Listen up! 5 Fascinating Podcasts on Ancient Rome

January 23, 2023

The following statement is unlikely to surprise anyone, but we’re going to go ahead and say it anyway; podcasts have never been so popular.

As of March 2019, there were over 700,000 podcasts in the iTunes catalogue, and 28,000,000 episodes currently available online. Put it this way; no matter how dubious the topic or obscure the subject, you can be almost guaranteed that someone – somewhere – has recorded a podcast on it.

And while the growth of the medium has facilitated discussion around more niche topics, the popularity of podcasts focussing on mainstream subjects like Ancient Rome and world history certainly haven’t suffered as a result!

Colosseum at night, Rome

Colosseum at night, Rome

Ancient Rome: Episodes, series and reviews

Since the advent of the podcast more than a decade ago, millions of people have integrated the medium into their daily life, using the platform as a means of education and information, as well as entertainment.

Unlike engagement with traditional forms of media, broadening your knowledge of a subject can be done in bite-sized instalments or binge-listening marathons, and therein lies the key to its popularity.

If you’re someone who uses a podcast to maximise your commute or multi-task during a work-out, it’s very likely that you’re regularly on the look-out for a quality series to add to your library. And with that in mind, we’ll kick off with the best of the best on Ancient Rome.

A mammoth topic teeming with stories, sagas and spectacles, there are few among us who could claim to know every minute detail, and that’s where the following five podcasts come in. People, it’s time to start downloading!

Read more: 6 Surprising Facts about the Pantheon in Rome

The History of Rome

The History of Rome podcast

Between 2007 and 2012, Mike Duncan recorded a staggering 179 episodes of the award-winning podcast series The History of Rome.

Motivated by an innate interest in the subject and keen to fill the Roman-shaped void which existed in the podcast arena at the time, the best-selling author set about chronologically detailing key events which played out between the birth of the Roman Kingdom and the fall of the Western Roman Empire.

Exceptionally succinct in its format – most episodes span between 15 and 25 minutes – the podcast attracted widespread acclaim, with listeners praising Duncan’s attention to detail and compelling delivery when documenting the evolution of the civilization.

While relaying the stories and sagas of the time, Mike maintains a unique grip on his listenership – the results of which can be seen in the glowing reviews which continue to populate charts and forums seven years after the final episode of the series aired.

Read more: 8 Fascinating facts About the First Emperor of Rome – Caesar Augustus

The Fall of Rome

The Fall of Rome podcast

Hosted by historian Patrick Wyman, The Fall of Rome is a deep dive into the various components which ultimately facilitated the collapse of the Roman Empire.

By analysing the Roman Empire through a modern lens, the host examines how factors including genetics, climate science, forensic science, network models, and globalization have influenced our understanding of the ancient civilization.

Like Mike Duncan’s contribution to the canon, Patrick has been widely lauded for his engaging and entertaining delivery.

The Partial Historians

The Partial Historians podcast

Hosted by Dr Fiona Radford and Dr Peta Greenfield – or ‘Dr Rad’ and ‘Dr G’ as they have been known to refer to themselves – The Partial Historians is currently nearing its 100th episode.

Launched in 2013, The Partial Historians manages to convey the complexity of the ancient culture in an exceptionally playful and lighthearted manner.

Whether describing the eruption of Mount Vesuvius, discussing the role of the Vestal Virgins or detailing the story of Volero Pubilis, the hosts are fully committed to bringing their listeners ‘along for the ride’.

Indeed, there are few aspects of Ancient Rome that these two historians haven’t felt compelled to dissect and discuss, with regular contributions from special guests equally as invested in the life and times of the Ancient Romans.

PSSST! If you really want to immerse yourself in Ancient Roman life, take our Gladiator’s Gate: Special Access Colosseum Tour and walk in the footsteps of the gladiators or visit the home of Caesar Augustus on our VIP tour!

Emperors of Rome

Emperors of Rome podcast
Emperors of Rome podcast

Emperors of Rome is hosted by Matt Smith and Dr Rhiannon Evans, and as the name suggests, focuses on the rulers of the Ancient Roman empire.

Currently on the 128th episode, the podcast takes the listener through the life and times of various emperors across multiple episodes, with few episodes exceeding 40 minutes in length.

The approach to the subject matter in addition to the rapport between the hosts and the contribution provided by special guests has earned Emperors of Rome a loyal following, with many fans instantly subscribing to Matt’s subsequent podcast When in Rome.

When in Rome

When in Rome podcast

Launched in 2015 and with three seasons under its belt, When in Rome has proven incredibly popular among anyone interested in wading the waters of the ancient past.

The monthly podcast is, as Matt explains in the introduction to each episode, an exploration of ‘place and space in the Roman Empire’.

When in Rome follows a one-on-one format, with Matt conducting in-depth interviews with historians, academics and experts in the field. Together they deliver a compelling narrative, devoted to bringing Ancient Rome to life.

A firm favourite with listeners, fans have pledged over $10,000 on Kickstarter in order to ensure the creation of the 4th season – a clear reflection of the public’s enthusiasm for the podcast.

Read more: Why You Shouldn’t Go to Pompeii Without Visiting Mount Vesuvius


by Niamh McClelland

View more by Niamh ›

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