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The Partial Historians

The Partial Historians

An Ancient Roman History podcast hosted by Roman Historians!

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Episode 109 – The First Decemvirate

The Roman republic is in full swing and it's time for the first decemvirate! The growing discontent amongst the population is reaching breaking point according to our narrative sources.
2021-01-13
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Special Episode – The Year of the Four Emperors with Dr Rob Cromarty

We explore the Year of the Four Emperors - 69 CE with our special guest Dr Rob Cromarty! Join us for all the political machinations and hijinks of this transition from the Julio-Claudians to the Flavians.
2020-12-17
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Episode 108 – Plague and Politics

It's 453 BCE and just as Rome seems to be heading towards a legal milestone disaster strikes: it's a plague! Now plagues are terrible, of that there is no doubt, but how does this influence the path to codification? We're here to find out. Episode 108 - Plague and Politics The Character of the Plague It is hard to identify the plague with certainty. What is clear from our later written sources is that the collective memory recalls this plague as highly contagious with the capacity to leap between species. People caught it but so too did some of the animals that people worked closely with. The origin of the plague and how it eventually came to an end are lost to us. In lieu of strong osteoarchaeological evidence, it is possible to interpret this plague as a shared idea of opposition to the codification of the laws, which the elites likely saw as infringing upon their power. Both Livy and Dionysius of Halicarnassus focus on the devastating consequences of the plague. Things to listen out for: The horrific death tollThe Aequians!The issue with the harvest With 453 BCE wholly occupied with pestilence and its effects, everyone still standing is hoping for a better time in 452 BCE... The Athenian Junket Returns! Lucky for Rome, the plague does not go so far as Athens. The delegates sent out to find out about the law codes that others have produced return with some new ideas. There are some odd things about our narrative accounts though which Dr Rad delves into. Some pertinent questions: Why would the Romans go all the way to Athens?What are the law codes of the Greeks like? Do the Twelve Tables really suggest a Greek influence?What might our narrative accounts gain by suggesting a connection with Greece at this point? Rome's Heading into Uncertain Territory It's fair to say that our narrative sources leave us somewhat dissatisfied. Our sources inspire less confidence the further we move into the Struggle of the Orders. Who are the patricians? Who are the plebeians? How were these demarcations understood by the Romans?Do our writers from the late Republican period really have a clear handle on what happened in the past? Will the Twelve Tables live up to the suspense? Only time will tell... Thomas Cole The Course of Empire. Desolation 1836. Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons Our Players in 453BCE Consuls Publius Curiatus ? f. ? n. Fistus Trigeminus (Pat)Sextus Quinctilius Sex f. P. n. 'Varus' (Pat) Suffect Consul Spurius Furius Medullinus Fusus (cos. 464 BCE) (Pat) Flamen Quirinalus Servius Cornelius Augur C. Horatius Pulvillus Our Players in 452 BCE Consuls Gaius/Lucius/Titus (?) Menenius Agripp. f. Agripp. n. Lanatus (Pat)Publius Sestius Q. f. Vibi. n. Capito(linus?) Vaticanus (Pat) Consular Nominations Appius Claudius Ap. f. M. n. Crassus Inrigillenssis Sabinus (Pat)Titus Genucius L. f. L. n. Augurinus (Pat) Our Sources Dr Rad reads Livy ab urbe condita 3.32Dr G reads Dionysius of Halicarnassus Roman Antiquities 10.53-54 Sound Credits A big shout out to Ancient History Hound, whose work we recommend Musical interlude and final credits: Bettina Joy de GuzmanAdditional sound effects: Freesound (User bone666138)
2020-11-19
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Episode 107 – Let the Codification Begin!

We jump into 454 BCE where we start to see the consequences of the events of the previous year play out. It's hard to get away from our "Roman Achilles" who, in his position as plebeian tribune, levels a charge of "injuring the state" against the former consul Romilius. This sets up a cascade of interesting incidents. Episode 107 - Let the Codification Begin There's little agreement between our major written sources for this year. Livy and Dionysius of Halicarnassus diverge in much of the details even though they hit upon some shared touchstones. But this is partly about what we don't know... Dr Rad explores some of the complexities of who is who during this period. While our sources use categories like 'patrician' and 'plebeian', these terms offer a binary model for thinking about the structure of Roman society. Often this is a simplification of what was really happening. By the time we get to the first century BCE when these histories were written, the composition of these groups is more clear cut than they were in the fifth century. Speeches as didactic tools Dr G delves into Dionysius of Halicarnassus' use of speeches as a means of teasing out a Roman perspective. Speeches are a significant feature in his writing and sets his work apart from Livy during this period. Dionysius' penchant for rhetoric offers a means of appreciating how the Romans thought. They also offer a framework for Greek readers to appreciate the reasoning of the Romans. Listen in for... Consuls with attitude!A story of a father, a son, and filial dutyThe Lex Aternia TarpeiaThe law about the laws!A surprising consular returnThe laws of Solon Our Players for 454 BCE The Consuls Spurius Tarpeius M. f. M.n. Montanus Capitolinus (Pat.)Aulus Terminius/Aternius - f. - n. Varus Fontinalis (Pat.) The Consuls of 455 BCE Titus Romilius T. f. T. n. Rocus Vaticanus (Pat)Gaius Veturius P. f. ? n. Cicurinus (Pat) Tribune of the Plebs Lucius Siccius Dentatus "The Roman Achilles" Aedilis plebis Lucius Alienus Patricians of Note Spurius VerginiusAulus Verginius - legateSpurius Postumius Albus (Regillensis) - cos. 466 BCEAulus Manlius (Vulso?) - cos. 474 BCEPublius or Servius Sulpicius Camerinus (Cornutus?) - cos. 461 BCE Plebeians of Note Marcus Icilius Sound credits With gratitude we offer thanks to Bettina Joy de Guzman for the evocative musical interlude that accompanies this episode. Additional sound effects courtesy of Alexander Nakarada - Nomadic Sunset and BBC Sound Effects (Beta) Final credits: Excerpt from ?Ancient Arcadian Harp? by Cormi 'Consul' by Pascal Quidalut
2020-10-15
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Special Episode – Medusa with Let’s Talk About Myths Baby

Medusa fills the imagination with fascination. Between her beauty and dread, we're exploring representations of the snake-haired Gorgon! We're joined by Liv, host of Let's Talk About Myths Baby to explore the representation of Medusa through time.
2020-09-17
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Episode 106 – Spoiler Alert

We continue to follow the cause of our Roman Achilles--more formally known as Lucius Siccius Dentatus--in 455 BCE. Dentatus is truly the star of the this period of history from the perspective of Dionysius of Halicarnassus and Dr G has a lot to say about that! Episode 106 - Spoiler Alert What can we glean from a history written long after the fact? Dr Rad takes us through some of the key concerns we face when approaching the written sources for the early republic. Part of the trouble steams simply from the time of the events when people like Livy and Dionysius of Halicarnassus lived centuries later. But we also run into the challenge of stock figures, whose names and existence are open to question. Such figures serve an important role in bringing a historical narrative to life. The complications of public discourse The traditionalist streak runs deeply through the patricians. This comes as no surprise as they are the beneficiaries of the structures already in place in Rome, but it does lead to some questionable behaviour. Things to listen out for: The patricians position in the forumThe challenges raised by the pons or 'voting bridge'Patrician power called into question through trialsSome intriguing exchanges through the goddess Ceres...Trouble in Tusculum!A real set to between Romilius and SicciusThe discrepancy between Livy and Dionysius of Halicarnassus about the treasury Our Players The Consuls Titus Romilius T. f. T. n. Rocus Vaticanus (Pat)Gaius Veturius P. f. ? n. Cicurinus (Pat) Tribunes of the Plebs L. IciliusL. Alienus+ 8 others! Notable Plebeians Lucius Siccius Dentatus Some Family Appearances the Postumiithe Semproniithe Cloelii Our Sources Dr G reads Dionysius of Halicarnassus Roman Antiquities 10.40-47Dr Rad reads Livy ab urbe condita 3.31 Further Reading Interested in knowing more about this period in Rome's history. Take a leaf from Dr Rad and jump into some scholarly reading: Cornell, T. J. 1995. The Beginnings of RomeForsythe, G. 2005. A Critical History of Early RomeMomigliano, A. 2005. 'The Rise of the Plebs in the Archaic Age of Rome' in Rafflaub, K. (ed) Social Struggles in Archaic Rome: New Perspectives on the Conflict of the OrdersRafflaub, K. 2005. 'From Protection and Defense to Offense and Participation: Stages in the Conflict of the Orders' in Rafflaub, K. (ed) Social Struggles in Archaic Rome: New Perspectives on the Conflict of the Orders Roman warrior charging - Alex Broeckel. Source: Pinterest. Sound Credits Sound Effects courtesy of BBC Sound Effects (Beta)Final credits: Excerpt from ?Ancient Arcadian Harp? by Cormi
2020-08-13
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Episode 105 – The Roman Achilles

There's nothing quite like learning that there's a Roman Achilles! In this episode we get to meet the man behind the legend. Episode 105 - The Roman Achilles Before we jump in, let's find out where things stand. It's 455 BCE and our narrative sources have put forward the case that the opening up of the Aventine was an important step under the new collective of ten tribunes. But all is not well on the homefront of Rome. Things get off to a bad start when the consuls try to forcibly raise the levy. The tribunes step up to the plate in defence of the plebeians and we delve into what privileges and powers go along with the position. What we begin to see is the some of the complex workings of contested public space and the challenges of fighting for your rights with only a small crowd of citizens. As the crowd of disaffected plebeians swells in significance, the new consuls are faced with a dilemma - met with the crowd or remain in the safety of the senate... How does the tribunicianship operate? This seems to be a big looming question in our sources. There's a range of possible activities that an expanded collective can work towards. The capacity to be decisive, to operate on multiple fronts for common goals, to get passionate about taking strong action. It's intriguing to see how this potential is redirected under the influence of the patricians. Events to anticipate: The tribunes enter a meeting of the senateA big push for the law about the lawsA consular venture to Tusculum to save them from the AequiansA controversial decision about what to do with some of the spoils of warSome clear deviation between the narrative focus of Livy and Dionysius of HalicarnassusA speech from the 'Roman Achilles' including mention of the corona aurea Our Players The Consuls Titus Romilius T. f. T. n. Rocus Vaticanus (Pat)Gaius Veturius P. f. - n. Cicurinus (Pat) Tribunes of the Plebs L. IciliusL. Alienus+ 8 others! Notable Plebeians Lucius Siccius Dentatus "born with teeth" Our Sources Dr G reads Dionysius of Halicarnassus Rom. Ant. 10.33-39.Dr Rad reads Livy Ab Urbe Condita 3.31 Looking to brush up of the historical events Dentatus refers to in his speech? You can check out the happenings of 486 BCE here and catch the action of 473 BCE here. Joseph-Désiré Court 1820 Achilles Introduced to Nestor. Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons Sound Credits Sound Effects courtesy of BBC Sound Effects (Beta)Final credits: Excerpt from ?Ancient Arcadian Harp? by Cormi
2020-07-16
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Special Episode – Agrippina the Younger with Dr Emma Southon

We sit down with Dr Emma Southon to talk all things Agrippina the Younger. Join us for the thrilling and engaging story of Agrippina's life at the centre of Julio-Claudian power.
2020-06-12
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Episode 104 – Aventine, Aventine

We return to the City of Rome in 456 BCE and follow the ongoing domestic struggles that Rome faces in defining herself in terms of transparency at law. Episode 104 - Aventine, Aventine With a new crop of tribunes come some important consequences. While in previous years the tribunes have focused on the goal of ensuring that there is a clear and public way for any Roman citizen to access the laws in order to understand them, with new tribunes comes a shift in thinking. A Return to Redistribution of Public Land After a long hiatus, the issue of public land returns to the tribunician agenda. It's safe to say that things are about to get messy in Rome. If there's one thing the patricians never seem to want to budge on, it's negotiating the fair use of public land. Ten Tribunes Means Twice the Representation! Not only are there new tribunes but there are now plenty more of them representing the plebeians. We'll get a taste of what can happen with a larger group of tribunes. That's a lot of bodies to protect the interests of citizens and we'll see how that magisterial privilege can be deployed. The Lex Icilia de Aventino Publicando We delve into the nitty gritty of the law passed in this year which is unusual for a number of reasons. The Players Consuls Marcus Valerius M'. f. Volusi n. Maxumus Lactuca (pat)Spurius Verginius A. f. A. n. Tricostus Caeliomontanus (pat) Tribunes Lucius IciliusLucius Alienus Sources Dr Rad read Livy Ab Urbe Condita 3.31Dr G reads Dionysius of Halicarnassus Roman Antiquities 10.31-32 J. M. W. Turner c.1820s-1836. Rome, from Mount Aventine. Finding a painting that could do justice to the early Republican Aventine was tough, so we opted for this gorgeous, though much later view back onto nineteenth century Rome instead. Sound Credits Sound Effects courtesy of BBC Sound Effects (Beta), Pond5, and Lewi PilgrimFinal credits: Excerpt from ?Ancient Arcadian Harp? by Cormi
2020-05-14
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Episode 103 – Ten Terrific Tribunes

It's c. 457 BCE in Rome and in this episode we explore the state of affairs in the wake of Cincinnatus' dictatorship. Rome's affairs with her neighbours are not off to a good start. As the City lifts her gaze outward after recent troubles, nearby peoples have taken matters into their own hands. The Sabines and the Aequians are both making bold moves stretching Rome's attention both to the north and the south.
2020-04-10
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Special Episode – An Interview with Emeritus Professor Edwin Judge

We had the very great pleasure to sit down with Emeritus Professor Edwin Judge to discuss his latest publication The Failure of Augustus: Essays on the Interpretation of a Paradox (2019).
2020-03-12
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Episode 102 – Cincinnatus, Dictator

It's c. 458 BCE and Rome's troubles culminate in the appointment of a dictator. In this episode we explore the context which leads to the appointment of this emergency position and trace Rome's progress as she attempts to face enemies on multiple fronts.
2020-02-20
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A Tribute to Kirk Douglas

Dr Rad pays tribute to the late and unmistakable force to be reckoned with, Kirk Douglas. His role in Spartacus and his legacy for Rome on film and Hollywood are legendary.
2020-02-06
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Episode 101 – Talk to the Tree

The Romans find themselves on the wrong end of Aequian aggression and its not long before we meet Cloelius Gracchus!
2020-01-16
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Episode 100 – The Consulship

!!MILESTONE EPISODE!! We're celebrating our 100th episode! Join us for this very special exploration of the Roman consulship.
2019-12-19
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Episode 99 – Tusculum and Antium

It is c. 459 BCE and Rome faces the consequences of the Capitol having been seized and a consul killed in the previous year. The challenges come on two fronts: Tusculum and Antium.
2019-11-28
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*Special Episode* What Does Your Toga Say About You?

Dr Amy Place from the University of Leicester sits down with Dr Rad to discuss the humble Roman toga, fashion and social identity, and everyday life in late imperial Roman North Africa!
2019-11-07
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Episode 98 – Cincinnatus, Suffect Consul

It's c. 460 BCE and this hectic year in Roman history continues! In this episode we consider Rome in the wake of the sneak attack on the Capitol by Herdonius' disaffected Sabines. During the challenges of wrestling control back, the Romans lose one of their own. The consul Publius Valerius Pubicola falls in battle. This is a tragic loss and opens the way for Lucius Cincinnatus to return to the narrative. Episode 98 - Cincinnatus, Suffect Consul Looking to catch up on the narrative before diving into this episode? You can find out more about the earlier events of this year here. Who's Who Consuls Publius Valerius P. f. Volusi n. Publicola (cos II) Gaius Claudius Ap. f. M. n. Inrigillensis (or Regillensis) Sabinus Suffect Consul Lucius Quinctius Cincinnatus Tribune of the Plebs Aulus Verginius Marcus Volscius Fictor A Man of the Land There's nothing quite like a man who farms. For fans of men of the land, Cincinnatus is here for you. We explore the important symbolism of Cincinnatus working the land and his reaction to learning about his election as suffect consul. A New Political Strategy Cincinnatus takes the opportunity to lead in a new way. With much rhetorical flourish, our new consul lays forth a plan that spells trouble for the plebeians and the ambitions of the tribunes. We dig into the discrepancies between our sources - Livy and Dionysius of Halicarnassus have different takes on the essential narrative. This is very revealing in terms of thinking about the aims of our written sources for this period. Things to Look Forward To a taking of auspices a desire for a dictator some senatorial love for our man Cincinnatus Alexandre Cabanel 1843. Cincinnatus receiving the ambassadors of Rome. Image Source: Wikimedia Commons Our Sources Primary sources Dr G is reading Dionysius of Halicarnassus Roman Antiquities 10.17-19 Dr R is reading Livy 3.19.1-3 Secondary sources Broughton, T. R. S. 1951. The Magistrates of the Roman Republic, Volume I (American Philological Association) Eck, W. (Colonge) 'Suffect Consul' Brill's New Pauly, Cancik, H. Schneider, H., Salazar, C. F. (eds.), accessed online 29-9-2019 Lomas, K. 2017. The Rise of Rome: from the Iron Age to the Punic Wars (1000-264 BC) (Profile Books) Müller, C. (Bochum) 'Q. Cincinnatus, L.' Brill's New Pauly, Cancik, H. Schneider, H., Salazar, C. F. (eds.), accessed online 29-9-2019
2019-10-17
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*Special Episode* – The Thread of Women’s Representation

In this special episode, we're joined by Liz Smith, who has recently completed her doctoral research of the representation of women's dress in statuary at Macquarie University. Together we'll trace the threads of evidence for women's attire in the Roman world. The Thread of Women's Representation with Liz Smith Liz's research includes the fashion of women's dress in ancient representations in order to investigate what we can learn about the representation of women. This means considering how representations of women in statuary were often mediated by a male perspective and asking what this might reveal about women's lived experience. The Importance of Material Evidence A consideration of material evidence, especially when combined with inscriptions offers an alternative to the literary sources for thinking about women and daily life in the ancient world. Our evidence in this episode dates from the third century CE, which means we're thinking about a Rome embroiled in empire and imperial rule. In this episode we'll be considering the head coverings on statues in the round and sepulchral depictions of women. We explore the implications of topics such as: drapery in statues and reliefsthe colour of statuarythe stolathe palladress as status Epiktesis Epiktesis outlives her family. We consider the monument she dedicates to her husband, her children, and herself. Liz takes us through the pose adopted by Epiktesis - the Large Herculaneum Woman Type - and its implications. Grave stele dedicated by Epiktesis to her family, from Prilep, Macedonia. Skopje Archaeological Museum, inv. AMM 41. Photography © Skopje - Archaeological Museum of Macedonia. Photograph: Ortolf Harl 2017 November. The husband remains unnamed in this relief as do the children. This in itself is somewhat unusual but this evidence goes to the next level when we consider that the children are represented as divinities! With Epiktesis herself depicted in a very modest, unrevealing style and her daughter assuming the quite revealing Bathing Aphrodite Type, this representation has a lot to offer in terms of thinking about the meaning conveyed by poses and attire. Liz explains how size plays a role in the representation of family in this monument and we consider what this might have suggested to an ancient viewer. We also consider the unique aspects of this piece in terms of its arrangement of the figures and their poses. Aurelia Eutychia "I am Prosperous" c. 250s CE We consider the sarcophagus dedicated by Aurelia to herself and her husband Marcus Aurelius Marino which can still be seen today in Ferrara. Liz takes us through the significance of the statuesque features of this artefact. Social status is a particular feature at play in all these representations and the capacity of Aurelia to have for a sarcophagus where the figures display a range of statuesque features tells us a lot about how she wanted to be understood by her community. Sarcophagus dedicated by Aurelia Eutychia to herself and her husband Marcus Aurelius Marino. Originally in Voghiera, then moved to Ferrara, Palazzo dei Diamanti, Italy. Front panel. Ferrara, Palazzo dei Diamanti, Italy. No inventory number. DAIR Inst. Neg. Rom. 64.2022 Sarcophagus dedicated by Aurelia Eutychia to herself and her husband Marcus Aurelius Marino. Side panel. Liz explores the implications of Aurelia's personal representation of herself. We discuss the potential implications of being veiled versus not being veiled. Here's the inscription found on the sarcophagus: Aurelia Eutychia built this sarcophagus while alive for herself and her husband Marcus Aurelius Marino a veteran of Syrian lineage at the behest of the patron and her most dutiful husband with whom she lived for forty-three years by order of the patron out of his own funds. If someone after the death of the both opens it they will deposit a thousand sesterces to the tax autho...
2019-10-04
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Episode 97 – Surprising Sabines

We return to our narrative of Rome's history of its foundation with some surprising Sabines. It's still 460 BCE, which is an indication of just how complicated Rome's history is becoming when we read our sources. Both Livy and Dionysius of Halicarnassus are very focused on the ongoing conflict between the Roman elites and the emerging claims to power from the plebeians. We wouldn't would to give too many spoilers away, but while the Romans are busy trying to figure out what their internal politics will look like, there might just be an enemy on the horizon!
2019-09-19
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At the Movies – Once Upon a Time in Hollywood

We take a look at the 9th Tarantino film and its connection to history. There's plenty to consider and much to question! Advance apologies for the variable audio quality on this one!
2019-09-05
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*Special Episode* – Barbarians with Dr Rhiannon Evans

The Romans define themselves against this barbarians. In this special episode, Dr Rad is joined by Dr Rhiannon Evans to talk all things barbarian!
2019-08-29
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Episode 96 – Letters and Rumours

The conflict between patricians and plebeians continues apace as we explore the political complexities of 460 BCE. Much like a Jane Austen novel, letters and rumours abound in the fair city of Rome... Episode 96 - Letters and Rumours According to the annalist tradition, debate continues to rage about the proposal for clarity around laws and the idea of equality before the law. This leads to an unusual situation: the tribunes from the previous year return to continue pushing for these changes. Livy notes that the tribunes are riding on a high after ensuring the recent demise of Caeso Quinctius. But this also means that the incoming consuls are dealing with tribunes who seem be becoming entrenched... Strategies for Violence? We saw in the previous episode that there seems to be a difference between how the older patricians go about politics?through mechanisms such as magistracies and the senate?and how the younger patricians seek to make plays, through public violence and intimidation. Nevertheless, it seems as though the younger ones might just have hit upon a new approach which Dr Rad explores through Livy's account. Letters and Rumours Abound... Perhaps as a response to the violence in the City, the tribunes hit upon a new approach to push for changes. And before you know it, secret letters are being delivered to the tribunes while they're in the forum! There are a few implications that arise because of this and more than a little drama... Dr G considers the narrative provided by Dionysius of Halicarnassus which leads into some intense set-piece speeches from Aulus Verginius and Gaius Claudius. Join us for an episode full of exciting turns, political jousting, letters and rumours, and maybe even...conspiracy! Our Players Consuls Publius Valerius P. f. Volusi n. Publicola (cos. II)Gaius Claudius Ap. f. M. n. Inrigillensis (or Regillensis) Sabinus Tribunes Aulus VerginiusMarcus Volscius Fictor Patricians Caeso Quinctius Giovanni Battista Piranesi 1756. Map of the Forum Romanum / Courtesy of: Wikimedia Commons.Although a much later vision of Rome than what we are exploring in this episode, nevertheless, Piranesi conjures up the Forma Urbis Romae project with this elegant etching which includes the forum, the site of much of the action.
2019-08-06
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Episode 95 – Introducing Caeso Quinctius

Episode 95 - Introducing Caeso Quinctius The complex relationship between the patricians and plebeians is central to our appreciation of the 460s BCE. In this episode we'll get to consider the complexities first hand with the entrance of Caeso Quinctius (remember this name, he's going places!). We jump back into the narrative history of c. 461 BCE with our guides of the moment, Livy and Dionysius of Halicarnassus. Both are writing long after these events, which means that their accounts leave a lot to be desired at times. Nevertheless, both are interested in presenting a narrative on the theme of power. How is it distributed? Who has it and who doesn't? And what are the mechanisms of political power in this system of armies, consuls, patricians, and plebeians? Young Versus Old? Livy makes mention of the some generational differences in attitude of the elder patricians and their scions. These simmering tensions influence the way politics plays out in the forum. Dionysius is more interested in discoursing upon the variety of patrician attitudes towards the tribunes, including trying to undermine their legitimacy by noting that they have no connection to the gods. It's at this point that the young patricians start to emerge with a reputation for public violence... Enter Caeso Quinctius Young, handsome, dangerous, and patrician - he not only has a reputation for words, but he seems like the kinda man who'd back himself in a fight. As a ringleader amongst the young patricians, Quinctius has earned himself a bit of a reputation. Things start to get rough for this youthful specimen of Roman masculinity when Aulus Verginius, tribune of the plebs, seeks to bring charges against him... Our Key Players Consuls Publius Volumnius M. f. M. n. Amintinus Gallus (pat.)Servius Sulpicius - f. Ser. n. Camerinus Cornutus (pat.) Tribune of the Plebs Aulus VerginiusMarcus Volscius Patricians Caeso QuinctiusLucius Quinctius "Cincinnatus" Further reading Lintott, A. W. 1970. 'The Traditions of Violence in the Annals of the Early Roman Republic' Historia: Zeitschrift für Alte Geschichte 19.1.12-29 Henryk Siemiradzki c. 1880s A Dangerous Game. Image Source: Wikimedia CommonsAlthough considered to depict a mythological scene, this painting hints at the undercurrent of violence inherent in this episode as well as suggesting the generational factors at play.
2019-07-04
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Episode 94 – Flesh Rains Down Upon Thee

Episode 94 - Flesh Rains Down Upon Thee We return to Rome's narrative from the founding of City. The year c. 462 BCE ends on a high note with the consuls both gathering honours for their military exploits. L. Lucretius Tricipitinus is awarded a triumph for his successes against the Aequii while T. Veturius Geminus scores an ovatio for his part against the Volscii. As for the title of this episode?'Flesh Rains Down Upon Thee'? well, we wouldn't want to spoil it, but let's just say it's best to keep your ears alert for prodigies! C. 461 BCE is a big year for Rome in many respects and we'll be examining it in depth over a couple of episodes. Here are our main players: The Consuls Publius Volumnius M. f. M. n. Amintinus Gallus (patrician) Servius Sulpicius - f. Ser. n. Camerinus Cornutus (patrician) Prefect of the City Quintus Fabius Tribune of the Plebs Gaius Terentius (Terentilius?) Harsa Aulus Verginius Restrictions on consular power? One of the big subjects that comes into play is the extent of imperium held by the consuls. We start to get inklings in both Livy and Dionysius' accounts that something is not quite right in Rome. The tribunes, in particular, are not satisfied with the status quo. One of the difficulties lies in the nature of the populace, what do our sources mean by the populace and why is it so challenging to understand them in a coherent way? Beyond the murky and inconsistent character of the populace is the nebulous ideas that the tribunes are raising which include a need for equality of rights and equality of speech. Listen in as we explore the question of what is politically afoot in Rome at this time. A Codification of the laws... The conversation between the senate and the tribunes is tense, but it's clear that we're inching closer to a law code. The tribunes (and thus the populace) are calling for transparency, the senate is resisting, and then the heavens themselves open. 'A day in ancient Rome; being a revision of Lohr's "Aus dem alten Rom", with numerous illustrations', by Edgar S. Shumway (1885) ~ Wikimedia Commons From left to right: the Tiber, the Temple of Jupiter Capitolinus, and the emporium
2019-06-06
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*Special Episode* – Totalus Rankium and the Partial Historians on Tiberius

We return to the fray with the most excellent Rob and Jaime to tackle Dr Radness' favourite emperor. How will Tiberius fare against the criteria of Totalus Rankium? We're about to find out! How great is Tiberius? Tune in to find out! How are we judging Tiberius? Oooo better not to ask me, Dr G, author of this post, because I'm too much of an Augustan fan-girl to answer this question. Okay, okay, here's how it will work. We'll discuss Tiberius' life and career and at the end of the conversation we'll apply the Totalus Rankium system to form a holistic judgement of the imperial man himself. Here are the categories: Fights Maximus - an emperor's fighting capacity Opprobrium Crazium - their average level of insanity / taking things just too far Succesus Ultimus - how successful were they (all things considered)? Image Facius - were they attractive? Yes, this is the sexy category An Origin Story Like many people, Tiberius rises from humble beginnings. We'll explore the nature of his childhood and consider how this may have influenced his character and disposition (a very Suetonian approach if we do say so ourselves). We're on the search for clues that may help us better understand the complex influences on his life. Tiberius Imperator Some argue that Tiberius is the first emperor of Rome because he is the first to 'inherit' the legal privileges and concessions that secured Augustus' rule. This is important as it reveals the tenuous nature of the imperial project in these early stages. The differences between Augustus and Tiberius are revealed the moment Tiberius becomes emperor. Part of the challenge when examining his rule is the underlying consideration: what makes a good emperor? We'll consider some of Tiberius' achievements and also some of the more controversial aspects of his rule in this collaborative episode. You just never know what controversy is in the wind when we're talking about Tiberius! Obverse: TI[berivs] CAESAR DIVI AVG[vsti] F[ilivs] AVGVSTS (Caesar Augustus Tiberius, son of the Divine Augustus), laureate head right, parallel ribbons Reverse: PONTIF[ex] MAXIM[us], Livia (as Pax) seated right, feet on footstool, holding sceptre and branch; ornate legs, one line below. Catalogue: RIC I 30; Lyon 154; RSC 16a. Image Source: Wikimedia Commons
2019-05-15
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Episode 93 - Divide and Conquer

Rome emerges from the year of pestilence and moves straight on to divide and conquer. While this seems implausible, we're still navigating the tricky gaps in our annalist historians - uncertainty is the name of the historical game at this stage. Welcome to c. 462 BCE! The pestilence ensured the death of both consuls of c. 463 BCE so it's only after a series of interreges that we stumble into the new consular year. Join as we explore all c. 462 BCE has to offer including: some of the factors to keep in mind when we encounter plague narratives the increasing divergences in the narratives of Livy and Dionysius of Halicarnassus the battle tactics designed to draw armies away from their chosen theatre of war Episode 93 - Divide and Conquer Bandits, Aequians, or Volscii? One of the big discrepancies we consider this episode is just who is the enemy? A raiding force causes trouble outside Rome, but who are they exactly? Livy and Dionysius offer different interpretations of the evidence leaving us a central puzzle to resolve concerning battle tactics and probabilities. Trouble in (Hernican) Paradise While Rome's been down and out, the Aequians and Volscii alliance have taken the opportunity to strike! Hernican territory is a great strategic choice, but they are definitely allies with Rome so ... we're here to guide you through all the consequences! The major players Consuls of c. 462 BCE Lucius Lucretius Tricipitinus (patrician) Titus Veturius Geminus Cicurinus (patrician) Tribune of the plebs Sextus Titius The Urban Prefect Quintus Fabius (Vibulanus) (or Quintus Furius in your Dion. Hal.) consul II (467, 465 BCE) Scholarly material Dr G gets more excited about pestilence than perhaps is appropriate but it did lead to some of the work of Northwood: Northwood, S. J. 2006. 'Grain Scarcity and Pestilence in the Early Roman Republic: Some Significant Patterns' in Bulletin of the Institute of Classical Studies 49.81-92 Source: Costumes of All Nations 1882 by Albert Kretschmer, painters and costumer to the Royal Court Theatre, Berin, and Dr. Carl Rohrbach. Courtesy of: wikimedia commons
2019-04-21
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*Special Episode* Quo Vadis with the History of the Papacy Podcast

We sat down recently with Stephen Guerra, the host of the History of the Papacy Podcast to talk all about the classic 1951 sword-and-sandals film Quo Vadis.
2019-03-27
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*Special Episode* Tiberius with the Life of Caesar Podcast

We're very excited to bring you a special episode where we sit down with Cam from The Life of Caesar podcast! We're talking about Tiberius Caesar Divi Augusti filius Augustus or 'Tibbo' as he's affectionately known.
2019-03-20
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Episode 92 - The Pestilence of 463 BCE

We're jumping back into the narrative. The title might be a bit of a giveaway, yes yes, we'll be talking about ... pestilence! But before we get there we need to consider the circumstances. Rome has been having lots of problems with their neighbours, particularly the Aequians and we've seen a shift in tactics from Aequians engaging in guerilla style raiding to seeking out the Romans in pitched battle. To say that Rome has been vexed by this is an understatement. Livy has offered some portents for the times ahead which, in a narrative history of Rome, can't be good! Our Main Players The Consuls for c. 463 BCE: Lucius Aebutius Helva Publius Servilius Priscus HARK, PLAGUE! Livy kinds informs us of some dreadful details about a plague that is sweeping through the countryside. We take you through the grisly details from both Livy and Dionysius of Halicarnassus. What initially seems confined beyond the city though soon moves within and this means problems for urban citizens, visitors, and the body politic (both figuratively and literally). AN OPPORTUNITY? While Romans struggle just to stay alive, the Aequians and the Volscians consolidate their growing friendship of mutual convenience into a straight up alliance. This places Rome in a difficult spot between needing to keep her own allies - the Latins and the Hernicans - appeased as well as the knowledge that their previous irritations have formally combined forces. COME FOR THE PLAGUE, STAY FOR THE... ...Other excitement afoot! Things to look forward to in this episode. We'll consider: The first acts of the new Aequian-Volscian alliance The Roman response to their allies' call for support The defence systems of the City The power of divine intervention Some reasons why Rome doesn't fall in this moment And questions and discussion about the role of the interreges Episode 92 - The Pestilence of 463 BCE The angel of death striking a door during the plague of Rome. Engraving by Levasseur after J. Delaunay Image credit: Wikimedia Commons and Wellcome Images
2019-03-12
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*Special Episode* Totalus Rankium and The Partial Historians on Augustus

In this special episode we get together with Rob and Jamie from Totalus Rankium to discuss Augustus - hear all the highs and lows here!
2019-02-20
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Episode 91 – The Furious Romans

In this episode, we dip in the years c. 466-4 BCE to explore the continuing conflict between Rome, the Aequians, and the Volscians. These years are packed with drama, politics, and virtus!
2019-02-13
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Episode 90 – Spartacus, the Ballet

We're turning 90 and it's time for a special episode on the reception of Spartacus! What better way to do this than to examine the history of Spartacus, the ballet. Dr Rad is our expert on the ground on all things Spartacus and reception. Dr G brings a wild curiosity and a small knowledge of ballet.
2019-01-16
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Episode 89 – A Fabian Abroad

It's a brand new edition of the Partial Historians covering the Early Roman Republic?! And as the title 'A Fabian Abroad' hints, the Fabians are back in the political scene! There's nothing we enjoy more than some controversy in the source material and oooo boy does the narrative get hazy with the return of a Fabian back in the scene. We explore some of the challenges with this situation in order to get a better sense of what might be happening in the family history.
2018-12-12
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Episode 88 – Battle After Battle!

What kind of drama could follow the career of uber patrician Appius Claudius? As it turns out, those Romans are really all about battle after battle! We've reached a hazy period in our historiography where the narratives of Livy and Dionysius start to diverge on specifics; some events play out over different years depending on the author.
2018-11-13
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Episode 87 – The Rise and Rise of Appius Claudius

We are deep in the conflict between between patricians and plebeians. We jump back into the narrative part way through c. 471 BCE. Our consuls are Titus Quintius Capitolinus Barbartus and Appius Claudius Sabinus and they represent different approaches to political engagement with the plebeians.
2018-10-17
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Episode 86 – Volero and Laetorius

Our jaunt through the history of ancient Rome continues apace! In this episode we cover c. 472-1 BCE. Dr Radness is reading Livy and Dr G is reading Dionysius of Halicarnassus and the comparisons of our sources is quite something! The main stars are the tribunes Volero and Laertorius.
2018-09-13
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Episode 85 – Murder and Volero!

When we left you at the end of the last episode, there was some major events afoot - there's nothing like a murder in the city, particularly when the people turning up dead are Romans who hold a public magistracy! In this episode we consider the mystery concerning Gnaeus Genucius and the stories connected with Volero Publilius!
2018-08-16
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Episode 84 – The Romans Are Manly Men

In this episode, Drs R and G discuss the exploits of the Romans between c. 475-3 BCE. There's plenty to consider: battles, consular successes, and looming ever larger in the narrative the call for agrarian reform which builds on the back of a grain crisis.
2018-07-11
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Episode 83 – If Only I Had Some Grain

After the tragic demise of the Fabii gens, what happens next? The rivalry between Rome and her northern neighbour Veii continues! 'If Only I Had Some Grain' captures the spirit of this episode. We cover the years c. 476 BCE and part of c. 475 BCE. Is this a sign that our narrative is quickening up? Quite possibly! We face two strands of narrative: The developing grain crisis in Rome and the military consequences of the forces of Veii (aka the Tyrrhenians) on the Janiculum.
2018-06-13
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*Special Episode* Women and Religion in Greece and Rome – Ryan Stitt and Dr G

Update: In November 2020, a series of revelations across a variety of social media platforms have made clear that Ryan Stitt's behaviour to many women in the classics and ancient history community has been inappropriate. We hear those women and stand by those women. We did not know about the pattern of behaviour when the episode below was recorded. We have opted to leave the link to the episode below active as the topic may be of interest to listeners. We have no plans to work with Ryan in the future. The History of Ancient Greece and The Partial Historians Ryan Stitt, the host of the The History of Ancient Greece Podcast was kind enough to invite Dr G to discuss all things women and religion! In this special episode, we compare and contrast all kinds of elements of the women?s participation in rites and rituals. Bona Dea and the Thesmophoria We talk all things Bona Dea. We consider the ritual component of the festival and the connections between this ostensibly Roman goddess and her Greek counterpart Ceres and Eastern deities such as Magna Mater and Cybele. We delve into the different facets of Roman deities and consider the potential significance of women-led festivities under the patriarchal system. This leads to an examination of the parallels between the rites to Roman Bona Dea and the Thesmophoria. Be on the listen for sacrifices of sows and the digging up of piglets! Vesta and Hestia It is perhaps no surprise that Dr G waxes lyrical about the Vestal Virgins, but you know, Ryan did ask! There are lots of details to enjoy here including: the selection of young women into the cult the cult image of Vesta some of the politico-religious connections between Vestals and the state We also follow the relationship between Vesta and Hestia comparing the differences in their worship and debate the flow of Greek migrants into the Italian peninsula and the influence of the Etruscans in the evolution of the worship of Vesta. We trace some of the ancient source material for Vesta, including the Greek sources Plutarch and Dionysius of Halicarnassus. This special episode is packed with details! Other highlights include women?s role in ritual weaving, and the role of women in service to gods rather than goddesses. You can find the episode here, posted after Ryan?s Episode 075 - Pregnancy, Abortion, and Divorce in the Libsyn player, or on iTunes. The Parthenon Sculptures are an appropriate expression of the Ancient Greeks to headline this episode on women and religion. This east pediment is identified with Hestia, Dione and Aphrodite. The Partial Historians support the return of the Parthenon Sculptures to Greece.Image Courtesy of: Wikimedia Commons © Marie-Lan Nguyen
2018-06-04
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Episode 82 – Fabian Demise

We return to the history of Rome from the founding of the City and that can only mean one thing - the Fabian family are back front and centre. And, yes, that episode title is a bit of a spoiler! We're talking about the Fabian demise.
2018-05-17
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Episode 81 – Livia Drusilla

Would any Ancient Roman podcast hosted by two women be complete without a very special episode on one of the most famous women in the City's history, Livia Drusilla? Obviously not and here we are :)
2018-04-19
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Episode 80 – The Year 478 BCE

Rome and the Fabians have developed a whole new military tactic by building a fortress near Veii. This is momentous! It allows Rome to station soldiers outside the City in preparation for battle. This force though is made up largely of Fabians and their supporters which will have implications.
2018-03-20
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Episode 79 – Fabian Domination

In the wake of the horrific Battle of Veii in 480 BCE we head into c. 479 BCE. While we follow Livy and Dionysius of Halicarnassus predominantly at this time, we also see a little of the Fasti Capitolini creep in. After a little bit of faffing about the consuls Caeso Fabius (cos. III) and Titus Verginius Tricostus Rutilus emerge - were these two just as in favour with the plebeians and the patricians? Livy has some details to offer on this front! We also see a disruption to the argarian situation led by Caeso Fabius - how will that turn out?
2018-02-21
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Episode 78 – The Battle of Veii 480 BCE

The nascent Roman Republic is well under the influence of the Fabii. Marcus Fabius holds the consulship for the second time. He shares the illustrious role with Gnaeus Manlius. The real trouble lies in Roman domestic diplomacy. Herein the Battle of Veii 480 BCE.
2018-01-24
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Episode 77 – The Troubles of 481 BCE

We dive back into the history of Rome from the founding of the city and end up right in the challenges of 481 BCE. This means that we're in the hazy early period of the Republic where the conflict between the patricians and plebeians dominates the narratives offered by Livy and Dionysius of Halicarnassus.
2017-12-27
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Episode 76 – Plebeian Struggles and the Vestal Oppia

The patrician and plebeian conflict explodes over the redistribution of public land. The Vestal Virgin Oppia finds herself the object of public scrutiny.
2017-11-21
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Episode 75 – Trouble in Rome, Trouble with the Volscii

In the wake of Spurius Cassius' demise, Rome's attention turns inwards. The plebeians and the patrician conflict continues to escalate and the some of the consequences begin to play out with Rome's foreign policy. In c. 483 BCE the conflict between Rome and the Volscii really starts to reflect the internal struggle between the patricians and plebeians in Rome herself.
2017-10-23
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Episode 74 – Gla!

Gla is a huge Mycenaean fortress in Boeotia, Greece. There's no mention of the place in Homer's Iliad and it's more than ten times larger than Athens during the Bronze Age... So what is Gla exactly and what do we really know about this structure? Let's dive in!
2017-09-18
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