All Episodes

All Podcast Episodes:

  • Cleopatra and the Urban War

    When Cleopatra met Julius Caesar, sparks flew. The daring Egyptian queen beguiled the conquering Roman general—and then enlisted him to fight her battles.

    Outnumbered five to one in a city full of ancient wonders, Cleopatra and Caesar spent the next ten months barricaded in a luxurious palace while outside, the enemy howled for their blood. The two fought a deadly urban war for Cleopatra’s throne–and both of their survival.

    Get the show notes here.

  • Cleopatra and the King of Rome

    When Julius Caesar arrived in Egypt, he walked into a civil war between the country’s new co-rulers: Ptolemy XIII and his sister Cleopatra.

    The romance between Caesar and Cleopatra is one of the most epic of ancient times. But we can’t tell you that story until you understand who Cleopatra was. And to understand Cleopatra, you have to understand the political element in which she swam.

    In this episode, we take you from the cutthroat intrigue of the Ptolemaic court to the volatile streets of Alexandria—and from Cleopatra’s early life to the events that led her to take an extreme gamble and team up with the man who’d just conquered Rome. Get the show notes here.

  • Julius Caesar and the Death of the Republic

    Within sixty days of crossing the Rubicon, Julius Caesar took control of the entire Italian peninsula—almost without bloodshed. But until he defeated Pompey, Caesar’s victories were temporary.

    Now Caesar would face Rome’s greatest general and his own greatest rival. Pompey had more experience, more troops, and more supplies, and he knew every move Caesar planned to make before he made it.

    The odds were not in Caesar’s favor–but that’s just how he liked it. Get the show notes here.

  • Julius Caesar and the Point of No Return

    Julius Caesar was in Gaul for eight years—and while he was gone, things in Rome didn’t just stop. His enemies were sharpening their knives, just salivating for him to come back so they could prosecute him. If they got their way, Caesar could lose his legions, his fortune, and his position—and see all his achievements undone.

    Caesar was backed into a corner. His only chance to survive involved taking an extreme action that he’d never be able to take back. An action that would catapult him to the pinnacle of Roman power—even as it put a price on his head.

    Find out how Caesar got away with it. Get the show notes here.

     

  • Vercingetorix: All You Love Must Burn (Part 3)

    This episode is a whole divided into three parts.

    In Part 3, Vercingetorix has been in the field for less than a year–fighting Julius Caesar by burning his own towns, fields, and grain supplies to keep them out of Roman hands. And he’s managed to hold his proud, independent people together–by any means necessary.

    But now Vercingetorix will face his greatest challenge yet–at a town called Alesia. Get the show notes here.

  • Vercingetorix: All You Love Must Burn (Part 2)

    This episode is a whole divided into three parts.

    In Part 2, Vercingetorix steps onto the stage, and all of Gaul unites behind him against the armies of Caesar. But Vercingetorix faces an enemy that’s better organized, better armed, and more cohesive–and his margin of error is razor-thin.

    To save his people, Vercingetorix must do more than unite them. He must be willing to sacrifice everything. Get the show notes here.

  • Vercingetorix: All You Love Must Burn (Part 1)

    This episode is a whole divided into three parts.

    In Part 1, we send Julius Caesar and his army on a collision course toward the people of Gaul. This is an unstoppable force meeting an immovable object; the disciplined might of the Roman Republic coming up against an epic warrior culture that had existed in this place for centuries.

    Get the show notes here.

  • The Hound of Ulster

    What can a story from ancient Ireland tell us about the Gauls before Caesar?

    Maybe a lot. The Hound of Ulster is synonymous with Irish history. But it also draws back the curtain on a world we see echoed in the archaeology of ancient Gaul: a world of epic feasts, the hero’s portion, severed heads, cattle raiding, magical weapons, and chariot warfare.

    Think of this episode as a sort of Cauldron of Rebirth. We’re going to go out on a limb and operate under the assumption that a tall tale from Celtic Ireland can help us make the Gauls live and breathe again.

    Get the show notes here.

  • The Gauls: Everything Belongs to the Brave

    In 58 BC, Julius Caesar set his sights on conquering the Gauls. But who were the Gauls? They didn’t write things down—and much of what we know about them comes from Caesar himself. An outsider, and a conqueror.

    Before we tell you about the Gallic Wars, we want to let the Gauls speak for themselves—or come as close as they can, through archaeology, myth, and other writers who got to know them not as conquerors, but chroniclers.

    Meet the Celtic warrior poets, artists, Druids, bards, and artisans who lived in Gaul for thousands of years before Caesar was born. Get the show notes here.

  • Julius Caesar and the Devil’s Threeway

    After an epic quarter-life crisis, Julius Caesar returned to Rome and started to kick things up a notch—winning honors, elections, and the love of the public. But as his power grew, his enemies multiplied.

    To fight back, Caesar made an unholy bargain with two very powerful players: Rome’s richest man and its most renowned general. With money in his pocket and soldiers at his back, there was nothing Caesar couldn’t strong-arm the Senate into.

    But as Caesar stretched the rules of Roman politics, he started to resemble the thing every Roman feared most: a dictator.

    Find out how it all went down. Get the show notes here.

  • Julius Caesar and the Pirates’ Ransom

    Julius Caesar came of age in a Rome where severed heads hung in the Rostra, bodies choked the Tiber, and murderous mobs stalked the streets. Even at 16, this was Caesar’s element.

    And by 30, he’d stood up to a terrifying dictator, got kidnapped by pirates, and made a career out of prosecuting powerful governors for corruption. Not to mention had an epic quarter-life crisis.

    Most stories about Caesar’s life don’t start at the beginning. But this one does. Find out how Caesar became Caesar. Get the show notes here.

  • The Ancient-World Stark Family, Part 4: Dux Femina

    Of the six children of Germanicus, Agrippina the Younger is the last woman standing. Both savvier than her siblings and more ruthless, she quickly rises to stratospheric levels of power–using any and all means necessary.

    But plenty of dangerous people in ancient Rome don’t like seeing a woman in control, and they’ll do anything to stop her. Agrippina will need all her wits and courage to keep her position–and keep herself alive.

    Everything comes up Agrippina–until it doesn’t. Get the show notes here.

  • The Ancient-World Stark Family, Part 3: Agrippina and the Wolf Girl

    With their brother Caligula dead, the two remaining Germanicus children–Julia Livilla and Agrippina–are called home from exile. The new emperor, their uncle Claudius, welcomes them with open arms. Life is good. Life…is perfect.

    But in ancient Rome, the knives in the dark are still sharp. The sisters find themselves facing threats from all sides. Chief among those threats is the most powerful woman in Roman society–an enemy known as the Wolf Girl.

    Get the show notes here.

  • Saturnalia: So Much More than Roman Christmas

    Wish you had a holiday all about feasting, drinking, the upending of the social order, blood sacrifices, the harvest, pranks, novelty gifts, honouring a god who devoured his kids, and the returning sun? Don’t we all???

    Welcome to Saturnalia. Get the show notes here.

  • The Ancient-World Stark Family, Part 2: The Rise and Fall of Little Boots

    With their parents and older brothers dead, the four remaining Germanicus children (Agrippina, Julia Drusilla, Julia Livilla, and Caligula) face an uncertain future. Caligula falls into the clutches of his creepy uncle Tiberius. The sisters are married off in their teens to men more than twice their age—some with violent reputations.

    But a family’s fortune can change in a heartbeat. Suddenly Caligula is thrust into power, and the sisters finally have a chance at a stable life. Now the family of Germanicus is in charge. They’re the sharks. And the sharks have to keep swimming.

    Find out how it all unraveled. Get the show notes here.

  • The Ancient-World Stark Family, Part 1: Germanicus the Manicus

    Close your eyes and imagine a loving family. Devoted parents and six children, three happy brothers and three happy sisters. The father, Germanicus, is a war hero—beloved by the people, and next in line for the throne. Life is good. Life is perfect.

    But nothing good can ever stay. It begins with a cough—a funny turn—and suddenly the family of Germanicus is torn apart, caught in the political riptides of Imperial Rome. This dynasty would give rise to two of Rome’s most infamous emperors and some of its most legendary women—before it ends in tragedy. Get the show notes here.

  • Locusta the Poisoner: Rome’s Deadliest Assassin

    Ancient Rome was full of rich, ambitious social climbers in a cutthroat political environment—people who had enemies to get rid of, and deep pockets to pay for the service. Poison assassins were in high demand—and one of the most notorious was a woman named Locusta the Poisoner. Learn her story–and get a crash course in ancient-world poisoning.

    Get the show notes here.

  • Ancient Vampires: They Only Knock Once

    Communities all over the ancient world had a problem: their dead wouldn’t stay in the ground. They rose up as shambolic corpses, gusts of wind and evil spirits, draining human life force and devouring flesh and blood.

    The vampire myth is an ancient one, found on every continent. Join us as we explore the oldest vampire myths we could find from Sumeria, Greece, Rome, and Germania–and discover the clues they leave us about those cultures. Get the show notes here.

  • Amazons: Warrior Queens and Generals

    It’s easy to get the impression that no women were allowed in the war games of the ancient world, but nothing could be further from the truth. Female generals and warrior queens were everywhere—leading armies into battle by land and sea.

    In this episode, we cover five female military leaders—powerful allies and enemies of the ancient Greeks and Romans. Get the show notes here.

  • Amazons: Warrior Women of the Ancient Steppe

    Think the Amazons of Greek myth were mythical? Think again. The Greeks based their Amazons on the real-life warrior women next door.

    Centuries ago, ancient writers claimed that Scythian women of the Eurasian Steppe fought in battle alongside their men. Now, with modern bioarchaeology, the bones of fierce female warriors have emerged from their grave mounds and begun to speak to us. This is their story. Get the show notes here.

  • Amazons: Warrior Women of Greek Mythology

    Hippolyte and her golden belt. Penthesilea and the fall of Troy. The Daughters of Ares. Atalanta and the golden apples. They’re everywhere in Greek mythology: fierce, deadly warrior women.

    But in a society as male-dominated as ancient Greece, what did this obsession with strong warrior women mean? We take a look at some of the more well-known Amazon myths of ancient Greece–and the mystery of their meaning in context. Get the show notes here.

  • Attila the Hun and the Rebel Princess

    In 450 AD, the Imperial Princess Honoria–daughter of Galla Placidia–was desperate to escape her arranged marriage. So she made an indecent proposal–to Attila the Hun. On this single action, cities were torched. Saints were raised. Thousands died. And Venice was founded.

    Find out how it all went down. Get the show notes here.

  • Real Life Romance from the Fall of Rome: Ataulf x Galla Placidia

    He was a fierce barbarian warlord—a man who had stood between his people and the Roman Empire since the sack of Rome. She was a Roman Imperial princess with a core of iron strength. Born enemies, the love of Ataulf and Galla Placidia is marked by tragedy—but in its time, it burned hot enough to reshape an Empire. This is their story.

    Get the show notes here.

  • Stuff Alaric Said

    On August 24, 410 AD, Alaric and the Visigoths sacked the city of Rome. Before he sacked it, he starved it. Before that, he went toe to toe with the Roman Empire for fifteen years—uniting disparate tribes, holding a people together, and achieving more against Rome than any barbarian leader before him. This is his story.

    Get the show notes here.

  • War Elephants Part 2: Land Pirates of the Ancient World

    In this episode, the epic story of the elephant of war continues. Join noted elephant adventurers King Pyrrhus of Epirus (he of the Pyrrhic victory), Julius Caesar, Hannibal Barca, and Lady Trieu of Vietnam as they stomp their enemies into submission on the ancient battlefield.

    Get the show notes here.

  • War Elephants Part 1: Alexander’s Immortals

    Few sights terrorized ancient armies more than that of a wall of elephants, tusks drenched in blood, bearing down on them in a killing frenzy. From the mighty armies of ancient India to the crack troops of Alexander the Great, all of them faced down weaponized elephants—and used them to crush their enemies.

    We call upon you now to bear witness to an epic story: that of the awesome and great-hearted elephant of war.

    Get the show notes here.

  • Praetorian Guard, Part 2: Caligula & Friends

    In this episode, it’s Roman Emperors behaving badly–and Praetorian Prefects behaving even worse.

    Beginning with Caligula, Emperors were assaulted in their homes, killed with their families, dragged through the streets, and mutilated by angry mobs. At one point, the Praetorians even assassinated an Emperor, then auctioned off the Empire to the highest bidder.

    Find out just how bad it got. Get the show notes here.

  • Praetorian Guard, Part 1: The Beast in Your House

    The Praetorian Guard was the elite military unit tasked with protecting the Emperors of Rome–except when they held the assassin’s blade themselves. The Praetorians brought emperors low and raised them up; shaped the fate of the Empire and were eventually destroyed by it. This is their story.

    Get the show notes here.

  • Child Emperors, Part 2: Lambs to the Slaughter

    Some of Rome’s child emperors became tyrants. Others were taken advantage of by stronger regents and family members–frequently with tragic results. In this episode, we’ll take a look at weaker child emperors who struggled to overcome the influence of power-hungry adults around them.

    Get the show notes here.

  • Child Emperors, Part 1: Sharks in the Womb

    In ancient Rome, being made Emperor could be a death sentence. Experienced generals and statesmen lasted weeks or months sometimes. In some cases, children were raised to the role. What became of them? Part 1 of our series looks at two very different kinds of child tyrant: Elagabalus and Caracalla.

    Get the show notes here.

  • How to Survive a Siege, Part 2: Gnaw Off Your Finger, Leave it On the Ground

    Did the Mongols really kill 1.3 million people in a single day? How does civilization devolve in a city under siege when the food runs out? What really went down during the sack of Troy–and what clues did ancient writers leave us? All of this–plus our best siege survival hacks from the ancient world.

    Get the show notes here.

  • How to Survive a Siege, Part 1: Street Cleaners of Carthage

    How would you survive an ancient siege? We take a close look at the brutal siege of Carthage at the end of the Punic Wars–and give you a few tips and hacks for staying alive when the enemy has breached the gates.

    See the show notes here.

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