast fans!


interesting BBC programme this week... Bettany Hughes on "Divine Women." went into some nice detail on Rome's Vestal Virgins. Some harsh words about old St Augustine.
Some complaints about the overall production of the programme, but the history was good. Catch it if you can.

Muhammad Asghar

It is really awesome to learn about Roman,rise and fall but no one deny Pax Romana of Augustus.At present there is a great stress on Pluralistic society and leaders of super powers are in their effort to experience about woldy peace and tranquility .Let us see how much they will succeed in their efforts

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