|The History of Rome (THoR)|
|Hosted by||Mike Duncan|
|Length||Usually 15-25 minutes (range 11:23-43:36)|
|No. of episodes||179|
|Original release||July 27, 2007 – May 6, 2012|
The History of Rome, often abbreviated THoR, was a podcast created by Mike Duncan which aired between 2007 and 2012. In the 2010 podcast awards, THoR won best educational podcast. THoR covers the time period from the origin of the Roman Kingdom to the Fall of the Western Roman Empire, focusing on the most accepted chain of events according to historical consensus.
Mike Duncan is an American podcaster and New York Times best selling author known for his award-winning podcasts The History of Rome and Revolutions, and the book The Storm before the Storm.
The People's Choice Podcast Awards, better known as the Podcast Awards, are global awards given annually to the best podcasts as voted by the general public. Founded in 2005 by Todd Cochrane of Podcast Connect Inc., the Podcast Awards changed hands for a short period by New Media Expo in September 2014 until New Media Expo's demise. The first Podcast Awards show was held in 2006 had over 350,000 people vote for their nominated podcasts, with nearly 1000 people attending the awards ceremony. The 10th annual Podcast Awards Show, the first show run exclusively by the New Media Expo, took place at Westgate Las Vegas Resort and Casino on April 14, 2015. It was hosted by Chris Jericho and Emily Morse. The 12th Annual event started with a complete site rebuild and change to the overall process.
The Fall of the Western Roman Empire was the process of decline in the Western Roman Empire in which the Empire failed to enforce its rule, and its vast territory was divided into several successor polities. The Roman Empire lost the strengths that had allowed it to exercise effective control over its Western provinces; modern historians posit factors including the effectiveness and numbers of the army, the health and numbers of the Roman population, the strength of the economy, the competence of the Emperors, the internal struggles for power, the religious changes of the period, and the efficiency of the civil administration. Increasing pressure from invading barbarians outside Roman culture also contributed greatly to the collapse. Climate change has been suggested as a driver of the changes in some of these factors. The reasons for the collapse are major subjects of the historiography of the ancient world and they inform much modern discourse on state failure.
Duncan came up with the idea of THoR on a bit of a fluke while looking for something to entertain himself during a long plane ride and subsequent vacation. After a recommendation from a colleague, Duncan browsed through a few online history lectures in search of something to pass the time. While surfing through these lectures, through a series of links Duncan stumbled upon the 12 Byzantine Rulers podcast from Lars Brownworth, listened to a few episodes, and thought “This is really cool!”.However, when he searched for similar podcasts on the history of Rome, he could find none. Immediately, Mike was inspired to “do something like” Brownworth's podcast. He had had a longstanding interest in Roman history and was reading The War With Hannibal by Livy at the time. He enjoyed many of the historical episodes he encountered in the book, but realized that much of the public knew little about Rome outside of Caesar’s and Augustus’ time. One of Duncan's motivators for creating the podcast was to make the whole of Roman history attractive to the public through the form of a podcast.
Lars Mehrling Brownworth is an author and former United States history and political science teacher at The Stony Brook School in Stony Brook on Long Island, New York, who created the top 50 podcast, 12 Byzantine Rulers: The History of the Byzantine Empire. This podcast was created on a whim by Lars and his brother, Anders Brownworth. Often mistaken for a college professor, Lars was, in fact, a high school history instructor at the time the podcast was produced.
Titus Livius – simply rendered as Livy in English – was a Roman historian. He wrote a monumental history of Rome and the Roman people – Ab Urbe Condita Libri – covering the period from the earliest legends of Rome before the traditional foundation in 753 BC through the reign of Augustus in Livy's own lifetime. He was on familiar terms with members of the Julio-Claudian dynasty and even in friendship with Augustus, whose young grandnephew, the future emperor Claudius, he exhorted to take up the writing of history.
Gaius Julius Caesar, known by his nomen and cognomen Julius Caesar, was a populist Roman dictator, politician, and military general who played a critical role in the events that led to the demise of the Roman Republic and the rise of the Roman Empire. He was also a historian and wrote Latin prose.
Duncan researched extensively before each episode, relying on primary sources such as Livy and Tacitus as much as possible, while using secondary or modern sources to help judge the verity and objectivity of each source. In making the podcast, Duncan read almost exclusively about Roman history. Each show required Duncan 10 to 12 hours prep time, in addition to countless hours reading source material throughout the week. Duncan would aim to keep his episodes at around 4000 words. When recording, he would run two parallel tracks in GarageBand to preempt any errors, and would do a preparatory reading beforehand. He finished each podcast with a celebratory beer.
PubliusCornelius Tacitus was a senator and a historian of the Roman Empire. Tacitus is considered to be one of the greatest Roman historians. He lived in what has been called the Silver Age of Latin literature, and is known for the brevity and compactness of his Latin prose, as well as for his penetrating insights into the psychology of power politics.
GarageBand is a line of digital audio workstations for macOS and iOS devices that allows users to create music or podcasts. GarageBand is developed and sold by Apple for macOS, and is part of the iLife software suite. Its music and podcast creation system enables users to create multiple tracks with pre-made MIDI keyboards, pre-made loops, an array of various instrumental effects, and voice recordings.
Duncan has mentioned that in making the podcast, he learned “human nature has changed very little,” and that people generally respond to the same situations in the same sorts of ways. “I don’t think we’re so completely different than any Roman was.”
The soundtrack which begins and ends each podcast comes from the GarageBand snippet Acoustic Picking 18.
The podcast sought to keep a neutral position, presenting all sides as equally as possible. Duncan would often go to great lengths to explain the level of accuracy of sources used and objective reasons for valuing one source over another. During the hundredth episode, Duncan held a question and answer session where he answered as many listener questions as feasible. There, he listed his opinion of the five greatest and five worst emperors as follows:
He also gave honorable mention to Marcus Aurelius, who placed sixth, Vespasian is number 7, and Claudius who would be tenth. Additionally, "Aurelian is pretty awesome" and Theodosius "deserves to be in there too".
Marcus Aurelius was Roman emperor from 161 to 180 and a Stoic philosopher. He was the last of the rulers known as the Five Good Emperors, and the last emperor of the Pax Romana, an age of relative peace and stability for the Roman Empire. He served as Roman consul in 140, 145, and 161.
Vespasian was Roman emperor from 69–79, the fourth, and last, in the Year of the Four Emperors. He founded the Flavian dynasty that ruled the Empire for 27 years.
Claudius was Roman emperor from AD 41 to 54. Born to Drusus and Antonia Minor at Lugdunum in Roman Gaul, where his father was stationed as a military legate, he was the first Roman emperor to be born outside Italy. Nonetheless, Claudius was an Italic of Sabine origins and a member of the Julio-Claudian dynasty. Because he was afflicted with a limp and slight deafness due to sickness at a young age, his family ostracized him and excluded him from public office until his consulship, shared with his nephew Caligula in 37.
Worst Emperors (not including people whose reign is measured in days or months) :
Duncan believes one of the biggest reasons for the failures of these emperors was having “too much power at too young an age”.
Duncan also mentioned that, while the bulk of his podcast details the rise and rule of the Roman Empire, his primary interest remains in the era of the Roman Republic.
As an extension to the podcast, Duncan has led recurring guided tours around Rome, also visiting Ostia, Pompeii, Capri, and the field of Cannae; the tours walk through many sites mentioned in The History of Rome.
On June 4, 2016, Duncan's book, "The History of Rome: The Republic (Volume 1)" was published. The book is a collection of edited transcripts from the first 46 episodes of the podcast, covering the time period from the founding of the Roman Kingdom through the breakdown of the Republic.
In October 2017, Duncan's book The Storm Before the Storm: The Beginning of the End of the Roman Republic , was published by PublicAffairs, an imprint of Hachette Book Group.
The History of Byzantium podcast by Robin Pierson is explicitly modelled after The History of Rome in style, length and quality; Pierson intended the podcast as a sequel to The History of Rome in order to complete the story. David Crowther of The History of England podcast has mentioned Duncan as an influence.as has Peter Adamson of the podcast: The History of Philosophy without any Gaps. Isaac Meyer of the History of Japan podcast has mentioned in a few episodes that The History of Rome podcast inspired the "A day in the life of..." episodes.
Duncan has mentioned in turn being greatly inspired by the prior work of Lars Brownworth. Duncan has said he hopes that other history podcasters will follow his mantra and stick to “just the content” without a lot of “extraneous babbling”, in order to give their podcasts as professional a feel as possible - thus making the podcast an educational experience geared to learning the subject of the podcast. Duncan mentioned on Podcast Squared consistency as critical to building an audience and being respectful to their time and advises every podcaster to set a deadline and stick with it. “If you can get (people) on a routine and looking forward to (the podcast), they’ll stick around”.
A quaestor was a public official in Ancient Rome. The position served different functions depending on the period. In the Roman Kingdom, quaestores parricidii were appointed by the king to investigate and handle murders. In the Roman Republic, quaestors were elected officials who supervised the state treasury and conducted audits. It was the lowest ranking position in the cursus honorum. However, this means that in the political environment of Rome, it was quite common for many aspiring politicians to take the position of quaestor as an early rung on the political ladder. In the Roman Empire, the position, which was initially replaced by the praefectus (prefect), reemerged during the late empire as quaestor intra Palatium, a position appointed by the emperor to lead the imperial council and respond to petitioners.
Servius Tullius was the legendary sixth king of Rome, and the second of its Etruscan dynasty. He reigned 575–535 BC. Roman and Greek sources describe his servile origins and later marriage to a daughter of Lucius Tarquinius Priscus, Rome's first Etruscan king, who was assassinated in 579 BC. Servius is said to have been the first Roman king to accede without election by the Senate, having gained the throne by popular support; and the first to be elected by the Senate alone, without reference to the people.
Praetor, also spelled prætor or pretor in English, was a title granted by the government of Ancient Rome to men acting in one of two official capacities: the commander of an army ; or an elected magistratus (magistrate), assigned various duties. The functions of the magistracy, the praetura (praetorship), are described by the adjective: the praetoria potestas, the praetorium imperium, and the praetorium ius, the legal precedents established by the praetores (praetors). Praetorium, as a substantive, denoted the location from which the praetor exercised his authority, either the headquarters of his castra, the courthouse (tribunal) of his judiciary, or the city hall of his provincial governorship.
Fidenae was an ancient town of Latium, situated about 8 km north of Rome on the Via Salaria, which ran between Rome and the Tiber. Its inhabitants were known as Fidenates. As the Tiber was the border between Etruria and Latium, the left-bank settlement of Fidenae represented an extension of Etruscan presence into Latium. The site of the arx of the ancient town was probably on the hill on which lies the contemporary Villa Spada, though no traces of early buildings or defences are to be seen; pre-Roman tombs are in the cliffs to the north. The later village lay at the foot of the hill on the eastern edge of the high-road, and its curia, with a dedicatory inscription to Marcus Aurelius by the Senatus Fidenatium, was excavated in 1889. Remains of other buildings may also be seen.
Appius Claudius Crassus Caecus was an important statesman of the Roman Republic, active between 315 and 278. He was censor between 312 and 308, and then consul two times in 307 and 296, dictator c. 285, and interrex three times. He is the first Roman whose life can be traced with historical certainty.
In ancient Rome a promagistrate was an ex-consul or ex-praetor whose imperium was extended at the end of his annual term of office or later. They were called proconsuls and propraetors. This was an innovation created during the Roman Republic. Initially it was intended to provide additional military commanders to support the armies of the consuls or to lead an additional army. With the acquisitions of territories outside Italy which were annexed as provinces, proconsuls and propraetors became provincial governors or administrators. A third type of promagistrate were the proquaestors.
The Third Servile War, also called by Plutarch the Gladiator War and The War of Spartacus, was the last in a series of slave rebellions against the Roman Republic, known as the Servile Wars. The Third was the only one directly to threaten the Roman heartland of Italia. It was particularly alarming to Rome because its military seemed powerless to suppress it.
Valerius Antias was an ancient Roman annalist whom Livy mentions as a source. No complete works of his survive but from the sixty-five fragments said to be his in the works of other authors it has been deduced that he wrote a chronicle of ancient Rome in at least seventy-five books. The latest dateable event in the fragments is mention of the heirs of the orator, Lucius Licinius Crassus, who died in 91 BC. Of the seventy references to Antias in classical literature sixty-one mention him as an authority on Roman legendary history.
The Mithridatic Wars were three conflicts fought by Rome against the Kingdom of Pontus and its allies between 88 BC and 63 BC. They are named after Mithridates VI, the King of Pontus who initiated the hostilities after annexing the Roman province of Asia into its Pontic Empire and committing massacres against the local Roman population known as the Asian Vespers. As Roman troops were sent to recover the territory, they faced an uprising in Greece organized and supported by Mithridates. Mithridates was able to mastermind such general revolts against Rome and played the magistrates of the optimates party off against the magistrates of the populares party in the Roman civil wars. Nevertheless, the first war ended with a Roman victory, confirmed by the Treaty of Dardanos signed by Lucius Sulla and Mithridates. Greece was restored to Roman rule and Pontus was expected to restore the status quo ante bellum in Asia Minor.
The book History of Rome, sometimes referred to as Ab Urbe Condita, is a monumental history of ancient Rome, written in Latin between 27 and 9 BC by the historian Titus Livius, or "Livy", as he is usually known in English. The work covers the period from the legends concerning the arrival of Aeneas and the refugees from the fall of Troy, to the city's founding in 753, the expulsion of the Kings in 509, and down to Livy's own time, during the reign of the emperor Augustus. The last event covered by Livy is the death of Drusus in 9 BC. About 25% of the work survives.
The Nerva–Antonine dynasty was a dynasty of seven Roman Emperors who ruled over the Roman Empire from 96 CE to 192 CE. These Emperors are Nerva, Trajan, Hadrian, Antoninus Pius, Lucius Verus, Marcus Aurelius, and Commodus. The first five of them are commonly known as the "Five Good Emperors".
Roman historiography is indebted to the Greeks, who invented the form. The Romans had great models to base their works upon, such as Herodotus and Thucydides. Roman historiographical forms are different from the Greek ones however, and voice very Roman concerns. Unlike the Greeks, Roman historiography did not start out with an oral historical tradition. The Roman style of history was based on the way that the Annals of the Pontifex Maximus, or the Annales Maximi, were recorded. The Annales Maximi include a wide array of information, including religious documents, names of consuls, deaths of priests, and various disasters throughout history. Also part of the Annales Maximi are the White Tablets, or the "Tabulae Albatae", which consist of information on the origin of the republic.
Odoacer's deposition of Romulus Augustus, occurring in 476 AD, marked the end of the period during which Western Roman Emperors exercised sovereignty, although Julius Nepos exercised control over Dalmatia until 480. Romulus Augustus was a 16-year-old minor at the time.
Charles Duncan Trussell is an American actor, voice actor and stand-up comic, known for his podcast The Duncan Trussell Family Hour and his appearances on The Joe Rogan Experience podcast and Joe Rogan Questions Everything.
The gens Metilia was a minor family at Rome. Although they occur throughout Roman history, and several were tribunes of the plebs, beginning in the fifth century BC, none of the Metilii attained the higher offices of the Roman state until imperial times, when several of them became consul.
Revolutions is a podcast created by Mike Duncan which first aired on 15 September 2013. Each season is dedicated to one revolution or revolutionary wave. It followed a narrative style similar to his podcast The History of Rome, but the shorter time periods for each season allow greater detail for individual events. Each series follow a mostly chronological approach with one or two episodes at the beginning dedicated to the pre-history of the revolution and its causes, sometimes highlighting when and how the revolution could have been avoided.