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Friday, December 2, 2016

Episode B39 - Excidium

Synopsis:  Alexander marches East to counter Ardeshir’s invasion, but the conflict ends in a stalemate.  A short time later, a legionary rebellion along the Rhine brings the Severan regime to a bloody end.

“The lenity of the Emperor confirmed the insolence of the troops; the legions imitated the example of the Guards, and defended their prerogative of licentiousness with the same furious obstinacy.  The administration of Alexander was unavailing struggle against the corruption of this age…Fresh mutinies perpetually broke out; his officers were murdered, his authority was insulted, and his life at last sacrificed to the fierce discontents of the army.”  - Edward Gibbon, History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, Chapter VI, Part IV
The Roman War Plan for 233 AD

The Bloodline Family Tree (Part 1)

The Bloodline Family Tree (Part 2)

http://s407341505.onlinehome.us/B39_Bloodline02.pdf

Friday, November 11, 2016

Episode B38 - The Last Severan

Synopsis:  Overseen by his mother and grandmother, Severus Alexander’s early reign was marked by wisdom and temperance.  A decade later, a Sasanid invasion would test both Rome and its emperor.

“When Alexander received the empire, the appearance and the title of Emperor were allowed him, but the management and control of imperial affairs were in the hands of his women, and they undertook a more moderate and more equitable administration.”  – Herodian, History of the Roman Empire from the Death of Marcus Aurelius to the Accession of Gordian III, Book VI, Chapter I
“(Ardeshir) did not remain quiet, however, nor stay on his side of the Tigris River, but, after scaling its banks and crossing the borders of the Roman empire, he overran Mesopotamia and threatened Syria.  The entire continent opposite Europe, separated from it by the Aegean Sea and the Propontic Gulf, and the region called Asia, he wished to recover for the Persian empire…When the Eastern governors revealed these developments in their dispatches, Alexander was greatly disturbed by these unanticipated tidings, particularly since, raised from childhood in an age of peace, he had spent his entire life in urban ease and comfort.” – Herodian, History of the Roman Empire from the Death of Marcus Aurelius to the Accession of Gordian III, Book VI, Chapter II
http://s407341505.onlinehome.us/Episode_B38_The_Last_Severan.mp3

Friday, October 28, 2016

Episode B37 - Shahanshah

Synopsis:  Ardeshir defeats Artabanus in battle and claims the Parthian Empire for the Sasanids.  After a failed attempt to conquer Armenia, he sets his sights on the Roman East.

“Then (Ardeshir) came to battle with Artabanus, killed the entire army of the latter, seized their wealth, property, horses, and portable lodges, and settled himself in Istakhr.  He collected soldiers in large numbers from Kerman, Mokristan, Isfahan, and different districts of Fars, and came to fight with Artabanus himself.  So Artabanus sent for soldiers and provisions from different frontiers...But as the Glory of the Kayanians (Achaemenids) was with Ardeshir, the latter gained success. He killed Artabanus, whose entire wealth and property fell into the hands of Ardeshir, who married Artabanus's daughter, and went back to Fars.” – The Book of Deeds of Ardeshir Son of Pabag, Chapter IV 

“Artaxerxes, a Persian, having conquered the Parthians in three battles and killed their king, Artabanus, made a campaign against Hatra, which he endeavored to take as a base for attacking the Romans.  He did make a breach in the wall but, as he lost a number of soldiers through an ambuscade, he transferred his position to Media.  Of this district, as also of Parthia, he acquired no small portion, partly by force and partly by intimidation, and then marched against Armenia.  Here he suffered a reverse at the hands of the natives, some Medes, and the children of Artabanus, and either fled (as some say) or (as others assert) retired to prepare a larger expedition.  He accordingly became a source of fear for us.” – Cassius Dio, Rome, Book 80 

Map of the Roman-Sasanid Frontier c. 232 AD:

http://s407341505.onlinehome.us/SASANID_FINAL.jpg

Friday, September 30, 2016

Off Again

Just a quick note to say that the latest Episode, “The Black Stone,” will be the last one for the next month or so, due to Vacation and a few other things.  Around the end of October, I’ll be back with the final three episodes of the Severan story arc, which should wrap up just before the Holidays.  At that point, I’ll be over three-quarters done with “The Ancient World – Bloodline” - and’ll be rounding the corner toward home.  And by the way, the next episode – Episode B37 – will officially make Bloodline my longest series to-date! 

While I’m away, please keep helping out with the Twitter Follows, the Facebook Likes and – especially – the iTunes Reviews.  And for anyone listening to the show on iTunes outside the US, I’d really appreciate if you could copy and paste my written iTunes reviews (for your country) and e-mail them to stches@ancientworldpodcast.com.  I can’t access my foreign reviews from the US and would like to check them out.  Thanks again and I’ll see you all in a month or so! – Scott C.
http://s407341505.onlinehome.us/Off_Again.mp3

Friday, September 23, 2016

Episode B36 - The Black Stone

Synopsis:  Elagabalus spearheads a religious revolution in Rome, but his unpopular rule drives Julia Maesa to enact a back-up plan.

“To this temple, as to the common center of religious worship, the Imperial fanatic attempted to remove the Ancilia, the Palladium, and all the sacred pledges of the faith of Numa.  A crowd of inferior deities attended in various stations the majesty of the god of Emesa; but his court was still imperfect, till a female of distinguished rank was admitted to his bed.  Pallas had been first chosen for his consort; but as it was dreaded lest her warlike terrors might affront the soft delicacy of a Syrian deity, the Moon, adorned by the Africans under the name of Astarte, was deemed a more suitable companion for the Sun.” – Edward Gibbon, History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, Volume 1, Chapter 6
http://s407341505.onlinehome.us/Episode_B36_The_Black_Stone.mp3

Friday, September 9, 2016

Episode B35 - Bassus

Synopsis:  Deception, good fortune, and Macrinus’ failings allow the Severans to retake the Roman throne.  As Emperor, Elagabalus makes plans to install the black stone of Elah Gabal in the Capital.

“(Elagabalus and Severus Alexander) were priests of the sun god, whom their countrymen worship under the Phoenician name Elagabalus.  A huge temple was erected to this god, lavishly decorated with gold, silver, and costly gems.  Not only is this god worshipped by the natives, but all the neighboring rulers and kings send generous and expensive gifts to him each year.  No statue made by man in the likeness of the god stands in the temple, as in Greek and Roman temples.  The temple does, however, contain a huge black stone with a pointed end and round base in the shape of a cone.  The Phoenicians solemnly maintain that this stone came down from Zeus; pointing out certain small figures in relief, they assert that it is an unwrought image of the sun, for naturally that is what they wish to see.” – Herodian, History of the Roman Empire from the Death of Marcus Aurelius to the Accession off Gordian III, Book V, Chapter III
http://s407341505.onlinehome.us/Episode_B35_Bassus.mp3

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