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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