The History of Rome in 179 Podcasts

What with so many open-end­ed inter­net media projects out there, I admire any that come to a close. Peo­ple start plen­ty of things on the net that wind up peter­ing out, but few dis­play the con­vic­tion to work toward a deci­sive end. Then again, this goes for all forms of human endeav­or; even the builders of the Roman Empire must have oper­at­ed on the assump­tion that it might go on for­ev­er. We now know, of course, that it would­n’t, and this knowl­edge pro­vides for­mal and intel­lec­tu­al premis­es for Mike Dun­can’s pod­cast, The His­to­ry of Rome (iTunes — RSS). The Roman Empire end­ed by the year 476. The his­to­ry of the Roman Empire in pod­cast form end­ed last Sun­day, after almost five years, 179 episodes, and 1654 near-uni­ver­sal­ly lauda­to­ry iTunes reviews.

I reviewed The His­to­ry of Rome myself back in 2009, for the Podthoughts col­umn I write for Pod­think­ing has taught me that his­to­ry as a sub­ject suits this ver­bal, episod­ic, straight-into-your-mind type of medi­um almost ide­al­ly. Though Dun­can choos­es to get straight to the point and tell the Roman Empire’s sto­ry in a clear, asceti­cal­ly unadorned man­ner, dif­fer­ent pod­casts deliv­er their slices of his­to­ry with styles and sen­si­bil­i­ties all their own. If you his­tor­i­cal­ly inclined pod­cast-lis­ten­ers have already been keep­ing up with this show, oth­ers await you: Dan Car­lin’s Hard­core His­to­ry, Twelve Byzan­tine Rulers, A His­to­ry of the World in 100 Objects, and (my own cur­rent lis­ten­ing expe­ri­ence of choice) Top­ics in Kore­an His­to­ry, to name but a few. But if you haven’t been, sit down and let Mike Dun­can tell you about a cer­tain Romu­lus and Remus, with whom the his­to­ry of Rome myth­i­cal­ly began.

More cours­es on the Ancient world, includ­ing the his­to­ry of Rome, can be found in the His­to­ry sec­tion of our col­lec­tion of 1150 Free Online Cours­es.

Relat­ed con­tent:

The Decline and Fall of the Roman (and Amer­i­can?) Empire: A Free Audio­book

Rome Reborn – An Amaz­ing Dig­i­tal Mod­el of Ancient Rome

How Many U.S. Marines Could Bring Down the Roman Empire?

Col­in Mar­shall hosts and pro­duces Note­book on Cities and Cul­ture. Fol­low him on Twit­ter at @colinmarshall.

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Comments (5)
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  • I LOVE these Pod­casts!!! Not sim­ply because I am a Latin teacher, but because I am an habit­u­al learn­er. I am thor­ough­ly enjoy­ing A His­to­ry of the World in 100 Objects right now. Next, I will brush up on my Roman His­to­ry for my M.Ed in Latin by review­ing this pod­cast along with my read­ings. I high­ly rec­om­mend these free­bies for any­one who loves his­to­ry. Plus, you can’t beat the price.

  • An excel­lent resource, it allows me to fill in gaps in my knowl­edge of Rome.

  • Satsukinob says:

    I got inter­est­ed when I saw the HISTORY thing. I real­ly like read­ing and lis­ten­ing his­tor­i­cal sto­ries. It gives me the feel­ing of being social­ly con­nect­ed.

  • rjeff krause says:

    This “The His­to­ry of Rome” is cer­tain­ly wor­thy of admi­ra­tion, but I hope that the Open Cul­ture project does­n’t sim­i­lar­ly come to an end. Whether “Open Cul­ture” is inter­pret­ed as a goal or a com­mand, it’s hard to see how it could fin­ish before our cul­ture does.

  • zeev says:

    Don’t for­get the more recent British His­to­ry pod­cast, which does rough­ly the same thing, in chrono­log­i­cal order:

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