119 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
    • 4.4, 67 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 106 – Spoiler Alert

    Episode 106 – Spoiler Alert

    We continue to follow the cause of our Roman Achilles--more formally known as Lucius Siccius Dentatus--in 455 BCE. Dentatus is truly the star of the this period of history from the perspective of Dionysius of Halicarnassus and Dr G has a lot to say about that!















    Episode 106 - Spoiler Alert







    What can we glean from a history written long after the fact?







    Dr Rad takes us through some of the key concerns we face when approaching the written sources for the early republic.







    Part of the trouble steams simply from the time of the events when people like Livy and Dionysius of Halicarnassus lived centuries later. But we also run into the challenge of stock figures, whose names and existence are open to question. Such figures serve an important role in bringing a historical narrative to life.







    The complications of public discourse







    The traditionalist streak runs deeply through the patricians. This comes as no surprise as they are the beneficiaries of the structures already in place in Rome, but it does lead to some questionable behaviour.







    Things to listen out for:







    * The patricians position in the forum* The challenges raised by the pons or 'voting bridge'* Patrician power called into question through trials* Some intriguing exchanges through the goddess Ceres...* Trouble in Tusculum!* A real set to between Romilius and Siccius* The discrepancy between Livy and Dionysius of Halicarnassus about the treasury







    Our Players







    The Consuls







    * Titus Romilius T. f. T. n. Rocus Vaticanus (Pat)* Gaius Veturius P. f. – n. Cicurinus (Pat)







    Tribunes of the Plebs







    * L. Icilius* L. Alienus* + 8 others!







    Notable Plebeians







    * Lucius Siccius Dentatus







    Some Family Appearances







    * the Postumii* the Sempronii* the Cloelii







    Our Sources







    * Dr G reads Dionysius of Halicarnassus Roman Antiquities 10.40-47* Dr Rad reads Livy ab urbe condita 3.31







    Further Reading







    Interested in knowing more about this period in Rome's history. Take a leaf from Dr Rad and jump into some scholarly reading:







    * Cornell, T. J. 1995. The Beginnings of Rome* Forsythe, G. 2005. A Critical History of Early Rome* Momigliano, A. 2005. 'The Rise of the Plebs in the Archaic Age of Rome' in Rafflaub, K. (ed) Social Struggles in Archaic Rome: New Perspectives on the Conflict of the Orders* Rafflaub, K. 2005. 'From Protection and Defense to Offense and Participation: Stages in the Conflict of the Orders' in Rafflaub, K. (ed) Social Struggles in Archaic Rome: New Perspectives on the Conflict of the Orders















    Roman warrior charging - Alex Broeckel. Source: Pinterest.







    Sound Credits







    Sound Effects courtesy of BBC Sound Effects (Beta)Final credits: Excerpt from ‘Ancient Arcadian Harp’ by Cormi

    • 1 hr 3 min
    Episode 105 – The Roman Achilles

    Episode 105 – The Roman Achilles

    There's nothing quite like learning that there's a Roman Achilles! In this episode we get to meet the man behind the legend.















    Episode 105 - The Roman Achilles







    Before we jump in, let's find out where things stand. It's 455 BCE and our narrative sources have put forward the case that the opening up of the Aventine was an important step under the new collective of ten tribunes.







    But all is not well on the homefront of Rome. Things get off to a bad start when the consuls try to forcibly raise the levy. The tribunes step up to the plate in defence of the plebeians and we delve into what privileges and powers go along with the position.







    What we begin to see is the some of the complex workings of contested public space and the challenges of fighting for your rights with only a small crowd of citizens. As the crowd of disaffected plebeians swells in significance, the new consuls are faced with a dilemma - met with the crowd or remain in the safety of the senate...







    How does the tribunicianship operate?







    This seems to be a big looming question in our sources. There's a range of possible activities that an expanded collective can work towards. The capacity to be decisive, to operate on multiple fronts for common goals, to get passionate about taking strong action. It's intriguing to see how this potential is redirected under the influence of the patricians.







    Events to anticipate:







    * The tribunes enter a meeting of the senate* A big push for the law about the laws* A consular venture to Tusculum to save them from the Aequians* A controversial decision about what to do with some of the spoils of war* Some clear deviation between the narrative focus of Livy and Dionysius of Halicarnassus* A speech from the 'Roman Achilles' including mention of the corona aurea







    Our Players







    The Consuls







    * Titus Romilius T. f. T. n. Rocus Vaticanus (Pat)* Gaius Veturius P. f. - n. Cicurinus (Pat)







    Tribunes of the Plebs







    * L. Icilius* L. Alienus* + 8 others!







    Notable Plebeians







    * Lucius Siccius Dentatus "born with teeth"







    Our Sources







    Dr G reads Dionysius of Halicarnassus Rom. Ant. 10.33-39.Dr Rad reads Livy Ab Urbe Condita 3.31







    Looking to brush up of the historical events Dentatus refers to in his speech? You can check out the happenings of 486 BCE here and catch the action of 473 BCE here.















    Joseph-Désiré Court 1820 Achilles Introduced to Nestor. Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons







    Sound Credits







    Sound Effects courtesy of BBC Sound Effects (Beta)Final credits: Excerpt from ‘Ancient Arcadian Harp’ by Cormi

    • 55 min
    Special Episode – Agrippina the Younger with Dr Emma Southon

    Special Episode – Agrippina the Younger with Dr Emma Southon

    As far as incredible women in history go, it's hard to top Agrippina the Younger. Political, ambitious, and a savvy operator are all ways we might interpret the evidence that remains for her life. But its fair to say that our ancient sources are a little less than kind.















    Special Episode - Agrippina the Younger with Dr Emma Southon







    Quite the Pedigree...







    As the Julio-Claudian family developed into a fully formed imperial dynasty, Agrippina the Younger emerged as an important figure in the rule of three emperors: her brother Caligula, her uncle (and later husband) Claudius, and her son Nero.







    She could trace her connections back to Augustus through her mother's line. She was also the daughter of the wildly popular Germanicus, who died too soon and under circumstances palled with suspicion. Her family connections through her father were Claudian and ultimately this meant she embodied the Julio-Claudians.







    After the demise of her siblings, we can think of Agrippina as the distilled essence of the family.







    But having an illustrious ancestry is not necessarily indicative of how one's life will turn out, and in this special episode, we have the great pleasure of sitting down with Dr Emma Southon, who has written an accessible academic history of Agrippina the Younger to delve further into the life of this amazing woman.















    A recent reconstruction of Agrippina the Younger as potentially the lead singer of an 80s band...Source: Royalty_Now on pinterest







    What does it take to write a historical biography?







    Dr Emma Southon's book Agrippina: Empress, Exile, Hustler, Whore was published by Unbound in 2018. This biography of Agrippina the Younger combines historical detail, engagement with the ancient sources and a colloquial tone to make for a roaring read.







    We consider the path to publication for this biography and how academics are finding ways to bring detailed critical history to a broader readership.







    Looking to delve further in the life and times of Agrippina?







    Here's some sources to get you started:







    Primary Sources







    * Tacitus Annals, esp Books 12-14; Agrippina the Elder's tears as read in Agrippina the Younger's memoirs by Tacitus Annals 4.53* Pliny the Elder Nat. 7.6 - Agrippina's breech birth * Dio Cassius Roman History Books 59-62* Suetonius' Life of Gaius, Life of Claudius, and Life of Nero







    Secondary Sources







    * Barrett, A. A. 1999. Agrippina: Sex, Power, and Politics in the Early Empire (Routledge)* Barrett, A, A. 2002. Agrippina: Mother of Nero (Routledge) * Ginsburg, J. 2005. Representing Agrippina: Constructions of Female Power in the Early Roman Empire (OUP)* Southon, E. 2018. Agrippina: Empress, Exile, Hustler, Whore (Unbound)















    One of the most famous depictions of Agrippina o...

    • 1 hr 3 min
    Episode 104 – Aventine, Aventine

    Episode 104 – Aventine, Aventine

    We return to the City of Rome in 456 BCE and follow the ongoing domestic struggles that Rome faces in defining herself in terms of transparency at law.















    Episode 104 - Aventine, Aventine







    With a new crop of tribunes come some important consequences. While in previous years the tribunes have focused on the goal of ensuring that there is a clear and public way for any Roman citizen to access the laws in order to understand them, with new tribunes comes a shift in thinking.







    A Return to Redistribution of Public Land







    After a long hiatus, the issue of public land returns to the tribunician agenda. It's safe to say that things are about to get messy in Rome.







    If there's one thing the patricians never seem to want to budge on, it's negotiating the fair use of public land.







    Ten Tribunes Means Twice the Representation!







    Not only are there new tribunes but there are now plenty more of them representing the plebeians. We'll get a taste of what can happen with a larger group of tribunes. That's a lot of bodies to protect the interests of citizens and we'll see how that magisterial privilege can be deployed.







    The Lex Icilia de Aventino Publicando







    We delve into the nitty gritty of the law passed in this year which is unusual for a number of reasons.







    The Players







    Consuls







    * Marcus Valerius M'. f. Volusi n. Maxumus Lactuca (pat)* Spurius Verginius A. f. A. n. Tricostus Caeliomontanus (pat)







    Tribunes







    * Lucius Icilius* Lucius Alienus







    Sources







    Dr Rad read Livy Ab Urbe Condita 3.31Dr G reads Dionysius of Halicarnassus Roman Antiquities 10.31-32















    J. M. W. Turner c.1820s-1836. Rome, from Mount Aventine. Finding a painting that could do justice to the early Republican Aventine was tough, so we opted for this gorgeous, though much later view back onto nineteenth century Rome instead.







    Sound Credits







    * Sound Effects courtesy of BBC Sound Effects (Beta), Pond5, and Lewi Pilgrim* Final credits: Excerpt from ‘Ancient Arcadian Harp’ by Cormi

    • 39 min
    Episode 103 – Ten Terrific Tribunes

    Episode 103 – Ten Terrific Tribunes

    It's c. 457 BCE in Rome and in this episode we explore the state of affairs in the wake of Cincinnatus' dictatorship.







    Rome's affairs with her neighbours are not off to a good start. As the City lifts her gaze outward after recent troubles, nearby peoples have taken matters into their own hands. The Sabines and the Aequians are both making bold moves stretching Rome's attention both to the north and the south.















    Episode 103 - Ten Terrific Tribunes







    The Law About the Laws







    As Rome faces threats from a range of peoples, the usual patrician policy of fielding a citizen army through the levy comes about. We're in pretty familiar territory here as the levy has been a sore point for years according to our narrative tradition and we can reliably expect the tribunes of the people to request greater transparency in relation to the laws. The desire for a law code that is public and accessible is increasing.







    As tensions rise, the differing political aims of the Senate, the consuls, and the tribunes clash.







    Things to Look Forward to







    * Roman masculinity - how to define it and what it means from the perspective of a Greek writer* Cincinnatus makes a fantastically interesting speech!* Horatius tries to rally the people together for war while preserving the patrician position of privilege* A discussion of some of the intersections and conflicts that arise from gender and class narratives* A rhetorical exploration of age versus youth* A proposal to increase the number of plebeian tribunes to ten!* The senatorial back-and-forth regarding the pros and cons of increasing the number of the plebeian tribunes* Hints of when we recorded this piece - during the long Australian bushfire season, but prior to concerns about COVID-19







    Who's Who







    Consuls







    * Quintus Minucius P.f. M. n. Esquilinus (pat.)* Marcus (Gaius?) Horatius M. f. M. n. Pulvillus (pat.) COS II







    Tribunes







    * Aulus Verginius* Volscius Fictor (?)* Two or three other tribunes unnamed in our sources







    Sources







    * Dr G reads Dionysius of Halicarnassus Roman Antiquities 10.26-30* Dr Rad reads Livy Ab Urbe Condita 3.29-30















    Jean Lemaire c. 1645-55 Roman Senators and Legates







    Sound Credits







    * Sound Effects courtesy of BBC Sound Effects (Beta), and John Stracke via Sound Bible* Final credits: Excerpt from ‘Ancient Arcadian Harp’ by Cormi

    • 43 min
    Special Episode – An Interview with Emeritus Professor Edwin Judge

    Special Episode – An Interview with Emeritus Professor Edwin Judge

    We had the very great pleasure to sit down with Emeritus Professor Edwin Judge to discuss his latest publication The Failure of Augustus: Essays on the Interpretation of a Paradox (2019).







    Special Episode - An Interview with Emeritus Professor Edwin Judge







    Judge has a long-reaching career, accepting his first junior lectureship in the 1950s and going on accept the inaugural History Chair at Macquarie University in Sydney. Dr G and Dr Rad met as undergraduate students at Macquarie so it is our extraordinary pleasure to sit down with Judge and have the chance to chat.















    Dr G (left) holding Cooley's Res Gestae, Emeritus Professor Edwin Judge (centre), and Dr Rad (right) holding Judge's The Failure of Augustus







    In this far reaching

    conversation we learn about Judge's evolving thoughts on Augustus

    over the course of his academic career, some of the salient

    connections between Augustus and Tiberius that emerge from

    considering Augustus' aims, the content of the Res Gestae

    Divi Augusti, and consideration

    of Augustus in terms of failure.









    Things to look forward to:







    *

    A

    consideration of the importance of understanding time as a means of

    approaching historical interpretation

    *

    The

    challenges that Tiberius faces in the wake of Augustus' death

    *

    The

    importance of the Res Gestae as a lens to Augustus' life and

    career

    *

    Key materials

    for approaching the subject of Augustus' failure.

















    The cursus honorem of Augustus, as visualised by Edwin Judge. Used with permission of the author. This table appears on the cover of The Failure of Augustus and page 8 of the collection.







    Reading

    recommendations







    Cooley, Alison E. 2009. Res Gestae Divi Augusti: Text, Translation and Commentary







    Judge, E. A. 2019. The Failure of Augustus: Essays on the Interpretation of a Paradox







    Lintott, Andrew W. 1999. Violence in Republican Rome







    Ridley, Ronald T. 2003. The emperor's retrospect: Augustus' Res gestae in epigraphy, historiography and commentary







    Final credits: Excerpt from ‘Ancient Arcadian Harp’ by Cormi

    • 1 hr 6 min

Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5
67 Ratings

67 Ratings

Mar1na17932 ,

Absolutely fantastic

All I listen to are history podcasts and out of the 15 I listen to this is easily my second favorite (after DIG), for someone who doesn’t like rome that is quite an accomplishment. Dr. G and Dr Rad do an amazing job. The history is detailed and flows well. And even though they are doing a narrative history using two super masculinist elitist sources they always make sure to talk about social conditions and women whenever they can find them. I also really like how much they spend talking about masculinity (vietus) it often gets left out of political narratives. Also the production quality is good. I have literally nothing but praise for this podcast it is fantastic and you should listen!! :)

brianC123456789754 ,

Great history but...

When they stick to Roman history is great and entertaining but when they get political and color the history with their specific personal biases it gets obnoxious.

Thoughts on this one ,

Addictive, brilliant fun!

Love this podcast! Highest marks!

The energy and dynamic between these two is highly addictive. They are funny and and I find myself laughing out loud while learning.

The best is when they disagree on a historical figure on razz each other about their favorites.

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