134 episodes

Dr Rad and Dr G explore all things ancient Rome. With source analysis, interviews with experts, and looking at how the ancient world appears in popular culture, we take you you through the sources for ancient Rome while having a good laugh along the way. Dr Rad is an expert on Kubrick's Spartacus and Dr G is an expert on the Vestal Virgins.

The Partial Historians The Partial Historians

    • History
    • 4.4 • 126 Ratings

Dr Rad and Dr G explore all things ancient Rome. With source analysis, interviews with experts, and looking at how the ancient world appears in popular culture, we take you you through the sources for ancient Rome while having a good laugh along the way. Dr Rad is an expert on Kubrick's Spartacus and Dr G is an expert on the Vestal Virgins.

    Building the Bromance

    Building the Bromance

    What do you get when Mamercus Aemilius Mamercinus and Aulus Cornelius Cossus return in our source material? The continuation of a beautiful bromance.

    After an unfortunate amount of disease and destruction in our last episode, we return to Rome for some classic political and military action.

    The Romans are ready to put a year of horrible drought behind them and seek revenge on Veii and the ongoing thorn in their side. Fidenae. It also turns out that war is the perfect backdrop for some male bonding.

    Episode 135 - Building the Bromance

    Jupiter as my Witness!

    Before the Romans can get involved in any conflicts with Veii, there are rules of warfare that need to be observed. It is time for the fetiales! With Jupiter as their witness, they will make sure that Rome only goes to war in the right circumstances.

    Fresco of Jupiter, National Archaeological Museum of Naples (inv. nr.9551).From Pompeii, House of the Dioscuri, dating to the 1st century CE, so much later than the 420s BCE! Jupiter was invoked by thefetiales during their rituals.Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

    Building the Bromance

    The Romans elect military tribunes with consular power as they embark on their war with Veii. Unfortunately, the tribunes don’t have a talent for teamwork. It’s time for a dictator!

    Our old friend Cossus nominates Mamercus Aemilius as dictator. In return, Aemilius makes Cossus his Master of the Horse. The bromance between these two is so strong that Veii doesn’t stand a chance. They are the Roman equivalent of Batman and Robin.

    Watch out Etruscans! The caped crusaders are out to get you.

    The classic duo: is that Mamercus and Cossus or Batman and Robin? When we squint, we can't even tell, that's how strong the bromance is here.

    Things to Look Out For:

    * More confusion over consuls  

    * Murder most foul

    * Birds in the sky (they might be trying to tell you something)

    * Smugness from Mamercus

    * Fiery combat

    * Did we write a book? Oh boy, yes we did! If you enjoy the podcast, this might be just the ticket. You can purchase our popular history Rex: The Seven Kings of Rome HERE

    * Interested in the first instalment of the bromance between Cossus and Mamercus? We've got you covered - that'd be Episode 129 - Lars Tolumnius and the Fate of Fidenae

    Our Players 427 BCE


    * C. Servilius – f. – n. Structus Ahala (Pat) Mil. Tr. c. p. 419, 418, 417

    * L. Papirius (L. f. – n.) Mugillanus (Pat) Mil. Tr. c. p. 422

    Our Players 426 BCE

    Military Tribunes with Consular Power

    * T. Quinctius L. f. L. n. Poenus Cincinnatus (Pat) Cos 431, 428a, Mil. Tr. c. p. 420?

    * C. Furius – f. – n. Pacilus Fusus (Pat) Cos. 441

    * M. Postumius A. ? f. A.? n. Albinus Regillensis? (Pat) Mil. Tr. c. p. 403?

    * A. Cornelius M. f. L. n. Cossus (Pat) Cos. 428


    * Mam. Aemilius M. f.

    • 1 hr 12 min
    The Partial Recap - 430s BCE

    The Partial Recap - 430s BCE

    We recap the confusing details of the 430s BCE. Be careful - there's a lot of dictators about!

    This is a short, sharp, scripted overview of all the big events that defined the 430s 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 starting with Episode 127: The Assassination of Spurius Maelius.

    The Partial Recap - 430s 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.

    Sound Credits

    Our music was composed by the incomparable Bettina Joy de Guzman.

    Automated Transcript

    Dr Rad 0:16Welcome to The Partial Historians,

    Dr G 0:20we explore all the details of ancient Rome.

    Dr Rad 0:23Everything from the political scandals, the love affairs, the battles waged and when citizens turn against each other. I'm Dr. Rad

    Dr G 0:34and I'm Dr. G. We consider Rome as the Romans saw it by reading different authors from the ancient past and comparing their stories.

    Dr Rad 0:43Join us as we trace the journey of Rome from the founding of the city.

    Welcome to the Partial Recap for the 430s BCE.

    Dr G 1:12I'm Dr. G.

    Dr Rad 1:14And I'm Dr. Rad

    Dr G 1:15And this is our highlights addition of the 430s in Rome will take you through from 439 to 430. In an epitome of our normal episodes

    Dr Rad 1:27Perfect for those mornings when you don't want some lengthy rhetoric with your coffee. But Please be warned. The Roman world is a violent one

    Dr G 1:34Get ready for a re-cappuccino.

    Dr Rad 2:02439 BCE. In 439 BCE, the consuls were Agrippa Menenius Lanatus and Titus Quinctius Capitolinus Barbatus, Rome was still having issues with their green supply and 439 BCE. Perhaps it would be more accurate to say that they were having issues with the man who had tried to solve the green crisis and to be honest, the dates are blurry here. This is more 439 and 438. An equestrian named Spurius Maelius had used his private fortune to secure desperately needed corn, something that the officially appointed prefect of corn supply Lucius Minucius had failed to do. Spurius Maelius had allegedly been using his success with the grain to curry favour and after carefully building support amongst the plebs instal himself as monarch. Funnily enough Minucius was the one to uncover this dastardly plot. Jealous much? This may somehow connect to another version of events we have in which the people overthrew Minucius and put Maelius in his place. In this time of crisis, the Romans turned to Cincinnatus, that old war horse or did they? Officially Cincinnatus was made dictator and chose Gaius Servilius Ahala, whose name means Gaius Servilius 'Armpit', as the master of the horse, depending who you believe Ahala was either just a random elite man who was given a senatorial approval to kill Maelius, or he was sent by Cincinnatus to arrest the scheming Spurius. When Spurius decided not to go quietly,

    • 22 min
    Special Episode - Our Top Ten at Ten

    Special Episode - Our Top Ten at Ten

    On the 1st March 2013, something momentous happened. We published our first episode of the Partial Historians podcast! Clearly, this is an event akin to Hannibal crossing the Alps or the expulsion of the kings.

    Well, perhaps not quite. But it certainly changed our lives forever in ways that we could not imagine. Therefore, we decided to mark the occasion by getting together and discussing our Top Ten Moments from the Roman Republic thus far.

    We hope you enjoy our chat about the Republic as much as we have enjoyed making this show for the past ten years.

    Special Episode - Our Top Ten at Ten

    Things to Look Out For:

    * The Conspiracy to Restore the Tarquins (Episode 45 - The Last Gasp of the Regal Period)

    * The Downfall of Spurius Cassius (Episode 71-73)

    * The Career of Lars Porsenna (Episode 46-47)

    * The First Secession of the Plebs (Episodes 58-59)

    * The Rise of Volero (Episode 85-86)

    * The Sneak Attack of Appius Herdonius (Episodes 96-97)

    * The Death of Verginia (Episodes 114-115)

    * The Life and Times of Dentatus (Episodes 105-106, 113)

    * The Rise and Fall of Spurius Maelius (Episode 127 - The Assassination of Spurius Maelius)

    * Aulus Cornelius Cossus vs Lars Tolumnius (Episodes 129-130)

    Sound Effects

    Thanks to the talented Bettina Joy de Guzman for our music.

    Just a few photos of us together over the years. Are we partial to a dress up for the sake of Roman history? You betcha!

    Automated Transcript

    Dr Rad 0:00That's right isn't just any bonus episode. Dr. G. It's our anniversary episode. I know I can't believe it. But we have been recording this podcast for 10 years as of today, the first of March.

    Welcome to a special bonus episode of the Partial Historians. And this might just be the most special bonus episode that you will hear of this show for a long time. Not that you should stop listening or anything. But just because this is our 10 year anniversary show. That's right. 10 years ago to this day, we released our very first episode. And so to mark that occasion, Dr. G, and I did what we did 10 years ago,

    • 1 hr 5 min
    A Dry Period

    A Dry Period

    Prepare yourself, dear listener, for a drought or two! After spending several episodes on individual years, we are speeding ahead in our latest episode. We are covering not one, not two, but THREE years in a single instalment. Join us as we tackle 430, 429 and 428 BCE.

    Episode 134 - A Dry Period

    Financial Affairs

    The Romans enjoy a remarkably peaceful year in 430 BCE. This means that they can turn their attention to financial matters. At least the new law that is introduced seems to benefit the people.

    A Year About Nothing

    The citizens must be confused as the peace continued into 429 BCE. No war? No internal conflict? Are we trapped in an episode of Seinfeld?

    A classic photo of the Seinfeld cast. Source: www.geekblast.com.br

    The Return of Cossus

    The ridiculously handsome Aulus Cornelius Cossus returns for a consulship in 428 BCE. Thank goodness! We need some eye candy around here. The drama returns to Rome with raiders from Veii and Fidenae. However, the Romans cannot stay mad for long. A severe drought devastates the people. We’ve hit a dry period in this very dry period.

    All the Romans could think about was how to improve their relationship with the gods. Will their luck turn around?

    Looking to catch up on why Cossus is so famed? We've got your back:

    * Episode 129 - Lars Tolumnius and the Fate of Fidenae

    * Episode 130 - The Cossus Controversy

    Things to Look Out For

    * Confusion over consuls (Who really was in charge in 428 BCE, Livy?)

    * Colony building

    * Irritating skin diseases

    * Aediles taking care of business

    * A special commission

    * Confusion over bovine equations

    * Book promotions. Gotcha! You can buy our book HERE!

    Our Players 430 BCE


    * L. (or C.) Papirius – f. – n. Crassus (Pat) Cos. 436

    * L. Iulius (Vop. F. C. n.?) Iullus (Pat) Mil. Tr. c. p. 438


    * L. Papirius (Pat)

    * P. Pinarius (Pat)  

    Our Players 429 BCE


    * Hostius Lucretius – f. – n. Tricipitinus (Pat)

    * L. Sergius C. f. C. n. Fidenas (Pat) Cos. 437, Mil. Tr. c.p. 433, 424, 418

    Our Players 428 BCE

    Consuls Ordinarii

    * A. Cornelius M. f. L. n. Cossus (Pat) Mil. Tr. c.p. 426

    * T. Quinctius L. f. L. n. Poenus Cincinnatus (Pat) Cos. 431, Mil. Tr. c.p. 426, 420

    Suffect Consuls

    * L. Quinctius (L. f. L. n. Cincinnatus) (Pat) Mil. Tr. c.p. 438, 425, 420?

    * A. Sempronius (L. f. A. n. Atratinus) (Pat)

    Special Commission

    * L.

    • 52 min
    Postumius Tubertus, Dictator

    Postumius Tubertus, Dictator

    It’s around 431 BCE and Rome is busy contending with her neighbours in pretty much every direction. Turns out that it’s not easy trying to establish yourself as an independent state! It might just be time for a dictator. Enter: Aulus Postumius Tubertus.

    Episode 133 - Postumius Tubertus, Dictator

    Rome is taking the need to put troops on the field seriously with a levy of the citizens held under the conditions of the lex sacrata, which is considered to be the most strict conditions requiring compliance in line with the gods. Who are they scared of? Only the most enduring thorns in their sides, their southern neighbours the Volsicians and the Aequians! It isn’t long before Rome is convinced that they need a dictator to sort out this mess.

    Getting to the point of having a dictator in place though is quite another story. In this episode we explore some intriguing details relating to the consuls, the tribunes of the plebs, and the interference of a certain patrician. Beyond them is the actual battle itself, which takes on grand overtones with comparisons made to Homer’s Iliad. This year is also tinged with a sense of tragedy with a story involving the dictator Aulus Postumius Tubertus and his son.

    Hold on to your hats, dear listener, this is going to be epic!

    Things to tune in for:

    * Familiar locations like Mount Algidus

    * Some beef between the consuls!

    * Intense levies

    * Battle plans!

    * The heroism of Vettius Messius

    Our Book on the Roman Kings

    We've gone back to where it all began (or so the Romans would say...)

    We delve into the history, myth, and complexities of the ancient Roman kings. You can support our work and get a very cool ancient Roman history book in return by pre-ordering a copy of Rex: The Seven Kings of Rome from the Highlands Press. Due for release in late January 2023.

    Highlands Press is an independent publisher supporting historians and we’re excited to be pairing up with an indie producer for our debut book together.

    What did early Roman soldiers wear on the field? It's a good question, while we might assume leather was important protective gear, some elites likely had more sophisticated armour. Above is a bronze helmet of the Montefortino type. Considered to be the oldest type of metal Roman helmet. This example dates from the third century BCE and is now in the British Museum.

    Our Players


    * Titus Quinctius L. f. L. n. Poenus Cincinnatus (Pat)

    * Gaius/Gnaeus Iulius - f. - n. Mento (Pat)


    * Aulus Postumius - f. - n. Tubertus (Pat)

    Master of the Horse

    * Lucius Iulius (Vopisci f. C. ?n) Iullus (Pat)

    Military Legates

    * Marcus Fabius (Vibulanus) (Pat)

    * Marcus? Geganius (Macerinus) (Pat)

    * Spurius Postumius Albus (Regillensis) (Pat)

    * Quintus Sulpicius (Camerinus Praetextatus) (Pat)

    Other Patricians

    * Quintus Servilius Priscus

    • 58 min
    Enslaved Women During Slave Revolts with Assistant Professor Katharine Huemoeller

    Enslaved Women During Slave Revolts with Assistant Professor Katharine Huemoeller

    We were thrilled to sit down and talk with Assistant Professor Katharine Huemoeller about her research into the representation of enslaved women during slave revolts in ancient Rome. This conversation reveals plenty of food for thought about the representation of women in the ancient world as well as exploring the way women go on to be represented in later eras.

    Special Episode - Enslaved Women during Slave Revolts with Assistant Professor Katharine Huemoeller

    The Slaves are Revolting

    And rightly so. Conditions for enslaved people in ancient Rome could vary widely from difficult manual roles such as mining and agriculture to the challenges of proximity to enslavers in the domestic sphere. Human trafficking also has a significant role to play in understanding gladiators. Assistant Professor Huemoeller takes us through some of the main ways to consider slavery in Rome before turning our attention to three key slave revolts:

    * Revolt of Volsinii (265 BCE)

    * First Sicilian Slave War (135-132 BCE)

    * Third Slave War/ Spartacus Slave War (73-71 BCE)

    These examples offer the opportunity to consider enslaved women a little more closely and it's here that the conversation gets really interesting.

    A coloured mosaic depicting two lovers together surrounded by attendants (likely slaves). One pour liquid from a vessel; one attends beside the bed. Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons. Taken in the Kunsthistorisches Museum (Vienna, Austria)

    Things to Listen Out for

    * The role of menstruation during Spartacus' war against Rome!

    * The agricultural uprising in Sicily and the ways in which slaves treated free women

    * The challenges of reading with and against the evidence when it comes to the Volsinii

    * And no conversation about Spartacus would be complete without a deep dive into the representation of women in Kirk Douglas' Spartacus (1960) and the more recent Starz series Spartacus: Blood and Sand

    A painting called 'The Slave Market' by Gustave Boulanger (1886) which shows a range of enslaved people waiting to be sold. Most wear discs around their neck indicating their enslaved status.


    Thanks to the glorious Bettina Joy de Guzman for our theme music.


    * Huemoeller, Katharine P. D. 2021. 'Sexual Violence in Republican Slave Revolts' in Kamen, D., Marshall, C. W. (eds.) Slavery and Sexuality in Classical Antiquity (University of Wisconsin Press), 159-173.

    * Huemoeller, Katharine P. D. 2020. 'Freedom in Marriage? Manumission for Marriage in the Roman World' The Journal of Roman Studies 110: 123-139.

    * Huemoeller, Katharine P. D. 2021. 'Captivity for All? Slave Status and Prisoners of War in the Roman Republic' TAPA 151.

    • 1 hr 9 min

Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5
126 Ratings

126 Ratings

Jehmag ,


Writing a review halfway through the first “real” episode because I don’t know I’ll make it any further. Subject matter is interesting so far and they seem knowledge but the constant “stupid girl” laughing is so irritating it’s hard to concentrate on the subject at all. Going to try and give them a chance with hopes they chill after a couple of episodes.

Update- I did make it through the entire podcast to date (November 2020). They did work out a lot of the early “jitters”; still a lot of loud laughter but it’s much better and they seem move away from the mic when they laugh now which helps a lot. I have enjoys the episodes to date and will continue to listen. Update rating to 4 stars from 1, would be 5 if they hadn’t added a random ranking session at the end of each episode that just didn’t make a lot of sense with the little amount of source material. Also added long stretches of random music.

AssEater🐷 ,


One of the most informative and well produced history podcasts. Phenomenal!

hellsleeve ,

Cannot Get Enough!

These two erudite, knowledgeable and affable presenters are just CLASSIC Classists!
Such depth of research….
I just wish I was younger….so I could stay alive long enough for these two too delicious, funny, vibrant, new, ferocious scholars to get to the Fall of the Republic….I figure maybe by (fingers crossed) 2045??!
LOVE THIS! Surpasses every other Ancient World podcast.
So thorough.
So approachable.
So well explained.

Thanks you two Doctors!

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