14 episodes

Listen, learn and laugh your ass off as Ray & Cam provide a blow-by-blow historical account of the life of the world's most successful general and empire builder - Alexander The Great.

Life Of Alexander The Great Cameron Reilly & Ray Harris

    • History

Listen, learn and laugh your ass off as Ray & Cam provide a blow-by-blow historical account of the life of the world's most successful general and empire builder - Alexander The Great.

    Renaissance Episode 1 – Constantine The Great

    Renaissance Episode 1 – Constantine The Great

    Our new series, The Renaissance Times, launched on Dec 24, 2017. Here’s the first episode! Go check out the rest of the series at therenaissancetimes.com.

     

    At its peak, the Library of Alexandria was estimated to contain somewhere in the order of 500,000 books on philosophy, science, medicine, history, tragedy, comedy, rhetoric and politics.

    Across the Roman empire, private and public libraries contained copies of these books. They were read, studied and appreciated. Of course, literacy was a luxury that not all citizens of the empire received. It was contained mostly to the upper classes. But those upper classes had a high estimation of the value of learning and education. They also accepted the worship of many gods in many different ways and they accepted debate and discourse as an important part of being civilized.

    But as the Western Roman Empire decayed, partly as a result of corruption, partly by division, partly by Christian influence, and partly by a combination of famine, plague and invasion by illiterate Germanic tribes, most of these books were forgotten and lost. Today we have partial copies of perhaps a one or two percent of them – and many of those are pure luck, as they were written over by Christian scribes and modern scientific techniques has managed to resurrected the ink from two millennia ago.

    With the rise of Christianity, it became unfashionable and unprofitable even for the upper classes to read anything other than the books supported by the Christian church – the Christian bible, scriptures, analysis of the bible and scriptures and the miscellaneous writings of Christian scholars. Sure – there were some monks and scholars in some parts of the world, notably Ireland and the Eastern Roman Empire. who still appreciated the ancient works and they kept copies of some of them. And as the Eastern Roman Empire became the Islamic Caliphate, they too valued these ancient texts. But the majority of Christian monks – the only people left who copied books after the rise of the Christian empire – didn’t care to spend time or effort copying pagan texts. When each book needed to be hand-copied, a laborious process that might take a year to copy a single book – why would monastic superiors choose for their monks to spend that year copying a pagan book when they could be copying a Christian one?

    Gradually, people lost interest in the writings of the ancients, with a few exceptions. And with that loss of interest, the vast majority of the books themselves were lost to Western Europe.

    Some through tragedy, some through deliberate and wanton destruction of anything that didn’t fit neatly into the Christian worldview. But mostly just through neglect.

    Ancient texts were typically written on papyrus, made from the pith or centre tissue of the papyrus plant, which is delicate. As a rule of the thumb, we can assume that a scroll had to be copied every century. If parchment was used, replacement could take place less frequently. However, preparing a skin and making parchment was extremely expensive. Most texts were, therefore, written on papyrus and subject to decay and disappearance. If there were many copies of the same text, the chances of survival were greater, but professional writers were expensive and texts usually circulated in small numbers. A surprisingly great number of ancient texts has survived in only one copy, which shows how vulnerable the process of transmission was. Even they couldn’t withstand the ravages of time, especially when they were discarded and forgotten about in the musty depths of cold, damp monasteries, victims of bookworms and mould.

    Many survived for centuries in Eastern Europe and the new Islamic empire, but these too were lost eventually, destroyed by the wars between rulers or by invasions by people like Genghis Khan.

    • 1 hr 6 min
    Subscribing To Renaissance

    Subscribing To Renaissance

    The Dark Ages are ending!

    As you may have realized, we published our very last Alexander episode last week!

    Now some of you might be wondering what to do now?

    Well, I had hoped I’d be able to just transfer your Alexander subscriptions over to the new series, but, alas, the entrails from our last sacrifice portended bad omens in that regard.

    So instead, you have a few options. Please read carefully.

    1. If you’re a new monthly subscriber to Alexander, or you haven’t finished the series yet, just keep your subscription running and you’ll be fine. Nothing changes. If you also want to subscribe to the new Renaissance series and get in on the ground floor this time, just click here and register!

    2. If you are on one of our monthly subscriptions, and you’ve finished with the Alexander series, you can cancel your subscription by clicking here and then click here and register for the new series.

    3. If you are one of our annual subscribers on Alexander, and you want to get a credit on the new series, just email Cam and he’ll sort it out for you with a pro rata credit. Or if you want to donate your remaining credit and just sign up again fresh, of course you can do that to, click here and register for the new series.

    Hopefully that’s all pretty simple but if you have any questions, don’t hesitate to drop me a line.

    One thing to note: we won’t have the first Renaissance episode out until late December, but to test the subscription, I’ve thrown up an advertisement for our 2018 tour of Europe! Slots are nearly full, so don’t miss out!

    Amor,

    Cameron & Ray

    • 4 min
    #122 – The Last Show

    #122 – The Last Show

    Well, here we are. Three years, 122 episodes, some of which were a LOT longer than an hour, so probably around 130-140 hours of story. We started with 14 episodes covering the rise of Philip II of Macedon, aka Big Daddy Phil: his military innovations, his marriages, his cunning, the Battle of Chaeronea, and his assassination in 336 BCE. We then carried on with 44 episodes about his eldest son, Alexander III: shutting down rebellions across Greece, his journey of conquest across Asia Minor, Egypt, Syria, Persia and India, his tragic early death. And we ended with 64 episodes covering the Wars of the Successors, how they divided Alexander's empire amongst themselves and then spent 40 years trying to unify it again, all of them ultimately failing, one by one. And now we are at the end, as the second and third generation of Macedonian kings, none of whom had even been born when Alexander died, settled for having a kingdom.

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    The Music: We want to get down on our knees and worship the amazing and talented composer who offered us the use of one of his amazing tracks, “Hero”, as our theme music: Jofre Horta. He's already a big deal in the composing world but he's going to be even bigger – and you can say you heard him first on our little show! Listen to his whole album on Spotify or iTunes.

    • 1 hr 22 min
    #111 – Ian Worthington

    #111 – Ian Worthington

    Professor Ian Worthington joins us again to talk about new book about Ptolemy!

     

    HOW TO LISTEN

    If you're already a subscriber, you can listen to the show below or subscribe through iTunes or any podcast player.

    If you're not a subscriber, please register.

    If you want to listen to the first episode for free, get instructions here.

    If you haven't already, join our Facebook page and you'll be in the running to win prizes in our regular “Share The Love” and other competitions.

    If you'd like to write a funny or insightful review on iTunes, this is the link.

    The Music: We want to get down on our knees and worship the amazing and talented composer who offered us the use of one of his amazing tracks, “Hero”, as our theme music: Jofre Horta. He's already a big deal in the composing world but he's going to be even bigger – and you can say you heard him first on our little show! Listen to his whole album on Spotify or iTunes.

    • 1 hr 18 min
    #96 – The Lost Testament of Alexander with David Grant

    #96 – The Lost Testament of Alexander with David Grant

    David Grant has just published a truly unique and fascinating book called “In Search of the Lost Testament of Alexander”.



    We recently had him on to talk us through his theory.

    register.

    If you want to listen to the first episode for free, get instructions here.

    If you haven't already, join our Facebook page and you'll be in the running to win prizes in our regular “Share The Love” and other competitions.

    If you'd like to write a funny or insightful review on iTunes, this is the link.

    The Music: We want to get down on our knees and worship the amazing and talented composer who offered us the use of one of his amazing tracks, “Hero”, as our theme music: Jofre Horta. He's already a big deal in the composing world but he's going to be even bigger – and you can say you heard him first on our little show! Listen to his whole album on Spotify or iTunes.

    • 1 hr 12 min
    #77 – JAMES ROMM

    #77 – JAMES ROMM

    James Romm is an author, reviewer, and the James H. Ottaway Jr. Professor of Classics at Bard College in Annandale, NY.

    After getting his B.A. in Classics from Yale, he went on to earn a Ph.D. from Princeton in 1988. He has taught Greek language, literature and history at Bard College since 1990.

    He is also the author of GHOST ON THE THRONE, one of the best books on the Wars of the Successors.



    HOW TO LISTEN

    If you're already a subscriber, you can listen to the show below or subscribe through iTunes or any podcast player.

    If you're not a subscriber, please register.

    If you want to listen to the first episode for free, get instructions here.

    If you haven't already, join our Facebook page and you'll be in the running to win prizes in our regular “Share The Love” and other competitions.

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    Want to leave us a short voicemail that we might (or might not) play on the show?

    https://www.speakpipe.com/RayandCam

    The Music: We want to get down on our knees and worship the amazing and talented composer who offered us the use of one of his amazing tracks, “Hero”, as our theme music: Jofre Horta. He's already a big deal in the composing world but he's going to be even bigger – and you can say you heard him first on our little show! Listen to his whole album on Spotify or iTunes.

    • 1 hr 9 min

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