Episodes

  • A jewel of Mesoamerica, Teotihuacan was a vibrant, painted city - but who built it? And who actually lived there?


    In the second episode of our August series 'The Ancient Americas', Tristan is joined by professor Annabeth Headrick to help shine a light on one of ancient history's most marvellous mysteries. Taking us on a journey through the city, examining the monumental structures, the mythology it was built on, and a quick detour to the Temple of the Feathered Serpent - there is no doubt Teotihuacan is a treasure trove of information.


    For more Ancients content, subscribe to our Ancients newsletter here. If you'd like to learn even more, we have hundreds of history documentaries, ad free podcasts and audiobooks at History Hit - subscribe today!


    Our GDPR privacy policy was updated on August 8, 2022. Visit acast.com/privacy for more information.

  • "If Croesus goes to war he will destroy a great empire." That was the prophecy the Oracle of Delphi delivered to the Lydian King - she just left out that fact it was his own empire that would be destroyed.


    Known as the Pythia, the Oracle of Delphi was the High Priestess of the Temple of Apollo at Delphi. Responsible for delivering divine prophecy to those that visited her - she was one of the most revered women in antiquity. In this episode, Tristan is joined by classicist and author Dr Garrett Ryan to talk all things prophecy. With fainting sheep, and godly intervention, was the Oracle really high on fumes - or is that a modern misconception?


    For more Ancients content, subscribe to our Ancients newsletter here. If you'd like to learn even more, we have hundreds of history documentaries, ad free podcasts and audiobooks at History Hit - subscribe today!


    Our GDPR privacy policy was updated on August 8, 2022. Visit acast.com/privacy for more information.

  • Missing episodes?

    Click here to refresh the feed.

  • One of the most famous, and sophisticated, cultures of Mesoamerica, why are the Maya known only for predicting the end of the world?


    In the first episode of our new mini series 'The Ancient Americas', Tristan is joined by Professor Matthew Restall from Penn State University to help debunk the idea of a Maya Apocalypse. Together, Tristan and Matthew take a look at where this idea of an apocalypse originated from, and why our modern conceptions of the Maya calendar are incorrect. A civilisation known for it's mathematical advancements, beautifully coloured buildings, and with Maya peoples still alive today - there's more to the Maya than we know.


    For more Ancients content, subscribe to our Ancients newsletter here. If you'd like to learn even more, we have hundreds of history documentaries, ad free podcasts and audiobooks at History Hit - subscribe today!


    Our GDPR privacy policy was updated on August 8, 2022. Visit acast.com/privacy for more information.

  • One of the most studied military victories in history, and arguably one of the worst Roman defeats - what went wrong for the Romans at Cannae?


    In our final episode in the Hannibal mini-series, Dr Louis Rawlings explains just what happened at Cannae in 216BCE, and why that battle is still so important today.


    With 50,000 Romans dead, 20,000 captured, and only 10,000 managing to escape - Cannae is truly Hannibal's greatest victory. Using tactics that are still studied and used in modern military academies and in the field, Cannae demonstrates the importance of knowing your terrain, dividing forces - and never underestimating an enemy that's smaller than you.


    Previous Episodes

    Hannibal vs Rome: Terror at Trasimene (Episode 1)

    Hannibal vs Rome: The Road to Cannae (Episode 2)


    For more Ancients content, subscribe to our Ancients newsletter here. If you'd like to learn even more, we have hundreds of history documentaries, ad free podcasts and audiobooks at History Hit - subscribe today!


    Our GDPR privacy policy was updated on August 8, 2022. Visit acast.com/privacy for more information.

  • One of the greatest military commanders in history - it's no wonder Hannibal and Rome so frequently fought.


    In the second episode of our Hannibal mini-series, Tristan is once again joined by Dr Louis Rawlings from Cardiff University to examine Hannibal's movements and clashes post-Trasimene.


    Looking at the Roman reaction to their second defeat and what happened next, why are these 10 months so important? With horses bathing in vinegar, famed military strategies, and animals being sacrificed - what happened on the road to Cannae?


    For more Ancients content, subscribe to our Ancients newsletter here.If you'd like to learn even more, we have hundreds of history documentaries, ad free podcasts and audiobooks at History Hit - subscribe today!


    Our GDPR privacy policy was updated on August 8, 2022. Visit acast.com/privacy for more information.

  • In May 2020, four unique Roman artefacts were unearthed near Ampleforth, North Yorkshire by two amateur metal detectorists. A bronze bust that is thought to depict Roman emperor Marcus Aurelius, a beautifully crafted horse, and a one of a kind figurine of the Roman god Mars, to name a few.


    But who buried these beautiful artefacts - and what can they tell us about life in Roman Britain? In this episode Tristan takes a special behind the scenes look at one of Roman Britain's greatest mysteries: the Ryedale Hoard - now on display in the Yorkshire Museum.


    To learn more about these mysterious objects, Tristan is joined by Yorkshire Museum curator Dr Lucy Creighton and metal detectorist Mark Didlick - who along with friend James Spark found the hoard buried in a field two years ago.


    Watch the video version on YouTube


    Our GDPR privacy policy was updated on August 8, 2022. Visit acast.com/privacy for more information.

  • Towards the beginning of the Second Punic War on 21 June 217 BC, a Carthaginian force under Hannibal launched a vicious ambush on a Roman army commanded by Gaius Flaminius.


    The resulting battle, at Lake Trasimene in Italy, saw a complete capitulation of the Roman forces - with thousands of legionaries meeting their end at the bottom of the blood-sopped waters.


    In this episode - part of our special miniseries on Hannibal's wars with Rome - Tristan is joined by Dr Louis Rawlings from Cardiff University to discover more about the terror of Trasimene.


    Produced by Annie Coloe. Edited by Aidan Lonergan.


    For more Ancients content, subscribe to our Ancients newsletter here.


    If you'd like to learn even more, we have hundreds of history documentaries, ad free podcasts and audiobooks at History Hit - subscribe today!


    Our GDPR privacy policy was updated on August 8, 2022. Visit acast.com/privacy for more information.

  • Known as the Eternal City, ancient Rome was one of the greatest civilisations in human history, but how did it come about?


    With a turbulent history of Kings, civil wars and imperial desires - Rome has an incredible history. But who founded it? Were Romulus and Remus real brothers fighting for their kingdoms, or did a Trojan hero found one of the mightiest Italian states? Recent archaeological discoveries indicate a far more complicated picture of Rome's beginnings - but where does its mystic past fall into this new story?


    In this episode Tristan is joined by Professor Guy Bradley from Cardiff University to discover more about the origins of Rome around the 8th century B.C.


    TW: This episode contains a reference to rape


    For more Ancients content, subscribe to our Ancients newsletter here.


    If you'd like to learn even more, we have hundreds of history documentaries, ad free podcasts and audiobooks at History Hit - subscribe today!


    Our GDPR privacy policy was updated on August 8, 2022. Visit acast.com/privacy for more information.

  • Despite being one of the first civilisations in human history, Sumer is not as well-known as other Bronze Age societies such as Babylonia and, of course, Ancient Egypt.


    Recent research indicates that the first ever writing system emerged in the Sumerian heartland of southern Mesopotamia around 3500 BC. So who were these Near Eastern pioneers forming some of the first urban settlements along the Tigris and Euphrates rivers?


    In this episode, Tristan is joined by Dr Paul Collins from the Ashmolean Museum in Oxford, to help unravel the mysteries of the Sumerians and their trailblazing civilisation.


    For more Ancients content, subscribe to our Ancients newsletter here.


    If you'd like to learn even more, we have hundreds of history documentaries, ad free podcasts and audiobooks at History Hit - subscribe today!


    Our GDPR privacy policy was updated on August 8, 2022. Visit acast.com/privacy for more information.

  • Famed across the ages and around the world - everyone knows the name Cleopatra. But how did she become one of the most infamous women in history?


    Born in 69BCE, a member of the Ptolemaic dynasty in Hellenistic Egypt, Cleopatra VII lived a tumultuous life. Within two turbulent decades of taking the throne of Egypt, Cleopatra had emerged the victor of a brutal civil war. She won the hearts of two of Rome’s most powerful men, and successfully restored a golden age for her kingdom - she was a force few dared to reckon with.


    In this episode, Tristan is joined by Professor Joyce Tyldesley, Dr Chris Naunton, and Dr Glenn Godenho, to discuss the rise of Cleopatra.


    Produced by Annie Coloe. Edited and sound designed by Thomas Ntinas.


    For more Ancients content, subscribe to our Ancients newsletter here.


    If you'd like to learn even more, we have hundreds of history documentaries, ad free podcasts and audiobooks at History Hit - subscribe today!


    To download, go to Android or Apple store.


    Our GDPR privacy policy was updated on August 8, 2022. Visit acast.com/privacy for more information.

  • In the final part of our Samnite Wars episodes, Tristan is once again joined by Dr Kathryn Lomas from Durham University to find out more about these conflicts and the effect they had on the rise of Rome as an ancient superpower. With three wars between the Roman Republic and the Samnite armies, beginning in 343 BC and ending with a Roman victory in 290 BC - what happened in those 53 years?


    In this episode, Tristan and Kathryn cover the second and third wars, and look at the impact these fabled events had on the socio-political make up of the Italian peninsula. With Rome successfully taking control of large swathes of central and southern Italy, and the arrival of Pyrrhus, one of history's most infamous men - is this the beginning of Roman domination across the Mediterranean?


    For more Ancients content, subscribe to our Ancients newsletter here. If you'd like to learn even more, we have hundreds of history documentaries, ad free podcasts and audiobooks at History Hit - subscribe today! To download, go to Android or Apple store.






    Our GDPR privacy policy was updated on August 8, 2022. Visit acast.com/privacy for more information.

  • In this first episode of a two-parter on the Samnite Wars, we focus in on one of Rome’s greatest rivals in early Italy. Based in modern day Campania, who were the Samnites?


    With three wars between the Roman Republic and the Samnite armies, beginning in 343 BC and the ending with a Roman victory in 290 BC, what happened in those explosive 53 years?


    In part one, Tristan is joined by Dr Kathryn Lomas from Durham University to find out more about these conflicts and the effect they had on the rise of Rome as an ancient superpower.


    Our GDPR privacy policy was updated on August 8, 2022. Visit acast.com/privacy for more information.

  • Dozens of incredible examples of prehistoric rock art have been found across western Europe in recent decades - but what do they mean?


    Artworks can be discovered all along the Atlantic seaboard, from Spain to Scotland, where one stunning example was uncovered just last year. Ancient peoples left traces of their prehistoric cultures across the length and breadth of the landscape - but what does this art reveal about them?


    In this episode Tristan is joined by Dr Joana Valdez-Tullett to discover more about the mysterious world of Atlantic rock art.


    Joana's book: https://www.barpublishing.com/design-and-connectivity.html


    For more Ancients content, subscribe to our newsletter here. If you'd like to learn even more, we have hundreds of history documentaries, ad free podcasts and audiobooks at History Hit - subscribe today! To download, go to Android or Apple store.


    Tickets to Tristan's talk 'London in the Roman World' with Professor Dominic Perring on July 4 are available here: https://shop.historyhit.com/product/london-in-the-roman-world/


    Our GDPR privacy policy was updated on August 8, 2022. Visit acast.com/privacy for more information.

  • Ancient Sparta was co-opted by the Nazis as a supposed model civilisation for the Third Reich’s twisted racial and martial ideologies.


    German children were taught that the Spartans had originally been an ‘Aryan’ tribe, and that they should aspire to Laconian ideals such as endurance, discipline and military self-sacrifice. Yet modern evidence suggests the Ancient Greek city-state may not have been so militaristic after all.


    In this episode, Tristan is joined by Dr Helen Roche from Durham University to find out more about this ‘Spartan paradigm’ and how it was exploited by the Nazi regime.


    Tickets to Tristan's talk 'London in the Roman World' with Professor Dominic Perring on July 4 are available here: https://shop.historyhit.com/product/london-in-the-roman-world/


    Our GDPR privacy policy was updated on August 8, 2022. Visit acast.com/privacy for more information.

  • Modern humans thrived in the Americas for thousands of years before the first European colonists arrived, but how and when did they get there?


    What's more, did their arrival spell disaster for indigenous megafauna such as giant ground sloths and wooly mammoths, or was there another culprit behind the mass extinctions across North, Central & South America?


    In this episode, Tristan is joined by Professor David Meltzer, an archeologist from Southern Methodist University, to explore the nature of human migration into the Americas and how scientific developments now allow us to discover more about those very first Americans.


    Tickets to Tristan's talk 'London in the Roman World' with Professor Dominic Perring on July 4 are available here: https://shop.historyhit.com/product/london-in-the-roman-world/


    Our GDPR privacy policy was updated on August 8, 2022. Visit acast.com/privacy for more information.

  • They survived extinction level events and record high global temperatures - how did mammals adapt and thrive in a dramatically changing world? In today's episode, Tristan welcomes back Professor Steve Brusatte to uncover the origins of mammals. Going back to a time before the dinosaurs, from lizard-like creatures to wooly mammoths, Steve helps us understand how so much is known about life 300 million years ago.


    For more Ancients content, subscribe to our Ancients newsletter here. If you'd like to learn even more, we have hundreds of history documentaries, ad free podcasts and audiobooks at History Hit - subscribe today! To download, go to Android or Apple store.



    Our GDPR privacy policy was updated on August 8, 2022. Visit acast.com/privacy for more information.

  • Often pictured with a flowing white beard, looking down from Heaven - why is God always seen as an old man? In today's episode, Professor Francesca Stavrakopoulou, whose latest book 'God: an Anatomy' has been shortlisted for the Wolfson prize, is here to debunk those images. Using archaeological material and resources, she answers the question - did God always have a body? With depictions that change across the millenia; from a scandalous view of his backside, to an unfaithful wife, and a body that likes to take evening strolls - just what did God look like?


    For more Ancients content, subscribe to our Ancients newsletter here. If you'd like to learn even more, we have hundreds of history documentaries, ad free podcasts and audiobooks at History Hit - subscribe today! To download, go to Android or Apple store.


    Our GDPR privacy policy was updated on August 8, 2022. Visit acast.com/privacy for more information.

  • The central Mediterranean is home to a bounty of creatures - fish, dolphins, and... mermaids? In today's episode Dr Amelia Brown returns to the podcast to talk marine mammals and Merpeople. From iconic characters such as Thetis, mother to one of the most famous heroes in the ancient world (anyone heard of a man called Achilles?) to the role Nereids played throughout Greek Mythology - just what can we learn from these mythical creatures and do we really want to be part of their world?


    For more Ancients content, subscribe to our Ancients newsletter here. If you'd like to learn even more, we have hundreds of history documentaries, ad free podcasts and audiobooks at History Hit - subscribe today! To download, go to Android or Apple store.



    Our GDPR privacy policy was updated on August 8, 2022. Visit acast.com/privacy for more information.

  • Alexander the Great’s untimely death at Babylon in 323 BC triggered an unprecedented crisis across his continent-spanning empire.


    Within a couple of days, the very chamber in which he died witnessed a gore-soaked showdown between his previously united commanders and soldiers. Within a fortnight, Babylon saw the first siege of the post-Alexander age.


    In this special explainer episode to mark the anniversary of Alexander’s death, Tristan brings to life the imperial implosion that was the immediate aftermath of the Macedonian king's death - a subject he knows one or two things about, seeing as he’s written a book on it!


    Tristan’s book The Perdiccas Years, 323-320 BC (Alexander's Successors at War) is available on Amazon here.


    This episode was produced by Elena Guthrie and mixed by Aidan Lonergan. It contains translations of contemporary speeches by JC Yardsley & music from Epidemic Sound.


    For more Ancients content, subscribe to our Ancients newsletter here.


    If you'd like to learn more, we have hundreds of history documentaries, ad free podcasts and audiobooks at History Hit - subscribe today!


    Come see us at Chalke Valley


    Further Reading - Primary Sources


    Arrian Events After Alexander 1.1–1.9A.


    Curtius 10.5–10.10.


    Diodorus Siculus 18.1–18.6.


    Justin 13.1–13.4.


    Plutarch Life of Eumenes 3.


    Secondary Sources


    Anson, E. (1992), ‘Craterus and the Prostasia’, Classical Philology 87 (1), 38–43.


    Anson, E. (2015), Eumenes of Cardia, Leiden, 58–77.


    Bosworth, A. B. (2002), The Legacy of Alexander: Politics, Warfare, and Propaganda under the Successors, New York, 29–63.


    Errington, R. M. (1970), ‘From Babylon to Triparadeisos: 323–320 bc’, The Journal of Hellenic Studies 90, 49–59.


    Meeus, A. (2008), ‘The Power Struggle of the Diadochoi in Babylon, 323bc’, Ancient Society 38, 39–82.


    Meeus, A. (2009), ‘Some Institutional Problems concerning the Succession to Alexander the Great: “Prostasia” and Chiliarchy’, Historia 58 (3), 287–310.


    Mitchell, L. (2007), ‘Born to Rule? Succession in the Argead Royal House’, in W. Heckel., L. Tritle and P. Wheatley (eds.), Alexander’s Empire: Formulation to Decay, California, 61–74.


    Worthington, I. (2016), Ptolemy I: King and Pharaoh of Egypt, New York, 71–86


    Our GDPR privacy policy was updated on August 8, 2022. Visit acast.com/privacy for more information.

  • Clothing has been essential for human evolution. From protection against changing climate, through to the driving force behind technological innovation in the production of fabrics and agriculture.


    In this episode, Tristan with the help of Ian Gilligan, delves deep into our prehistory to uncover why and how our human ancestors may have begun to cover up, and how climate change, from the Pleistocene to the last ice age, may have also influenced this.


    Ian Gilligan is a prehistorian at the University of Sydney. He is the author of Climate, Clothing and Agriculture in Prehistory; Linking Evidence Causes and Effects


    Produced by Elena Guthrie. Mixed by Thomas Ntinas


    For more Ancients content, subscribe to our Ancients newsletter here.

    

    If you'd like to learn more, we have hundreds of history documentaries, ad free podcasts and audiobooks at History Hit - subscribe today!


    To download, go to Android or Apple store.


    Our GDPR privacy policy was updated on August 8, 2022. Visit acast.com/privacy for more information.