I first became aware of Mike Duncan’s excellent HISTORY OF ROME podcast somewhere around the episodes featuring one of my favorite Roman Emperors, Vespasian. At least I believe it to be true– #70, if memory serves, on Galba and Otho. So I missed from 1-69, more or less. From that point on I just listened to them as they arrived on my feed, mostly once a week, for almost two years. I’m reasonably studied in the broader reach of the History of Rome (roughly up the era as described by Suetonius) but was fairly ignorant of the Roman Empire in later years. It’s fascinating material. Mike Duncan has soldiered on, week after week, providing me with intriguing commuting fodder, always interesting, as the Roman Empire expanded, collapsed, expanded, collapsed, went through dynastic change, then religious change, then eventually the long, slow contraction to the point we are at now, just after Attila. Mike announced at the end of episode 173 that the story is almost at an end– historians differ about what year was the true “fall of the Western Empire”, but Mike has selected ca. 476 AD. He is doing this for two reasons: 1) “Mrs. History of Rome” is 7 months pregnant and he will soon have a baby boy to take care of; and 2) after 476, there is material to cover but it is much of a muchness to Mike, being a series of Empirical candidates, political marriages, and pretty much the big implosion of what is left of the West, and he would rather go out on a high note.
Those are both excellent reasons, particularly number 1. So, Mazel Tov, Mr. and Mrs. Duncan, and enjoy your new child, you are in for an adventure. Mr. Duncan, if by some chance you read this, I just wanted to thank you personally for the effort, research and talent it has taken to produce this wonderful series. I am saddened that you are departing from the podcasting scene (one hopes, only for a little while…) but I understand your motivation. And, extra bonus, I can go back and listen to episodes 1-69 to catch up on what I missed! Thanks again, and happy parenting.
For the rest of you, if you haven’t considered podcasting and you love history, you owe it to yourself to give Mike’s magnum opus a try, even if it is just an episode or two.
(also syndicated on ITunes)