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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)

iTunes Ratings

915 Ratings
Average Ratings
761
89
26
17
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

The Best Episodes Ranked Using User Listens

Updated by OwlTail 5 days ago

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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