The History of Rome (general)









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Audio excerpt from The Storm Before the Storm: The Beginning of the End of the Roman Republic by Mike Duncan. Forthcoming Oct. 24, 2017. Pre-order a copy today! 



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Direct download: SBTS_Ch1_Master.mp3
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Available at, iTunes, or anywhere else fine podcasts can be found.

Direct download: Revolutions_Announcement.mp3
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Next show coming soon!

Direct download: Post_History_of_Rome_Update.mp3
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The history of The History of Rome...Why the Western Empire Fell when it did...Some thoughts on the future...Thank you, goodnight.  

Direct download: 179-_The_End.mp3
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In the last few years of the Western Empire a series of Emperors came and went. The cycle finally ended in 476 with the exile of Romulus Augustulus. 

Direct download: 178-_Not_With_a_Bang_But_a_Whimper.mp3
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In 468 the two halves of the Empire combined forces to dislodge the Vandals from North Africa.They failed spectacularly.

Direct download: 177-_The_Burning_Ships.mp3
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From 461-465 the Western Empire was ruled by Ricimer through a puppet Emperor named Libius Severus. Not everyone in the west was supportive of the new regime. 

Direct download: 176-_The_Quote_Unquote_Emperor.mp3
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From 457-461, Majorian marched around trying to reassert Imperial authority over the provinces while Ricimer remained in Italy. 

Direct download: 175-_Trying_to_Take_It_All_Back.mp3
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Following the death of Valentinian III there was an Imperial power struggle in the West. In the midst of this struggle, the Vandals sacked Rome in 455 AD. 

Direct download: 174-_The_Sack_of_Rome_Part_2.mp3
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In the early 450s a string of deaths changed the political dynamic of Roman world. Between 450 and 455 Galla Placidia, Aelia Pulcheria, Atilla the Hun, Flavius Aetius and Valentinian III would all die- leaving the stage wide open for the next generation of leaders. 

Also, an announcment. 

Direct download: 173-_The_Broken_Bow.mp3
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In 451 Atilla the Hun invaded the West. He was repelled by a coalition of forces lead by the General Aetius. 

Direct download: 172-_Showdown.mp3
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After placating Atilla with yet another indemnity, Theodosius II fell from his horse and died in 450, leaving the Eastern throne vacant.

Direct download: 171-_The_Gathering_Storm.mp3
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In the 440s, the Huns began to direclty attack the Roman Empire. 

Direct download: 170-_Atilla_Cometh.mp3
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In the 430s the Romans dealt with increasingly agressive and confident barbarian tribes living both inside and outside the traditional borders of the Empire. 

Direct download: 169-_Huns_and_Vandals_and_Goths_Oh_My.mp3
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In the late 420s AD, the Roman General Flavius Aetius connived and backstabbed his way up the chain of command. 

Direct download: 168-_The_Rise_of_Aetius.mp3
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The Emperor Honorius died in 423, leading to a brief civil war between the Theodosian dynasty and a self-proclaimed Imperial regime in Ravenna. 

Direct download: 167-_Exploiting_the_Opportunity.mp3
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Constantius III continued to lead the Western Empire as its defacto Emperor until 421, when he was officially elevated to the rank of Augustus. Unfortunately, this elevation was not recognized by Cosntantinople.

Direct download: 166-_As_Long_As_Shes_Nice_to_Look_At.mp3
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Between 412 and 415 relations between the Romans and Goths shifted back and forth between alliance and antagonism. 

Direct download: 165-_Reviving_the_Roman_Name.mp3
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After failing to secure a deal with Honorius, Alaric sacked Rome in August of 410. It was the first time the Eternal City had been sacked in 800 years. 

Direct download: 164-_The_Sack_of_Rome.mp3
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Following the death of Eudoxia, the Praetorian Prefect Anthemius took control of the Eastern Empire and ran it wisely for the next decade. Meanwhile in the West, anti-barbarian policies will lead to the invasion of Italy by Alaric.

Direct download: 163-_Theodosiuss_Walls.mp3
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On New Year's Eve 406 a horde of barbarians crossed the lower Rhine into Gaul. Their arrival would have severe consequences for the Western Empire. 

Direct download: 162-_Opening_the_Floodgates.mp3
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Alaric and his Goths invaded Italy in 402. After they were pushed out, Stilicho moved the seat of the Western Imperial Court to the city of Ravenna. 

Direct download: 161-_The_Swamps_of_Ravenna.mp3
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In the late 390s, the generals and ministers who dominated Arcadius and Honorius battled with each other for control of the Empire. 

Direct download: 160-_East_vs._West.mp3
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After winning the Battle of the Frigidus River, Theodosius stood alone as the last sole ruler of the Roman Empire. He would be die just four months later.

Direct download: 159-_The_Divine_Winds.mp3
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In 392 Valentinian II was found hanged in his bedchamber, paving the way for another Roman Civil War. 

Direct download: 158-_Imperial_Suicide.mp3
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After defeating the usurper Maximus in 388 AD, Theodosius found himself facing an even greater opponent in Ambrose of Milan.

Direct download: 157-_Only_the_Pentitent_Man_Shall_Pass.mp3
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From 383-387 the tense quasi-partnership of Maximus, Valentinian II and Theodosius ruled the Roman Empire. During those years Bishop Ambrose and Nicean Christianity pushed themselves to dominance over their Arians rivals.

Direct download: 156-_Jockeying_for_Position.mp3
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In 383 the General Magnus Maximus rose up in revolt against Gratian. The power sharing agreement that followed Maximus's victory would be negotiated in part by St. Ambrose, the influencial new Bishop of Milan.

Direct download: 155-_The_New_Bishop_of_Milan.mp3
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Following Adrianople, Theodosius was brought in to salvage the situation. After determining that he could not beat the Goths in battle, the new Emperor was forced to sign a peace with the barbarians that treated them as, gasp, equals. 

Direct download: 154-_The_Gothic_War.mp3
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Operating with faulty intelligence and desperate to defeat the Goths on his own, Valens forced the disasterous Battle of Adrianople in August 378.

Direct download: 153-_Adrianople.mp3
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In 375 the Huns exploded into Gothic territory, sending refugees fleeing for the saftey of the Roman Empire.

Direct download: 152-_The_Storm_Before_the_Storm_2.mp3
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Valens spent the late 360s and early 370s dealing with hostile Goths in the north and hostile Persians in the east. In 375 he would be left to face these threats alone when Valentinian suddenly died.

Direct download: 151-_Bursting_a_Blood_Vessel_2.mp3
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in the late 360s and early 370s AD Roman mismanagment of three different regions in the Western Empire led to armed conflict.

Direct download: 150-_The_Perils_of_Mismanagement.mp3
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In the winter of 367 Britannia was hit from all sides by a coordinated barbarian invasion. It would be more than a year before the Romans were able to reassert control over the island.

Direct download: 149-_The_Great_Conspiracy.mp3
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Shortly after Valentinian and Valens ascended to the throne, one of Julian the Apostate's maternal cousins seized control of Constantinople.

Direct download: 148-_The_Cousins_Cousin.mp3
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Jovian extracted the Roman legions from the east at a heavy price. He then ruled the Empire for eight months before suddenly dying on his way to Constantinople in early 364.

Direct download: 147-_Capitulation.mp3
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In 363 Julian launched an invasion of Sassanid Persia. He would die in battle just three months later.

Direct download: 146-_The_Spear_of_Destiny.mp3
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Julian came to power in late 361 and immediately set about trying to turn back the clock on both Church and State.

Direct download: 145-_Julian_the_Apostate.mp3
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Once he was established as a force to be reckoned with in the west, Julian revolted against Constantius II in 360 after the Emperor ordered half the Gallic army redeployed to the eastern frontier.

Direct download: 144-_The_Road_To_Constantinople.mp3
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After a childhood spent mostly in exile, Juian was elevated to the rank of Caesar in 355. His first assignment was to clear Gaul of Germanic invaders.

Direct download: 143-_Julian_the_Pre-Apostate.mp3
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After two years of sporadic war, Constantius II defeated the usurper Magnentius in 353. Following his victory the Emperor let his advisors talk him into executing first Gallus in 354 and then Claudius Silvanus in 355.

Direct download: 142-_You_Earned_It.mp3
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Constantius and Constans shared the Empire for a decade until Constans was overthrown by a rebel general named Magnetius in 350 AD.

Direct download: 141-_Blood_and_Water.mp3
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The three sons of Constantine took control of the Empire following the death of their father and the murder of most of their extended family.

Direct download: 140-_My_Three_Sons.mp3
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Constantine was baptized on his deathbed after arranging a plan for succession.

Direct download: 139-_Wash_Away_Your_Sins.mp3
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Live and direct from Old Rome!

Direct download: 138-_The_New_Rome.mp3
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This episode brought to you live and direct from Constantinople! After defeating Licinius, Constantine found his dream of a united Christian Empire foiled by a very disunited Christian Church.

Direct download: 137-_The_Christian_Emperor.mp3
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War between Licinius and Constantine flared up again in 324 AD. This time Constantine would finish the job.

Direct download: 136-_Let_This_Be_Our_Final_Battle_2.mp3
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Constantine and Licinius split up the Empire following the death of Maximinus Daia in 313. It did not take long for relations betweent the two Emperors to turn sour.

Direct download: 135-_Brothers_in_Name_Only.mp3
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In 313 AD, Maximinus Daia and Licinus fought for control of the Eastern Roman Empire.

Direct download: 134-_And_Then_There_Were_Two.mp3
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On October 28, 312 AD Constantine and Maxentius fought a battle at Rome's doorstep for control of the Western Empire.

Direct download: 133-_The_Milvian_Bridge.mp3
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Prior to the Battle of the Milvian Bridge Constantine experienced visions and dreams that promised him victory if he embraced Christianity.

Direct download: 132-_In_This_Sign.mp3
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With the Tetrarchy in shambles, Diocletian will be called out of retirement in 308 AD to help broker a settlement. But the new new order will prove as bad as the old new order.

Direct download: 131-_The_New_Game_in_Town.mp3
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Less than two years after Diocletian's abdication, the Tetrarchy was left in shambles following the power plays of Constantine and Maxentius.

Direct download: 130-_Lost_in_Transition.mp3
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In 305 AD, Diocletian and Maximian voluntarily abdicated the throne, handing power over to Galerius and Constantius.

Direct download: 129-_Abdication.mp3
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In 303 AD Diocletian initiated the last and greatest of the Christian persecutions.

Direct download: 128-_The_Great_Persecution.mp3
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Rome's economy was in disarray when Diocletian came to power and he initiated major overhauls to get the system running again.

Direct download: 127-_Commanding_The_Economy.mp3
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Over the course of his reign Diocletian overhauled the government, transforming it into a centralized bureaucracy run by career civil servants.

Direct download: 126-_All_The_Kings_Men.mp3
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Over the course of his reign Diocletian instituted a number of reforms to the military structure that helped transform the legions into a new kind of army.


Direct download: 125-_The_Best_Defence_is_a_Good_Defence.mp3
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In the mid-to-late 290s the Imperial Tetrarchy was at war on multiple fronts. In the west Constantius undertook the reconquest of Britain, while in the east, Galerius fought a newly hostile Sassanid Empire.

Direct download: 124-_The_Tetrarchs_at_War.mp3
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In 293 AD Diocletian and Maximian invited Constantius and Galerius to share in their Imperial burdens, forming what we today call the Tetrarchy.

Direct download: 123-_The_Tetrarchy.mp3
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Immediatly after becoming the undisputed Emperor in 285, Diocletian elevated Maximian to serve as his Imperial colleague.

Direct download: 122-_Jupiter_and_Hercules.mp3
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The Crisis of the Third Century finally ended with the mini dynasty of Carus and his two sons. In 284 Diocletian rose to power, ushering in a new age in Roman history.

Direct download: 121-_Phase_Three_Complete.mp3
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After Aurelian's death, an old Senator named Marcus Cluadius Tacitus briefly reigned before the throne fell to Probus, who ruled from 276-282.

Direct download: 120-_Interregnum.mp3
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Aurelian defeated the breakaway western provinces and reunified the Empire in 274 AD. The next year he was assassinated by officers who had been tricked into committing murder.

Direct download: 119-_Resitutor_Orbis.mp3
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In 272 Aurelian finally managed to bring the east back under Roman control by defeating Queen Zenobia of Palmyra.

Direct download: 118-_The_Palmyrene_Wars.mp3
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Aurelian became Emperor in 270 and immediatly faced an invasion of Italy by the Juthungi. After succesfully driving the Germans off, Aurelian turned his attention to building a new wall circuit around Rome to protect the capital in the future.

Direct download: 117-_Aurelians_Walls.mp3
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Claudius Gothicus became Emperor in 268 and promptly lead the legions to victories against the Goths and the Alamanni. Unfortunately he died before he was able to reunify the Empire.

Direct download: 116-_Here_Come_the_Illyrians.mp3
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The near simultaneous deaths of Gallienus, Odenathus and Postumus upset the political equilibrium in the late 260s AD.

Direct download: 115-_Phase_Two_Complete.mp3
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The 260s AD were bad for the Romans, but they could have been a whole lot worse had not Gallienus, Postumus and Odenathus each done their part to defend their respective corners of the Empire.


Direct download: 114-_The_Nadir_of_Our_Fortunes.mp3
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Direct download: 113-_Three_Empires.mp3
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Valerian and his son Gallienus did their best to hold the Empire together through the 250s AD, but after Valerian was captured by the Sassanids things quickly spiraled out of control.

Direct download: 112-_Captured_Alive.mp3
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After the Battle of Abrittus, Trebonianus Gallus was proclaimed Emperor. After reigning for two years he was ousted by Aemilianus, who lasted less than a month on the throne before being ousted by Valerian.

Direct download: 111-_Phase_One_Complete_3.mp3
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In 249 AD Decius ousted Philip the Arab and ascended to the Imperial throne. Two years later though, Decius was dead after leading the legions to a massive defeat at the hands of the Goths.


Direct download: 110-_A_Gothic_Horror.mp3
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Gordian III died in 244 AD and was succeeded by his Praetorian Prefect Philip the Arab. While Philip dealt with internal revolts and external invasion, he found time to celebrate Rome's 1000th birthday in 248 AD.

Direct download: 109-_The_New_Millenium.mp3
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By August of 238, the other five men who had claimed a share of the purple were dead, leaving 13-year-old Gordian III as the last man standing.

Direct download: 108-_Gordians_Knot.mp3
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In 238, a revolt in Africa sparked a revolution in Rome that would eventually lead to six different men claiming the title of Augustus.

Direct download: 107-_The_Year_of_the_Six_Emperors.mp3
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After bungling a campaign in the east, Alexander headed to the Rhine where he was assassinated by Maximinius Thrax in 235 AD.

Direct download: 106-_Barbarian_at_the_Gate.mp3
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Alexander was only 13 when he ascended to the throne in 222. With the help of his mother and a few key advisers, he managed to avoid being the kind of disaster that previous teenage Emperors had been.


Direct download: 105-_The_Last_Princeps.mp3
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Elagabalus became Emperor in 218 AD at the tender age of 14. His short reign was defined by a scandalous private life and an obsession with the eastern sun god El-Gabal. 

Direct download: 104-_Here_Comes_the_Sun.mp3
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Carcalla was killed by his Praetorian Prefect Macrinus in 217 AD. Macrinus then spent a troubled year as Emperor before the House of Severus came back to challenge his rule.

Direct download: 103-_The_Equestrian.mp3
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Septimius Severus died in 211 while campaigning in Britain. He left the Empire to his sons, but their mutual hatred for one another meant that one of them was going to wind up dead.

Direct download: 102-_The_Common_Enemy_of_Mankind.mp3
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After defeating Clodius Albinus, Septimius Severus turned over daily administration of the Empire to his Praetorian Prefect Gaius Plautianus, while the Emperor himself went looking for further military vicotries in Parthia.


Direct download: 101-_And_All_Was_of_Little_Value.mp3
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Septimius Severus became the undisputed Emperor of Rome after defeating Pescennius Niger in 194 and Clodius Albinus in 197.
Direct download: 100-_Black_and_White_and_Severus_All_Over.mp3
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After buying the Imperial throne, Didius Julianus only remained in power for 66 days before being ousted by Septimius Severus.
Direct download: 099-_What_Evil_Have_I_Done_.mp3
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After Commodus was assassinated, Pertinax reigned for 86 days. He was murdered by the Praetorian Guard in March 193 and the Imperial throne was auctioned off the highest bidder.
Direct download: 098-_Purchasing_Power.mp3
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Commodus went off the deep end around 190 AD and was finally killed by his inner circle in 192.

Direct download: 097-_The_Fall_of_Hercules.mp3
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The reign of Commodus turned on a botched assassination attempt orchestrated by his sister in 182 AD.
Direct download: 096-_The_Most_Aptly_Named_Emperor.mp3
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Marcus elevated Commodus to the position of co-Emperor and then died a few years later while campaigning in the north.
Direct download: 095-_The_Beginning_of_the_End.mp3
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In 175 Avidius Cassius led a brief revolt in the east that forced Marcus to postpone his final triumph along the Danube. 
Direct download: 094-_Revolt_and_Meditations.mp3
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The Romans fought a series of campaigns against a coalition of German tribes from 167-175. They were on the verge of total victory when news arrived of a rebellion in the east.

Direct download: 093-_The_Marcomannic_Wars.mp3
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After some initial setbacks, Marcus sent Lucius east to deal with a suddenly critical war with Parthia in 162.

Direct download: 092-_The_Parthian_War.mp3
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Marcus Aurelius was destined to become Emperor, but his insistence that Lucius Verus share the honor came as a surprise to everyone.

Direct download: 091-_Marcus_and_Lucius_and_the_Parthians.mp3
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Big question-time blowout!
Direct download: 090-_The_Hundredth_Episode_2.mp3
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Direct download: 28-_Taking_Stock.mp3
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Welcome to The History of Rome, a weekly series tracing the rise and fall of the Roman Empire. Today we will hear the mythical origin story of Rome and compare it with modern historical and archaeological evidence. How much truth is wrapped up in the legend? We end this week with the death of Remus and the founding of Rome.

Direct download: 01-_In_the_Beginning.mp3
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