130 episodes

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.

The Partial Historians The Partial Historians

    • History
    • 5.0 • 2 Ratings

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 112 – The Disastrous Decemvirs

    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







    Our Players







    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







    The Senators







    * Lucius Cornelius Maluginensis (brother of decemvir Marcus Cornelius)* Lucius Valerius Potitus* Marcus Horatius Barbatus* Gaius Claudius (uncle of Appius Claudius)







    Our Sources







    * Dr Rad reads Livy Ab Urbe Condita 3.39-40* Dr G reads Dionysius of Halicarnassus Roman History 11.16-24







    Sound Credits







    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.

    • 46 min
    Special Episode – Disability in Ancient Greece

    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.







    Transcript







    [00:00:00] 







    Dr Rad 







    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.

    • 1 hr 1 min
    The Partial Recap – the 450s BCE

    The Partial Recap – the 450s BCE

    It's our second episode in The Partial Recap series. This is a short, sharp, scripted overview of all the big events that defined the 450s BCE. If you're inspired to delve into more details, all the episodes from this decade can be found in our Foundation of Rome series.







    Let's jump into the refresher! It's the Partial Recap of the 450s BCE!















    The Partial Recap - the 450s BCE















    A view to the East over the Roman Forum with the Temple of Saturn on the left and the Palatine Hill on the right, showing the Temple of Castor and Pollux, the Arch of Titus, Santa Francesca Romana, and the Colosseum. Detail from the photograph by Nicholas Hartmann, June 1976. Image Source: Wikimedia Commons. Used under license.







    Transcript







    Introduction







    FR - Welcome to the Partial Recap for the 450s BC!







    PG - I’m Dr G 







    FR - and I’m Dr Rad







    PG - and this is our highlights edition of the 450s in Rome. We’ll take you through from 459 to 450 in an epitome of our normal episodes.







    FR - Perfect for those mornings when you don’t want some lengthy rhetoric with your coffee







    PG - Get ready for a recappuccino. 







    459 BCE







    In 459 BCE, the consuls were Lucius Cornelius Maluginensus Uritnus and Quinctus Fabius Vibulanus, an old-hand in his third consulship. 







    * Rome is picking up the pieces after the recent invasion. A census is carried out. Rome has 117 319 citizens. Lustral sacrifices are needed to cleanse the city.* Livy and Dionysius don’t really agree on the exact course of events. Perhaps Rome is trying to restore its rep after the military humiliation of the previous year?* What seems clear from both accounts is that the Volscians and Aequians are up to something and the Romans set off to deal with it.* They are particularly keen to help out the Tusculans who are under attack from the Aequains - or is this just a method for the Romans to restore their reputation after the invasion. * Under Fabius, the Romans defeat the Aequians decisively. * The consuls meet up and target the lands of both the Volscians and the Aequians. * Antium, in Volscian territory, is a particular hotspot. It seems like there is a revolt going on in this territory, only recently captured by the Romans. After a messy battle, Antium is retaken and some locals and colonists are publicly scourged and beheaded. Now there’s an example no one will want to follow. * Back at home, there is agitation for the law about the laws, but the Prefect of the City, Lucius Lucretius Tricipitinus, says that nothing can take place when consuls are away.* The quaestors, Aulus Cornelius & Quintus Servilius, try to pursue Volscius for the charge of committing perjury about Caeso Quinctius being responsible for his brother’s murder - and it seems like they have a genuine case. The tribunes hold them off - after all, the consuls are away, right?* Once the consuls return, it’s triumph time! Almost as though the invasion of 460 never happened...







    458 BCE







    In 458 BCE, the consuls were Lucius Minucius Esquilinus Augurinus and Caius Nautius was consul for the second time.







    * Rome is facing war on many fronts, so both of the consuls are need out in the field. * Ex-consul, Quinctius Fabius Vibulanus, is made Prefect of the City - probably to keep an eye on the tribunes as well as the enemies of Rome.

    • 24 min
    Episode 111 – Decemvirs in the Senate

    Episode 111 – Decemvirs in the Senate

    The Second Decemvirate is hotting up and it's not surprising to learn that Appius Claudius is somehow at the centre of things. We trace Rome through a precarious time, one that our sources have trouble dating - is it one year, two, three? It's c. 437 BCE; the magistracies are in disarray and the decemvirs hold sway. The situation takes a turn as Rome's neighbours sense an opportunity to invade...















    Episode 111 - Decemvirs in the Senate







    The Meeting of the Senate







    It is perhaps a measure of how the Second Decemvirate is going that we're not sure how much time has passed before the decemvirs seek a meeting with the senate. There's a haziness around dates that indicates we could be looking at up to three years of decemvirate rule!







    Appius Claudius speaks first in the Senate ostensibly to discuss how Rome will navigate the threats to her territory. But the Senate, having finally been called together under the rule of the decemvirs, have a lot of things they'd like to talk about! And boy do they have criticism to level. One very important point is that the decemvirs are operating outside the terms of their special magistracy and they are by consequence corrupting the nature of the republic.







    Looking to catch up on the action so far? Episode 109 - The First Decemvirate and Episode 110 - The Mask Comes Off are just what you need!







    The Power of Family







    The real thorn in Appius' side while in the senate meeting is the presence of his uncle, Gaius Claudius. The patriarchal structures dictate that Appius show respect for Gaius' opinion and this opens the way for some power speechifying.







    Livy and Dionysius of Halicarnassus differ in their accounts of how this moment unfolds, but the significance of a familial connection in the senate is retained by both writers. We'll explore the similarities and differences of these sources.







    There's some explosive details with Gaius Claudius touching on everything from what makes an honourable patrician, to his personal take on Appius' character flaws, to a savage endictment as to what can happen when you ignore relatives.







    The Distraction Factor







    Livy shifts from speeches to explore the politicking in the senate including a possible interregum and calls for the decemvirs to give up office by the Ides of May. Meanwhile Dionysius of Halicarnassus continues to explore the rhetorical potential of a large-scale senatorial debate!







    Things to Come







    * A patrician call for a tribune to represent them and protect them from the decemvirate!* The accusation that the decemvirs are the 'Ten Tarquins' - ouch!* Intimidation in the senate!* Appius Claudius faces some heated criticism from his uncle Gaius...* Concerns about how Rome will raise an army* Has Rome been abandoned by her citizens?* Gaius Claudius offers Appius a way to salvage his reputation with the people* The possibility of an interrex* A Sabine defection!







    Our Players







    The Decemvirs (named in this episode)







    * Appius Claudius* Quintus Fabius Vibulanus (cos. 467, 465, 459 BCE)* Marcus Cornelius - f. Ser. n. Maluginensis







    The Senators







    * Lucius Valerius Potitus* Marcus Horatius Barbatus* Lucius Cornelius - f. Ser. n. Maluginensis (brother of the decemvir Marcus)* Lucius Quintius Cincinnatus* Titus Quinctius Capitolinus* Lucius Lucretius

    • 46 min
    Special Episode – The Reception of Cleopatra

    Special Episode – The Reception of Cleopatra

    Cleopatra looms large in the imagination, but her legacy is often overshadowed by the western cultural tradition. It turns out that there are many ways to understand the last Pharaoh of Egypt.















    Special Episode - The Reception of Cleopatra with Yentl Love







    We were thrilled to sit down with Yentl Love to discuss the Islamic reception of Cleopatra. Love is known for her work in making ancient history and classics accessible through her blog the The Queer Classicist. Love has been studying Ancient History and Classics for a number of years and is now bringing the ancient world to life for readers across the globe.















    Egypt's last pharaoh has a rather negative reputation in the western tradition. A classic example is the characterisation of her as a poisoner. Alexander Cabanel, Cleopatra Testing Poisons on Condemned Prisoners, between circa 1845 and circa 1887. Wikimedia Commons







    Rethinking Cleopatra  







    Cleopatra VII was the last Pharaoh to rule Egypt. She was part of the Ptolemaic dynasty, descendants of one of Alexander the Great’s generals. She experienced her fair share of family drama. One of her sisters was executed for seizing the throne from their father! It may not have been a relaxing childhood, but it did prepare her for a political career when she became pharaoh at just eighteen, alongside her younger brother, Ptolemy XIII.







    In this episode, we discuss Cleopatra’s journey and her encounters with some of the most famous Romans in history, including Julius Caesar, Mark Antony and Octavian (later Augustus!), and how these relationships would impact the way she was represented in the surviving sources.







    There are many Greco-Roman sources that refer to Cleopatra, and these include histories, biographies, poems and letters. One factor that they have in common is the negative portrayal of the Egyptian Pharaoh. This is in contrast to the archaeological record, such as coins, statues and buildings.















    One of the most arresting portraits is by Artemisia Gentileschi, Death of Cleopatra, 1613 or 1621-1622. Here we see a woman in middle age, stripped bare of all the insignia of power in her final moment of defiance.







    Cleopatra the Scholar







    We explore some of the reasons behind the differing portraits that have survived of Cleopatra, before delving into the Islamic source tradition. Produced much later than the Greco-Roman sources or the archaeological material, the Islamic sources provide a distinct portrayal of Egypt's last queen; one that is not bound up in her relationships with men or her appearance.















    Cleopatra the scholar? Elizabeth Taylor in the title role of the 1963 film with writing implement in hand!Image courtesy of www.mediafactory.com.au







    Join us for this episode about the historiography of Egypt's last pharaoh; a woman whose fame deserves to include more than just her Roman lovers.







    Select Bibliography







    Ashton, S. Cleopatra and Egypt. Malden: Blackwell Publishing, 2008.







    El-Daly, O. Egyptology: The Missing Millenium: Ancient Egypt in Medieval Arabic Writings. London & New York: Routledge, 2016.







    Gillett, M. “Goddess, Whore, Queen and Scholar.” Teaching History 51, no. 1 (March 2017): 19-23.







    Hughes-Hallet, L.

    • 54 min
    Episode 110 – The Mask Comes Off

    Episode 110 – The Mask Comes Off

    The First Decemvirate was a big success, so much so that Rome opts for a Second Decemvirate!







    The decemvirs were popular figures in Rome and during 451 BCE they produced the Ten Tables. This initial set of law codes was positively received by the population, but there was something missing... MORE LAWS!







    But it isn't too long before some red flags appear...















    Episode 110 - The Mask Comes Off







    Wait a Second... Decemvirate







    Appius Claudius campaigns hard to get himself re-elected, along with some of his patrician buddies. There are also some new and unusual names that appear in the list for the Second Decemvirate - we might have some plebeian magistrates on the team. Gasp!







    As soon as they are confirmed in their positions, the charismatic, approachable and charming Appius reveals his true self and his real intentions. Tyranny!







    Life in Rome quickly becomes extremely unpleasant for everyone as the decemvirs and their thugs flex their muscles, but it's especially tough if you are one of the less privileged persons in the populace. This a dark time for Rome. Join us to find out how they deal with the infamous Second Decemvirate!















    The Cancelleria relief, frieze B. This piece is a relief from the rule of Domitian so far ahead of where we are in the narrative, but it does include a lictor carries the fasces with the axe. The first complete figure from the right is a lictor holding the fasces in his left hand.







    Our Players







    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







    Our Sources







    * Cornell, T. J. 1995. The Beginnings of Rome* Eder, W. 2005. ‘The Political Significance of the Codification of Law in Archaic Societies: An Unconventional Hypothesis’ in K. Raaflaub (ed) Social Struggles in Archaic Rome: New Perspectives on the Conflict of the Orders* Forsythe, G. 2005. A Critical History of Early Rome* Momigliano, A. 2005. ‘The Rise of the Plebs in the Archaic Age of Rome’ in K. Raaflaub (ed) Social Struggles in Archaic Rome: New Perspectives on the Conflict of the Orders* Perello, C. F. A. 2020. ‘The Twelve Tables and the leges regiae; A Problem of Validity’ in S. W. Bell & P. J. du Pleissis (eds) Roman Law Before the Twelve Tables: An Interdisciplinary Approach* Raaflaub, K. 2005. ‘From Protection and Defense to Offense and Participation: Stages in the Conflict of the Orders’ in K. Raaflaub (ed) Social Struggles in Archaic Rome: New Perspectives on the Conflict of the Orders* Scullard, H. H. 1935. A History of the Roman World 753-146 BC







    Sound Credits







    Sound Effects: Fesliyan Studios, Sound Bible, BBC.







    Original Music: the fantastic Bettina Joy de Guzman

    • 42 min

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