Episodit

  • One of the most famous cities in history - Babylon is shrouded in mystery and myth. Located in ancient Mesopotamia, now modern Iraq, it was one of the epicentres of ancient culture, architecture, and the home of famous figures such as Hammurabi. But what do we actually know about Babylon - and what can we learn from ancient sources and modern archaeology?


    In this episode, Tristan is joined by Oxford scholar Stephanie Dalley who helps us separate fact from fiction. Looking at famous sites such as the Hanging Gardens of Babylon, and the Ziggurat of Ur - what can we learn about Babylon, and what legacy has it left behind?


    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!


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  • Located in the US State of Ohio, the Great Serpent Mound is an iconic monument of Ancient America. Nearly 1,400 feet long, and 3 feet high - it's hard to miss. But what do we actually know about this prehistoric colossus, and why was it constructed?


    In this episode, Tristan is joined by Dr Brad Lepper, Curator of Archaeology at the Ohio History Connection. A leading expert on ancient earthworks, Brad reveals what the archaeology tells us about the Great Serpent Mound. Looking at the site's history and uses - what can we learn about prehistoric America and the people who lived there?


    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!


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  • The unofficial 8th wonder the Ancient World, the Parthenon is still standing today. Located on the Acropolis in Athens, towering above a busy, modern metropolis - it's a symbol of the city's long standing ancient past. But why was this monumental structure built? And what do we really know about it?


    In this episode of The Ancients, Tristan is joined by Dr Maeve McHugh from the University of Birmingham to take us through the Parthenon's remarkable history. Looking at the mastermind behind it's construction, the iconography of the building, and it's role across history - just what happened within the walls of the Parthenon?


    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!


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  • Orkney, a group of islands off Britain’s north coast, famed for their stunning, rural scenery. But 5,000 years ago, during the Neolithic Period - or ‘New Stone Age’ - it was a completely different story.


    Back then, these islands were rich in stunning art and architecture. A great centre of the Stone Age World, with connections that stretched across Britain, Ireland and beyond.


    In this very special episode - the first in a new miniseries about Prehistoric Scotland - we explore the extraordinary Stone Age story of Orkney. We’ll start first with an overview of its Neolithic remains, before we focus in on an incredible excavation that has revealed so much about Orkney’s Stone Age importance. How this was a great centre of a Neolithic world that stretched across the British Isles and beyond...


    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!


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  • This episode contains references to sexual assault and suicide.


    When you think of Ancient Rome, you don't often associate it with the idea of a Monarchy. But long before the likes of Julius Caesar, Augustus, or even Nero - Kings ruled over the land. Specifically - seven of them. But what happened to these Kings of Rome, and why aren't they immortalised in history the same way as their Emperor successors?


    In this episode of The Ancients, Tristan is joined by fellow Podcast hosts and authors Dr Peta Greenfield and Dr Fiona Radford, to take us through this mysterious part of Ancient History. Looking at the key figures and myths who defined this period of Ancient Rome - what really happened to the Kings of Rome?


    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!


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  • This episode contains references to sexual assault and terms for groups which were classified that way at the time.


    Hephaestus, son of Zeus and Hera, is the God of fire and foundry in Greek mythology.


    He is the only god with a disability, a part of his identity that becomes a double-edged sword. Often treated disparagingly by the rest of the Greek pantheon as a result, chiefly by his own mother, Hera, who in some versions of mythology throws him off Mount Olympus she’s so ashamed of him, it also becomes a key component of his wisdom and creativity, using his blacksmith powers for both good and bad. In this episode, Tristan Hughes is joined by University of Oxford’s Dr Steve Kershaw where together they discuss Hephaestus’s origin story, his controversial marriage to Aphrodite, and why in Dr Kershaw’s words, he is “the god that should never be underestimated”. 


    The Senior Producer was Elena Guthrie

    Script written by Andrew Hulse

    Voice over performed by Nichola Woolley

    The Assistant Producer was Annie Coloe


    If you enjoyed this episode, you might also enjoy other episodes in the series: Zeus: King of the Gods and Hera: Queen of the Gods.


    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 - enter promo code ANCIENTS for a free trial, plus 50% off your first three months' subscription.


    To download, go to Android > or Apple store >


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  • The results of a groundbreaking new study were released today [January 5th] by a group of researchers who believe they have conclusively decoded the earliest known form of proto-writing. Dating back to the Palaeolithic era, this combination of abstract markings and ice age art, decorating over 600 locations across Europe, previously remained a mystery to the archaeology community. However, an enigma no more, what can we learn from this incredible new discovery?


    In today's episode Tristan is joined by one of the team behind this marvel, Professor Paul Pettitt from the University of Durham. Paul talks Tristan through the team's hard work and perseverance of this mammoth task - and helps shine a light on what this study means for our understanding of Ice Age cultures.


    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!


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  • ‘I’m Spartacus!’ In the field of epic film making, the 1960 historical drama ‘Spartacus’, is legendary. Directed by Stanley Kibrick, adapted from the Howard Fast novel by Red Scare blacklisted screenwriter, Dalton Trumbo, and starring Kirk Douglas, Laurence Olivier, Peter Ustinov and Jean Simmons; it is a classic. But how much of the plot has emerged from the true story of a Thracian gladiator and slave who escaped his Roman captors and led an unsuccessful but impressive rebellion against their oppressors? How much of the film’s message was formed by the personalities involved in its creation, and the context in which it was made. In her own words, Dr Fiona Radford devoted years of her life to the man with the most memorable chin cleft in the world - Kirk Douglas, specifically as Spartacus. Her thesis traced the production history of this film, examining in particular the effect that the turbulent process had on the portrayal of female characters. Having taught at Macquarie University, ANU and the University of Sydney, she currently teaches history at secondary school level, and her conversation with Tristan in this episode is an eye-opener to 1950s film making as well as the legend of Spartacus.


    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!


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  • 67 million people currently inhabit the United Kingdom - but what do we know about the original, first Britons? It's no secret when looking back into pre-history that it was a time of mass migration for animals and people alike, but who were our early inhabitants, and what can we learn about them?


    In this episode of The Ancients, Professor Chris Stringer returns to the podcast to shine a light on this mysterious part of prehistory. Looking back across millions of years, Chris helps us delve into our distant ancestors' pasts, and illuminates what they were really like. Looking at the latest archaeological and scientific research, what can we know about the first traces of hominin activity on the British Isles?


    You can go and see some of the archaeology we talk about today in the Natural History Museum's Human Evolution Gallery.


    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 the Android or Apple store.


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  • Often overshadowed by his more successful peers (anyone heard of Julius Caesar?), Crassus' rise and fall from power is that of legend. A Roman General, Statesman, and once called the 'Richest Man In Rome', Crassus' power and influence is undisputed. But how did Crassus come to obtain such power, and just how far can the mighty actually fall?


    In this episode, Tristan is joined by Sir Peter Stothard to talk us through the rise and fall of this often overlooked figure. From his involvement in quelling the Spartacus rebellion, to his untimely death on the battle field, what is there to learn about this pillar of Roman society - and just how did his head end up as a theatre prop?


    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!


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  • 2000 BC saw the famed city of Babylon begin to flourish under the rule of a King called Hammurabi. Renowned for his famous law code, the stele of which still survives today, is there anything else to be learnt about this mysterious figure?


    In this episode Tristan is joined by Professor, and author, Amanda Podany from California State Polytechnic University. Together they discuss the life of this famed Babylonian King, from his origins as a ruthless warlord, to his contributions in helping Babylon ascend to the momentous civilisation we know it as today.


    Amanda's new book, Weavers, Scribes, and Kings: A New History of the Ancient Near East, is out now!


    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!


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  • Hera, the wife and sister of Zeus, goddess of marriage, royalty and women, is the Queen of the Gods in Greek mythology.


    Despite her seat of power, she is an often maligned figure, typically characterised as the jealous and vengeful wife of Zeus due to his extramarital affairs and illegitimate children. Though archaeological evidence shows that Hera was a pre-Greek deity, pre-eminent to Zeus, and nearly every temple dedicated to Zeus, was a temple first originally dedicated to Hera. In this episode, Tristan Hughes is joined by Ancient Greek historian Dr Ellie Mackin Roberts of Kings College London to uncover the truth about Hera, find out where she came from, how she was worshipped and continued to be worshipped in her afterlives, and as a bonus why peacocks were sacred to her.


    If you enjoyed this episode, you might also enjoy other episodes in the series: Zeus: King of the Gods. https://pod.fo/e/14ec89


    The Senior Producer was Elena Guthrie

    The script was written by Andrew Hulse

    The voice over was performed by Nichola Woolley

    The Assistant Producer was Annie Coloe


    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 - enter promo code ANCIENTS for a free trial, plus 50% off your first three months' subscription.


    To download, go to Android > or Apple store >


    Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.

  • With ancient Rome often being viewed as a mighty, impenetrable empire - it seems unlikely that one man, let alone a pirate, could ever bring this empire to it's knees. Yet that's exactly what Carausius, posthumously dubbed the 'Pirate King', did. Striking when Rome was already weak and without it's Naval Fleet, Carausius took advantage of Britain's vulnerability and declared himself Emperor of Britain - but how long did this daring new venture last?


    In this episode, Simon Elliot returns to the podcast to delve into this fantastical history of the Pirate King. Looking at backstabbing best friends (quite literally), family dynasties, and fog covered frontiers - can we really call Carausius the Pirate King?


    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!


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  • Most famously known as the birth place of Jesus, Bethlehem has been immortalised in texts, carols, and imagery across history. But prior to the arrival of Jesus and the nativity, Bethlehem had a vibrant, and unexpected history. Located south of Jerusalem in the West Bank, Bethlehem was home to famous figures such as King David and was eventually a favourite spot of Roman Emperor Constantine I. But how do we know about all these figures - and what else is there left to learn?


    In today's episode, Tristan is joined by Professor Joan Taylor to help illuminate Bethlehem's hidden past. Looking at what the archaeology can tell us about this noteworthy settlement, and helping to separate fact from fiction - Joan offers a new take on this ancient village.


    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!


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  • A Mesopotamian metropolis that thrived for millennia, Uruk is even claimed by some to have been the first true city in history.


    Located in modern day Iraq, Uruk was certainly among the oldest urban settlements of the ancient world, and has been a treasure trove of archaeological finds. But was it really the first ever city? And what do we actually know about Uruk's inhabitants?


    In this episode, Tristan is rejoined by Dr Paul Collins from the British Museum. Together, they explore Uruk's monumental building programs, pioneering irrigation systems, and the recent archaeological findings to answer the question - was Uruk one of the first cities?


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


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  • Alexander the Great is one of the most famous figures from history. Legends and fantastical versions of his life were told almost immediately upon his death, often merging fact with fiction. Through his interaction, both good and bad, with so many different empires and societies, Alexander the Great is viewed through many a lense; hero, villain, demi-god - the list goes on.


    Despite dying at a young age, his achievements have been immortalised throughout history, with the help of some extraordinary tales, Alexander the Great is intertwined with more cultures and religions than you would expect.


    In this episode, Tristan interviews Dr Peter Toth, the curator of the new British Library Exhibition on Alexander the Great. Together they discuss the idea of an Alexander Romance culture, and the layers of Alexander's mythical past that have helped keep this giant of history alive.


    Edited 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!


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


    Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.

  • Since the discovery of Tutankhamun’s tomb in the Valley of the Kings, the phenomenon of “Tutmania” has continued to capture the worlds imagination on an unprecedented scale. From innovative museum exhibitions that took the phrase 'blockbuster' to a new meaning, to SNL sketches and collectable memorabilia - there is no doubt that this once forgotten Pharaoh will now live on forever. But how did the Boy Pharaoh become a celebrity - and is his worldwide fame a force for good?


    In this episode Tristan is joined by Dr Campbell Price, the curator of Manchester's Egypt and Sudan collection, to discuss the extraordinary legacy of Tutankhamun. Looking at his Cold War arrival in America, to feuding Museum Curators, and delving into the world of virtual autopsies - what is Tutankhamun's legacy, and is it too late to change?


    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!


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  • Situated in the North of Italy, the Etruscan's were once a powerful civilisation, dominating the Italian peninsular. Predecessors to Ancient Rome, the Etruscans excelled in trade, art, and sculpture, surviving for centuries from the early 1st Millenia BC until their fated clash with the Romans. The might of the Etruscans is undisputed - but what does the archaeology tell us about this mysterious civilisation, and why does is counteract ancient sources?


    In this episode Tristan is joined by Dr Lucy Shipley to give an introduction to the Etruscan civilisation and their meteoric rise on the Italian peninsular. Looking at their international relations, language and culture, just who were the Etruscans, and why were they so important in antiquity?


    Edited by Thomas Ntinas


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


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  • On the west bank of the Nile, across from the ancient city of Thebes, lies the Valley of the Kings - the final resting place of several Pharaohs and their families.


    The valley is a 1,000 ft wide wadi [valley] that was utilised as a royal burial ground by three dynasties of the New Kingdom for over half a millennia. Made famous by Howard Carter's discovery of Tutankhamun in 1922, the Valley of the Kings is home to the most celebrated archaeological finds in history.


    For this third episode of our special miniseries on Tutankhamun, Tristan is joined by renowned egyptologist, broadcaster and author, Dr Chris Naunton to learn more about the incredible place where Tut and so many others entered the realm of the dead.


    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!


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  • Zeus, the chief deity in Greek mythology, is the Olympian god of sky and thunder, and is king of all other gods and men.


    His tale is one of overthrowing fathers, eating babies and seducing women, both mortal and divine, by changing his own form. He's one of the most complex figures in history, and his story is one that's been retold throughout millennia. To try and make sense of it all, we're going back to very beginning, to the origins of Zeus, starting with his grandfather and grandmother, Uranus and Gaia. We learn about the prophecy that ultimately overthrows Uranus, the same one that is also fated for Zeus's father, Cronus, and start to understand the family-tree that becomes the Olympians - from Athena to Dionysus.


    For this episode, Tristan Hughes is joined by academic, author, broadcaster and Professor in Classics and Ancient History at the University of Warwick, Michael Scott. If you enjoyed this episode, you might also enjoy The Symposium: How To Party Like An Ancient Greek, also with Michael Scott.


    Script written by Andrew Hulse

    Voice over performed by Deryn Oliver

    Produced, edited and sound designed by Elena Guthrie

    The Assistant Producer was Annie Coloe


    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 - enter promo code ANCIENTS for a free trial, plus 50% off your first three months' subscription.


    To download, go to Android > or Apple store >


    Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.