When in Rome

Matt Smith

A regular podcast series about place and space in the ancient Roman Empire. “I found Rome built of sun-dried bricks; I leave her clothed in marble.” - Augustus.
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The Ara Pacis

25:57 | Apr 17th

The Ara Pacis was an altar in Rome, dedicated to Pax, the Roman goddess of peace. It stood to the north of the city on the main road, so that anyone approaching or leaving Rome was constantly reminded it was thanks to Augustus the empire had peace. ...Show More
The Baths of Caracalla

25:56 | Mar 15th

If you want to win the hearts and minds of the Roman public, they don’t want a triumphal arch or yet another temple – what they want is a nice warm bath. The Severans built the city’s most opulent bath house for all Romans to enjoy, and bathe in the ...Show More
The Victims of Vesuvius

30:23 | Feb 13th

The eruption of Mount Vesuvius led to the unique preservation of those who died in Pompeii and the areas immediately around it. For more than 200 years archaeologists have been creating plaster casts from the voids left behind by the dead, and today...Show More
Archaeology at Pompeii

27:37 | Jan 23rd

It's been almost 300 years since the site of Pompeii was discovered, and in that time it's seen the early days and long development of the practise of archaeology. Attitudes and techniques have all changed in that time, and we now cringe at how the e...Show More

30:53 | Nov 30th, 2018

The town of Herculaneum is on the slopes of Mount Vesuvius, and was destroyed by the same eruption as Pompeii. It appears to be a wealthier town, and preservation conditions were different, giving a unique view of life in the Roman world. Guest: Dr ...Show More
Pompeii Tombs

30:19 | Nov 1st, 2018

Tombs line the roads leading away from Pompeii, as is customary for many Roman towns and cities. They give a direct connection to those who called Pompeii home, and the way they interact with those who have passed away. Guest: Dr Virginia Campbell (...Show More
Villa of the Mysteries

31:23 | Sep 30th, 2018

The Villa of the Mysteries is on the outskirts of Pompeii, and it would be like any other Roman villa if it weren’t for a special set of paintings. One room is lavishly decorated on all walls with a fresco depicting what appears to be an initiation c...Show More
Villa of the Papyri

24:58 | Sep 12th, 2018

The Villa of the Papyri is close to the town of Herculaneum, and one of the most luxurious houses in the Bay of Naples. It takes its name from its valuable library, the only surviving example from antiquity which exists in its entirety. Guest: Dr So...Show More
Housing in Pompeii

39:42 | Aug 15th, 2018

Like housing in every city and town, those in Pompeii had a wide array of styles and stature, from the most basic through to the affluent. Walking the streets can give you a strong sense of how everyday Pompeiians lived, if you know what to look for....Show More
The Pompeii Baths

26:26 | Jul 24th, 2018

Baths were the place where Romans of all levels of society could get clean, exercise, do business and socialise. Just like the forum, they were a place of congregation, and the three bath houses in Pompeii speak to their popularity. Guest: Dr Chrito...Show More
The Pompeii Brothel

26:02 | Jun 19th, 2018

As a coastal town, Pompeii had a steady stream of visitors and locals alike who could all ensure the prostitution trade had a robust business. The Pompeii Lupinar, or the brothel, is the one building that we know of in the town dedicated to the pleas...Show More
The Pompeii Theatre

28:30 | Jun 5th, 2018

Pompeii had permanent theatres long before they were built in Rome, and there are two well-preserved theatres in Porta Stabia at the southern end of town. It is here your discerning Pompeiian could take in a popular mime act, or a high-brow orchestra...Show More
The Pompeii Amphitheatre

30:15 | Apr 26th, 2018

The amphitheatre at Pompeii is the earliest Roman amphitheatre still in existence, and like most buildings in Pompeii, one of the best preserved. It provided the inhabitants with a much in demand form of entertainment – gladiator games and animal hun...Show More
Pompeii Graffiti

31:03 | Apr 13th, 2018

Much of what is written from the Roman world comes from literary sources and about the upper classes, but the graffiti on the wall is different. It mightn’t be evident at first glance, but Pompeii is covered in graffiti. the inhabitants were prolifi...Show More
The Pompeii Forum

24:22 | Mar 28th, 2018

The forum was the centre of public life in a Roman town, a space where people came to worship, conduct business, a place of politics or to be seen. Pompeii is no exception. Its forum is one of the earliest sites of the town, predating its time as a R...Show More
Life on the Streets of Pompeii

28:04 | Mar 14th, 2018

Pompeii was a functioning town, and had everything that goes with it – sanitation, transport, housing, entertainment. The people of Pompeii needed their creature comforts, and Rome found a way to provide. Guest: Professor Ray Laurence (Ancient Histo...Show More
Episode XXIV - Chariot Racing

25:48 | Jul 6th, 2017

While we associate Roman sport with the gladiator match, that was nothing when compared to their love of a good chariot race. The track at the Circus Maximus was where real men were made. Charioteers had low status and low life expectancy, but there...Show More
Episode XXIII - The Circus Maximus

26:42 | Jun 8th, 2017

If you asked a Roman, The sport that defined them most wouldn’t be a gladiatorial contest but a chariot race. The Circus Maximus was a mighty racetrack in the valley between two hills of Rome, the Aventine and the Pallentine. It was the first and lar...Show More
Episode XXII - Tomb of the Scipios

22:21 | Apr 28th, 2017

Every good Roman had heard of the Scipios, and true to their reputation they liked to do things differently. While most Romans were content with cremating their dead, the Scipios entombed theirs, harking back to the days of the Etruscans. Guest: Dr ...Show More
Episode XXI - The Column of Marcus Aurelius

24:43 | Mar 28th, 2017

Marcus Aurelius spent much of his reign on the frontiers of the Roman empire, protecting his people from the barbarian tribes to the north. A triumphal column was erected in the Campus Martius, in honour of his great victories. Guest: Dr Rhiannon Ev...Show More
Episode XX - The Column of Antoninus Pius

20:53 | Feb 28th, 2017

When Antoninus Pius died in 161CE his successors moved fast to erect a commemorative column in the Campus Martius. While the monument itself was rather plain, it remained standing for many a century, but it was its rediscovery in the 18th century whe...Show More
Episode XIX - Temple of Jupiter Optimus Maximus

22:46 | Jan 29th, 2017

If you had to name a god that the Romans worshipped above all others it would have to be Jupiter, and the temple of Jupiter Optimus Maximus on the Capitoline Hill was the most important temple in the empire. While the building is long since destroyed...Show More
Episode XVIII - Diocletian's Palace

32:29 | Jan 3rd, 2017

When the Emperor Diocletian retired in 305CE he wanted to be well away from the troubles of co-ruling an empire, and withdrew to a large fortified palace on the shores of Split, Croatia. Guest: Dr Christopher Gribbin (Fellow, School of Historical an...Show More