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Friday, August 26, 2016

Episode B34 - Keepers of the Fire

Synopsis:  King Artabanus of Parthia gathers his forces to seek revenge on Rome.  Usurpation and war gain the Sasanids control over the southern territory of Fars.

“Macrinus, seeing that Artabanus was exceedingly angry at the way he had been treated and had invaded Mesopotamia with a large force, at first of his own accord sent him captives and used friendly language, urging him to accept peace and laying the blame for the past on (Caracalla).  But the other would not entertain his proposition, and furthermore bade him build up the forts and demolished cities, abandon Mesopotamia entirely and offer satisfaction in general, but particularly for the damage to the royal tombs.  For, trusting in the large force that he had gathered, and despising Macrinus as an unworthy emperor, he gave reign to his wrath and expected that even without Roman consent he could accomplish whatever he wished.” – Cassius Dio, Rome, Book 78
Map of the Parthian Empire
http://s407341505.onlinehome.us/PARTHIA_FINAL.jpg

Friday, August 5, 2016

Episode B33 - Semiramis

Synopsis:  Caracalla cuts a murderous path through Rome, and provokes a dangerous war with Parthia.  After his murder, Julia Domna is forced to contend with a would-be usurper.

“Julia Domna deserved all that the stars could promise her.  She possessed, even in advanced age, the attractions of beauty, and united to a lively imagination a firmness of mind, and strength of judgement, seldom bestowed on her sex.  Her amiable qualities never made any deep impression on the dark and jealous temper of her husband; but in her son’s reign, she administered the principal affairs of the empire, with a prudence that supported his authority, and with a moderation that sometimes corrected his wild extravagancies.” - Edward Gibbon, History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, Volume 1, Chapter 6
The Bloodline Family Tree – Part I

The Bloodline Family Tree – Part II

http://s407341505.onlinehome.us/B33_Bloodline02.pdf

Friday, July 22, 2016

Episode B32 - The Fourth Caesar

Synopsis:  Severus’ close friendship with Plautianus estranges him from his family.  In his final years, a rebellion in Britannia provides one last opportunity to shape his legacy.

“The contemporaries of Severus, in this enjoyment of the peace and glory of his reign, forgave the cruelties by which it had been introduced.  Posterity, who experienced the fatal effects of his maxims and example, justly considered him as the principal author of the decline of the Roman Empire.” – Edward Gibbon, History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, Volume 1, Chapter 5
http://s407341505.onlinehome.us/Episode_B32_The_Fourth_Caesar.mp3

Saturday, May 14, 2016

Another Break

I wanted to let everyone know that the latest Episode, “Perish in Blood”, will be the last one for a month or two.  I’ll be off on Vacation for a while, and generally taking a break.  In the meantime, I hope you’re all enjoying the Severan story arc.  Like I mentioned early on, the extended family of Julia Domna was the original inspiration of the series, and I’m hoping to flesh out all the family members as much as I can.  At the same time, I’m planning to give a lot of attention to the Sasanids, including their history and background, their conflict with the Parthians, and - eventually - their conflict with Julia Domna’s great-nephew, Severus Alexander.  So, look for all that when I pick the story back up in a month or two. 

In the meantime, please do a couple things to support the show.  First, for those of you on iTunes, please swing by and review The Ancient World.  You can just give it a starred rating, or you can also leave a comment, which I always love to read.  And second, The Ancient World may be in the running for this year’s Podcast Awards.  The final slate will be announced on May 22 at www.podcastawards.com.  On the off-chance we are in the running, please do whatever you can to support the show - it’s a great way to get the word out.  Otherwise, thanks again for listening, and I’ll see you in a month or two!
http://s407341505.onlinehome.us/Another_Break.mp3

Friday, April 29, 2016

Episode B31 - Perish in Blood

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 7
Map of the Near East c. 198AD (provinces):
Map of the Near East c. 198AD (cities):

Friday, April 15, 2016

Episode B30 - Mater Castrorum

Synopsis:  Severus defeats Niger and wages a limited Eastern campaign.  While Julia Domna is hailed as Mother of the Camps, Caracalla’s elevation to Caesar prompts a second civil war.

“There used to be an oracle about Hannibal’s death.
‘The soil of Libyssa would cover Hannibal’s body.’
The later emperor of the Romans, Severus,
Who was a descendant of the Libyans, he put upon this man’s
Tomb a white piece of marble to honor the commander Hannibal.”  
- John Tzetzes, Chiliades (or Book of Histories), Book 1, 801 - 805

Friday, April 1, 2016

Episode B29 - 193

Synopsis:  After Pertinax and his successor are killed in the same year, Severus’s claim to the Empire is contested by two rivals. 

"Pertinax was one of those men to whom no exception can be taken, but he ruled only for an exceedingly brief space of time and was then put out of the way by the soldiers.” – Cassius Dio, Rome, Book 73
“The Pannonian army was at that time commanded by Septimius Severus, a native of Africa, who, in the gradual ascent of private honors, had concealed his daring ambition.” - Edward Gibbon, History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, Volume 1, Chapter 5
Bloodline Family Tree (c. 193AD):