Afleveringen

  • In January 330 BC, Alexander the Great faced one of his most difficult challenges to date. A small Persian force, entrenched in a formidable defensive position that blockaded Alexander’s route to the Persian heartlands. A narrow pass through the Zagros Mountains that has gone down in history as the Persian, or Susian, Gates. Although nowhere near the size or scale of Alexander’s previous pitched battles against the Persians at the Granicus, Issus and Gaugamela, this clash in the mountains deserves its moment in the spotlight. A clash where the tables were turned and the Persians were outnumbered by their Macedonian counterparts. A battle that has been dubbed the Persian Thermopylae. From the immediate aftermath of Alexander’s victory at Gaugamela to his army’s antics at Babylon. From a merciless, punitive campaign in the foothills of the Zagros Mountains to a detailed run down of the Persian stand the Gates, enjoy as Tristan talks you through the events of late 331 / early 330 BC.

    In this first part, Tristan covers the events that followed Alexander the Great’s victory at Gaugamela and how these culminated with Alexander’s army approaching the Persian heartlands deep in the winter of 331/0 BC.

    Preorder Tristan’s book today: https://www.pen-and-sword.co.uk/The-Perdiccas-Years-323320-BC-Hardback/p/20188

    Jona Lendering article: https://www.livius.org/articles/battle/persian-gate-330-bce/

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    Quick notes:

    We do hear a small detail about what happened to Bagophanes. Alexander assigned him to become one of Mazaeus' adjutants in the new Babylonian administration.

    Medates is pardoned by Alexander. Whether he retains his position as governor of the lowland Uxians however, is not stated.

    Further Reading

    Hammond, M. (2013), tr., Arrian: Alexander the Great, the Anabasis and the Indica, Oxford.

    Shepherd, R. (1793), tr., Polyaenus: Stratagems of War, Chicago.

    Waterfield, R. (2019), tr., Diodorus of Sicily: The Library, Books 16-20, Oxford.

    Yardley, J. (2001), tr., The History of Alexander: Quintus Curtius Rufus, Chatham.

    Bosworth, A. B. (1988), Conquest and Empire: The Reign of Alexander the Great, Cambridge.

    Engels, D. W. (1978), Alexander the Great and the Logistics of the Macedonian Army, London.

    Heckel, W. (2006), Who's Who in the Age of Alexander the Great, Oxford.

     

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  • 16 January 27 BC is a date sometimes associated with the beginning of the Roman Empire. It was on that day that Octavian received the name Augustus, effectively becoming the first emperor of Rome. Augustus ordered the gates of Janus to be closed, marking an end to the period of Civil War that had characterised Rome for decades before. Entering into a new era of peace, how did Augustus monopolise peace as a concept, and allow Rome to hold onto this new era and way of life across it's Empire? This week Tristan is joined by Dr Hannah Cornwell, author of Pax and the Politics of Peace, to talk about this transitional period, it's reflections in art and monumental architecture, and ultimately, how the Roman Empire came to be.

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  • At its height, the Seleucid Empire stretched from Thrace (modern day Bulgaria) to the Indus River Valley. Emerging from the tumultuous ‘Successor Wars’ that followed Alexander the Great’s passing, for over a century it was a superpower of the eastern Mediterranean. This, however, ultimately led it into conflict with Rome at the beginning of the 2nd century BC. The result was a devastating defeat for the Seleucid King Antiochus III ‘the Great’ at the Battle of Magnesia, fought around this time of year in either December 190 BC or January 189 BC. Following the battle, the Seleucids were humbled by a damaging treaty, but what happened next? What followed for the Seleucids, having been humbled by the Romans? Did they descend from superpower to suppliant? Or did they experience a resurgence? In today’s podcast, Eduardo Garcia-Molina, a PHD Classics student at the University of Chicago, argues the latter. Focusing in on the reign of Antiochus IV, Eduardo highlights how the Seleucid Empire remained a powerful entity in the wake of Magnesia and their Roman defeat.

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  • Spinning held an important place in ancient society, and no, we're not talking about ancient exercise classes. A task for women and slaves, it was used to create clothes, ships sails, and ropes, and its products were integral to all parts of society. An unchanging art for centuries and seen across the globe, spinning was an important practice in the ancient world. This week Tristan is joined by Carey Fleiner to discuss spinning's role in myths, the textiles it helped produce, and its importance in antiquity.

    Warning: one case of mild language.

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  • It’s a macabre topic to discuss, but also one that has fascinated people for generations. So what has archaeology revealed about cannibalism among prehistoric societies? And if cannibalism does seem to have been practised among certain groups, then why? Appalachian State University’s Dr Marc Kissel dialled in from North Carolina to talk us through several cases of potential cannibalism in prehistory, from Neanderthals to the Neolithic.

    Marc’s Twitter: @MarcKissel

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    Music: Ancient Secrets - Storyblocks

     

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  • They’ve both been described as the greatest military commander in the ancient world, but who really takes the title (if either of them)? Alexander, the undefeated conqueror of one of the largest empires the world had yet seen, or Caesar, a leader who was critical in expanding and creating what later became the Roman Empire?

    For this episode, Tristan is joined by Dr Simon Elliott, author of Alexander the Great versus Julius Caesar: Who was the Greatest Commander in the Ancient World? Together, they analyse their leadership styles, victories, and their tactical and strategic genius, to finally answer who really was the greater military leader.

    While you’re here, don’t forget to leave us a rating and review - let us know who you think was the greatest leader.

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    Music:

    Phoenix Rising - Edgar Hopp

     

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  • We’re finishing off 2021 with what is perhaps Julius Caesar’s greatest legacy. It’s not a military victory or battle, but one of the many political reforms that truly has stood the test of time: the Julian calendar. Before, calendars were largely based on the lunar calendar, and believe it or not, were pretty flexible, and therefore easily manipulated for political gain. (Need more time to collect some taxes? Just add three more days!)

    In this episode, Tristan is joined by Dr Philip Nothaft to discuss how and why this reform came about, and the lasting impact of this watershed moment today.

    Thank you so much for listening to The Ancients this year, it’s been so fun to have you along for the chariot ride. We can’t wait to bring you even more exciting ancient history in 2022! If you can’t wait, why not subscribe to our Ancient History Thursday newsletter here. If you've enjoyed the podcast this year, why not leave a rating and review, we'd love to know what you think.

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    Music:

    Time Is Palpable - Bradley Andrew Segal & Dorian Charnis

     

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  • For the first 4 centuries AD/CE, the ancient Greek novel was the most popular literary form in the Roman Empire and at the heart of these popular texts is discussion over race and identity. Could a Phoenician living within the Empire also identify as Roman? Could they be both X and Y? And can we use these novels as a lens through which to see how people in the ancient Mediterranean viewed prominent powers beyond Rome’s borders, for instance the Kingdom of Axum in modern day Ethiopia. To explain this and more, with a particular focus on Heliodorus’ Aethiopica, Tristan spoke to Dr Mai Musié, Public Engagement Manager at the Bodleian Libraries in Oxford.  

    Wishing you all a very happy Boxing Day from the Ancients team! 

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  • It’s fair to say that winter battles weren’t commonplace in the ancient Mediterranean world. There is, however, one striking exception. A clash that occurred in mid/late December 218 BC, in northern Italy very close to the Po River. This clash was the Battle of the River Trebia, fought between the Roman consular army of Sempronius Longus and the conglomerate Carthaginian force under the leadership of the legendary Hannibal Barca. In this special podcast, Dr Eve MacDonald, Dr Louis Rawlings and Dr Adrian Goldsworthy talk you through the run up to this decisive winter clash, before delving into the details of the battle itself. From Hannibal and his weary, worn down force emerging from the Alps to Roman soldiers wading through the icy waters of the Trebia, sit back and enjoy as Eve, Louis and Adrian talk you through the story of Hannibal’s first great victory against the Roman Republic.

    Part 1: The Rise of Hannibal

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    Music:

    Epidemic & POND5

    Battle of The Nile - Grant Newman

     

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  • Thanks largely to his feature in the Gospel of Matthew, King Herod ‘the Great’ of Judaea is one of the most infamous figures from the whole of history. So what do we know about this ancient near eastern ruler, who in his lifetime had contacts with a series of ‘goliath’ figures from the ancient Mediterranean World: from Caesar to Cleopatra and from Marc Antony to Augustus. To talk about King Herod, with a particular focus on the material and meaning of his monumental tomb at Herodium, Tristan was re-joined by Holy Land archaeologist Dr Jodi Magness. A wonderful speaker, Jodi has previously been on the podcast to talk all about the Siege of Masada and Jewish burial at the time of Jesus.

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    Music:

    Valley of the Kings - Hampus Naeselius

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  • Contrary to popular belief, parties in Ancient Rome were not all depraved wine-fuelled orgies. In fact, Roman get-togethers were relatively tame by the standards of today. They often consisted of noble families sharing elaborate food dishes and entertaining one another with theatrical hysterics. Parties among less wealthy citizens were simpler, yes, but no less raucous. Bashes of all kinds—whether to celebrate great military victories or mark important festivals such as Saturnalia—were beacons of status and huge networking opportunities, which explains why they became such a core feature of everyday Roman life. So, not all crazy sex parties after all! In this episode, Tristan is joined by Dr Ian Goh, Professor of Ancient History at Swansea University, to find out how to party like it’s 1 BC.

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  • What the Book of Genesis is to the Hebrew Bible and the Christian Old Testament, songlines are to Indigenous Australians. Epic tales of desire, pursuit, shape-shifting spirits, strength and family ties, these are stories of the land, communicated only by a handful of elders. Today, Tristan is joined by Margo Neale, lead of the "Songlines: Tracking The Seven Sisters" exhibition, which is making its European debut at The Box in Plymouth till February 2022. Not only is this an art exhibition, but also a science and history exhibition, encouraging people to engage with stories that are thousands of years old and that tell us how to look after ourselves and the planet.

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    Music:

    Earth Awakens - Jon Bjork

     

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  • Frederick the Great, Marie Antoinette and Oscar Wilde. Each of them have talked about, or been talked about in terms of, Ancient Greek ideas of homosexual love. From men taking on young apprentices, to Sappho’s yearning poetry, the Ancient Greek traditions have long been called upon in conversation as a background to contemporary celebrations of love between members of the same sex, but what is the truth to these stories. We are thrilled to welcome Alastair Blanshard, Paul Eliadis Chair of Classics and Ancient History at the University of Queensland, back to the Ancients to talk us through the concept and truth of Greek love, and its ripples through history.

     

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  • Today we’re talking all about science, Stonehenge and what we know about a massive migration into Britain at the start of the Bronze Age some 4,500 years ago: the Steppe migration. For years the details of this incredibly important event have been hotly-debated. But recently, a huge new study has analysed the remains of several hundred individuals buried in Britain and dating to this time period, hoping to uncover more about the nature of this migration.

     

    Among the remains that were studied included a series of bronze age burials discovered around Stonehenge. So what did the results of the study reveal? How did this migration affect the Neolithic British population that already inhabited this island? And how did these new people perceive ancient monuments such as Stonehenge?

     

    To talk through the study and its results, with a particular focus on certain bronze age burials around Stonehenge, Dr Selina Brace returned to the show. An ancient DNA specialist, Selina works at the Natural History Museum and previously appeared on the Ancients podcast for the hit episode ‘Cheddar Man: Science and the Skeleton’.

     

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  • Today we’re going back to the beginning – no Romans, Celts, Egyptians or Macedonians in sight. We’re going much further back, covering billions of years of prehistory as we look at the emergence of life on Earth. From the rise of the earliest microscopic membranes to the arrival of the dinosaurs.

    To talk through this massive topic, Tristan was joined by Henry Gee, a palaeontologist, evolutionary biologist and senior editor of the science journal Nature. Henry is also the author of a new book: A (Very) Short History of Life on Earth. Prepare to be blown away, as Henry expertly narrates you through several billion years of history in just under 90 minutes.

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    Music:

    The Beginning - Jessica Jones

     

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  • Situated roughly one mile south of Hadrian’s Wall is one of the great jewels of Roman and early medieval archaeology: Vindolanda. Over the past 50 years, annual excavations at this site have revealed incredible amounts of new information. Information that has not only shone more light on the site’s history, but also on the minutiae of everyday life for those people who lived on this north western frontier of the Roman Empire almost 2,000 years. 

    A plethora of stunning artefacts have been unearthed over the last half decade from Vindolanda: from the only Roman boxing gloves found from anywhere in the Roman Empire to early medieval Christian graffiti. What’s most exciting of all, however, is that there are still so many more exciting finds to be uncovered in the years ahead. 

    In this episode we return to Northumberland to speak to Dr Andrew Birley and Marta Alberti who, alongside their team of archaeologists and volunteers, are constantly discovering more about the people who lived and passed through the site. They describe their findings from 2021, including more information about the other animals at Vindolanda and the post-Roman uses of the fortifications. We also get a glimpse of what we can expect from next year’s work.

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  • It is one of the most remote ancient sites in the world. Situated on the isolated Micronesian island of Kosrae are the ruins of an ancient religious centre called Menka, also known as the Village of the Breadfruit Goddess. From temples to monumental statues to 'the painted cave,' Menka was an incredibly important site for Kosrae's ancient communities. Many mysteries, however, still abound.

    To talk through what we know about Menka and its archaeology, we're joined once again by Dr. Felicia Beardsley, a Professor at the University of La Verne. Felicia is an expert on the archaeology of Micronesia and featured on a previous Ancients podcast all about Nan Madol, 'Venice of the Pacific': https://podfollow.com/the-ancients/episode/bcae15d73136dac4ace88c48db17dcf43c16cfb5/view

     

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  • Alexander the Great and Caracalla. One often considered among the most successful military commanders of all time, the other, one of the worst emperors of Ancient Rome. So is it possible that the latter modelled himself and his army on the former. In this second episode with Dr Alex Imrie, we return to the story of Caracalla to explore the evidence for his Macedonian Phalanx, a formation of men purportedly used in his invasion of the Parthian Empire. 

    Dr Alex Imrie, from the University of Edinburgh, is an expert on the Severan Dynasty and the author of The Antonine Constitution: An Edict for the Caracallan Empire.

    Alex's Twitter: @AlexImrie23

    Tristan's Twitter/Instagram: @ancientstristan

     

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  • Minoan Crete has kept people captivated for millennia, appearing in countless modern cultural practices till this very day. But who are the Minoans? In this episode, Tristan travels down to Oxford to talk to Professor Nico Momigliano, a leading expert in the history and legacy of the Minoans. Join us as we explore the lives, civilisation, and influence of the Minoan past.

     

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  • From Gladiator to Rome Total War to I, Claudius, today the Cohortēs praetōriae are one of the most distinctive military units of Imperial Rome. It was their job to protect the Roman Emperor and his household, a task for which they hold a somewhat ‘chequered’ record (especially when we focus in on the Praetorian Prefects). But what do we know about this unit’s origins? How did this powerful force become protectors of the Emperor and his household? What other functions did they serve? And how did they differ from the standard Roman legions in their structure?

    To talk through the rise of the Praetorian Guard, with a specific focus on the reigns of Augustus and Tiberius, Tristan caught up with historian Lindsay Powell at Fishbourne Roman Palace in West Sussex. Lindsay is the author of several books about the Early Roman Imperial Period. His latest book, Bar Kokhba: The Jew Who Defied Hadrian and Challenged the Might of Rome, is out now.

     

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