The decemvirs continue to drive strong feeling among the senators. But while the patricians argue, Rome’s enemies draw ever closer…
The Partial Historians are Dr Fiona Radford and Dr Peta Greenfield. They are both Roman historians and this podcast follows all manner of topics to do with the ancient Romans.
We chat with Dr Debby Sneed about her work on impairment in antiquity. Tune in for human remains, sanctuaries, and textual evidence!
We review the major events in Roman history for the decade of the 450s BCE!
After seizing power, the decemvirs under Appius Claudius realise that they might need the Senate as Rome faces war on two fronts!
At the beginning of this year, we finally got to see The Gladiators vs Spartacus in print. It took a lot of determination and hard work on behalf of Henry MacAdam, as well as co-authors Cooper and Dr Rad, to bring this story to light, so we are delighted to be able to share one of the early reviews with you all. The author of these reviews, Brian Hannan, is a true film buff, with…
Cleopatra VII is infamous as the lover of Caesar and Antony, but did you know that she’s also famous for her scholarship and leadership?
The First Decemvirate was a big success, so much so that Rome opts for a Second Decemvirate! It’s only now that the cracks start to appear…
The Twelve Tables are a landmark moment of early Republican Roman history. In this episode we explore some of the highlights of this law code!
We revisit the 460s BCE to learn what the Romans have been up to. There’s neighbourly disputes, internal conflict, and battles galore!
The Roman republic is in full swing and it’s time for the first decemvirate! The growing discontent amongst the population is reaching breaking point according to our narrative sources.
It is sometimes claimed that Julius Caesar was the first emperor of Rome. While this was not the case, defining who was the first emperor of Rome is no easy task.
** The Gladiators – The Story of a Lost Hollywood Epic **
Yul Brynner’s film The Gladiators never made it to the big screen, but the story behind its failure is an epic in itself.
Dr Rad’s latest work on this is out now and we’re super excited!
The race to bring Spartacus to the big screen is an epic tale of 1950s Hollywood. Dr Rad explores the rival productions and the intrigue.
We explore the Year of the Four Emperors – 69 CE with our special guest Dr Rob Cromarty! Join us for all the political machinations and hijinks of this transition from the Julio-Claudians to the Flavians.
It’s 453 BCE and just as Rome seems to be heading towards a legal milestone disaster strikes: it’s a plague! Now plagues are terrible, of that there is no doubt, but how does this influence the path to codification? We’re here to find out. Episode 108 – Plague and Politics The Character of the Plague It is hard to identify the plague with certainty. What is clear from our later written sources is that the…
We jump into 454 BCE where we start to see the consequences of the events of the previous year play out. It’s hard to get away from our “Roman Achilles” who, in his position as plebeian tribune, levels a charge of “injuring the state” against the former consul Romilius. This sets up a cascade of interesting incidents. Episode 107 – Let the Codification Begin There’s little agreement between our major written sources for this year.…
Medusa fills the imagination with fascination. Between her beauty and dread, we’re exploring representations of the snake-haired Gorgon! We’re joined by Liv, host of Let’s Talk About Myths Baby to explore the representation of Medusa through time.
We continue to follow the cause of our Roman Achilles–more formally known as Lucius Siccius Dentatus–in 455 BCE. Dentatus is truly the star of the this period of history from the perspective of Dionysius of Halicarnassus and Dr G has a lot to say about that! Episode 106 – Spoiler Alert What can we glean from a history written long after the fact? Dr Rad takes us through some of the key concerns we face…
There’s nothing quite like learning that there’s a Roman Achilles! In this episode we get to meet the man behind the legend. Episode 105 – The Roman Achilles Before we jump in, let’s find out where things stand. It’s 455 BCE and our narrative sources have put forward the case that the opening up of the Aventine was an important step under the new collective of ten tribunes. But all is not well on the…
We sit down with Dr Emma Southon to talk all things Agrippina the Younger. Join us for the thrilling and engaging story of Agrippina’s life at the centre of Julio-Claudian power.
We return to the City of Rome in 456 BCE and follow the ongoing domestic struggles that Rome faces in defining herself in terms of transparency at law. Episode 104 – Aventine, Aventine With a new crop of tribunes come some important consequences. While in previous years the tribunes have focused on the goal of ensuring that there is a clear and public way for any Roman citizen to access the laws in order to…
It’s c. 457 BCE in Rome and in this episode we explore the state of affairs in the wake of Cincinnatus’ dictatorship. Rome’s affairs with her neighbours are not off to a good start. As the City lifts her gaze outward after recent troubles, nearby peoples have taken matters into their own hands. The Sabines and the Aequians are both making bold moves stretching Rome’s attention both to the north and the south.
We had the very great pleasure to sit down with Emeritus Professor Edwin Judge to discuss his latest publication The Failure of Augustus: Essays on the Interpretation of a Paradox (2019).
It’s c. 458 BCE and Rome’s troubles culminate in the appointment of a dictator. In this episode we explore the context which leads to the appointment of this emergency position and trace Rome’s progress as she attempts to face enemies on multiple fronts.
For our 90th episode, Dr G and I decided to record a special episode on the Australian Ballet’s production of Spartacus. We were honoured when we were contacted and asked if we could produce an article for Classicum based on this podcast. The finished product has just been published, and so the Partial Historians has finally made it into print. We have talked about Spartacus in so many ways over the years, from film to…
Dr Rad pays tribute to the late and unmistakable force to be reckoned with, Kirk Douglas. His role in Spartacus and his legacy for Rome on film and Hollywood are legendary.
The Romans find themselves on the wrong end of Aequian aggression and its not long before we meet Cloelius Gracchus!
!!MILESTONE EPISODE!! We’re celebrating our 100th episode! Join us for this very special exploration of the Roman consulship.
It is c. 459 BCE and Rome faces the consequences of the Capitol having been seized and a consul killed in the previous year. The challenges come on two fronts: Tusculum and Antium.
Dr Amy Place from the University of Leicester sits down with Dr Rad to discuss the humble Roman toga, fashion and social identity, and everyday life in late imperial Roman North Africa!
It’s c. 460 BCE and this hectic year in Roman history continues! In this episode we consider Rome in the wake of the sneak attack on the Capitol by Herdonius’ disaffected Sabines. During the challenges of wrestling control back, the Romans lose one of their own. The consul Publius Valerius Pubicola falls in battle. This is a tragic loss and opens the way for Lucius Cincinnatus to return to the narrative. Episode 98 – Cincinnatus,…
In this special episode, we’re joined by Liz Smith, who has recently completed her doctoral research of the representation of women’s dress in statuary at Macquarie University. Together we’ll trace the threads of evidence for women’s attire in the Roman world. Liz’s research includes the fashion of women’s dress in ancient representations in order to investigate what we can learn about the representation of women. This means considering how representations of women in statuary were…
We return to our narrative of Rome’s history of its foundation with some surprising Sabines. It’s still 460 BCE, which is an indication of just how complicated Rome’s history is becoming when we read our sources. Both Livy and Dionysius of Halicarnassus are very focused on the ongoing conflict between the Roman elites and the emerging claims to power from the plebeians. We wouldn’t would to give too many spoilers away, but while the Romans are busy trying to figure out what their internal politics will look like, there might just be an enemy on the horizon!
We take a look at the 9th Tarantino film and its connection to history. There’s plenty to consider and much to question! Advance apologies for the variable audio quality on this one!
The Romans define themselves against this barbarians. In this special episode, Dr Rad is joined by Dr Rhiannon Evans to talk all things barbarian!
The conflict between patricians and plebeians continues apace as we explore the political complexities of 460 BCE. Much like a Jane Austen novel, letters and rumours abound in the fair city of Rome… According to the annalist tradition, debate continues to rage about the proposal for clarity around laws and the idea of equality before the law. This leads to an unusual situation: the tribunes from the previous year return to continue pushing for these…
The complex relationship between the patricians and plebeians is central to our appreciation of the 460s BCE. In this episode we’ll get to consider the complexities first hand with the entrance of Caeso Quinctius (remember this name, he’s going places!). We jump back into the narrative history of c. 461 BCE with our guides of the moment, Livy and Dionysius of Halicarnassus. Both are writing long after these events, which means that their accounts leave…
We return to Rome’s narrative from the founding of City. The year c. 462 BCE ends on a high note with the consuls both gathering honours for their military exploits. L. Lucretius Tricipitinus is awarded a triumph for his successes against the Aequii while T. Veturius Geminus scores an ovatio for his part against the Volscii. As for the title of this episode—’Flesh Rains Down Upon Thee’— well, we wouldn’t want to spoil it, but…
We return to the fray with the most excellent Rob and Jaime to tackle Dr Radness’ favourite emperor. How will Tiberius fare against the criteria of Totalus Rankium? We’re about to find out! How are we judging Tiberius? Oooo better not to ask me, Dr G, author of this post, because I’m too much of an Augustan fan-girl to answer this question. Okay, okay, here’s how it will work. We’ll discuss Tiberius’ life and career…
Rome emerges from the year of pestilence and moves straight on to divide and conquer. While this seems implausible, we’re still navigating the tricky gaps in our annalist historians – uncertainty is the name of the historical game at this stage. Welcome to c. 462 BCE! The pestilence ensured the death of both consuls of c. 463 BCE so it’s only after a series of interreges that we stumble into the new consular year. Join…
We sat down recently with Stephen Guerra, the host of the History of the Papacy Podcast to talk all about the classic 1951 sword-and-sandals film Quo Vadis.
We’re very excited to bring you a special episode where we sit down with Cam from The Life of Caesar podcast! We’re talking about Tiberius Caesar Divi Augusti filius Augustus or ‘Tibbo’ as he’s affectionately known.
We’re jumping back into the narrative. The title might be a bit of a giveaway, yes yes, we’ll be talking about … pestilence! But before we get there we need to consider the circumstances. Rome has been having lots of problems with their neighbours, particularly the Aequians and we’ve seen a shift in tactics from Aequians engaging in guerilla style raiding to seeking out the Romans in pitched battle. To say that Rome has been…
In this special episode we get together with Rob and Jamie from Totalus Rankium to discuss Augustus – hear all the highs and lows here!
In this episode, we dip in the years c. 466-4 BCE to explore the continuing conflict between Rome, the Aequians, and the Volscians. These years are packed with drama, politics, and virtus!
This is a short blog post designed to accompany the release of the recent History by Hollywood podcast episode that features Dr Rad, which you can listen to HERE. Before the Blacklist In the mid-1920s, a young man from Grand Junction moved to L.A. with his family. For nearly a decade, he struggled to contribute to the family coffers, working in a bakery and dabbling in low-level criminal activities. This decade made him particularly aware of…
We are turning 90, which seems like a good time to take a break and go to the ballet. The Doctors are talking about Spartacus in tights this episode. The ballet version of Spartacus’ life is especially interesting as the production emerged from the other side of the Cold War. Everybody Loves Spartacus – especially the Soviets! The history of the slave revolt was reconsidered a number of times during the turbulent early 20th century…
We’re turning 90 and it’s time for a special episode on the reception of Spartacus! What better way to do this than to examine the history of Spartacus, the ballet. Dr Rad is our expert on the ground on all things Spartacus and reception. Dr G brings a wild curiosity and a small knowledge of ballet.
The gods have been smiling on us for the past year or two. As we have learnt more about the podcasting and popular history game, momentum has been building. One of the highlights has been our collaborations with TED-Ed. Dr G and I have been fortunate enough to contribute to a few projects on Roman History, such as the Vestals, the Emperor Augustus and the newly released Spartacus. Since beginning my postgraduate studies, classical reception…
We are very excited to share the NEW TED-Ed animation on Spartacus, that wily gladiator. Given their lengthy relationship, Dr Rad is especially thrilled to have played a small role in bringing Spartacus’ story to your screens in a new format. This video is based on a range of primary sources about Spartacus and the revolt that he led against Rome between 73-71 BCE. If you are intrigued by this slave revolt, perhaps you would…
It’s a brand new edition of the Partial Historians covering the Early Roman Republic™! And as the title ‘A Fabian Abroad’ hints, the Fabians are back in the political scene!
There’s nothing we enjoy more than some controversy in the source material and oooo boy does the narrative get hazy with the return of a Fabian back in the scene. We explore some of the challenges with this situation in order to get a better sense of what might be happening in the family history.
What kind of drama could follow the career of uber patrician Appius Claudius? As it turns out, those Romans are really all about battle after battle! We’ve reached a hazy period in our historiography where the narratives of Livy and Dionysius start to diverge on specifics; some events play out over different years depending on the author.
We are deep in the conflict between between patricians and plebeians. We jump back into the narrative part way through c. 471 BCE. Our consuls are Titus Quintius Capitolinus Barbartus and Appius Claudius Sabinus and they represent different approaches to political engagement with the plebeians.
Dr R has teamed up with Ryan Stitt, host and creator of the hugely popular The History of Ancient Greece Podcast, to discuss slavery in the ancient world, gladiators, and slave revolts!
Our jaunt through the history of ancient Rome continues apace! In this episode we cover c. 472-1 BCE. Dr Radness is reading Livy and Dr G is reading Dionysius of Halicarnassus and the comparisons of our sources is quite something! The main stars are the tribunes Volero and Laertorius.
When we left you at the end of the last episode, there was some major events afoot – there’s nothing like a murder in the city, particularly when the people turning up dead are Romans who hold a public magistracy! In this episode we consider the mystery concerning Gnaeus Genucius and the stories connected with Volero Publilius!
This has been a long time coming, but for those of you who enjoyed our episodes (numbers 18-21) on Spartacus, the 1960 film and the Starz series, here are some select sources to help you find out more about Spartacus on the small and big screen. Augoustakis, A.; Cyrino, M. (eds), Starz Spartacus: Reimagining an Icon on Screen (Edinburgh University Press, Edinburgh: 2016) Blanshard, A.; Shahabudin, K., Classics on Screen: Ancient Greece and Rome on…
In this episode, Drs R and G discuss the exploits of the Romans between c. 475-3 BCE. There’s plenty to consider: battles, consular successes, and looming ever larger in the narrative the call for agrarian reform which builds on the back of a grain crisis.
After the tragic demise of the Fabii gens, what happens next? The rivalry between Rome and her northern neighbour Veii continues! ‘If Only I Had Some Grain’ captures the spirit of this episode. We cover the years c. 476 BCE and part of c. 475 BCE. Is this a sign that our narrative is quickening up? Quite possibly! We face two strands of narrative: The developing grain crisis in Rome and the military consequences of the forces of Veii (aka the Tyrrhenians) on the Janiculum.
Update: In November 2020, a series of revelations across a variety of social media platforms have made clear that Ryan Stitt’s behaviour to many women in the classics and ancient history community has been inappropriate. We hear those women and stand by those women. We did not know about the pattern of behaviour when the episode below was recorded. We have opted to leave the link to the episode below active as the topic may…
We return to the history of Rome from the founding of the City and that can only mean one thing – the Fabian family are back front and centre. And, yes, that episode title is a bit of a spoiler! We’re talking about the Fabian demise.
Would any Ancient Roman podcast hosted by two women be complete without a very special episode on one of the most famous women in the City’s history, Livia Drusilla? Obviously not and here we are 🙂
The Colosseum is the most famous example of a Roman amphitheatre and also the largest! The connection between competition, sport, and power is all up for grabs in this special collaboration between the Wonders of the World Podcast and Dr G from our very own Partial Historians. You can hear it all here. Enter Vespasian Stage Right Vespasian comes from a middling political family, who made his name as a commander of troops. So how…
Rome and the Fabians have developed a whole new military tactic by building a fortress near Veii. This is momentous! It allows Rome to station soldiers outside the City in preparation for battle. This force though is made up largely of Fabians and their supporters which will have implications.
Dr Radness makes a guest star appearance in an episode of the Wonders of the World Podcast hosted by Caroline Vahrenkamp. Herein they discuss Pompeii and Herculaneum! In this special collaboration, Caroline and Dr Radness explore just what happens when Mount Vesuvius erupts in 79 CE. You can listen to the whole episode here 🙂 The combination of the sultry tones of Caroline and the razor sharp intelligence of Dr R is sure not only…
In the wake of the horrific Battle of Veii in 480 BCE we head into c. 479 BCE. While we follow Livy and Dionysius of Halicarnassus predominantly at this time, we also see a little of the Fasti Capitolini creep in.
After a little bit of faffing about the consuls Caeso Fabius (cos. III) and Titus Verginius Tricostus Rutilus emerge – were these two just as in favour with the plebeians and the patricians? Livy has some details to offer on this front!
We also see a disruption to the argarian situation led by Caeso Fabius – how will that turn out?
The nascent Roman Republic is well under the influence of the Fabii. Marcus Fabius holds the consulship for the second time. He shares the illustrious role with Gnaeus Manlius. The real trouble lies in Roman domestic diplomacy. Herein the Battle of Veii 480 BCE.
We dive back into the history of Rome from the founding of the city and end up right in the challenges of 481 BCE. This means that we’re in the hazy early period of the Republic where the conflict between the patricians and plebeians dominates the narratives offered by Livy and Dionysius of Halicarnassus.
The patrician and plebeian conflict explodes over the redistribution of public land. The Vestal Virgin Oppia finds herself the object of public scrutiny.
In the wake of Spurius Cassius’ demise, Rome’s attention turns inwards. The plebeians and the patrician conflict continues to escalate and the some of the consequences begin to play out with Rome’s foreign policy.
In c. 483 BCE the conflict between Rome and the Volscii really starts to reflect the internal struggle between the patricians and plebeians in Rome herself.
Gla is a huge Mycenaean fortress in Boeotia, Greece. There’s no mention of the place in Homer’s Iliad and it’s more than ten times larger than Athens during the Bronze Age…
So what is Gla exactly and what do we really know about this structure?
Let’s dive in!
We return to the fray to consider the late career of Spurius Cassius! The conflict between the the patricians and plebeians continue and Cassius appears to be running a populist campaign…
In this episode we’ll consider how the political machinations between these groups play out under a new year and new consuls.
Over the last few months, Dr G has been working with TED-Ed to spread the word about Vestal Virgins. Herein are the fruits of that collaboration! I’m super excited to have been part of this project and bringing the world of ancient Rome to others is a real treat 🙂 This TED-Ed lesson explores one aspect of the Vestals’ lives: the possibility of live burial. You can check out all the details here: https://ed.ted.com/lessons/who-were-the-vestal-virgins-and-what-was-their-job-peta-greenfield…
Our narrative returns to the fray of Spurius Cassius’ political machinations while consul!
Can he find a way to distribute Rome’s bounty three ways with the inclusion of the Latins and Hernicians? Find out as Drs R and G compare the narrative sources!
In this episode, the Doctors return to explore Rome’s continued struggles with her most estimable neighbours, the Volscians, the Hernicans, and the Aequians. The intricacies really start to come to the surface in the consulship of Proculus Verginius and Spurius Cassius.
We dive right back into the narrative of Rome’s history with an examination of the years just following the death of Coriolanus. Rome, perhaps unsurprisingly, doesn’t really know how to get along with her neighbours…
In the spirit of openness and from a desire to share what I have produced in terms of research, my (Dr Greenfield’s) dissertation is attached below. Handy to have if you want to know more about the Vestal Virgins! Super handy if your looking for more scholarly work on the late Republic and early principate (c. 150 BCE – 14 CE)! Greenfield, P. N. 2011. Virgin Territory – The Vestals and the Transition from Republic to…
In this special episode we turn our roving eye on how the story of Coriolanus has been transformed by his reappearance into the cultural mind of the West through Shakespeare’s play and the centuries that follow.
It is the end of Coriolanus. How does his grisly end unfold? Who will be pivotal to the end of his career? In this episode, Drs R and G push through all the barriers to make sure this part of Roman history comes to a close!
The complexities of Coriolanus’ narrative continue to build and things are about to get a little bit hairy for our man of the moment. Join Drs R and G for the ride ahead!
In this short and sweet episode, Dr Radness asks Dr G the big question of the year – how was *that* trip to Italy? Part tavelogue, part history, all Partial Historian 🙂
As the suspense develops in Coriolanus’ career, how are the relationships between the patricians and plebeians working out? With the new force of the tribune of the plebs to reckon with, Coriolanus is not a happy patrician.
In the last episode Coriolanus loomed large on the agenda, and here he takes centre stage again. Ever wondered what a real patrician’s patrician looked like? Wait no more!
Dear Listeners, For the last few weeks, I’ve been traipsing around Italy and getting re-acquainted with all the haunts that are pertinent to my fields of research. So far, the highlights have been: Seeing the frieze of the Vestal Virgins in Palermo. I was very fortunate to have an Italian guide who was able to liaise with the staff at the Museo Archeologico Antonio Salinas. I was granted special access to the frieze as the…
The Doctors pursue the different elements coming to the fore in the 490s BCE by looking at a little more detail at the development of the position of aedile, and the significance of the fetiale priests in matters relating to war, peace, and oaths.
And no episode looking at this period would be complete without more on the developing career of Coriolanus!
In this episode, the Doctors examine the continuing Struggle of the Orders, some of the consequences of the strife between the Plebeians and Patricians, and *drum roll please* … we catch our first glimpse of the man who will become Coriolanus.
The episode in which Drs R and G explore the Coen Brothers take on the Golden Age of Hollywood with Hail, Caesar!
We may have been enticed by the prospect of George Clooney as a Roman general, but we stayed for the tribute to the big studio days of American cinema.
For anyone who is interested in learning more about Trumbo, or DT for those in the know, here is a list of references for our latest episode. This is just a selection – there are quite a few books on the production of Spartacus! Ahl, F., ‘Spartacus, Exodus, and Dalton Trumbo: Managing Ideologies of War’, in Spartacus, ed. M. Winkler (Blackwell Publishing, Malden: 2007), 65-86. Ceplair, L.; Englund, S., The Inquisition in Hollywood (Anchor Press…
As you know, Dr R specialises in Rome on film. In this episode, let us take on a journey through the film Trumbo (2015), which is a bio-pic of the life of screenwriter Dalton Trumbo.
Trumbo broke the blacklist when he was given screen-credit for Spartacus (1960). Herein an examination of the politics of Hollywood post Second World War, the film Trumbo, and liberal sprinklings of Rome.
It turns out the First Succession is only the start of Rome’s troubles. The ongoing struggle is manifest in the development of the Tribune of the Plebs. This important political position emerges from struggle and in this episode we explore that political birth.
In this episode, the struggle heats up in earnest and we follow the growing antagonism between the patricians and the plebeians.
In this episode, Drs R. and G. consider the events of 494/3 BCE and the contextual factors that culminated in the Conflict of the Orders between the patricians and the plebeians.
We return to the topic of Vesuvius and the fateful eruption in 79 CE. In light of additional research, we examine details of the volcanic eruption, consider the rhetoric at play in Pliny the Younger’s letter 6.16 to Tacitus, as well as modern findings from recent work at the sites of Pompeii and Herculaneum.
Dr R is reading early Roman history through the lens of Titus Livius. In this episode we explore Livy’s life, his work, and questions of historiographical interest that influence our we can understand Rome’s past.
Dr G has been considering early Roman history through the lens of Dionysius of Halicarnassus’ ‘Antiquitates Romanae’ (The Roman History). In this episode, we consider the implications of reading a Greek source for Roman history including audience expectations and Dionysius’ stylistic leanings.
There is word of a truce between Rome and the Latins, yet another dictator, and the infamous battle of Lake Regillus. For your listening pleasure there may also be some surprising divine sightings!
As Rome finds itself friendless after continual aggression throughout Italy, the citizens begin to consider how they can guide the city with decisiveness and clarity. Enter, stage left: the dictator.
Publicola has died and Rome has mourned … but wait, is that the Latins seeking an opportunity to kick Rome while she’s down? Quite, quite possibly. In this episode Doctors R and G explore the increasing tension between Rome and her Latin neighbours.
Publicola has quite a significant role to play, holding a number of consulships (according to the extant accounts), and he stars in one of Plutarch’s lives. Let the doctors take you through the highs and lows from a biographical perspective.
Following the action of c. 504 BCE, this episode covers the consulship of Publius Valerius Publicola (cos IV) and Titus Lucretius (cos II) as they battle for the city of Fidenae, the Sabine attack upon Rome, and the crucial differences between an ovation and a triumph.