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Friday, May 26, 2017

Episode B42 - Iotapian

Synopsis:  The revolt of Iotapian shows Eastern nobles the possibilities among the chaos.  Shapur’s invasion of Syria drives Samsigeramus to make a bold stand.

“As there were at that time many disturbances in the empire, the eastern provinces - which were uneasy, partly owing to the exactions of exorbitant tributes, and partly to their dislike of Priscus, their governor, who was a man of an intolerably evil disposition - wished for innovation, and set up (Iotapian) for emperor.” – Zosimus, The History, Book 1
“So rapid were the motions of the Persian cavalry, that, if we may credit a very judicious historian, the city of Antioch was surprised when the idle multitude were fondly gazing on the amusements of the theatre.  The splendid buildings of Antioch, private as well as public, were either pillaged or destroyed; and the numerous inhabitants were put to the sword, or led away into captivity.” – Edward Gibbon, History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, Chapter X, Part IV
http://s407341505.onlinehome.us/Episode_B42_Iotapian.mp3

Friday, May 12, 2017

Episode B41 - Samsigeramus

Synopsis:  Shortly after Hatra’s destruction, Shapur inherits the Persian Empire.  Gordian’s invasion the following year ends in defeat and humiliation for Rome.

“When at first we had become established in the Empire, Gordian Caesar raised in all of the Roman Empire a force from the Goth and German realms, and marched on Asoristan against the Empire of Iran and against us.  On the border of Asoristan and Misik a great frontal battle occurred.  Gordian Caesar was killed and the Roman force was destroyed.” – The Great Inscription of Shapur I, Naqsh-i-Rustam
The Roman Near East c. 240AD

http://s407341505.onlinehome.us/Near_East_240_Region.jpg

Friday, April 28, 2017

Episode B40 - Uranius

Synopsis:  After the death of Elagabalus, Uranius Antoninus served as High Priest of Elah Gabal in Emesa.  From this vantage, he witnessed the birth of Ardeshir’s Persia and the changing fortunes of the Palmyrenes.

“Even the name of Tadmor, or Palmyra, by its signification in the Syrian as well as in the Latin language, denoted the multitude of palm-trees which afforded shade and verdure to that temperate region…Palmyra, for a while, stood forth the rival of Rome; but the competition was fatal, and ages of prosperity were sacrificed to a moment of glory.” - Gibbon, The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, Chapter XI, Part III
Dedicated with great respect to Khaled al-Asaad, Palmyra’s devoted protector

Monday, December 19, 2016

You Are Here

Episode B39, “Excidium,” finishes off the third story arc of The Ancient World Bloodline.  We’ve come a pretty long way from the days of Cleopatra Selene and Juba II – in fact we’ve come about ten generations - and now there’s only a little ways left to go.  The upcoming final story arc will focus on Palmyra, Emesa and the Sasanids, while out West the Romans’ll be tearing through Emperors like used paper towels. 

Just to give some context, the first two story arcs – on Mauretania and Judea – went 12 episodes each, and the latest one on the Severans took 15.  If I had to guess I’d say the final story arc will run less than 10 episodes, but it’s really too early to say.  What I can say is it’ll be quite a while before any new episodes are posted.
First off I’ll be taking a long break over the Holidays and through my birthday in early February.  And by the way that’ll be my 50th birthday, for which I’m already working up some pretty fun plans.  Actually next year is also my 10th wedding anniversary and also marks 5 – yes 5 - years as a podcaster.  Which is why my tentative plan is to post the next episode, Episode B40, around my 5-year podcasting anniversary in April 2017. 
So what can you do in the meantime?  Well, you could always marathon old episodes of Bloodline.  It’s still less than a full day back-to-back.  You could tell friends, neighbors and fellow history fans – or even just fans of a good story – to give the podcast a listen.  And if you really want to help out the show - cue the broken record - you could stop by and review the series on iTunes.
You can also keep in touch on Twitter and Facebook.  That’s @TheAncientWorld on Twitter and @ancientworldpodcast on Facebook.  I’ve been posting tons of photos from my recent history-related travels up on the Facebook page, and I always try to keep my Twitter feed chalk full of ancient history stuff.  So if you like the podcast I’m pretty sure you’ll like both sites.
That’s about it for now, I just wanted to give a status and a bit of a look-ahead.  When I return we’ll cover the last few generations of Cleopatra’s heirs, and I’ll also be telling the story of Palmyra – a place which is unfortunately back in the news for very tragic reasons.  But for a short time under Zenobia Palmyra ruled the entire Roman East and was powerful enough militarily to fend off the Sasanids.  It’s an interesting story, and I’m going to do my best to give it its due.  In the meantime please have a great Holiday Season and I’ll see you all in 2017!
http://s407341505.onlinehome.us/You_Are_Here.mp3

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