Tid Bits - Classics Edition

I love the classics - be it Greek plays, Roman history, all of the great myths or all of the ancient philosophers that lie at the base of our western civilization. (Weren't those Atomists so prescient?) And yes, I also managed to marry a classics major. That's why I thank the FSM that I live in an age where you can obtain all this information for free and downloadable onto your iPod.

So what's out there?

Well a few months back I was in despair (along with hundreds of others) about the apparent downfall of the History of Rome Podcast. Well over the weekend Mike Duncan, just like Cincinnatus, came back from retirement and came out with a brand new episode on the great general Sulla (Pompey, Crassus and young Julius Caesar have even made an appearance). I strongly advise you to subscribe to this podcast, it's probably the best solo web production out there. I also advise you to start from the beginning where Mike summarizes the Aeneid and the Romulus and Remus myth. From there you'll need to listen to about 40 shows to be up to date (although we are on episode #34, some previous shows were split into sections "a", "b" and "c"). And the revival came just in time, as my wife and I have been plowing through HBO's miniseries Rome, a reenactment of the rise and fall of Caesar finishing with the crowning of Augustus.

Speaking of classics, I've also noticed that an audio version of Thucydides' The History of the Peloponnesian War and Herodotus' Histories Vol. 1 have recently been made available for free from Librivox.org. (Other great works you can download from Librivox include The Iliad and The Odyssey.)

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My iPod has been a great addition to my life. I use it to listen to podcasts and audiobooks on my half-hour walks, to and from work. But recently two of my favorite items have gone into suspended animation. The first one is my absolute favorite podcast, The History of Rome, produced by Mike Duncan…
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The 12 Byzantime Rulers by Lars Brownworth is very entertaining and informative too. Each talk is about a half hour, and there are about 18 of them total. It doesn't have the same understated humor that Mike Duncan occasionally slides into his podcasts. (After hearing what happened to to a Roman fleet during the first Punic war, I never fail to properly consult the sacred chickens when making travel plans anymore.)

But I'm so glad to hear that Rome is back on.

By swbarnes2 (not verified) on 02 Dec 2008 #permalink

swbarnes2,

You are not the first to alert me about 12 Byzantime Rulers (in fact in some online interview, Mike Duncan mentions this as the inspiration for his History of Rome Podcast). I'll have to check it out.

You aren't the only one who was relieved! I was devastated that History of Rome had apparently stopped. Imagine my joy when I went to plug in my ipod and found new downloads! And I also recommend 12 Byzantine Emperors, it's excellent listening. Are you familiar with Dan Carlin's Hardcore History? It's a good general history podcast, as long as you can get past Carlin's rather odd speaking style. He tends to cover very diverse topics, but he just gave three episodes to the Punic Wars.

I do get Dan Carlin's History podcast. In fact after I wrote this post, I was listening to him interview Davis Hanson on the importance of The Classics. Dan's podcast is good, my one complaint is that he tends beats around the bush, many times for dramatic effect. But yes, I agree Dan's Hardcore History is another good podcast for history buffs.

I just added 12 Byzantine Rulers to my podcast subscriptions but haven't listened yet.