Join us for the first episode of our deep dive on the history that inspired the BBC/HBO series Rome (2005-2017). Oh you say you know nothing about the Roman Empire? Perfect, this is the pod for you, citizen.
There’s plenty of melodrama as we discuss how the familial feuds and incestuous relationships among the Roman elite led to a critical break point with the Royal family and Brutus (no, not that one) led a Republican revolution, expelling the Kings forever.
Rome went from a series of villages on 7 hills populated by runaway slaves, vagabonds and women stolen from local tribes to become the most influential empire in the history of the western world. Through existential battles against local rivals, raids by savage Gauls and a cataclysmic war against a Greek King, Rome survived it all.
Hannibal is at the gates! Find out how Rome’s victory against the man who marched elephants over the Alps led them to dominate the Mediterranean from Spain to Greece. But final victory over Carthage was only the beginning of the story; we wax lyrical about the lower classes rising up against the increasing power of the rich nobles as societal issues come to the fore. How does a government designed to run a city rule over an empire?
Spoiler- Badly. It’s terrible…people die. A lot.
This is Roman history 101! We’ll give you an overview of 700 (yes, seven hundred) years of Roman history, taking you from Romulus and Remus to the man who’s name looms large over it all: Caesar.
It may have taken them more than a day but we take about an hour.
Mary Beard- SPQR (2016)
Tom Holland- Rubicon (2003)
Cassius Dio- Roman History (1989)
Livy- The Early History of Rome (2002)
Mike Duncan- The Storm Before the Storm (2017)