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The Fall of Rome Podcast

Patrick Wyman / Wondery

+19 FANS
Barbarians, political breakdown, economic collapse, mass migration, pillaging and plunder. The fall of the Roman Empire has been studied for years, but genetics, climate science, forensic science, network models, and globalization studies have reshap...Show More

38:09 | Apr 3rd, 2018

How did a changing climate and plague play into the fall of the Roman Empire? I'm joined by Kyle Harper, Professor of Classics at the University of Oklahoma, to discuss his important new book The Fate of Rome: Climate, Disease, and the End of an Empi...Show More

43:55 | Mar 20th, 2018

Justinian was the last great Roman emperor, but his reign was plagued by disasters beyond his control: volcanic eruptions, a changing climate, and a plague of epic proportions. Those disasters created a turning point that we can, with good reason, ca...Show More
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46:25 | Mar 6th, 2018

Justinian is one of the defining figures of the Roman Empire. In many ways, he marks the boundary between Antiquity and the Middle Ages. In this episode, we explore his ambitious reform program and his reconquest of the lost provinces of the West. S...Show More

50:04 | Feb 20th, 2018

While the western half of the Roman Empire was collapsing, the east managed to weather the storm of the disastrous fifth century. In this episode, we examine how and why it survived Attila the Hun and a host of other problems through the eyes of a fa...Show More
ARCHIVED: The podcast creator has made this episode no longer available for listening.

12:10 | Feb 13th, 2018

Netflix vs. HBO. Nike vs. Adidas. Business is war. Sometimes the prize is your wallet, or your attention. Sometimes, it’s just the fun of beating the other guy. The outcome of these battles shapes what we buy and how we live.  Business Wars gives yo...Show More

40:18 | Feb 6th, 2018

When we talk about the fall of the Roman Empire, we're only talking about the western half - France, Spain, Italy, North Africa, and Britain. The eastern half of the Roman Empire survived the disastrous fifth century and would last in one form or ano...Show More

43:46 | Jan 16th, 2018

How did the Roman Empire, and barbarian Europe after it, become Christian? To find out, I talked to Professor Lisa Bitel of the University of Southern California, a world-class expert on medieval Christianity and Christian conversion.

50:43 | Dec 14th, 2017

How did Latin splinter into the Romance languages? In this episode, we explore how Latin transformed from a single, widely dispersed language into a series - French, Spanish, Portuguese, Italian, Romanian, and so on - of related but no longer mutuall...Show More

33:40 | Nov 14th, 2017

Cities were what made the Roman world Roman, but as the Empire fell apart, so did its cities. They shrank drastically or disappeared entirely between 400 and 600. In today's episode, we'll find out how and why. Subscribe today so you never miss a...Show More

38:31 | Oct 24th, 2017

Cities were what made the Roman world, well, Roman. They were centers of culture and political life, and they were the bedrock that tied together its economy. Today we'll explore how those cities came into being, what sustained them, and what made th...Show More

14:03 | Jul 20th, 2017

History does not repeat itself, but it does rhyme, said Mark Twain. From the fall of the Roman Empire to the rise of the modern world: history ebbs and flows over the centuries, driven by great tides of economic, social, political, religious, and cul...Show More

37:59 | Jun 22nd, 2017

Could the Roman Empire have survived past the fifth century? To answer that question, we examine some other points when the Empire could have fallen apart but didn't, and what brought it back together after Caesar's assassination and the Crisis of th...Show More

42:34 | Jun 15th, 2017

Saint Augustine is one of the foundational figures of Christianity and one of the most influential thinkers of all time. He was also a complex and fascinating figure in his own right. Elizabeth Bruenig, an editor at the Washington Post and writer on ...Show More

42:58 | Jun 8th, 2017

As central government disappeared from what had been the Western Roman Empire, the barbarian kingdoms stepped into the void, creating new forms of rulership and institutions that would lay the groundwork for the fragmented, fractured medieval world. ...Show More

51:38 | May 25th, 2017

Roman Britain fell fast, and it fell hard. Into the ruins of this world stepped a wave of migrants from the North Sea coast of the Continent whom we know as the Anglo-Saxons. This migration, a complex and dynamic movement of people over the course of...Show More

33:30 | May 18th, 2017

Why didn't Rome rise again? Everywhere else in the world, the appearance of one great empire was marked by their recurrent resurgence, but in Europe it happened only once. Professor Walter Scheidel of Stanford University - the author of numerous outs...Show More

48:10 | May 11th, 2017

As the Roman Empire disintegrated, northern Gaul turned first into a military province and then into a playground for warlords, some Roman and some barbarian. This episode is the story of how one warlord and one group navigated this environment to be...Show More

47:40 | Apr 27th, 2017

Under the leadership of their great king Theoderic, the Ostrogoths built a kingdom for themselves in Italy. But was this a kingdom, and Theoderic a king, or was he an emperor and his new realm the Western Empire reborn? Watch a preview of Genius, th...Show More

43:44 | Apr 13th, 2017

The ashes of the Roman Empire produced a host of new states built on the foundations it left behind. The first of these was the Visigothic Kingdom of Toulouse, which dominated southern Gaul and helped bring about the end of the Roman Empire. Watch a ...Show More
ARCHIVED: The podcast creator has made this episode no longer available for listening.

22:07 | Apr 3rd, 2017

Today, we're introducing I Hate My Boss, a career advice podcast from our friends at Wondery. Hosts Liz Dolan and Larry Seal will help you make the big decisions, navigate the small stuff and get more fulfillment from your work life. Plus, a comedy ...Show More

44:00 | Mar 30th, 2017

Taxes, soldiers, and loyalty: these were the foundations, the structures, of the Roman political system. This episode explores how and why they fell apart over the course of the disastrous fifth century, which saw the provinces gradually slip away fr...Show More

43:30 | Mar 16th, 2017

It took just 80 years for the Roman Empire to fall apart completely, from a ponderous but functional state at the death of Theodosius the Great 395 to nonexistence by 476. How and why did that happen? In this narrative, we examine the major figures a...Show More

46:04 | Mar 2nd, 2017

The Roman world was more than just an empire; it was a cultural, social, economic, and political space built on the easy movement of goods, people, beliefs, and practices from place to place. It was a broad unity, and when the Roman Empire fell, so ...Show More

43:57 | Feb 17th, 2017

The Roman economy was a marvel, the powerhouse that produced surpluses big enough to support huge cities, maintain an enormous standing army, and construct monumental buildings that stand to this day. When the Roman state fell apart, so too did the e...Show More

42:39 | Feb 3rd, 2017

The economy of the Roman Empire was surprisingly modern, featuring commercial markets, large-scale production, and agricultural sophistication that wouldn't be matched until the middle of the nineteenth century. In this episode, we explore how it was...Show More

55:46 | Jan 13th, 2017

The Roman army was the central institution in the late Roman world. It had changed dramatically from the classic legions of Augustus and Marcus Aurelius, adapting itself to the much different world of the third and fourth centuries, but it remained a...Show More

55:12 | Dec 13th, 2016

Attila the Hun is the best-known barbarian from antiquity, but the Hunnic Empire he inherited and expanded hasn't gotten the credit it deserves for its complexity and organization. This episode explores how the Huns created an empire that stretched f...Show More

49:16 | Nov 23rd, 2016

North Africa was the most prosperous region of the western Roman Empire, the agricultural heartland that fed the city of Rome, and the barbarian Vandals' conquest of the region was the final nail in the coffin of the Western Empire as a whole.

19:24 | Oct 30th, 2016

Gladiators are one of the defining characteristics of the Roman Empire in popular culture. How and why did they disappear? We explore the topic in this special episode.

55:34 | Oct 20th, 2016

Gaul was one of the heartlands of the Roman Empire, and it encompassed a tremendous amount of diversity within its borders. Over the course of the fifth century, the region split along its fault lines, with three different paths emerging for its cons...Show More

48:51 | Oct 1st, 2016

In 350, Britain was a thoroughly integrated province of the Roman Empire, full of prosperous, Latin-speaking cities, luxurious villas, and all the other trappings of Roman life. By 500, the cities were gone, the economy had collapsed, and the island ...Show More

46:08 | Sep 15th, 2016

One of the fundamental questions about the later Roman Empire is just what a mess it really was. Did the barbarians topple a fundamentally healthy, functional state? Or were they merely the straw that broke the camel's back of a diseased, rotten, emp...Show More

46:51 | Sep 3rd, 2016

In 395, the barbarian Goths rebelled against the Romans and fought a campaign that culminated in the sack of Rome in 410. But were the Goths really barbarous foreigners, or are they better understood as a Roman army seeking a position within the Empi...Show More

41:55 | Aug 27th, 2016

In the third episode of The Fall of Rome, we explore the Goths' migration into the Roman Empire and their desperate war for survival against the forces of the Empire. This conflict culminated in the Battle of Adrianople, the worst defeat of a Roman a...Show More

39:49 | Aug 12th, 2016

We explore the barbarian world beyond the frontiers, focusing on the fearsome Goths who would one day leave an emperor dead on the battlefield, sack Rome itself, and found a kingdom of their own inside the empire's borders. The barbarian world was ti...Show More

36:46 | Aug 5th, 2016

Barbarians, political breakdown, economic collapse, mass migration, pillaging and plunder. In the introduction to this series, PhD historian Patrick Wyman takes you through the broad outlines of the fall of the Roman Empire, one of the most important...Show More