Tuesday, May 22, 2012
History of Rome podcast
Continuing my historical diversions, I've been listening to The History of Rome podcast and am finding it a fascinating tale ably related by the sometimes witty, but always informative and entertaining, Mike Duncan. He's taken on the ambitious task of relating the whole history from go-to-whoa; the founding of Rome in 700 and something BC (sorry; memory's not that great!), through to the fall of the Western Empire with the dethroning of Romulus Augustus in 476 AD. A mighty task I think you'll agree! He started the podcast in 2007 and has only just reached the end of the story earlier this month.
I'm currently listening to the podcasts covering the period after the Marian Wars and Sulla's death when it seems like Rome is pausing to catch its breath after all the mayhem of the previous years, but looks nervously to the future as such giants as Pompey, Crassus, Cicero and the man himself, Julius Caesar, all circle each other waiting to outdo the others in the attempt to win the prize of ultimate power over the rotting carcase of the Republic.
The parallels with other periods strike me as I listen to to this, not only of the chaos of the French Republic of the mid 1790s, but also of the Soviet Union after Lenin's death: high stakes games where the price of failure is death at the hands of your opponents and the last man standing with the greatest number of followers wins. From the perspective of 21st century western liberal-democratic comfort, I can look back with relief that current day politics is slightly more genteel (but only slightly!).Whatever happens in the future of modern politics, it's all been done before by the Romans!