Thursday, September 24, 2015

Episode B20 - The God of Dusk

Synopsis:  The destruction of Jerusalem.

Shalim (semetic):  Caananite god of dusk and the evening star, paired with Shahar, god of dawn and the morning star.  Root of Hebrew shalom and Arabic salam (peace), associated with sunset and the completion of the workday.  Related to the Caananite sun goddess Shapash, a possible manifestation of Shamash.  An element in the names of King David’s sons Solomon and Absalom.  Original guardian, patron and protective deity of Jerusalem. 

“Before the fifteenth of July all Syria had sworn the same allegiance.  Vespasian’s cause was now joined also by Sohaemus with his entire kingdom, whose strength was not to be despised, and by Antiochus who had enormous ancestral wealth, and was in fact the richest of the subject princes.  Presently Agrippa, summoned from Rome by private messages from his friends, while Vitellius was still unaware of his action, quickly crossed the sea and joined the cause.” – Tacitus, The Histories, Book II 

Friday, September 11, 2015

Episode B19 - The Prefect

Synopsis:  Tiberius Julius Alexander throws Egypt’s backing behind Vespasian’s bid for the throne.

“Accordingly, in order to overthrow John (of Gischala), they determined to admit Simon (bar Giora), and earnestly to desire the introduction of a second tyrant into the city…Accordingly he, in an arrogant manner, granted them his lordly protection, and came into the city, in order to deliver it from the zealots.  The people also made joyful acclamations to him, as their savior and their preserver; but when he was come in, with his army, he took care to secure his own authority, and looked upon those that had invited him in to be no less his enemies than those against whom the invitation was intended.  And thus did Simon get possession of Jerusalem.” – Josephus, The Jewish War, Book IV, Chapter 9

Friday, August 28, 2015

Episode B18 - The Josephus Problem

Synopsis:  Joseph ben Matityahu fought the Romans as a Jewish General before becoming a trusted advisor to the Flavians. 

The Josephus Problem (mathematics):  Given a group of n men arranged in a circle under the edict that every mth man will be executed going around the circle until only one remains, find the position L (n, m) in which you should stand in order to be the last survivor.

Wednesday, July 1, 2015


I wanted to take this opportunity to thank everyone who donated to the TAW Syria Fund Drive.  In the end, we raised over $5,000 to help preserve Syrian heritage sites and support Syrian refugees.  You guys definitely came through, and I really appreciate it.  Big TAW thanks go out to all the following donors (in no particular order):

Patricia Matson (in Memory of Lloyd and Tina Elkins) Parker Newcomb
Kevin McFadden                                                     Aimee Popp
Terry Dillon                                                           Richie Walker
Antti Rasinen                                                         Georgi Petrov
Gnanadeep Kollipara                                              Johan Torne
Rita Mathis                                                            Julie Jones
Travis Anderson                                                     Matthew Smith
Joseph Cigliano                                                      Paul and Meg Strong
Michele Dana                                                         Gary Jones
Steven Diamond                                                    Julius (Jay) Bennett
Brenda Buxton                                                       Colby Stearns
Ned Mastro                                                            Brent Mallinckrodt
Matthew Brauer                                                     Greg Strasburg
Ryan Murphy                                                          Christophe Mandy
Benjamin Amy                                                        Briauna Dodson
Mark Simms                                                           Richard Burgess
Jan Willem van Dalen                                              Radu-Iulian Costin
Brian Collins                                                           Julienne Tracy
Darren Hart                                                            Jared Magee
Heather Jacobsen                                                    Jonathan Bergdoll
Norman Casagrande                                                Jed Joyce
Franz Rivera                                                           Mark Webster
Bart Nadeau                                                           Steven Malone
Peter McIntyre                                                        Alan Barker
Andrew Wren                                                          Bryant Fairley
Carl Thoren                                                            Christopher Hays
David Wallace                                                         Dennis White
Jason Rosecast                                                       Jeff Edelbrock
John Holmes                                                           Keith Binns
Kyle Parker                                                             Natacha Tracy
Paul Ross                                                                Sam Cumming
Scott Brayton                                                          Wim Hance 
Gregory Estey                                                          Gil Elgez

I also need to mention that a lot of you have donated enough to get a prize, but haven’t given me your contact information, or let me know which prize you want.  If you donated enough to get one of the prizes, please make sure you e-mail me at stches@ancientworldpodcast.com with your donation receipt, contact information, and letting me know which gift you want.  You’ve already earned it, now I just need to get it to you!
And now some logistics.  The past few months were mostly about getting the Fund Drive up and running, and the past few weeks I’ve been overseas on a project. The end result is that I’m way behind in drafting new episodes for the series.  In fact, before I write any more, I need to do more research.  And before I do more research, I need to get the Fund Drive gifts prepared and shipped out to all the donors - which I’m hoping to do by the end of July, but may roll into early August, so please be patient!
And I think you all know where this conversation is going.  Yes, the end result is that it will likely be September before Bloodline picks up with the story of the Roman-Jewish War.  It sucks, but there it is - and I wanted to give you advanced notice so you don’t think I dropped off the face of the earth.  In the meantime, I’ll still be keeping in touch with listeners on Facebook and Twitter, so make sure you’re following me there.  And if you want an update on when your prize is coming, you’re welcome to e-mail me at stches@ancientworldpodcast.com.
In the meantime, thanks for helping out with the TAW Syria Fund Drive, and thanks again for listening!
Scott C.

Friday, June 26, 2015

Episode B17 - The Valley

Synopsis:  Nero crowns Tiridates King of Armenia.  A succession of brutal and corrupt procurators set Judea on the path to revolt.

“Go forth unto the valley of the son of Hinnom (Gehenna), which is by the entry of the east gate, and proclaim there the words that I shall tell thee…
Because they have forsaken me, and have estranged this place, and have burned incense in it unto other gods, whom neither they nor their fathers have known, nor the kings of Judah, and have filled this place with the blood of innocents;

They have built also the high places of Baal, to burn their sons with fire for burnt offerings unto Baal, which I commanded not, nor spake it, neither came it into my mind.

Therefore, behold, the days come, saith the Lord, that this place shall no more be called Tophet, nor the valley of the son of Hinnom, but the valley of slaughter.” - Jeremiah 19:2-6 

Friday, June 12, 2015

Episode B16 - Burn

Synopsis:  The birth of Drusilla and Sohaemus’ son Gaius Julius Alexio.  The Empire confronts the revolt of Boudica, renewed warfare in Armenia, and the Great Fire of Rome.
“Rome shall perish – write that word
In the blood that she has spilt;
Perish, hopeless and abhorr’d,
Deep in ruin as in guilt.” – William Cowper, Boadicea: An Ode
Map of Near East c. 64AD:

Monday, June 1, 2015

Help Me Help Syria

Ever since I knew the series would be spending time in Syria, I wanted to find out something I could do to try to help the situation there.  Basically I wanted to find a group working in the area that I could point listeners to.  Of course the problems in Syria are massive and there are a lot of great organizations doing really amazing work.  

Those of you on my Facebook page know I’ve been following the damage to ancient world heritage sites in Syria and Iraq – especially ones I feel particularly close to like Nineveh and Palmyra.  I’ve done whole episodes on Nineveh and the current series, Bloodline, will end up in Palmyra.  When I get there I’d be very, very happy if I could still talk about it as an actual place that people can go and see, rather than a place that used to exist.   

After doing some research, I’ve found an organization that I think is a really good fit.  It’s called the Syrian Heritage Initiative, or SHI, and it’s fully dedicated to documenting, protecting and preserving Syria’s cultural heritage.  If you’ve been feeling helpless watching groups like IS capture and destroy ancient heritage sites then supporting the SHI is a great step.  You can find all their details on their website:  http://www.asor-syrianheritage.org/.

For those who’d prefer to donate to a group providing critical support to Syrian refugees, another great option is the International Rescue Committee, or IRC.  If you want to help improve the lives of innocent Syrians caught up in a horrible civil war then supporting the IRC is a great step.  You can find all their details on their website:  www.rescue.org/crisis-syria. 

And of course if you want to support both groups, even better!  I’ve put Donate buttons for both organizations up on The Ancient World website.  The buttons may not be visible on mobile phones or iPads, and you may have to view the website on a computer to see them.  Both organizations are 501c3, and are therefore eligible to receive tax-deductible charitable donations.  If you’d prefer to donate to either organization via regular mail or over the phone, you can find that information on their websites. 

As you probably know, I spend most of my free time – OK who am I kidding, all of my free time – putting together this podcast series.  Which is really nobody’s fault but my own.  But if you appreciate the work I do and have ever thought about donating to me or the podcast, please donate to one of these organizations instead.  As best I can figure, the series has around ten thousand regular subscribers.  Together, I’m hoping we can do some real good.

OK, now for the fun part.  I’ve decided to give away prizes to listeners who donate to either organization.  So please save the confirmation of your donation so you can redeem it for one or more of these prizes.  Please e-mail your confirmation and other information to: stches@ancientworldpodcast.com. 

First off, anyone who donates $10 or more will be thanked on The Ancient World website.  If you’d like to be thanked, please give me your name (or the name you’d like me to use) when you e-mail me your donation confirmation.  A $25 donation will get you a set of JPEG files of all the maps, family trees and header photos I’ve created so far for Bloodline. 

Moving up the scale, a $50 donation will get you a photobook containing my very favorite Ancient World photos I’ve taken on my travels.  I’ll also provide details on when and where each photo was taken and what makes the photo one of my favorites.  The photobooks will be 4x6”, softcover, and contain 10 photos.  Unfortunately, due to shipping costs, this prize will only be available within the continental United States.  Outside of the US, the alternate prize for a $50 donation will be JPEG files of 20 of my favorite photos, along with the details on each. 

A $150 donation will get you a signed hardcopy script of any Ancient World episode - from any series.  It’ll be printed out all pretty and I’ll include some “liner notes” with extra information.  If you have a favorite Ancient World episode I’d really encourage you to consider this option.  Unfortunately due to shipping costs, the hardcopy version will only be available within the continental United States.  Outside of the US, the alternate prize for a $150 donation will a signed PDF file of the script along with the liner notes, etc. 

Now we get to the sentimental stuff.  For a donation of $300 or more you can have one of the actual reference books I used to generate the original Ancient World series – with the rampant yellow-highlighting to prove it.  Again these will be signed and I’ll include some “liner notes” discussing how I used the reference in the series.  The books on offer are:

“A History of the Ancient Near East” by Marc Van De Mieroop
“Ancient Iraq” by Georges Roux
“Carthage Must Be Destroyed” by Richard Miles
“Persian Fire” by Tom Holland 

And then of course there’s the grand prize.  For a super-generous donation of $1,000 or more you can pick any person or event between 500 BC and 500 AD - and I’ll do a full-length episode on him, her or it.  So basically the prize is two weeks of my life – maybe even a little more.  This is a one-time offer, so once someone grabs it’ll be off the table. 

The Syrian charity drive will be going on between today, June 1, and the end of the month, June 30.  All prizes will be sent out as soon as possible after the end of the charity drive.  After June 30 you can keep making donations through The Ancient World website, but the only reward will be knowing you’ve supported a really great cause.   

So, that’s it!  Give to a great cause, get a cool gift - it’s a win-win.  Thanks again for listening and thanks for helping me help Syria. 

Scott C.