Rank #1: The movie Troy (2004)
In this third episode, we discuss the Brad Pitt vehicle Troy, a 2004-movie directed by Wolfgang Petersen. The movie doesn't focus exclusively on the Homeric epics, but draws from the entire Epic Cycle, covering the whole of the Trojan War, from its immediate cause (the abduction of the Spartan queen Helen) to the sack of the city.
The team for this episode consists of archaeologists Matthew Lloyd and Josho Brouwers, and ancient historian Roel Konijnendijk. They talk at length about the film: the choices made in fitting the story within a fairly limited running length (a little over three hours for the Director's Cut); the curious mix of Bronze Age and Archaic/Classical elements in set design, props, and costumes for a movie ostensibly set around 1200 BC; the performances, ranging from amazingly hammy to not so great; why more Sean Bean is the best reason to watch the Director's Cut, and more.
Feb 05 2018
Rank #2: Mercenaries in the ancient world
In this episode, Joshua Hall and Josho Brouwers are joined by experts Stephanie Craven and Hannah Ringheim to discuss mercenaries in the ancient world. This podcast is dedicated to the memory of Matthew Trundle. His scholarship had a significant impact on our discussion of mercenaries. The introduction and closing are handled by contributing editor Matthew Lloyd.
Sep 02 2019
Rank #3: Networks in the ancient Mediterranean
Joshua Hall, Matthew Lloyd, and Josho Brouwers are joined by special guest Dr Lieve Donnellan of Aarhus University to talk about networks and interconnectivity in the ancient Mediterranean. The discussion is prompted by our reading of Cyprian Broodbank’s monumental work, The Making of the Middle Sea: A History of the Mediterranean from the Beginning to the Emergence of the Classical World, published in 2013 by Thames & Hudson.
Jan 07 2019
Rank #4: History of Carthage, part 1
This is the first instalment of a series that deals with the history of Carthage. Joshua Hall talks with Josho Brouwers about Phoenicia, the Phoenicians (whoever they might be), and colonization in the Mediterranean during the Late Bronze Age and Early Iron Age. We also touch upon the differences between territorial states and city-states in the Levant, and how the Phoenician cities interacted with their neighbours.
A key question to ask is who the Phoenicians were. We talk about the problems involved in ascribing a Phoenician "ethnicity", referring to among others Jospehine Quinn's recent book on the Phoenicians, and on the perception of the Phoenicians in Greek and Roman sources.
Nov 12 2018
Rank #5: Virgil's Aeneid
We've been writing a lot about the Trojan War on Ancient World Magazine and also devoted an earlier episode of the podcast to chat about the 2004-movie Troy. Virgil's Aeneid is a useful topic of discussion, since it connects the world of Greek mythology with that of Roman legend, and also connects myth to history.
Virgil (70–19 BC) consciously modelled the Aeneid after the two Homeric epics, Iliad and Odyssey. The first half of the poem (books 1 through 6) focus on Aeneas' wanderings and are analogous to the Odyssey. The second half (books 7 through 12) focus on Aeneas struggles in Latium and the war against the Rutulians and their allies, with clear allusions to the Iliad.
Virgil's poem is an intricate work of literature, incorporating Greek and Italic myths, legends, and folklore. A key theme of the poem is the tension between pietas (piety) on the one hand, and furor (violence, rage) on the other. More specifically, Virgil asks us whether the end justifies the means. Is human suffering in the short term worth the establishment of peace and order in the long term?
Jun 11 2018