Dr Fiona Radford is an expert on Rome on film and wrote her thesis on Kubrick’s Spartacus. Dr Radford is exponent of not only Ancient History, but also Reception Studies.
Dr Peta Greenfield is an expert on the Vestal Virgins. Dr Greenfield’s research interests include: religion and politics in Rome, the late republic and Augustan period, and the role of women.
Episode 114 – The Tale of Verginia
CW: The accounts of Verginia include paedophilic desire, violence against women
The story of Verginia is an achingly tragic tale central to understanding the Second Decemvirate. Both Livy and Dionysius of Halicarnassus go into some detail about what happens and how it unfolds and we'll explore both accounts to compare and contrast them.
Episode 114 - The Tale of Verginia
Reading our Sources on Verginia
Dr Rad takes us through the complexities of thinking about Livy's context and how that might influence his presentation of the material. Dr G explores the connection between the Latin term virgo (virgin) and her name Verginia. There's plenty of parallels that will emerge between Verginia's story and the story of Lucretia, whose fate seals the demise of the Roman monarchy.
Verginia is the daughter of a well-known centurion who is fighting on one of Rome's frontiers. But conflict emerges when Appius Claudius decides that he wants her for himself. He seems heedless to reason or morality when it comes to Verginia and this leads him to engage in a set of behaviours that are appalling.
What to listen out for
Verginia's story is one that involves a number of strange and dangerous concepts:
* Claiming people from the street as slaves* Convoluted plans to remove a young woman from her family* Legal arguments around the claim that someone is a slave* Arguments for how to protect women's virginity* What does it mean to be a citizen?* Official summons and strategies to foil summons* Groups of women akin to a tragic chorus* A butcher stand and the connection of Venus with the Cloaca Maxima
* Appius Claudius. Ap. f. M. n. Crassus Inregillensis Sabinus Pat – Cos. 471, 451* Spurius Oppius Cornicen* Quintus Fabius M. f. M. n. Vibulanus Pat – Cos. 467, 465, 459* Quintus Poetelius Libo Visolus* Manius Rabuleius* Marcus Cornelius – f. Ser. n. Maluginenesis Pat* Lucius Minucius P. f. M. n. Esquilinus Augurinus Pat – Cos. 458* Marcus? Sergius Esquilinus Pat* Titus Antonius Merenda* Caeso Duillius Longus?
Appius Claudius' client
* Marcus Claudius
The Verginii and Supporters
* Verginia* Verginius - father of Verginia* Numitoria - mother of Verginia* Publius Numitorius - Verginia's maternal uncle* Lucius(?) Icilius - former tribune of the plebs and Verginia's betrothed
* Dr Rad reads Livy 3.44-48* Dr G reads Dionysius of Halicarnassus Rom. Ant. 11.28-37* Joshel, S. 2002. ‘The Body Female and the Body Politic: Livy’s Lucretia and Verginia.’ In Sexuality and gender in the classical world: readings and sources, edited by Sandra R. Joshel & Laura K. McClure, 163-190. Oxford: Blackwell.* Keegan, P. 2021. Livy’s Women. New York: Oxon.
Additional music and sound in this episode includes an original composition for our podcast by the fabulous Bettina Joy de Guzman
Heinrich Friedrich Fuger - The Death of Virginia. Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons user Jbribeiro1
Special Episode – The Archaeology of Early Rome with Darius Arya
In this very special episode we're joined by archaeologist Darius Arya. Darius has lived and worked as an archaeologist in Rome for over twenty years!
Special Episode - The Archaeology of Early Rome with Darius Arya
We wanted to learn more about the archaeological record for the early period of Rome's history. While we've been focused on reading and interpreting the literary sources of Livy and Dionysius of Halicarnassus, there's a wealth of other evidence for the ancient past to consider. Archaeology is fundamental in revealing elements of the past that aren't written down. Even more interesting is that the archaeological remains can suggest new interpretations about the past that conflict or add complexity to the literary sources.
You may have seen Darius on television. He's presented a number of documentaries on the ancient world and we are absolutely thrilled to explore Rome's early history with his expertise. Things to listen out for in this episode:
* The importance of topography* The connections between the Etruscan peoples and the Romans* Discussion of how the Etruscans dominate the archaeological record compared Rome's other early neighbours, the Volscians and the Aequians* What we can say about the Sabine peoples* Key sites of interest when thinking about early Rome and her neighbours
We recommend having a map handy to spot all the places that are touched on in this far-ranging and engaging conversation. The map below has some of places mentioned on it and also provides some guidance on the languages of the different regions.
The Linguistic Landscape of Central Italy at the beginning of Roman expansion. Courtesy of Susana Freixeiro~commonswiki via Wikimedia Commons
Darius Arya can be found on social media, posting about Rome and the sites he's working on and the museums he's collaborating with. You can catch him on Twitter @DariusAryaDigs, Instagram @dariusaryadigs, and his limited series podcast Darius Arya Digs.He is the director of The American Institute for Roman Culture. Their mission "to preserve and protect Rome’s extraordinary and unique cultural legacy through education, outreach, and action." He is also the director of Ancient Rome Live which is dedicated to providing free-to-access resources for learning about ancient Rome.
Guide to Locations and Peoples
Aequians - the Aequian peoples are an Italic group that inhabited the Apennine mountains east of Rome and to the south of the Sabines.
Albano - in the Castelli Romani region to the south-east of Rome. There is a a lake and a hill named for Albano
Anio, river - The Anio starts in the Apennines east of Rome and flows through Tivoli before joining the Tiber
Antium - south of Rome and slightly east, a coastal city
The Castelli Romani region (please note this is to the south-east not south-west of Rome!) - includes the modern towns which are also ancient sites: Albano, Castel Gandolfo, Frascati, Tusculum. Often associated with the Aequians in the literary sources for the early Republic.
Castel Gandolfo - in the Castelli Romani region to the south-east of Rome. Most famous now as the location of the Pope's summer residence!
Episode 113 – Farewell to the Roman Achilles
We are deep in the Second Decemvirate (c. 449-447 BCE) and Rome faces war on two fronts. The complications of this new political arrangement and the increasing pressure of armed conflict places the decemvirate under stress as they need to decide how to lead Rome while facing patrician opposition from the Senate. All the while, Rome's enemies head closer...
Episode 113 - Farewell to the Roman Achilles
Enter a Plebeian Hero!
Into this fiery atmosphere, Lucius Siccius Dentatus re-enters the narratives of Livy and Dionysius. He is both well-known and well-loved and we find him serving with the decemvirs at the Sabine front. And its not long before he begins to voice his dissatisfaction with the decemvirs' approach to power. According to Livy he proposes succession...
Murder Most Foul
Our sources agree that Dentatus is murdered by his own and this episode is all about sifting through the details provided by Livy and Dionysius. Despite scholarly misgivings that Dentatus may be a fictionalised creation, there's no denying that his presence in a historical narrative adds a certain exciting sheen to proceedings.
Things to tune in for:
* Duelling accounts the murder of Dentatus* Murder investigations Roman style* The intriguing qualities of the legate* The amazing last stand of a plebeian hero
Looking to relive the highlights of Siccius Dentatus' life? Check out our back catalogue:
* Episode 105 - The Roman Achilles* Episode 106 - Spoiler Alert
Two legions in Rome
* Appius Claudius. Ap. f. M. n. Crassus Inregillensis Sabinus Pat – Cos. 471, 451* Spurius Oppius Cornicen
Three legions against the Sabines
* Quintus Fabius M. f. M. n. Vibulanus Pat – Cos. 467, 465, 459* Quintus Poetelius Libo Visolus* Manius Rabuleius
Five legions against the Aequians
* Marcus Cornelius – f. Ser. n. Maluginenesis Pat* Lucius Minucius P. f. M. n. Esquilinus Augurinus Pat – Cos. 458* Marcus? Sergius Esquilinus Pat* Titus Antonius Merenda* Caeso Duillius Longus?
Hero of the People
* Lucius Siccius Dentatus
* Dr Rad reads Livy 3.42-43* Dr G reads Dionysius of Halicarnassus Rom. Ant. 11.25-27
Additional music and sound in this episode includes:
* an original composition for our podcast by the fabulous Bettina Joy de Guzman* and additional sound effects from BBC Sound Effects Beta
Aniello Falcone c. 1640. Roman soldiers in the circus. Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons. Not a Roman battle or ambush, but a sense of Roman soldiers in movement to add to the story at hand.
Special Episode – Murder in Ancient Rome
One of the funniest pieces of theatre set in Ancient Rome has to be A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum (1962). Now there is a book about murder in Ancient Rome that matches the title inspiration for comedy as well.
We sat down to talk to historian and author Dr Emma Southon about her new book A Fatal Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum. Dr Southon is also one of the hosts of the podcast History is Sexy and author of Agrippina: Empress, Exile, Hustler, Whore. We were excited to discover that not only does Emma share our affection for Julio-Claudian women, but she is a fellow murderino and lover of Drag Race at heart.
Special Episode - Murder in Ancient Rome with Dr Southon
Why is there so much DEATH in Ancient Rome?
Listeners of our podcast have probably already noticed just how many murders take place in Rome's mythology and history. The foundation myth about the twins Romulus and Remus has fratricide at its very core. The overthrow of the kings and the beginning of the Republic was triggered by a rape and the suicide of Lucretia. These moments are probably mythological, but the fact that the Romans chose to tell such stories about themselves says a lot about their culture.
Oath of the Horatii (1784) by Jacques-Louis David. The tale of the Horatii is probably mythological. The three brothers volunteered to fight three brothers from one of Rome's enemy cities, one of whom happened to be engaged to their sister. All the combatants perished, except one of the Horatii, who thus secured victory for his city. Upon his return to Rome, his sister wept as she knew her betrothed was dead. Her brother promptly ran her through, and his father defended the murder as justified. You can learn more about this episode in Rome's early history in our Episode 38 - Tullus Hostilius.Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.
To add to this rather blood-soaked mythology, the history of Rome is punctuated with murders that take place at what are now seen as pivotal historical moments. The rather graphic murder of the Gracchi brothers during disputes over land reform, the assassination of Julius Caesar, and then we get to the empire and there are almost too many to list! The assassination of Gaius (Caligula), the murder of the emperor Claudius by his wife (and niece!) Agrippina the Younger, the brutal end of the emperor Vitellius in the civil wars of 69 CE, and the memorable stabbing of the emperor Domitian (straight to the groin!).
These are just the highlights, so it is clear why someone like Dr Emma Southon needed to sit down and think about just what all of this murder can tell us about Roman society.
What is the difference between murder and homicide?
Homicide is the act of killing another person, but murder is a social construct. With murder, you need to take the circumstances of the killing into account. Was there intent? Was it planned? Each modern country has different ways of constructing the crime of murder, but one thing that unites most nations in our world is that they do have a law about murder. That was not actually the case in Ancient Rome. Even though they were very proud of their first law code, The Twelve Tables, there was no legislation included regarding the killing of another human being. And they weren't in a rush to amend that either!
Dr Emma Southon takes us on a hair-curling journey through a variety of killings in the...
Episode 112 – The Disastrous Decemvirs
We pick up the action straight from the dramatic senate meeting from the previous episode in which was marked by conflict:
* Lucius Valerius Potitus and Marcus Horatius Barbatus opposed the decemvirs and faced violent intimidation * and lead decemvir Appius Claudius faced off against his uncle Gaius Claudius.
Episode 112 - The Disastrous Decemvirs
The Conflict Continues
Once again, we see clear division between the members of the senate. Speaking in favour of the decemvirs is Lucius Cornelius Maluginensis, who just happens to be the brother of one of the decemvirs. He emphasises the need to deal with the external threat from the Sabines and the Aequians, rather than stirring up opposition to their leaders. Cornelius' views win some support, but Lucius Valerius Potitus is determined to speak as well. Valerius feels the need to highlight how dire the political situation is in Rome. Will these decemvirs ever give up their power? What is to be done?
Taking on the Enemy
As there is no right of appeal against the decemvirs, the levy is held to raise an army. The decemvirs divide the commands between them, with some sent against the Sabines, some are off to deal with the Aequians, and Appius Claudius and Spurius Oppius intend to hold the fort in Rome itself. If they were thinking that this was their time to shine, they are sadly mistaken as they face defeat across the board. Support for this regime, such as it was, is evaporating quickly and the decemvirs start taking ever more drastic measures to maintain their grip on power.
Things to Come
* Patrician versus patrician conflict * People fleeing the city* Military defeats on every front * Murder and mayhem * The popularity of the decemvirs sinks lower still
The Second Decemvirate
* Appius Claudius. Ap. f. M. n. Crassus Inregillensis Sabinus Pat – Cos. 471, 451* Marcus Cornelius – f. Ser. n. Maluginenesis Pat* Marcus? Sergius Esquilinus Pat* Lucius Minucius P. f. M. n. Esquilinus Augurinus Pat – Cos. 458* Quintus Fabius M. f. M. n. Vibulanus Pat – Cos. 467, 465, 459* Quintus Poetelius Libo Visolus* Titus Antonius Merenda* Caeso Duillius Longus?* Spurius. Oppius Cornicen* Manius Rabuleius
* Lucius Cornelius Maluginensis (brother of decemvir Marcus Cornelius)* Lucius Valerius Potitus* Marcus Horatius Barbatus* Gaius Claudius (uncle of Appius Claudius)
* Dr Rad reads Livy Ab Urbe Condita 3.39-40* Dr G reads Dionysius of Halicarnassus Roman History 11.16-24
Additional music and sound in this episode includes:
* an original composition for our podcast by the incredible Bettina Joy de Guzman* and additional sound effects from BBC Sound Effects Beta, Orange Free Sounds, Sound Bible and Fesilyan Studios
A picture of the Roman forum as it can be seen today including the Curia Julia (senate house). The Curia Julia was not where our decemvirs would have met as this curia was built in 44 BCE by Julius Caesar. Caesar's curia replaced the Curia Cornelia which was itself a replacement for the Curia Hostilia. This image is courtesy of Rachel Claire via Pexels.
Special Episode – Disability in Ancient Greece
There are many groups that are often overlooked in both ancient and modern societies. One of those are people with disabilities, and we were fortunate to talk to expert Dr Debby Sneed about her work on impairment in antiquity. Dr Sneed has examined a range of sources about this topic, including human remains, temples and textual evidence.
Her focus has mostly been on physical impairments that leave a trace in human remains. Sneed's focus is ancient Greece, but we couldn’t resist bringing Rome into the conversation every now and then!
In order to make this episode as accessible as possible, a full transcript will be provided for this episode.
Special Episode - Disability in Ancient Greece with Dr Debby Sneed
What's up for discussion?
In this conversation we delve into a number of questions, including:
* How do you classify a disability in this line of research?* How many people in the ancient world would have had a disability?* What kinds of sources are available for studying disability in the ancient world?* What would life have been like for people with disabilities in the ancient world?
Topics that come up in the conversation:
* Artistic representations of disability in Greece and Rome* The Panhellenic Sanctuary of Asklepios at Epidauros with its eleven ramps!* The practice of infanticide in ancient Greece* Disability and impairment among the elite including King Agesilaus II of Sparta, Philip II of Macedon, father of Alexander the Great, and the Roman Emperor Claudius * Welfare systems in ancient Athens, as highlighted by Lysias 24, For The Disabled Man.
If you enjoyed this episode, be sure to check out some of the suggested readings. This is a huge topic, and we did not get the chance to discuss issues that leave less of a physical trace, such as blindness or muteness, nor did we touch on disabilities that might have arisen from disease or mental illness.
You can also follow Dr Sneed on Twitter @debscavator and track her research at Academic.edu.
This vase by the 'Clinic Painter' is one of Dr Debby Sneed's favourites. It may show two men in a courtship pose, but this is still debated by scholars. One of the men is a dwarf or little person.Photograph by Maria Daniels, courtesy of the Musée du Louvre, January 1992.
Hello, there! You are in for a treat and you're going to be hearing a special episode from The Partial Historians. Today we're going to be talking to Dr. Debby Sneed. Dr. Debby Sneed is a lecturer in Classics at California State University. She has a PhD in Archaeology from UCLA. And a MA in Classics from the University of Colorado, at Boulder, as well as a BA in English and History from the University of Wyoming. She has worked on archaeological projects in Greece, Italy, Ethiopia, and the American Southwest.
[00:00:46] And she's currently working on a monograph about disability accommodations in ancient Greece.
Excellent and fun
A fun and excellent podcast that explores various aspects of Ancient Roman life.