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The Ancient World

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Society & Culture
History
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CURRENT SERIES - THEA (tracing the disintegration of the Seleucid Empire)

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CURRENT SERIES - THEA (tracing the disintegration of the Seleucid Empire)

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915 Ratings
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26
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22

Thanks

By Johm taylor - Dec 13 2019
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The podcast is wonderful. It is in a league of its own.

Absolutely fantastic

By Daniel meirom - Jul 14 2019
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Love the different narratives of ancient history.

iTunes Ratings

915 Ratings
Average Ratings
761
89
26
17
22

Thanks

By Johm taylor - Dec 13 2019
Read more
The podcast is wonderful. It is in a league of its own.

Absolutely fantastic

By Daniel meirom - Jul 14 2019
Read more
Love the different narratives of ancient history.
Cover image of The Ancient World

The Ancient World

Latest release on Dec 13, 2019

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CURRENT SERIES - THEA (tracing the disintegration of the Seleucid Empire)

Rank #1: Episode B54 - Efqa

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Synopsis:  Monotheism, modern Syria, the world’s first romance story, and the end of the Bloodline.

“The oasis and town of Palmyra owe their existence to the plentiful spring that runs from Jebel Muntar.  This spring dominates a narrow passage in the principal route between the Homs pass and the Euphrates River and is in the heart of the Syrian desert.  The oasis furnishes a resting place between Iraq and Central Syria, and it was a primary stop for caravans plying between the Gulf, Iran, and the Mediterranean.” – Khaled Al-Asaad and Adnan Bounni, Palmyra: History, Monuments & Museum http://s407341505.onlinehome.us/Episode_B54_Efqa.mp3

Mar 23 2018

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Rank #2: Episode T1 – Nicator

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Synopsis: Seleucus I Nicator forges the Seleucid Empire, and his descendants spend the next century struggling to preserve his legacy.

“In Asia, after the defeat of Demetrius at Gaza in Syria, Seleucus, receiving from Ptolemy no more than eight hundred foot soldiers and about two hundred horse, set out for Babylon.” – Diodorus Siculus, The Library of History, Book XIX

http://s407341505.onlinehome.us/Episode_T1_Nicator.mp3

Dec 21 2018

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Rank #3: Episode 3 – “Wherever I Went, Let Him Go!”

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“Now any king who wants to call himself my equal, wherever I went, let him go!”  - Sargon the Great

In 2,334 BC, Sargon of Akkad forged the world’s first empire and created a legend that would inspire Near Eastern rulers for millennia.   The Third Dynasty of Ur built its smaller but more centralized structure on Akkadian foundations.

http://s407341505.onlinehome.us/Episode_3_Wherever_I_Went.mp3

Apr 23 2012

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Rank #4: Episode 4 - The Pyramid Builders

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“From the heights of these pyramids, forty centuries look down on us.” – Napoleon Bonaparte

The power of Egypt’s Old Kingdom rulers was reflected in their awe-inspiring monuments.  The Harappan civilization of the Indus River valley traded across Central Asia, the Near East, and beyond.   In the Far East, Great Yu controlled the waters and founded the first Chinese dynasty, the Xia.

http://s407341505.onlinehome.us/Episode_4_The_Pyramid_Builders.mp3

Apr 29 2012

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Rank #5: Episode B21 - Betrayal

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Synopsis:  Gaius Julius Sohaemus is compelled to help the Romans conquer Commagene.

“Petus…fell upon Commagene before Antiochus and his people had the least expectation of his coming.  He had with him the tenth legion, and also some cohorts and troops of horsemen.  These kings also came to his assistance: Aristibulus, king of the country called Chalcidene, and Sohaemus, who was called King of Emesa.  Nor was there any opposition made to his forces when they entered the kingdom, for no one of that country would so much as lift up his hand against them.” – Josephus, The Jewish War, Book VII, Chapter 7  http://s407341505.onlinehome.us/Episode_B21_Betrayal.mp3

Oct 10 2015

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Rank #6: Episode 5 - Blind-sided

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“I was asleep upon my bed, having become weary…like a snake of the necropolis. As I came to, I awoke to fighting, and found that it was an attack of the bodyguard. If I had quickly taken weapons in my hand, I would have made the wretches retreat with a charge! But there is none mighty in the night, none who can fight alone.” – Amenemhet I

In the turbulent period between 2,000 and 1,500 BC, Egyptian rulers were not the only ones caught off guard. After rising to new heights, Minoan Crete, Hammurabi’s Babylon and Middle Kingdom Egypt all fell victim to disaster and foreign invasion.

http://s407341505.onlinehome.us/Episode_5_Blind-sided.mp3

May 07 2012

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Rank #7: Episode B20 - The God of Dusk

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Synopsis:  The destruction of Jerusalem.

Shalim (semetic):  Caananite god of dusk and the evening star, paired with Shahar, god of dawn and the morning star.  Root of Hebrew shalom and Arabic salam(peace), associated with sunset and the completion of the workday.  Related to the Caananite sun goddess Shapash, a possible manifestation of Shamash.  An element in the names of King David’s sons Solomon and Absalom.  Original guardian, patron and protective deity of Jerusalem. 
“Before the fifteenth of July all Syria had sworn the same allegiance.  Vespasian’s cause was now joined also by Sohaemus with his entire kingdom, whose strength was not to be despised, and by Antiochus who had enormous ancestral wealth, and was in fact the richest of the subject princes.  Presently Agrippa, summoned from Rome by private messages from his friends, while Vitellius was still unaware of his action, quickly crossed the sea and joined the cause.” – Tacitus, The Histories, Book II 
http://s407341505.onlinehome.us/Episode_B20_The_God_of_Dusk.mp3

Sep 25 2015

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Rank #8: Episode B1 - Triumph

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Synopsis: The early years of Cleopatra Selene, daughter of Cleopatra and Mark Antony.

“And herein particularly did he give offense to the Romans, since he bestowed the honorable and solemn rites of his native country upon the Egyptians for Cleopatra’s sake.” – Plutarch, The Life of Marcus Antonius

“Pity fixed the eyes of the Romans upon the infants; and many of them could not forbear tears, and all beheld the sight with a mixture of sorrow and pleasure, until the children were passed.” – Plutarch, The Life of Lucius Aemilius Paulus http://s407341505.onlinehome.us/Episode_B1_Triumph.mp3

Oct 24 2014

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Rank #9: Episode T2 - Megas

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Synopsis: Antiochus the Great restores Seleucid fortunes, but his son Antiochus IV sews the seeds of the Empire’s destruction.

“On (Antiochus IV), after reading the dispatch, saying that he desired to consult with his friends on the situation, Popilius did a thing which was looked upon as exceedingly overbearing and insolent. Happening to have a vine stick in his hand, he drew a circle round Antiochus with it, and ordered him to give his answer to the letter before he stepped out of that circumference.” – Polybius, the Histories, Book XXIX

http://s407341505.onlinehome.us/Episode_T2_Megas.mp3

Jan 04 2019

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Rank #10: Episode B18 - The Josephus Problem

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Synopsis:  Joseph ben Matityahu fought the Romans as a Jewish General before becoming a trusted advisor to the Flavians. 

The Josephus Problem (mathematics):  Given a group of n men arranged in a circle under the edict that every mth man will be executed going around the circle until only one remains, find the position L (n, m) in which you should stand in order to be the last survivor.http://s407341505.onlinehome.us/Episode_B18_The_Josephus Problem.mp3

Aug 28 2015

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Rank #11: Episode B36 - The Black Stone

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Synopsis:  Elagabalus spearheads a religious revolution in Rome, but his unpopular rule drives Julia Maesa to enact a back-up plan.

“To this temple, as to the common center of religious worship, the Imperial fanatic attempted to remove the Ancilia, the Palladium, and all the sacred pledges of the faith of Numa.  A crowd of inferior deities attended in various stations the majesty of the god of Emesa; but his court was still imperfect, till a female of distinguished rank was admitted to his bed.  Pallas had been first chosen for his consort; but as it was dreaded lest her warlike terrors might affront the soft delicacy of a Syrian deity, the Moon, adorned by the Africans under the name of Astarte, was deemed a more suitable companion for the Sun.” – Edward Gibbon, History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, Volume 1, Chapter 6 http://s407341505.onlinehome.us/Episode_B36_The_Black_Stone.mp3

Sep 23 2016

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Rank #12: Episode B22 - Optimus

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Synopsis:  Silas guides Emesa in its transition to a pilgrimage site.  The death of King Tiridates I of Armenia brings Rome and Parthia into conflict.

“(Parthomasiris) greeted him, took off his diadem from his head, and laid it at (Trajan’s) feet.  Then he stood there in silence, expecting to receive it back.  At this the soldiers shouted aloud, and hailed Trajan imperator as if on account of some victory (they termed it an uncrowned, bloodless victory to see the king, a descendant of Arsaces, a son of Pacorus, and a nephew of Osroes, standing beside Trajan without a diadem, like a captive).  The shout terrified the prince, who though that it heralded insult and destruction for him.” – Cassius Dio, Rome, Book 68  http://s407341505.onlinehome.us/Episode_B22_Optimus.mp3

Oct 23 2015

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Rank #13: Episode B52 - Palmyra

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Synopsis:  Boxed in by Aurelian’s siege, Zenobia makes a desperate attempt to enlist the support of the Persians.

“Palmyra was the last resource of the widow of Odaenathus.  She retired within the walls of her capital, made every preparation for a vigorous resistance, and declared, with the intrepidity of a heroine, that the last moment of her reign and of her life should be the same.” - Gibbon, The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire“You have the prospect of such Magnicient Ruines, that if it be Lawful to frame a Conjecture of the Original Beauty of the place, by what is still remaining, I question somewhat whether any City in the World could have challenged Precedence over this in all its Glory.” – W. Halifax, A Relation of a Voyage from Aleppo to Palmyra in Syria, 1695 http://s407341505.onlinehome.us/Episode_B52_Palmyra.mp3

Feb 24 2018

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Rank #14: Episode B43 - Sibylline

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Synopsis:  Samsigeramus saves Emesa from Sasanid destruction, then proclaims himself Augustus.  The arrival of Valerian marks the end of his reign and the elevation of Odaenathus to provincial governor.

“And then there shall be a flight of Romans; and thereafter there shall come the priest heard of all round, sent by the sun, from Syria appearing, and by guile shall he accomplish all things.  And then too the city of the sun shall offer prayer; and round about her shall the Persians dare the fearful threatenings of the Phoenicians.” – The Sibylline Oracles, Book XIII http://s407341505.onlinehome.us/Episode_B43_Sibylline.mp3

Jun 16 2017

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Rank #15: Episode B19 - The Prefect

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Synopsis:  Tiberius Julius Alexander throws Egypt’s backing behind Vespasian’s bid for the throne.

“Accordingly, in order to overthrow John (of Gischala), they determined to admit Simon (bar Giora), and earnestly to desire the introduction of a second tyrant into the city…Accordingly he, in an arrogant manner, granted them his lordly protection, and came into the city, in order to deliver it from the zealots.  The people also made joyful acclamations to him, as their savior and their preserver; but when he was come in, with his army, he took care to secure his own authority, and looked upon those that had invited him in to be no less his enemies than those against whom the invitation was intended.  And thus did Simon get possession of Jerusalem.” – Josephus, The Jewish War, Book IV, Chapter 9  http://s407341505.onlinehome.us/Episode_B19_The_Prefect.mp3

Sep 11 2015

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Rank #16: Episode B13 - Zealot

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Synopsis:  The early life of Drusilla of Mauretania, and her marriage to Marcus Antonius Felix, Roman Procurator of Judea 

“This Judas, having gotten together a multitude of men of a profligate character about Sepphoris in Galilee, made an assault upon the palace there, and seized upon all the weapons that were laid up in it, and with them armed every one of those that were with him, and carried away what money was left there; and he became terrible to all men, by tearing and rending those that came near him.” – Josephus, Jewish Antiquities, Book XVII, Chapter 10http://s407341505.onlinehome.us/Episode_B13_Zealot.mp3Nero Family Tree:http://s407341505.onlinehome.us/9_Nero_48AD.pdfRegions of Judea:http://s407341505.onlinehome.us/Judea_53AD_1.jpg

Select Cities of Judea:http://s407341505.onlinehome.us/Judea_53AD_2.jpg

May 03 2015

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Rank #17: Episode B24 - The Yona Kings

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Synopsis:  The Macedonian kingdoms of Central Asia endured for centuries before being absorbed into the Kushan Empire.  Hadrian’s actions in Judea spark a third Jewish Revolt.

"Has it ever happened to you, O king, that rival kings rose up against you as enemies and opponents?-Yes, certainly.-Then you set to work, I suppose, to have moats dug, and ramparts thrown up, and watch towers erected, and strongholds built, and stores of food collected?-Not at all. All that had been prepared beforehand.-Or you had yourself trained in the management of war elephants, and in horsemanship, and in the use of the war chariot, and in archery and fencing?-Not at all. I had learnt all that before.-But why?-With the object of warding off future danger." – Milinda Panha (The Questions of King Menander), Book III, Chapter 7  http://s407341505.onlinehome.us/Episode_B24_The_Yona_Kings.mp3 Map of Central Asia:

http://s407341505.onlinehome.us/CA_Regions.jpg

Nov 19 2015

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Rank #18: Episode B31 - Perish in Blood

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Synopsis:  Severus confronts Albinus at Lugdunum, then launches a war against the Parthians.  At the pinnacle of his power, the oracle of Zeus Belos reveals his family’s fate.

“The youth of Severus had been trained in the implicit obedience of the camps, and the riper years spent in the despotism of military command.  His haughty and inflexible spirit could not discover, or would not acknowledge, the advantage of preserving an intermediate power, however imaginary, between the Emperor and the army.” – Edward Gibbon, History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, Volume 1, Chapter 5“Here is one man who overthrew three Emperors after they were already ruling, and got the upper hand of the Praetorians by a trick…He prevailed over them all by his courage.  It is not possible to name another like Severus.” – Herodian, History of the Roman Empire from the Death of Marcus Aurelius to the Accession of Gordian III, Book 3, Chapter 7http://s407341505.onlinehome.us/Episode_B31_Perish_in_Blood.mp3Map of the Near East c. 198AD (provinces):http://s407341505.onlinehome.us/Near_East_198AD_1.jpgMap of the Near East c. 198AD (cities):http://s407341505.onlinehome.us/Near_East_198AD_2.jpg

Apr 29 2016

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Rank #19: Episode B39 - Excidium

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Synopsis:  Alexander marches East to counter Ardeshir’s invasion, but the conflict ends in a stalemate.  A short time later, a legionary rebellion along the Rhine brings the Severan regime to a bloody end.

“The lenity of the Emperor confirmed the insolence of the troops; the legions imitated the example of the Guards, and defended their prerogative of licentiousness with the same furious obstinacy.  The administration of Alexander was unavailing struggle against the corruption of this age…Fresh mutinies perpetually broke out; his officers were murdered, his authority was insulted, and his life at last sacrificed to the fierce discontents of the army.”  - Edward Gibbon, History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, Chapter VI, Part IVhttp://s407341505.onlinehome.us/Episode_B39_Excidium.mp3 The Roman War Plan for 233 AD

http://s407341505.onlinehome.us/SASANID_ALEX.jpg The Bloodline Family Tree (Part 1)

http://s407341505.onlinehome.us/B33_Bloodline01.pdf The Bloodline Family Tree (Part 2)

http://s407341505.onlinehome.us/B39_Bloodline02.pdf

Dec 02 2016

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Rank #20: Episode B37 - Shahanshah

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Synopsis:  Ardeshir defeats Artabanus in battle and claims the Parthian Empire for the Sasanids.  After a failed attempt to conquer Armenia, he sets his sights on the Roman East.

“Then (Ardeshir) came to battle with Artabanus, killed the entire army of the latter, seized their wealth, property, horses, and portable lodges, and settled himself in Istakhr.  He collected soldiers in large numbers from Kerman, Mokristan, Isfahan, and different districts of Fars, and came to fight with Artabanus himself.  So Artabanus sent for soldiers and provisions from different frontiers...But as the Glory of the Kayanians (Achaemenids) was with Ardeshir, the latter gained success. He killed Artabanus, whose entire wealth and property fell into the hands of Ardeshir, who married Artabanus's daughter, and went back to Fars.” – The Book of Deeds of Ardeshir Son of Pabag, Chapter IV 
“Artaxerxes, a Persian, having conquered the Parthians in three battles and killed their king, Artabanus, made a campaign against Hatra, which he endeavored to take as a base for attacking the Romans.  He did make a breach in the wall but, as he lost a number of soldiers through an ambuscade, he transferred his position to Media.  Of this district, as also of Parthia, he acquired no small portion, partly by force and partly by intimidation, and then marched against Armenia.  Here he suffered a reverse at the hands of the natives, some Medes, and the children of Artabanus, and either fled (as some say) or (as others assert) retired to prepare a larger expedition.  He accordingly became a source of fear for us.” – Cassius Dio, Rome, Book 80 
http://s407341505.onlinehome.us/Episode_B37_Shahanshah.mp3 Map of the Roman-Sasanid Frontier c. 232 AD:

http://s407341505.onlinehome.us/SASANID_FINAL.jpg

Oct 28 2016

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Episode T13 - Eunus

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Synopsis: A Syrian man from Apamea, enslaved on the island of Sicily, renames himself King Antiochus and launches the first large-scale slave rebellion against the Roman Republic.
“The Sicilians, through the enjoyment of a long peace, grew very rich, and brought up an abundance of slaves; who being driven in droves like so many herds of cattle from the different places where they were bred and brought up, were branded with certain marks burned on their bodies….their masters were very strict and severe with them, and took no care to provide either necessary food or clothing for them, so that most of them were forced to rob and steal to get these necessities; so that all places were full of slaughters and murders.” - Diodorus Siculus, The Historical Library, Book 34
“Then they made Eunus king, not for his valor or skill in warfare, but on account of his extraordinary tricks, and because he was made the leader and author of the defection…At length, putting a diadem upon his head and graced with all the emblems of royalty, he caused his wife, who was also a Syrian from the same city, to be called queen, and chose such as he judged to be the most prudent to be his councillors.” – Diodorus Siculus, The Historical Library, Book 34
http://s407341505.onlinehome.us/Episode_T13_Eunus.mp3

Dec 13 2019

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Episode T12 - Sar Matati

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Synopsis: After Mithridates is struck down by an illness, his son Phraates II defends Parthian gains against the army of Antiochus VII.  Forced to retreat to Hyrcania, Phraates sets events in motion that result in the deaths of both kings.

“On Antiochus (VII)’s approach, many eastern princes came to meet him, surrendering their persons and their thrones, with curses of the arrogance of the Parthians.  The first encounter took place forthwith.  Victorious in three battles, Antiochus seized Babylon and began to be dubbed ‘the Great.’  Thus, as all the peoples were defecting to him, the Parthians were left with nothing but the lands of their fathers.” – Justin, Epitome of the Philippic History of Pompeius Trogus, Book 38

“When word of (a revolt) came to Antiochus (VII), he advanced with the contingent which was wintering with him in order to assist those who were closest at hand, only to meet while on the march the king of the Parthians, against whom he put up a braver fight than did his forces.  Finally, however, the enemy’s valor prevailed and Antiochus, deserted by his craven troops, was killed.” - Justin, Epitome of the Philippic History of Pompeius Trogus, Book 38

“Let’s sit on the ground and tell sad stories of the death of kings, how some were overthrown and others killed in war.  Some were haunted by the ghosts of the kings they had overthrown.” – Shakespeare, Richard II: Act 3 Scene 2

http://s407341505.onlinehome.us/Episode_T12_Sar_Matati.mp3

Map of the Parthian Empire c. 96 BC, which is fairly similar to what they held under Mithridates I c. 138 BC:

http://s407341505.onlinehome.us/Parthia96BC.jpeg

Nov 29 2019

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Episode T11 - Euergetes

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Synopsis: Ongoing strife in Anatolia and Egypt allows Antiochus VII to campaign east against the Parthians.  His early successes inspire hopes of a resurgent Seleucid Empire, hopes shattered by his unexpected death.

“In Asia, Attalos III as soon as he came to the throne began to manage affairs in a way quite different from all the former kings; for they, by their clemency and kindness to their subjects, reigned prosperously and happily themselves and were a blessing to the kingdom; but this prince being of a cruel and bloody disposition oppressed his subjects with many slaughters and grievous calamities.” - Diodorus Siculus, The Historical Library, Book 35

“Ptolemy Physcon, when he saw that his sister Cleopatra (II) was so great an enemy to him, and could not revenge himself otherwise upon her, contrived a most abominable piece of villainy for that purpose.  For, imitating the cruelty of Medeia, he murdered her son, begotten by himself, in Cyprus; the son was called Memphites, and was still a young boy.” – Diodorus Siculus, The Historical Library, Book 35

“(Queen) Laodice (of Cappadocia) had had six children of the male sex by King Ariarathes (V); she feared that she would not long remain in control of the kingdom once any of them grew up, so she resorted to murder, killing five of them by poison.” – Justin, Epitome of the Philippic History of Pompeius Trogus, Book 37

Map of Anatolia after the Treaty of Apamea (c. 188 BC):http://s407341505.onlinehome.us/Anatolia.jpg

http://s407341505.onlinehome.us/Episode_T11_Euergetes.mp3

Nov 15 2019

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Episode S2 - The Bactrian Kingdom

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“In this battle, Antiochus’ horse was wounded and killed, and the king himself was struck through the mouth and lost some of his teeth.  On the whole, he acquired on that occasion the greatest reputation for valor.  Because of this battle, Euthydemus was caught off guard and retreated with his forces into the Bactrian city of Zariaspa.” – Polybius, The Histories, 10.49

Synopsis: After the death of Alexander the Great, Bactria came under Seleucid rule before gaining its independence under the Diodotid and Euthydemid kings.  In the second part of my interview with historian and author Tristan Hughes, we discuss how the Bactrian Kingdom was born, preserved itself against multiple attempts at Seleucid reconquest, and finally met its end.
http://s407341505.onlinehome.us/Episode_S2_The_Bactrian_Kingdom.mp3
Tristan Hughes @BattlesAncients on Twitter
Battles of the Ancients website www.turningpointsoftheancientworld.com

Oct 11 2019

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Episode S1 - Alexander in Bactria

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“I am engaged in a land of a leonine and brave people, where every foot of the ground is like a wall of steel confronting my soldiers.  You have brought only one Alexander into the world, but every mother in this land has brought an Alexander into the world.” – Alexander the Great, in a letter written to his mother Olympias from Bactria

Synopsis: Five years of campaigning brought Alexander the Great to the doorstep of Bactria, but he’d spend much of the next three years - arguably the most difficult of his life - trying to control the region.  In this first episode of an occasional series called “The Ancient World – Spotlight” I’m joined by historian and author Tristan Hughes to discuss the uprising of the Sogdian warlord Spitamenes, quite possibly Alexander’s greatest foe, and the later revolts of Hellenic troops upon news of Alexander’s death.

http://s407341505.onlinehome.us/Episode_S1_Alexander_in_Bactria.mp3
Tristan Hughes @BattlesAncients on Twitter
Battles of the Ancients website www.turningpointsoftheancientworld.com

Sep 13 2019

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Episode T10 - Sidetes

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Synopsis: Cleopatra Thea marries Demetrius II’s brother, Antiochus VII, becoming the simultaneous queen of two Seleucid kings. While Antiochus crushes Tryphon’s revolt and recovers former Seleucid territories, Demetrius is defeated by Mithridates and imprisoned in distant Hyrcania.
“But as Antiochus, the brother of Demetrius (II) who was called Soter, was not admitted by any of the cities on account of Tryphon, Cleopatra sent to him, and invited him to marry her, and to take the kingdom. The reasons why she made this invitation were these: That her friends persuaded her to it, and that she was afraid for herself, in case some of the people of Seleucia (Pieria) should deliver up the city to Tryphon. As Antiochus was now come to Seleucia, and his forces increased every day, he marched to fight Tryphon; and having beaten him in battle, he ejected him out of Upper Syria into Phoenicia, and pursued him thither, and besieged him in Dora which was a fortress hard to be taken, whither he had fled.” – Josephus, The Antiquities of the Jews, Book XIII, Chapter 7
“Antiochus well remembered that his father had been hated for his arrogance and his brother despised for his idleness. To avoid falling into the same vices himself, he married Cleopatra, his brother’s widow, and took vigorous action against the cities which had defected at the start of his brother’s reign. He subdued them and added them once more to the territory of his kingdom.” – Justin, Epitome of the Philippic History of Pompeius Trogus, 36.1.9
http://s407341505.onlinehome.us/Episode_T10_Sidetes.mp3

Aug 24 2019

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Episode T9 - Tryphon

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Synopsis: The Seleucid rebel Diodotus Tryphon uses Thea and Alexander Balas’ young son, Antiochus VI, to capture most of Syria.  Though paralyzed at home, Demetrius II embarks on a bold plan to challenge the conquests of Mithridates.

“Now there was a certain commander…whose name was Diodotus, who was also called Tryphon, who took notice of the ill-will the soldiers bore toward Demetrius, and went to (Iamblichus) the Arabian, who brought up Antiochus, the son of Alexander…and persuaded him to give him Antiochus, because he would make him king.” – Josephus, The Antiquities of the Jews, Book XIII, Chapter 5

“And so cities in all districts rebelled against (Demetrius’) rule; and to remove the stigma of indolence he decided to attack the Parthians.” – Justin, Epitome of the Philippic History of Pompeius Trogus, 36.1.7

http://s407341505.onlinehome.us/Episode_T9_Tryphon.mp3

Map of Syria c. 200 BC (courtesy of www.timemaps.com)

http://s407341505.onlinehome.us/Syria-200bc.png

Aug 09 2019

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Episode T8 - The City

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Synopsis: The rediscovery of Ai Khanoum testified to the wealth and power of the Bactrian Kingdom.  Mithridates’ conquest of Babylonia is countered by an unlikely coalition.

“The cities of Bactria were Bactra, which they also call Zariaspa and through which flows a river of the same name that empties into the Oxus, plus the city of Darapsa, and others more. Among these was a city called Eucratideia, named after its ruler… (The Greeks) also controlled Sogdiana, which lies above and to the east of Bactria between the Oxus River – demarcating Bactrians from Sogdians – and the Jaxartes River, likewise separating the Sogdians from the nomads.” – Strabo, Geography, 11.11.2
“These wise sayings of earlier men, the words of well-known men, are enshrined in the holy Pytho.  There Clearchus copied them faithfully, and set them up here in the sanctuary of Kineas, blazing from afar.
               As a child, be well-behaved.
               As a youth, be self-controlled.
               As an adult, be just.
               As an elder, be wise.
               As one dying, be without pain.”

 - Inscription at the Heroon (hero’s tomb) of Kineas, oikistes (founder) of the city of Ai Khanoum, Afghanistan, dated 300 – 250 BC 
http://s407341505.onlinehome.us/Episode_T8_The_City.mp3
Map of Ai Khanoum and Ashoka Rock Edicts
http://s407341505.onlinehome.us/Ai_Khanoum.jpg
Map of the Eastern Satrapies

http://s407341505.onlinehome.us/Eastern_Satrapies.jpg

Jul 26 2019

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Episode T7 - Blazing From Afar

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Synopsis: On the eastern frontiers of the Seleucid Empire, Parthia, Bactria and the Indo-Greeks struggle for regional supremacy.  The stalemate in Syria and murder of Eucratides advance the fortunes of Mithridates.

“At about the same time that Mithridates was beginning his rule in Parthia, Eucratides was beginning his in Bactria, both of them great men.  But the fortunes of the Parthians prevailed, carrying them to the zenith of their power under this king.” – Justin, Epitome of the Philippic History of Pompeius Trogus, 41.6

"The Yavanas (Greeks) will command, the Kings will disappear.  But ultimately the Yavanas, intoxicated with fighting, will not stay in Madhadesa (the Middle Country); there will be undoubtedly a civil war among them, arising in their own country (Bactria), there will be a terrible and ferocious war." – Gargi-Samhita, Yuga Purana, Chapter 7 http://s407341505.onlinehome.us/Episode_T7_Blazing_From_Afar.mp3

Jul 12 2019

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Spring Break

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Now that we’re 6 episodes in, I wanted to give you an update on the new series and my plans for 2019.  I’m planning to break “The Ancient World – Thea” into 6-episode “seasons” with breaks in between.  Which is another way of saying that I’m going back on break for a while. You can expect the second season sometime this Summer and a third season before the end of the year.  I don’t really have a feeling yet for how long this series’ll run – it might wrap in the third season or might take a fourth.  I’m notoriously bad at predicting that kind of thing.

During the break I’m planning to dig into a few side-projects. So, for example, if anyone out there has experience in ancient-history-themed childrens’ books hit me up on social media.  Otherwise if you’d like to help out the show here’s my humble ask: Find one friend who’s into history and tell them about The Ancient World.  Maybe even point them toward the first 6 episodes of “Thea” as a low-commitment introduction. If each of you could turn just one friend on to the show that would get us up over 50,000 subscribers. If each of you got two friends listening we’d have nearly 100,000.

Those are amazing numbers - but with your help it’s also completely doable. With the recent changes in the podcasting world it’s also a great way to show your support for freeform, independent podcasting.  And, last but not least, it’s a wonderful way to keep me inspired and keep the stories flowing.

So, that’s it for now – and thanks in advance for helping me out. I hope you’re enjoying “The Ancient World – Thea” and thanks again for listening!

http://s407341505.onlinehome.us/Spring_Break.mp3

Mar 15 2019

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Episode T6 - Philometor

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Synopsis: With Syria beset by regional enemies, three kings face off at the Battle of the Oenoparos River.  The lone survivor, King Demetrius II, inaugurates his reign with the violent destruction of Antioch.

“And the king of Egypt gathered together a great host, like the sand that lieth upon the sea shore, and many ships, and went about through deceit to get Alexander’s kingdom, and join it to his own…Wherefore he took his daughter from him, and gave her to Demetrius, and forsook Alexander, so that their hatred was openly known. Then Ptolemy entered into Antioch, where he set two crowns upon his head, the crown of Asia, and of Egypt.” – 1 Maccabees, Chapter 11

http://s407341505.onlinehome.us/Episode_T6_Philometor.mp3

Feb 28 2019

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Episode T5 - Balas

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Synopsis: Demetrius struggles to preserve his throne but ends up falling in battle.  Alexander Balas begins his reign by marrying Ptolemy’s daughter, Cleopatra Thea.  While the sons of Demetrius remain a threat, the couple are also forced to confront the growing menace of Parthia.

“Then gathered king Alexander great forces, and camped over against Demetrius.  And after the two kings had joined battle, Demetrius’ host fled: but Alexander followed after him, and prevailed against them.  And he continued the battle very sore until the sun went down: and that day was Demetrius slain.” – 1 Maccabees

http://s407341505.onlinehome.us/Episode_T5_Balas.mp3

Feb 15 2019

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Episode T4 - Soter

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Synopsis: Demetrius seizes the Syrian throne and stems immediate threats from Media and Judaea.  But deposed officials and regional rulers conspire to engineer his downfall.

“When it became known that the Romans were ill disposed towards Demetrius, not only the other kings but even some of the satraps subject to him regarded his kingship with scant respect.  Of these satraps the most outstanding was a certain Timarchus…By launching many accusations against Demetrius (he) persuaded the senate to enact (a decree making him king).  Emboldened by this decree he raised an army of considerable size in Media; he also entered into alliance against Demetrius with Artaxias, the king of Armenia.” – Diodorus Siculus, The Library of History, Book XXXI

http://s407341505.onlinehome.us/Episode_T4_Soter.mp3

Feb 01 2019

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Episode T3 - Thea

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Synopsis: Lysias attempts to exercise control through the young King Antiochus V, but a deadly incident with a Roman delegation gives hope to the captive Demetrius.  Ptolemy Physcon challenges his brother Ptolemy VI for control of Egypt and Cyprus.

“They then went on board, and the pilot weighed anchor and started just as the day was breaking, having absolutely no idea of the real state of the case, but believing that he was conveying some soldiers from Menyllus to Ptolemy…It was not until the fourth day after his start that, Demetrius being looked for in vain, the truth was suspected.  On the fifth the Senate was hastily summoned to consider the matter, when Demetrius had already cleared the Straits of Messina.  The Senate gave up all idea of pursuit.” – Polybius, The Histories, Book XXXI

http://s407341505.onlinehome.us/Episode_T3_Thea.mp3

Jan 17 2019

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Episode T2 - Megas

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Synopsis: Antiochus the Great restores Seleucid fortunes, but his son Antiochus IV sews the seeds of the Empire’s destruction.

“On (Antiochus IV), after reading the dispatch, saying that he desired to consult with his friends on the situation, Popilius did a thing which was looked upon as exceedingly overbearing and insolent. Happening to have a vine stick in his hand, he drew a circle round Antiochus with it, and ordered him to give his answer to the letter before he stepped out of that circumference.” – Polybius, the Histories, Book XXIX

http://s407341505.onlinehome.us/Episode_T2_Megas.mp3

Jan 04 2019

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Episode T1 – Nicator

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Synopsis: Seleucus I Nicator forges the Seleucid Empire, and his descendants spend the next century struggling to preserve his legacy.

“In Asia, after the defeat of Demetrius at Gaza in Syria, Seleucus, receiving from Ptolemy no more than eight hundred foot soldiers and about two hundred horse, set out for Babylon.” – Diodorus Siculus, The Library of History, Book XIX

http://s407341505.onlinehome.us/Episode_T1_Nicator.mp3

Dec 21 2018

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The Rest of My Interview

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with Drew from the Wonders of the World Podcast, where we talk about Palmyra, Odaenathus, and (of course) Queen Zenobia.  Enjoy!

http://traffic.libsyn.com/wonderspodcast/040_-_The_Temple_of_Bel_at_Palmyra.mp3

Jul 11 2018

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Just Did My First Interview

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with the lovely and talented Drew from the Wonders of the World podcast, where we talk about the exotic Roman Emperor Elagabalus, the amazing temple complex at Baalbek, and lots of other fun stuff.  Enjoy!  And please also check out his other episodes (it helps if you bring a healthy love of Demetrius Poliorcetes ;)

http://traffic.libsyn.com/wonderspodcast/039_-_The_Temples_of_Heliopolis_at_Baalbek.mp3

Jun 26 2018

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Episode B54 - Efqa

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Synopsis:  Monotheism, modern Syria, the world’s first romance story, and the end of the Bloodline.

“The oasis and town of Palmyra owe their existence to the plentiful spring that runs from Jebel Muntar.  This spring dominates a narrow passage in the principal route between the Homs pass and the Euphrates River and is in the heart of the Syrian desert.  The oasis furnishes a resting place between Iraq and Central Syria, and it was a primary stop for caravans plying between the Gulf, Iran, and the Mediterranean.” – Khaled Al-Asaad and Adnan Bounni, Palmyra: History, Monuments & Museum http://s407341505.onlinehome.us/Episode_B54_Efqa.mp3

Mar 23 2018

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Episode B53 - Memento Mori

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Synopsis: Aurelian returns East to crush Palmyrene revolts in Syria and Egypt. The sources relate differing accounts of Zenobia’s ultimate fate.

“To the tumultuous throng which crowded under these porticoes the solitude of death has succeeded. The silence of the tomb is substituted for the hum of polite places.” – Count C.F.C deVolney, The Ruins, or Meditations on the Revolutions of Empires

“The elevation of Odaenathus and Zenobia appeared to reflect new splendor on their country, and Palmyra, for a while, stood forth the rival of Rome; but the competition was fatal, and ages of prosperity were sacrificed to a moment of glory.” – Gibbon, The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire

“When the sand seems to disappear, not beneath the verdure of an oasis but beneath an accumulation of marble and worked stones, silence falls among the travelers…it is then that a man, even the least civilized, feels himself to be small and, despite himself, meditates on the presence of that mighty ruin as upon a mighty sorrow.” – L. Double, 1877

http://s407341505.onlinehome.us/Episode_B53_Memento_Mori.mp3

Mar 09 2018

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iTunes Ratings

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Thanks

By Johm taylor - Dec 13 2019
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The podcast is wonderful. It is in a league of its own.

Absolutely fantastic

By Daniel meirom - Jul 14 2019
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Love the different narratives of ancient history.