🎧 The Ancients

🎧 The Ancients

A podcast for all ancient history fans! The Ancients is dedicated to discussing our distant past. Featuring interviews with historians and archaeologists, each episode covers a specific theme from antiquity. From Neolithic Britain to the Fall of Rome. Hosted by Tristan Hughes.

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🎧 The Ancients
  • 🎧 Female Gladiators

    Mention the word gladiator and you would be forgiven for instantly thinking of the 2000 namesake epic movie. Of spectators watching on as men battled each other with a variety of weapons, sometimes to the death, for the entertainment of the crowd. But did women also fight as gladiators? Was the g...

  • 🎧 The Theban Sacred Band

    The Theban Sacred Band was one of the greatest military corps of Ancient Greece, thriving from the city-state of Thebes for almost 50 years in the mid 4th century BC. In addition to their fighting prowess, however, there is another fascinating aspect to their history; this 300-man elite corps was...

  • 🎧 The Begram Hoard

    In the mid-20th century French archaeologists came across a remarkable collection of ancient items from Eastern China, the Indian subcontinent and the Roman Mediterranean, all in one place. In this second episode about Begram, Tristan is once again joined by the University of Freiburg’s Lauren Mo...

  • 🎧 Decoding the Roman Dead

    Often known as ‘Britain’s first town’, Colchester is a city rich in ancient history and on 24 July 2021, a new exhibition will open at the Colchester Museum revealing more about some of its earliest Roman occupants. Called ‘Decoding the Roman Dead’, the exhibition focuses around cremations found ...

  • 🎧 Life in Sparta

    A legendary city-state in Ancient Greece, we associate Sparta with fierce warriors in battle. But what about the everyday? In this second episode with Professor Stephen Hodkinson, we discuss the eating habits, training and even kingship of Sparta. Stephen is Emeritus Professor of Ancient History ...

  • 🎧 Shark Attack

    It’s a crossover with Jaws and Open Water that we never expected, but a 3,000 year old corpse has thrown a surprising topic into the mix: shark bites. The body, found in the prehistoric Tsukumo hunter-gatherer burial site in Japan, unexpectedly presented evidence of traumatic injuries compatible ...

  • 🎧 The Romans in Brittany

    It was one of the most powerful empires in history, leaving marks and remnants across the globe, but in this episode we are looking specifically at the impact of the Romans on Brittany. Tristan was joined once again by Sir Barry Cunliffe, who takes us through the Roman occupation of Brittany, the...

  • 🎧Julius Caesar’s Invasions of Britain

    On the day of the Euro 2020 final, we’re talking England versus Italy…Ancients style (well, sort of). Historian and archaeologist Dr Simon Elliott returns to the podcast to talk us through Julius Caesar’s two invasions of Britain in 55 and 54 BC. Hear what the Romans knew about Britain before the...

  • 🎧 Scythed Chariots: Cutting Edge Cavalry

    What could be more terrifying than an army racing towards you? An army on chariots? What if those chariots had blades mounted on either side? In this episode, Tristan speaks to Dr Silvannen Gerrard about the use of this unconventional mode of transport during the Hellenistic period, particularly ...

  • 🎧 Begram: Crossroads of the Ancient World

    Bagram, also known as Begram, has been in the news a lot recently. Over the past couple of days, the last US and NATO troops have withdrawn from Bagram air base, which they have occupied for some 20 years. But this area of Central Asia, situated south of the Hindu Kush mountain range, also has so...

  • 🎧 The Strait of Messina: Between a Rock & a Hard Place

    Dividing Sicily from Italy, the Strait of Messina is a small stretch of water with an incredible history that stretches back to ancient times. It was likely here that the mythical sea monsters of Scylla and Charybdis were supposed to have wreaked havoc on Odysseus’ crew. It was an area of the anc...

  • 🎧 Persepolis: Jewel of Persia

    It is one of the most remarkable ancient sites in the World. Situated east of the Zagros Mountains in modern day Iran, Persepolis was an important urban centre of the Achaemenid Persian Empire for almost two centuries. From the stunning, rich variety of imagery depicted on the walls of the Apadan...

  • 🎧 Divorced, Murdered, Survived: Nero's Wives

    In the long tradition of categorising famous wives as the good or the bad, Nero’s partners are no exception. These women are regularly reduced to simple characters within the final Julio-Claudian Emperor’s orbit, but what of their own experiences and personalities? Lauren Ginsberg from Duke Unive...

  • 🎧 The Truth About Spartan Society

    Sparta. Situated in the southern Peloponnese, this ancient Hellenic city-state has become ingrained in popular imagination as the home of unmatched Greek super soldiers, trained for war since youth and raised within a system unlike any other in the Classical Greek world. But away from common perc...

  • 🎧 Vindolanda: Jewel of the North

    Situated roughly two miles south of Hadrian's Wall in the heart of the Northumberland countryside, Vindolanda is home to some of the most remarkable archaeology from Roman Britain. Its history spans several centuries; it is a must see site for anyone wanting to know more about the ancient history...

  • 🎧 Artemis of Ephesus: The Great Mother Goddess

    An incredibly popular goddess, characterised in statues of her by a vest of bee hives, or are they breasts … bull scrotums? In this episode Tristan speaks to Dr Carla Ionescu about the Ephesian Artemis, the great mother goddess of Ancient Greece and, more specifically, Ephesus. They discuss the a...

  • 🎧 Dirty Love: The Ancient Greek Novel

    The novel, and in particular the romance genre, is at the heart of a billion dollar industry, but when did they originate. In this episode, Professor Tim Whitmarsh from the University of Cambridge takes us back to some of the world’s earliest fictional narratives, the novels of Ancient Greece in ...

  • 🎧 The Plague of Athens

    Plague in the ancient world was nothing unusual. Bouts of illness were common occurrences, but we do have accounts of some exceptional outbreaks: epidemics that brought powerful empires and city-states to their knees. One of the most infamous occurred in 430 BC: the Plague of Athens. Recently I w...

  • 🎧 The Fall of the Western Roman Empire

    In the late 4th century and early 5th centuries two massive largely-Germanic confederations arrived on Roman borders, having been uprooted from their homelands by the Huns. These were the Goths and the Vandals. Both peoples would become prime enemies of the Roman Empires in the East and West. Bot...

  • 🎧 Biological and Chemical Warfare

    The origins of biological and chemical warfare stretch far back; modern technology has not brought about these terrifying weapons. Throughout antiquity we have cases of societies using poisonous gases, incendiary materials and living organisms against their enemies. From snake and scorpion bombs ...

  • 🎧 Housesteads and Hadrian's Wall

    Housesteads Roman Fort is one of the great, surviving treasures of Roman Britain. Once an auxiliary fort, it occupied a dominant position on Hadrian’s Wall. The Fort has proven vital in helping archaeologists and historians achieve a greater understanding about life on Hadrian’s Wall. From the wo...

  • 🎧 Stone Circles

    From Cornwall to Orkney, prehistoric stone circles are scattered throughout the length and breadth of the British Isles. Their history stretches more than 2 millennia, during which time their use by prehistoric cultures changed dramatically. They are fascinating examples of how a monument's purpo...

  • 🎧 Combat Trauma

    From the 2000 historical blockbuster 'Gladiator' to the Total War series, brutal hand to hand warfare is something we commonly associate with antiquity. But do we have any ancient cases of psychological injury as a direct result of military service? Joining me to discuss this topic, focusing on c...

  • 🎧 'Killing for the Roman Republic'

    In 281/280 BC, the Hellenistic King Pyrrhus ventured to southern Italy to aid the Italiote-Greek city of Tarentum against a rising power based in central Italy. This enemy was the Romans. Over the next 150 years this civilisation would rise to become the Mediterranean superpower, winning wars aga...