31 episodes

A podcast for all ancient history fans! The Ancients is dedicated to discussing our distant past. Featuring interviews with historians and archaeologists, each episode covers a specific theme from antiquity. From Neolithic Britain to the Fall of Rome. Hosted by Tristan Hughes. 

The Ancients History Hit Network

    • History
    • 5.0 • 3 Ratings

A podcast for all ancient history fans! The Ancients is dedicated to discussing our distant past. Featuring interviews with historians and archaeologists, each episode covers a specific theme from antiquity. From Neolithic Britain to the Fall of Rome. Hosted by Tristan Hughes. 

    The Kingdom of Aksum

    The Kingdom of Aksum

    At its height the Kingdom of Aksum was considered one of the four great powers of the Ancient World. Situated primarily in what is now northern Ethiopia, Aksum’s legacy is astonishing and far reaching and so it is extraordinary to think that so few people have heard about this kingdom today. To explain why this is the case, and so much more, I was delighted to be joined by Dr Jacke Philips, an archaeologist and leading expert on the Kingdom of Aksum. In this podcast Jacke explained to me what we know about this ancient African kingdom and how we are continuing to learn more thanks to new, ground-breaking archaeological discoveries. From Aksum's relations with neighbouring kingdoms to its important role in the history of both Christianity and Islam, Jacke explains all in this brilliant chat.


    Apologies for the couple of places where the audio is a little dodgy!
     
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    • 51 min
    Legendary Cổ Loa: Vietnam's Ancient Capital

    Legendary Cổ Loa: Vietnam's Ancient Capital

    It is one of the most extraordinary ancient archaeological sites in Southeast Asia, albeit one that is relatively unheard of outside of Vietnam. Cổ Loa. A defensive stronghold that during its golden age became the beating heart of ancient Vietnam. To this day the city holds a deep national importance for the Vietnamese. It is a site surrounded by legendary tales, with new archaeological discoveries continuing to reveal more about this ancient city’s fascinating past.


    To talk through the history, and legends, that surround this central bastion of ancient Vietnam, I was delighted to be joined by Professor Nam Kim from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Nam is a leading expert on the ancient history of Vietnam and has conducted excavations at Cổ Loa since 2005.


    Nam is the author of The Origins of Ancient Vietnam. 
     
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    • 51 min
    The Battle of Philippi: Death of the Roman Republic

    The Battle of Philippi: Death of the Roman Republic

    In October 42 BC the Roman Republic committed suicide. Near the town of Philippi in northern Greece the forces of Brutus and Cassius, the famous assassins of Julius Caesar and the last surviving cheerleaders of the Roman Republic, faced off against the armies of Marc Antony and young Octavian. Two separate battles were fought, the results of which decided the future direction of Rome. I was delighted to get the brilliant Steele Brand (@steele_brand) back on the podcast to talk me through these all-important battles. From the background to Brutus’ pitiful demise Steele guided me through the final Roman attempts to restore the Republic and how they were ultimately squashed by a combination of political brilliance, suicidal blunders and outrageous luck.


    Steele is the author of ‘Killing for the Republic: Citizen Soldiers and the Roman Way of War’.


    Steele's Twitter: @steele_brand
    Tristan's Twitter: @ancientstristan


    Steele's previous appearance on The Ancients: https://play.acast.com/s/the-ancients/killingfortheromanrepublic


    Quick note:


    Lycia was a region in southwest Anatolia that bordered the Mediterranean Sea.
     
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    • 49 min
    Sophocles' Lost Plays: Solving the Puzzle

    Sophocles' Lost Plays: Solving the Puzzle

    The Big Three. In antiquity it could mean a whole host of different things, the triumvirate of Caesar, Pompey and Crassus for instance. But for many, ‘The Big Three’ means the three great tragedians of Ancient Greece we know so well today: Aeschylus, Sophocles and Euripides. Today’s podcast is all about Sophocles, the creator of famous plays such as Oedipus Rex, Ajax and Antigone.


    Seven of his plays survive in full, but believe it or not this is but a morsel of the many works that Sophocles created. Fragments of more than 100 other plays written by Sophocles have been uncovered. Though only snippets survive, and in various forms, they have provided valuable insights into Sophocles’ career and how he wrote much more than just tragedy. Even more extraordinary, to this day new fragments continue to be studied. They continue to reveal more about Sophocles and his works, slowly adding more pieces to the puzzle that is this famous dramatist - and ancient Greek drama as a whole. Sophocles may have been living over 2,500 years ago, but his story is far from over.


    I was delighted to be joined by Dr Lyndsay Coo, a leading expert on Sophocles and his lost plays, to talk through the life and legacy of this famous dramatist. We first talk about Sophocles and his seven surviving plays, before going on to the many, many fragments that survive and their significance. This was an enthralling and eye-opening chat. Enjoy.
     
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    • 53 min
    69 AD: Rise of Vespasian

    69 AD: Rise of Vespasian

    69 AD was a tumultuous year in Roman history. 4 Romans assumed the title of emperor; only one remained standing by the year’s end. His name was Vespasian, veteran of Claudius’ invasion of Britain and the builder of the Colosseum. Jonathan Eaton (@DrJEaton) joined me on the podcast to talk through the rise of Emperor Vespasian. In particular, we focus on what this father of the Flavian Dynasty was doing during 69 AD and assess how influential soldiers across the empire were in his bid for power. Jonathan is the author of Leading the Roman Army: Soldiers and Emperors, 31 BC – 235 AD.


    Jonathan's Twitter: @DrJEaton
    Tristan's Twitter: @ancientstristan
     
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    • 51 min
    The Defeat of Rome: Crassus and the Battle of Carrhae

    The Defeat of Rome: Crassus and the Battle of Carrhae

    Gareth Sampson, author of Defeat of Rome in the East: Crassus, the Parthians, and the Disastrous Battle of Carrhae, 53 BC came on the podcast to provide an in depth account of Marcus Crassus’ disastrous campaign east of the Euphrates River in 53 BC. Gareth sorted the fact from the fiction. He dispelled the idea that Crassus was this incompetent general, highlighting the questionable impartiality of our surviving sources that are at pains to suggest the campaign was plagued by disastrous omens from start to finish. In fact it was quite the opposite.


    Gareth is also the author of Rome and Parthia: Empires at War, his most recent book.


    Quick note:


    The Seleukid Empire: A Hellenistic Kingdom that once ruled much of the ancient Near-East. One of its key kings was Antiochus III, also known as Antiochus 'the Great'.
     
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    • 57 min

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