150 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
    • 4.5 • 140 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.

    The Brief Life and Times of Servius Romanus

    The Brief Life and Times of Servius Romanus

    Who is Servius Romanus you might ask? Well, in this episode we’re about to find out. But when we tell you it’ll be brief - we are telling only the truth! On the back of the putative introduction of pay for Roman soldiers in 406 BCE (a much disputed idea in scholarship), Rome is facing challenges from their neighbours. These challenges are coming from many directions, so it’s no doubt a relief when someone helps them out. Enter: Servius Romanus.















    Episode 149 - The Brief Life and Times of Servius Romanus







    Siege at Veii!







    Watch out Veii, Rome is coming for you! Veii seems to be well aware of the Roman threat, however, and might just be looking to call in the broader Etruscan peoples to support them. How will things pan out for Veii in the years 405 and 404? We consider the fairly limited details for your listening pleasure.







    But what about the Volscians?







    Rome is facing trouble on multiple fronts (perhaps indicated by the sheer number of military tribunes with consular power listed for both the years 405 and 404). It comes as no surprise that pursuing an aggressive policy against Veii opens the way for more conflict from the Volscii. Listen out for mentions of places including Ferentium, Ecetra, and Artena.















    Aerial photograph of the modern town of Artena in Lazio, Italy. Photo by FrancescoSchiraldi85 via Wikimedia Commons.







    Our Players for 405 BCE







    Military Tribunes with Consular Power









    * Titus Quinctius T. f. L. n. Capitolinus Barbatus (Pat)







    * Quintus Quinctius (L. f. L. n.) Cincinnatus (Pat)







    * Gaius Iulius Sp. f. Vopisci n. Iullus (Pat)







    * Aulus Manlius A. f. Cn. n. Vulso Capitolinus (Pat)







    * Lucius Furius L. f. Sp. n. Medullinus (Pat)







    * Manius Aemilius Mam(ercus). f. M(arcus). n. Mamercinus (or Mamercus) (Pat)









    Our Players for 404 BCE







    Military Tribunes with Consular Power









    * Gaius Valerius L. f. Vol. n. Potitus Volusus (Pat)







    * Manius Sergius L. f. L. n. Fidenas (Pat)







    * Publius Cornelius (M. f. M. n.) Maluginensis (Pat)







    * Gnaeus Cornelius P. f. A. n. Cossus (Pat)







    * Kaeso Fabius M. f. Q. n. Ambustus (Pat)







    * Spurius Nautius Sp. f. Sp. n. Rutilus (Pat)









    Things to listen out for









    * Challenges with the extant source material







    * The organisation of the Etruscan federation







    * The Shrine of Voltuma (the Central Perk?)







    * What’s going on with the politics of Sicily and Carthage?







    * The intriguing modern history of Artena







    * Military strategy re citadels in action







    * Food security in the ancient world compared with climate change today







    * A sneaky mention of Velitrae









    Our Sources









    * Dr Rad reads Livy 4.60-61







    * Dr G reads Diodorus Siculus 14.17.1; 14.19.1; Fasti Capitolini for 405 and 404 BCE







    * Bradley, G. 2020. Early Rome to 290 BC (Edinburgh University Press).







    * Broughton, T. R. S., Patterson, M. L. 1951. The Magistrates of the Roman Republic Volume 1: 509 B.C. – 100 B.C. (The American Philological Association)







    * Cornell, T. J. 1995. a href="https://www.google.com.

    • 46 min
    Augustus' Mausoleum with Dr Victoria Austen

    Augustus' Mausoleum with Dr Victoria Austen

    It is not often that we are fortunate enough to get to chat to one of our amazing guests a second time, but sometimes the gods are just that kind. We sat down to speak to the one and only Dr Victoria Austen about Augustus’ mausoleum.















    Special Episode - Augustus' Mausoleum







    Dr Victoria Austen holds a MA and PhD from King’s College London. She has lectured in the Classics at the University of Winnipeg and is currently the Robert A. Oden, Jr. Postdoctoral Fellow for Innovation in the Humanities and Classics at Carleton College, Minnesota. Her monograph Analysing the Boundaries of the Roman Garden: (Re)Framing the Hortus’ was released in 2023 as part of the Bloomsbury Ancient Environments Series. Vicky has recently been speaking for the American Institute of Archaeology on gardens and commemoration.















    ‘The Mausoleum of Augustus’ from Pietro Santi Bartoli, Gli antichi sepolcri ii, 1727. courtesy of Carleton College Special Collections.







    What is Augustus' mausoleum?







    Augustus did not rest on his laurels after winning the Battle of Actium against Cleopatra and Mark Antony. He set about consolidating his political position and figuring out exactly what that would entail.







    Augustus set about transforming the city itself as part of his political machinations. Some of his key monuments include the Ara Pacis, the Horologium Augusti (think giant sun dial), and the mausoleum.







    He started construction on this tomb in 28 BCE and positioned it on the Campus Martius (Field of Mars). This is much earlier than you might expect. Augustus’ position was not unchallenged and there was still much to be decided regarding his status in Rome. Nonetheless, Augustus set about building this large circular mausoleum, intending to use it not just for himself, but his family.   







    Eventually the tomb would house the remains of numerous members of Augustus' family, as well as the princeps himself. Names you might recognise include Agrippa (his BFF and the husband of his daughter Julia), Marcellus (his nephew), Octavia (his sister), and Gaius and Lucius (his adopted sons).







    After Augustus’ death, his family continued to use the mausoleum. Livia (his wife), the emperors Tiberius and Claudius, Germanicus, Antonia Minor and Britannicus would all find their way to this monument.







    However, there was not an open-door policy for anyone with Julio-Claudian blood. The mausoleum became a sort of litmus test of who had fallen from grace and would be punished with exclusion… forever! You might already have spotted that Julia, Augustus’ only biological child, and her daughter Julia, did not make the cut. Ouch! Nor did the emperors Caligula and Nero. You had to earn your spot.     























    Donati, A. (1584-1640) Roma vetus ac recens, courtesy of Carleton College Special Collections.







    What happened to the mausoleum?







    As with so many ancient monuments, the mausoleum has been repurposed many times. Tune in to hear about the Soderini family and their resurrection of the space, as well as good old Mussolini, who just loved to forge connections between himself and figures like Augustus.







    Things to Look Out For:









    * Augustus getting BURNT by Dr Rad on numerous occasions.







    * Good-natured tolerance from Drs A and G about afore-mentioned Augustan burns.







    * Deep-seated longing to see inside the mausoleum.

    • 1 hr 6 min
    It's All About the Money, Honey!

    It's All About the Money, Honey!

    Money, money, money! We’re in 406 BCE and although its well before ABBA's pop hit, let's this be a small hint of things to come. Rome finds itself in a bit of a tricky situation. Not only are they navigating the fallout of their conflict with the Volscians, but with the long running tensions with Veii seem to be coming to a head.















    Episode 148 - It's All About the Money, Honey!







    There’s a distinct lack of enthusiasm for more fighting from the people who would be levied. Things are not looking positive on the morale front! Combine that with some meddlesome tribunes of the plebs and the recipe is ripe for a changing time ahead.







    What if we paid you?







    The big topic that makes the 406 stand out is the assertion in some ancient sources that this year is the first time the Roman soldiers receive pay for their service. That’s right, Rome’s been trundling along for centuries without offering those who risk life and limb anything but the potential thrill of booty. But is this claim to be believed? We consider some of the challenges.







    The Geography of Central Italy







    Spoiler alert! Rome extends their sphere of influence further into Volscian territory in 406. Anxur is on the coast just to the east of Circeii. Map below for reference for just how afar afield Anxur is from Rome! Tune in for all the tactical details.















    Map of Central Italy. Source Wikimedia Commons.







    Things to Listen Out For









    * Some tunic-ripping action!







    * The introduction of Anxur







    * Sound as a military tactic







    * The power of ladders







    * Grumpy tribunes









    Our Players for 406 BCE







    Military Tribunes with Consular Power









    * Publius Cornelius M. f. L. n. Rutilus Cossus (Pat)







    * Gnaeus Cornelius P. f. A. n. Cossus (Pat)







    * Numerius or Gnaeus Fabius M. f. Q. n. Ambustus (Pat). NB Diodorus and the Fasti Capitolini have Numerius as the praenomen







    * Lucius Valerius L. f. P. n. Potitus (Pat)









    Legate









    * Gaius Servilius Ahala (Pat)









    Our Sources









    * Dr Rad reads Livy 4.58-59







    * Dr G reads Diodorus Siculus 14.12.1; Ennius’ Annales 4.162 V; Florus 1.6.8; Fasti Capitolini for 406 BCE







    * Bradley, G. 2020. Early Rome to 290 BC (Edinburgh University Press).







    * Broughton, T. R. S., Patterson, M. L. 1951. The Magistrates of the Roman Republic Volume 1: 509 B.C. – 100 B.C. (The American Philological Association)







    * Cornell, T. J. 1995. The Beginnings of Rome: Italy and Rome from the Bronze Age to the Punic Wars (c. 1000-264 BC) (Taylor & Francis)







    * Forsythe, G. 2006. A Critical History of Early Rome: From Prehistory to the First Punic War(University of California Press) 







    * Lomas, Kathryn (2018). The rise of Rome. History of the Ancient World. Cambridge: Harvard University Press. doi:a href="https://doi.org/10.

    • 1 hr 8 min
    The Roman Military with Dr Bret Devereaux

    The Roman Military with Dr Bret Devereaux

    This is a very exciting special episode all about the Roman military. We were incredibly fortunate to speak to an expert in the field about the Roman army in the early and middle republic. 















    Special Episode - The Early Roman Military with Dr Bret Devereaux







    Dr Bret Devereaux is a historian specialising in the ancient world and military history. He holds a PhD in ancient history from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and an MA in classical civilizations from Florida State University. He teaches at North Carolina State University. 







    His research interests include the Roman economy and the Roman military. Key to this is considering how the lives of people were shaped by structures of power, violence and wealth and the ways these factors shaped military capacity.







    His monograph Why the Romans Always Won: Mobilizing Military Power in the Ancient Mediterranean is under contract with Oxford University Press. We cannot wait to get our hands on a copy, and we’re sure you will want to put this on your wish list too! 







    Dr Devereaux is an incredibly passionate and eloquent scholar, and he was very generous with his time. In this episode we were able to explore the evolution of Roman warfare from small-scale, localised conflicts to epic clashes with civilisations like the Carthaginians. 















    Dr Bret Devereaux







    Things to Look Out For:









    * Lots of issues in our source material! How unusual for us







    * War between powerful Roman clans 







    * The Fabulous Fabians and the Battle of the Cremera







    * The sophisticated military system developed by the Romans 







    * War with King Pyrrhus of Epirus (Pyrrhic Wars)  







    * The Punic Wars (Rome vs Carthage)







    * Discussion of Livy 8.8







    * Polybius' description of the Roman Army









    You can follow and support Bret at his blog A Collection of Unmitigated Pedantry: A look at history and popular culture. Here you will find fascinating blog posts, book recommendations and collections of resources that you might find useful if you are a teacher.  























    If you are keen to learn more about the academics mentioned during the interview, you can find a list of the scholars mentioned below: 









    * Nathan Rosenstein 



    * Imperatores Victi: Military Defeat and Aristocratic Competition in the Middle and Late Republic. Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press. (1990)







    * Rome and the Mediterranean 290 to 146 BC : the Imperial Republic











    * Jeremy Armstrong



    * The Consulship of 367 BC and the Evolution of Roman Military Authority







    *  Romans at war : soldiers,

    • 1 hr 33 min
    The Fall of Verrugo

    The Fall of Verrugo

    Back in 409 BCE, the Romans had captured the fortifications of Verrugo from their Volscian foe. Unfortunately, in this episode we must discuss the bloody fall of Verrugo.















    Episode 147 - The Fall of Verrugo







    The Romans had seized Verrugo after Carventum was retaken by the Aequians, allies of the Volscians. Verrugo was located in Volscian territory to the south of Rome. This had seemed like a huge triumph as they had secured lots of booty along with the fort.







    In 407 BCE, the garrison that had been left behind sent an urgent message for help, hidden in a small droid. The Romans took their sweet time to send reinforcements. When they arrived, a terrible scene greeted them…







    Join us in this short episode on the fall of Verrugo!  















    Our Players







    Military Tribunes with Consular Power









    * L. Furius L. f. Sp. n. Medullinus (Pat) Cos. 413, 409, Mil. Tr. c. p. 405, 398, 397, 395, 394, 391?







    * C. Valerius L. f. Volusi n. Potitus Volusus (Pat) Cos. 410, Mil. Tr. c. p. 415, 404







    * N. (or Cn.) Fabius Q. f. M. n. Vibulanus (Pat) Cos. 421, Mil. Tr. c. p. 415







    * C. Servilius P. f. Q. n. Ahala (Pat) Mil. Tr. c. p. 408, 402

















    Our Sources









    * Dr G reads the Fasti Capitolini and Diodorus Siculus 14.11.5-6, 14.3.1







    * Dr Rad reads Livy ab Urbe Condita 4.57.







    * Bradley, G. 2020. Early Rome to 290 BC (Edinburgh University Press).







    * Broughton, T. R. S., Patterson, M. L. 1951. The Magistrates of the Roman Republic Volume 1: 509 B.C. – 100 B.C. (The American Philological Association)







    * Cornell, T. J. 1995. The Beginnings of Rome: Italy and Rome from the Bronze Age to the Punic Wars (c. 1000-264 BC) (Taylor & Francis)







    * Forsythe, G. 2006. A Critical History of Early Rome: From Prehistory to the First Punic War(University of California Press) 







    * Lomas, Kathryn (2018). The rise of Rome. History of the Ancient World. Cambridge: Harvard University Press. doi:10.4159/9780674919938. ISBN 978-0-674-65965-0. S2CID 239349186.







    * Ogilvie, R. M. 1965. A Commentary on Livy: Books 1-5 (Clarendon Press). 









    Sound Credits







    Our music was composed by Bettina Joy de Guzman.















    Automated Transcript







    This transcript has been automatically generated by Otter AI.







    Dr Rad 0:12Welcome to the Partial Historians.







    Dr G 0:15We explore all the details of ancient Rome.







    Dr Rad 0:20Everything from political scandals to love affairs, the battles waged, and when citizens turn against each other. I'm Dr. Rad. And

    • 33 min
    Nobody Calls Me Chicken

    Nobody Calls Me Chicken

    In this episode, the people of Antium start provoking the Aequians and the Volscians into war with Rome by calling them COWARDS. How else could they respond but to say, “Nobody calls me chicken!”















    Episode 146 - Nobody Calls Me Chicken!







    With the Antiates, Volscians and Aequians ganged up against them, the Romans decide it’s time for a dictator! Not all of the military tribunes were terribly happy with this decision. Ahala seems to have been the only magistrate who could put the state before his own ambitions.







    As a reward for being such a dazzling military tribune, Ahala was chosen to serve as master of the horse, the assistant to the dictator.







    Leaving his grumbling colleagues behind, Ahala and the dictator headed off to face the foe.







    Tune in to hear how the Romans fare against THREE of their rivals.







    Want to revisit a previous clash with Antium? Check out Episode 99 - Tusculum and Antium.







    Things to Look Out For:









    * Dodgy election tactics







    * Whingy military tribunes with consular power







    * Patricians resorting to incredibly desperate measures







    * Smug tribunes of the plebs







    * Dr G having a small identity crisis







    * Armpit farts

















    A mosaic of roosters fighting. Nobody calls them chicken! Courtesy of Amphipolis on Flickr.







    Our Players 408 BCE







    Military Tribunes with Consular Power









    * C. Iulius Sp. f. Vopisci n. Iullus (Pat) Mil. Tr. c. p. 405







    * P. Cornelius A. f. M. n. Cossus (Pat)







    * C. Servilius P. f. Q. n. Ahala (Pat) Mil. Tr. c. p. 407, 402.









    Dictator









    * P. Cornelius M. f. L. n. Rutilus Cossus (Pat) Mil. Tr. c. p. 405









    Master of the Horse









    * C. Servilius P. f. Q. n. Ahala (Pat) Mil. Tr. c. p. 408, 407, 402









    Our Sources









    * Dr G reads the Fasti Capitolini and Diodorus Siculus 13.104.1, 13.108.2, 13.109.







    * Dr Rad reads Livy ab Urbe Condita 4.56.







    * Bradley, G. 2020. Early Rome to 290 BC (Edinburgh University Press).







    * Broughton, T. R. S., Patterson, M. L. 1951. The Magistrates of the Roman Republic Volume 1: 509 B.C. – 100 B.C. (The American Philological Association)







    * Cornell, T. J. 1995. The Beginnings of Rome: Italy and Rome from the Bronze Age to the Punic Wars (c. 1000-264 BC) (Taylor & Francis)







    * Forsythe, G. 2006. A Critical History of Early Rome: From Prehistory to the First Punic War(University of California Press) 







    * Lomas, Kathryn (2018). The rise of Rome. History of the Ancient World. Cambridge: Harvard University Press. doi:10.4159/9780674919938. ISBN a href="https://en.

    • 57 min

Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5
140 Ratings

140 Ratings

MonsieurBooyah ,

source perspective at its finest

Doctors Rad and G are consistently clear about who's telling the story, and observing patterns in that story. The side episodes are great, and I'd highly recommend this after going through the breezy summary that is the History of Rome podcast, because the details here are rich, and they're having fun with it.

camelshark69 ,

I love it!

At first I wasn’t sure, but as it went on it was so effortless to listen along with how these ladies inject humor and small sexual insinuations to paint a picture by words that flowed and is easy to follow. Can tell they really enjoy this history and I commend them for doing all this research on a history that tells us how civilization began!

AssEater🐷 ,

Flawless!

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

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