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The Ancients

History Hit

History

4.72.8K Ratings

Overview

Alexander the Great has gone down in history as one of the greatest military leaders of all time, despite only living to the young age of 32. During this time, due to his battle tactics he was able to conquer land stretching from Greece to northwestern India.


For this mega episode we've compiled the definitive list of Alexander the Great's biggest battles: The Battle of Granicus, the Battle of Gaugamela and the Battle of the Persian Gate. We hope you enjoy this episode and let us know if you agree or disagree.


You can email the podcast at [email protected] or leave us a review.


You can also take part in our listener survey here.

433 Episodes

Moses & The Exodus

The story of Moses and the Exodus is one of the oldest and most well known in history. It is full of instantly recognisable episodes like the parting of the Red Sea, the ten plagues of Egypt, and the burning bush but it is also foundational to many modern-day faiths. So today we’re asking what does the historical and archaeological record reveal about this epic biblical narrative? In this episode of The Ancients - the second in our Old Testament mini-series - Tristan Hughes is joined by Dr. Dylan Johnson to delve deep into the history of the ancient Israelites, to explore whether Moses was a real historical figure and to discover what historical parallels may have inspired the Exodus origin story.  This episode was edited by Aidan Lonergan and produced by Joseph Knight The Ancients is a History Hit podcast. Enjoy unlimited access to award-winning original documentaries that are released weekly and AD-FREE podcasts. Get a subscription for £1 per month for 3 months with code ANCIENTS - sign up here. Vote for The Ancients in the Listeners Choice category of British Podcast Awards here. You can take part in our listener survey here.

Transcribed - Published: 13 June 2024

The Parthians

The Parthians were heavyweights of ancient Mesopotamia. Hailing from what is now modern day Iran, they charged onto the scene by destroying the Seleucid Empire and became one of Rome’s most formidable enemies. They are perhaps most famous for capturing Crassus - Rome’s spider-like tycoon - at the Battle of Carrhae, and pouring gold down his throat. But what else do we know about them? In today’s episode of The Ancients, Tristan Hughes is joined by Dr Adrian Goldsworthy to explore who the Parthians really were, to delve into what the sources can tell us about them, and to discover how these horse-warriors managed to forge a superpower-like empire that stretched from the northern reaches of the Euphrates to the Hindu Kush.   This episode was produced by Joseph Knight and edited by Max Carrey. Enjoy unlimited access to award-winning original documentaries that are released weekly and AD-FREE podcasts. Get a subscription for £1 per month for 3 months with code ANCIENTS - sign up here. Vote for The Ancients in the Listeners Choice category of British Podcast Awards here. You can take part in our listener survey here.

Transcribed - Published: 9 June 2024

Noah's Ark and the Flood

The Ancients launches a new miniseries exploring the stories, people, objects and kingdoms central to the Old Testament's narrative. There was only one place to start and it's not "In the beginning..." The story of the Flood in the Book of Genesis is well known, where God conjured up a great flood to kill off all of humanity for their wicked behaviour. Except for Noah, whom God ordered to construct a massive boat and fill it with 2 of every animal. When the flood came, Noah, his family and the animals survived on board the Ark. The story of Noah and the Ark is not only embedded in the Bible, however, but it's also central to parts of the Quran and central to Judaism. The origins of the story stretch way back beyond the Old Testament to Mesopotamia. Tristan Hughes heads to the British Museum to explore this Mesopotamian myth with Dr Irving Finkel who made a discovery which turned the world of Assyriology - and his life - on its head. They discuss who was Noah to the Mesopotamians? What did they do with the animals? And what was the shape and design of THIS great ark? This episode was presented by Tristan Hughes. The producer was Joseph Knight, edited by Peter Dennis and Aidan Lonergan.  Enjoy unlimited access to award-winning original documentaries that are released weekly and AD-FREE podcasts. Get a subscription for £1 per month for 3 months with code ANCIENTS - sign up here. Vote for The Ancients in the Listeners Choice category of British Podcast Awards here. You can take part in our listener survey here.

Transcribed - Published: 5 June 2024

The Fall of Mark Antony: From Caesar to Cleopatra

After the death of his patron Julius Caesar, the Roman world was Mark Antony’s for the taking. His triumph over Caesar’s assassins at Phillipi in 42 BC only served to cement his legendary status as Rome’s most feared commander. But then came Octavian and Cleopatra… In this episode of The Ancients - the second, and final part of our special series on the life of Mark Antony - Tristan is once again joined by Professor Jeff Tatum to discuss how Antony filled the power vacuum left by Caesar’s assassination. They then retell and assess his fight for power with Rome’s latest young upstart, Octavian and the fateful events that led to his demise at the court of Cleopatra. This episode was produced by Joseph Knight and edited by Peter Dennis.  Enjoy unlimited access to award-winning original documentaries that are released weekly and AD-FREE podcasts. Get a subscription for £1 per month for 3 months with code ANCIENTS - sign up here. You can take part in our listener survey here. 

Transcribed - Published: 2 June 2024

The Rise of Mark Antony

Mark Antony; the headstrong bad boy, a feared commander, lover and traitor memorably depicted by Richard Burton. His story is intertwined with some of ancient history's biggest names such as Julius Caesar, Marcus Brutus, Cleopatra and Augustus. In a two part special of The Ancients, Tristan Hughes assesses the eventful life of the notorious Roman statesman and general Marcus Antonius. In part one Tristan is joined by Professor Jeffrey Tatum to discuss Mark Antony's early life and astonishing rise up the ranks of the Roman army, from decadent party boy to stellar commander at the side of Julius Caesar.  This episode was produced and edited by Joseph Knight. Senior Producer was Anne-Marie Luff Enjoy unlimited access to award-winning original documentaries that are released weekly and AD-FREE podcasts. Get a subscription for £1 per month for 3 months with code ANCIENTS - sign up here. You can take part in our listener survey here.

Transcribed - Published: 30 May 2024

Hadrian's Wall

It's the most famous Roman frontier in the world. A massive c.13-foot high wall that spanned the length of northern Britain, dividing the empire between Roman and 'barbarian' land. But how was it built? Who lived along it? And why was it named after Emperor Hadrian? In this episode of The Ancients, Tristan Hughes is joined by Dr. Frances McIntosh to tell the story of this iconic monument of Roman Britain and explore the forts, milecastles and turrets that made it far more than just a wall. Along the way they'll discover how Hadrian's Wall fit into the wider Roman frontier and how it has helped countless authors when creating fictional worlds (yes George R.R. Martin we're looking at you...). This episode was produced and edited by Joseph Knight. Senior Producer was Anne-Marie Luff. Enjoy unlimited access to award-winning original documentaries that are released weekly and AD-FREE podcasts. Get a subscription for £1 per month for 3 months with code ANCIENTS - sign up here. You can take part in our listener survey here.

Transcribed - Published: 26 May 2024

Spartacus: Life or Legend

‘I am Spartacus!’ In the field of epic film making, the 1960 historical drama ‘Spartacus’ is legendary. Directed by Stanley Kubrick, and starring Kirk Douglas and Laurence Olivier, it is undoubtedly 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? And 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. Enjoy unlimited access to award-winning original documentaries that are released weekly and AD-FREE podcasts. Get a subscription for £1 per month for 3 months with code ANCIENTS - sign up here. You can take part in our listener survey here.

Transcribed - Published: 22 May 2024

Dionysus: God of Wine

Dionysus. He's known as the party God of ancient Greece who you never wanted to cross. Associated with theatre, mysterious cults and even, on one occasion, turning pirates into dolphins. But who exactly was the 12th God of the Greek Pantheon? And why has he become associated with having a good time? In today’s episode of The Ancients, Tristan Hughes continues our series on Greek Gods and Goddesses by exploring the infamous patron of wine with Dr Sarah Iles Johnston. Together they deep dive into the many myths that shaped his legend, starting with the horrific fate that befell King Pentheus after he banned the worship of Dionysus. This episode was produced by Joseph Knight and edited by Aidan Lonergan. Enjoy unlimited access to award-winning original documentaries that are released weekly and AD-FREE podcasts. Get a subscription for £1 per month for 3 months with code ANCIENTS - sign up here. You can take part in our listener survey here.

Transcribed - Published: 19 May 2024

Caligula

Caligula. One of the most infamous Roman emperors of them all. He didn't rule Rome for long, but he has gained a legacy as this incredibly evil figure. But who was the real Caligula? Did he really fall in love with one of his horses? And did he really declare war on the sea? In today's episode Tristan Hughes uncovers all this and more as he welcomes historian LJ Trafford back onto the podcast to explore the truth behind Caligula's rather horrifying legend. This episode was produced by Joseph Knight and edited by Aidan Lonergan Enjoy unlimited access to award-winning original documentaries that are released weekly and AD-FREE podcasts. Get a subscription for £1 per month for 3 months with code ANCIENTS - sign up here. You can take part in our listener survey here.

Transcribed - Published: 15 May 2024

The Cleopatras: A Dynasty of Rule Breakers

Cleopatra. It is one of the most recognisable names in ancient history, made famous by the exploits of Egypt’s controversial pharaoh queen. But did you know that the Cleopatra of Julius Caesar and Mark Antony fame was actually the seventh Cleopatra of her dynasty. From 180 BC, down to the Roman conquest of Alexandria in 30 BC, Egypt was ruled by a line of fiercely ambitious and independent Cleopatras, none of whom were afraid to break the rules… In today’s episode of The Ancients Tristan once again welcomes Prof. Lloyd Llewellyn Jones onto to podcast, this time to delve into the golden age of Ptolmeic Egypt and unpack the tumultuous family drama that brought these Cleopatras to the fore.  This episode was produced and edited by Joseph Knight. Senior Producer was Anne-Marie Luff. Enjoy unlimited access to award-winning original documentaries that are released weekly and AD-FREE podcasts. Get a subscription for £1 per month for 3 months with code ANCIENTS - sign up here. You can take part in our listener survey here.

Transcribed - Published: 12 May 2024

Nineveh

Nineveh was one of the great cities of ancient Mesopotamia. Situated on the eastern bank of the River Tigris, it rivalled cities like Babylon and Persepolis as the capital of the great Assyrian Empire and the seat of power for towering figures like Sennacherib and Ashurbanipal. But what were its origins, how did it become such a great city and how did it fall?  In today’s episode of The Ancients, Tristan Hughes is joined by Dr. Paul Collins to tell the story of Nineveh’s history from start to end. Beginning with its Stone Age origins, they discuss its conquest by the Akkadians, its golden age as Mesopotamia’s foremost city, and its obliteration at the hands of the Medes and Babylonians.  This episode was produced by Joseph Knight and edited by Aidan Lonergan  Enjoy unlimited access to award-winning original documentaries that are released weekly and AD-FREE podcasts. Get a subscription for £1 per month for 3 months with code ANCIENTS - sign up here. You can take part in our listener survey here.

Transcribed - Published: 8 May 2024

Origins of the Silk Road

The Silk Road was a pivotal ancient exchange network that connected the grassy steppes of Asia and the Middle East with the western world. The passage of goods, ideas and technologies along this bustling commercial artery was crucial to the development of the ancient East and West. It was, quite simply, the glue that held the ancient world together. But what were the origins of this first global exchange network?  In today’s episode of The Ancients, Tristan Hughes seeks to answer that very question. Speaking to Dr. Miljana Radivojevic they discuss how people living in Bronze Age Central Asia helped build the world’s first and most famous trading route.  This episode was produced by Joseph Knight and edited by Aidan Lonergan  Enjoy unlimited access to award-winning original documentaries that are released weekly and AD-FREE podcasts. Get a subscription for £1 per month for 3 months with code ANCIENTS - sign up here. You can take part in our listener survey here.

Transcribed - Published: 4 May 2024

The Roman Auxiliary

Auxiliaries were some of the most important troops in the all-conquering Roman Army. Unlike legionaries, their more heavily-armoured and widely famed counterparts, auxiliaries were recruited from across the Empire and were renowned for their versatility. Deployed as border guards in the far-away hinterlands near Hadrians Wall or as mobile cavalry in the deserts of Parthia, they helped aid the advance of Rome’s military behemoth in many more ways than one. In today’s episode of The Ancients, Tristan Hughes is joined by historical novelist Ben Kane to delve deeper into the fascinating stories of these soldiers and uncover who they were, where they came from and how important they were to Rome’s many conquests.  This episode was edited and produced by Joseph Knight. Enjoy unlimited access to award-winning original documentaries that are released weekly and AD-FREE podcasts. Get a subscription for £1 per month for 3 months with code ANCIENTS - sign up here. You can take part in our listener survey here.

Transcribed - Published: 2 May 2024

The Beaker People

The Beaker People were a Bronze Age culture that revolutionised prehistoric Britain. They were responsible for introducing Bronze Age technology into the British Isles for the first time, and also completely replaced the island’s earlier inhabitants. Identified by their distinctive style of pottery they quite literally changed the faced of British settlement and genetics forever. But how much do we know about them? And what archeological traces have they left behind? In this episode of The Ancients, Tristan Hughes talks to Dr. Alison Sheridan to learn the mysterious story of the 'Beaker People'. Alison explains what recent DNA research has revealed about the nature of their arrival into the British Isles and how significant an impact they had on Britain’s Bronze Age past. This episode was produced by Joseph Knight and edited by Aidan Lonergan. Enjoy unlimited access to award-winning original documentaries that are released weekly and AD-FREE podcasts. Get a subscription for £1 per month for 3 months with code ANCIENTS - sign up here. You can take part in our listener survey here.

Transcribed - Published: 27 April 2024

The Library of Alexandria

The Library of Alexandria was one of the most important and most celebrated buildings of the ancient Mediterranean. It was a great hub of learning and literature and made Alexandria one of the ancient world’s foremost centres of knowledge and culture, and the jewel of the Nile Delta. But when was it built? And where did all the books come from? In today’s episode of The Ancients, Tristan Hughes speaks to Dr. Islam Issa about the story behind one of histories greatest libraries. Together they explore why Alexandria’s reigning dynasty - the Ptolemies - were so obsessed with acquiring knowledge and uncover whether it really did burn down in a great fire.  This episode was produced by Joseph Knight and edited by Aidan Lonergan. Enjoy unlimited access to award-winning original documentaries that are released weekly and AD-FREE podcasts. Get a subscription for £1 per month for 3 months with code ANCIENTS - sign up here. You can take part in our listener survey here.

Transcribed - Published: 25 April 2024

Apollo: God of the Sun

Apollo, the favourite son of Zeus and twin brother of Artemis, was a Greek God with many faces. Perhaps most famous as Phoebus, the God of the Sun, he was the patron of poetry and prophecy, of music and dance. And yet he also possessed a darker side. He was a terribly vengeful character and brought death and disease to both those he hated and loved through his trademark poisonous arrows. In this episode of The Ancients, Tristan Hughes is joined by Liv Albert, host of the podcast Let's Talk About Myths Baby to peel back the layers from one of Greek mythology's most complicated characters. This episode was produced by Joseph Knight and edited by Aidan Lonergan. Enjoy unlimited access to award-winning original documentaries that are released weekly and AD-FREE podcasts. Get a subscription for £1 per month for 3 months with code ANCIENTS - sign up here. You can take part in our listener survey here.

Transcribed - Published: 21 April 2024

The Goths

The Goths are renowned for many things, not least sacking Rome in 410 AD and helping to bring about the fall of the Western Roman Empire. They were a 'barbarian' people from across the Danube who began migrating into the Empire during the 4rd and 4th centuries, pushed out of their ancestral nomadic lands by the onrushing Huns. But what were their origins? And did they really cause the fall of Rome? In this episode of The Ancients, Tristan Hughes speaks to Dr. David Gwynn to tell the tale of the Goths from their origins on the great plains of Eastern Europe to their great migrations and successive invasions of Italy. This episode was produced by Joseph Knight and edited by Aidan Lonergan and Ella Blaxill. Enjoy unlimited access to award-winning original documentaries that are released weekly and AD-FREE podcasts. Get a subscription for £1 per month for 3 months with code ANCIENTS - sign up here. You can take part in our listener survey here.

Transcribed - Published: 18 April 2024

Looted Artefacts: Black Market of Archaeology

Have you ever wondered about the dark side of archeology? The illegal seizing of ancient artefacts? The looting of goods from age old historical sites and their sale on the black market? Well it is a practice that goes back hundreds of years and today we’re exploring how it works, why it happens and what government bodies are doing to prevent it. In this episode of The Ancients Tristan Hughes is joined by Prof. Valerie Higgins to shine a light on how illicit objects and artefacts have found their way to museums and private houses all too often.  This episode was produced by Joseph Knight and edited by Aidan Lonergan. Enjoy unlimited access to award-winning original documentaries that are released weekly and AD-FREE podcasts. Get a subscription for £1 per month for 3 months with code ANCIENTS - sign up here. You can take part in our listener survey here.

Transcribed - Published: 13 April 2024

The First Europeans

Europe’s earliest known humans lived over 1.2 million years ago. After initially roaming the plains of Iberia in small groups, they spread across the Pyrenees into the wider European continent. But for more than 100,000 years all traces of humans in these regions vanish. The question is…what happened? In today’s episode of the Ancients, Tristan Hughes is joined by Dr. Chris Stringer, and by Dr. Chronis Tzedakis and Dr Vasiliki Margari to explore the fate of these first Europeans and discover how a massive climate disaster drove some of Europe’s earliest humans to extinction.  This episode was produced by Joseph Knight and edited by Aidan Lonergan. Enjoy unlimited access to award-winning original documentaries that are released weekly and AD-FREE podcasts. Get a subscription for £1 per month for 3 months with code ANCIENTS - sign up here. You can take part in our listener survey here.

Transcribed - Published: 11 April 2024

How to Survive in Babylonia

Would you be able to survive in ancient Babylonia? In this episode, Tristan is joined once again by Amanda Podany from California State Polytechnic University to discuss the realities of daily life in this fascinating empire. Together, they discuss everything from clay tablet literature and ancient board games to crime, slavery and female entrepreneurship in the era of King Hammurabi c. 1750 BC. Produced by Joseph Knight. Edited by Aidan Lonergan. Discover the past with exclusive history documentaries and ad-free podcasts presented by world-renowned historians from History Hit. Watch them on your smart TV or on the go with your mobile device. Get 50% off your first 3 months with code ANCIENTS sign up now for your 14-day free trial HERE. You can take part in our listener survey here.

Transcribed - Published: 6 April 2024

The Great Sphinx

The Great Sphinx of Giza is one of the most iconic monuments from ancient history. 73 meters in length and 20 meters high, the huge limestone statue depicts a mythical creature with a lion's body and a human head thought to represent Khafre, an ancient Egyptian pharaoh of the Fourth Dynasty during the Old Kingdom (c. 2570 BC). In this fascinating bumper episode of our special Wonders of the World miniseries, Tristan is joined by Dr Campbell Price from Manchester University to learn more about this world-famous effigy, from its shadowy origins, to its role as a tourist attraction for the Ancient Greeks & Romans, and of course its mysterious missing nose. This episode was produced by Joseph Knight and edited by Aidan Lonergan. We need your help! We’re working on something special and we need your questions about the Roman Empire. Let us know here. Enjoy unlimited access to award-winning original documentaries that are released weekly and AD-FREE podcasts. Get a subscription for £1 per month for 3 months with code ANCIENTS - sign up here. You can take part in our listener survey here.

Transcribed - Published: 4 April 2024

Pontius Pilate

Pontius Pilate was the Roman Prefect of Judea during the reign of Emperor Tiberius and is most famous for condemning Jesus of Nazareth to death by crucifixion in the Four Gospels. But who really was he? And how much do we know about him? In this Easter special of The Ancients, Tristan speaks to Prof. Helen Bond to delve deeper into the life of Pontius Pilate, and discover what else we know about this famous Roman governor. Enjoy unlimited access to award-winning original documentaries that are released weekly and AD-FREE podcasts. Get a subscription for £1 per month for 3 months with code ANCIENTS - sign up here. You can take part in our listener survey here.

Transcribed - Published: 31 March 2024

The Pantheon

The Pantheon is one of the greatest Roman monuments still standing. First built as a pagan temple by Marcus Agrippa during the reign of Caesar Augustus, it was rebuilt in its current form by Emperor Hadrian in AD 126 after a devastating fire and still stands just under two thousand years later almost exactly as the Romans intended. It’s famous free-standing dome is a marvel of Roman architecture and engineering, and makes it one of Rome’s most popular tourist attractions to this day. In this episode of The Ancients, Tristan Hughes is joined by Dr. Matthew Nicholls to unlock the secrets of this wonder of Ancient Rome and discover how the Romans built a temple with a craftsmanship that rivals the skills of builders today.  This episode was produced by Joseph Knight and edited by Aidan Lonergan. We need your help! We’re working on something special and we need your questions about the Roman Empire. Let us know here. Enjoy unlimited access to award-winning original documentaries that are released weekly and AD-FREE podcasts. Get a subscription for £1 per month for 3 months with code ANCIENTS - sign up here. You can take part in our listener survey here.

Transcribed - Published: 27 March 2024

Britain After the Ice Age: Star Carr

Over 13,000 years ago, Britain emerged from the ravages of the Ice Age as a changed land. Mesolithic hunter-gatherers who had adapted to cold climates were presented with new opportunities by the retreating glaciers that could transform the way they lived. But what do we actually know about these people? What can the archeology tell us about Britain after the Ice Age? In this episode of The Ancients Tristan Hughes is joined by archeologists Dr Nick Overton and Dr Barry Taylor to talk about the discovery of Mesolithic artefacts at Star Carr - the site of a prehistoric lake settlement in North Yorkshire - and what they can tell us about how some of Britain’s oldest inhabitants might have lived.  This episode was produced by Joseph Knight and edited by Peter Dennis We need your help! We’re working on something special and we need your questions about the Roman Empire. Let us know here. Enjoy unlimited access to award-winning original documentaries that are released weekly and AD-FREE podcasts. Get a subscription for £1 per month for 3 months with code ANCIENTS - sign up here. You can take part in our listener survey here.

Transcribed - Published: 24 March 2024

Great Wall of China

It's one of the most iconic structures in the world: The Great Wall of China. But is it just one wall? And who built it and why? Today, Tristan Hughes is joined by William Lindesay OBE to delve into the ancient history of this epic structure and to answer these questions and more. Together, they uncover the origin story. From the Warring States around 300 BC to the Qin Dynasty and China's first emperor, and then to its expansion during the Han Dynasty. They explore the evolution of the walls' symbolism and significance, the role it played in protecting against nomadic threats, through to modern day conservation and protection efforts and how important it is to understanding China's military and cultural history. We need your help! We’re working on something special and we need your questions about the Roman Empire. Let us know here. Enjoy unlimited access to award-winning original documentaries that are released weekly and AD-FREE podcasts. Get a subscription for £1 per month for 3 months with code ANCIENTS - sign up here. You can take part in our listener survey here.

Transcribed - Published: 20 March 2024

Artemis: Goddess of the Hunt

Artemis is best known as the goddess of the Hunt. But she is far more than just the famed huntress of Greek mythology - she is the patron of the wilderness, of wild animals, of childbirth and also chastity. Daughter of the gods Zeus and Leto, she is famed for her lust for divine retribution and her prowess with a bow, a trait she shares with her twin brother Apollo. In today’s episode of The Ancients, Tristan Hughes continues our Gods and Goddesses series as we delve into one of the most fascinating and fickle goddesses of the Greek pantheon. He is joined by Jasmine Elmer as they discuss Artemis’s relationship with her brother, explore the importance of her virginity to her followers and discover she turns one of her favourite hunters into a stag.  You can preorder Jasmine’s book Goddess with a Thousand Faces here We need your help! We’re working on something special and we need your questions about the Roman Empire. Let us know here. The Senior Producer was Elena Guthrie. Script written by Andrew Hulse. Voiceover performed by Nichola Woolley. The Assistant Producer was Joseph Knight. Edited and Mixed by Aidan Lonergan. Enjoy unlimited access to award-winning original documentaries that are released weekly and AD-FREE podcasts. Get a subscription for £1 per month for 3 months with code ANCIENTS - sign up here. You can take part in our listener survey here.

Transcribed - Published: 17 March 2024

The Walls of Babylon

The ancient metropolis of Babylon was famed for its wonders like the Tower of Babel and the mysterious Hanging Gardens. But few Babylonian monuments were as wondrous as the towering, blue-bricked walls and glittering gates that surrounded the city and protected those inside from enemies on the Mesopotamian Plain. In todays episode of The Ancients, Tristan continues our mini-series focusing on the ancient world’s greatest architectural wonders by shining a light on the great walls of Babylon. He is joined by Prof. Lloyd Llewellyn Jones to tell the fascinating history of these legendary walls and explore what remains of them, including the magnificently reconstructed Ishtar Gate in Berlin.  This episode was produced and edited by Joseph Knight.  Enjoy unlimited access to award-winning original documentaries that are released weekly and AD-FREE podcasts. Get a subscription for £1 per month for 3 months with code ANCIENTS - sign up here. You can take part in our listener survey here.

Transcribed - Published: 13 March 2024

The Origins of Wine

Wine is one of the most popular alcoholic beverages in the world. But its popularity dates back thousands of years. Throughout ancient history, wine was without doubt the drink of choice for all manner of cultures throughout the Mediterranean. So what did winemaking look like over 2000 years ago? Where and when did it start? And how did ancient winemakers transform vine-picked grapes into the ancient world’s favourite drink? In this episode of the Ancients - suggested by our listener Todd Abrams - Tristan Hughes is joined by Dr. Emlyn Dodd to discover how winemaking spread across the Mediterranean, and explore how old the practice of winemaking really is.  This episode was produced by Joseph Knight and edited by Ella Blaxill.  Enjoy unlimited access to award-winning original documentaries that are released weekly and AD-FREE podcasts. Get a subscription for £1 per month for 3 months with code ANCIENTS - sign up here. You can take part in our listener survey here.

Transcribed - Published: 10 March 2024

The Great Pyramid of Giza

The Great Pyramid of Giza is the only ‘Wonder of the Ancient World’ still standing. Built over 4500 years ago at the same time as Stonehenge, the Great Pyramid has become synonymous with all things Ancient Egypt. But what was its original purpose? How long did it take to build? And just how did the Pharaohs manage to erect what was then the tallest structure in the world?  In today’s episode of The Ancients, Tristan Hughes begins our four-part mini-series focusing on the ancient world’s greatest architectural wonders with Dr. Joyce Tyldesley OBE. Together they explore the origins of the Great Pyramid, explain why it was built next to the gushing waters of the River Nile and discover what it can tells us about the people who built it and the society they came from.  This episode was produced by Joseph Knight and edited by Aidan Lonergan. Enjoy unlimited access to award-winning original documentaries that are released weekly and AD-FREE podcasts. Get a subscription for £1 per month for 3 months with code ANCIENTS - sign up here. You can take part in our listener survey here.

Transcribed - Published: 7 March 2024

Zenobia: Queen of Palmyra

Zenobia, queen of the glittering city state of Palmyra, was a titan of the third century Near-East. By defeating the Persian Sassanid Empire in 270 AD and stabilising the Roman East she successfully forged a Palmyran empire stretching from Egypt to Anatolia out of the embers of Rome’s Third Century Crisis. But how did she rise to such power? And how did Rome react to the burgeoning pre-eminence of Palmyra’s crowned Queen? In this episode of The Ancients, Tristan Hughes is joined by Emma Southon to explore how Zenobia rose to rule over Rome’s richest provinces and discover how the Emperor Aurelian sought to destroy her fledgling empire.  Enjoy unlimited access to award-winning original documentaries that are released weekly and AD-FREE podcasts. Get a subscription for £1 per month for 3 months with code ANCIENTS - sign up here. You can take part in our listener survey here.

Transcribed - Published: 2 March 2024

The Silver Pharaohs

The Silver Pharaohs refers to a lesser-known set of ancient Egyptian rulers of the 21st Dynasty, named for the abundant silver discovered in their tombs. First excavated in 1939 by Prof Pierre Montet, the tombs were filled with fantastic solid silver death masks and elaborate chambers, on par with the likes of Tutankhamun. Despite this, they've failed to garner the same amount of attention. Today, Tristan is joined by Egyptologist and friend of the podcast Dr Chris Naunton to highlight the significance of these findings, what they can tell us about the rulers Psusennes I and Shoshenq II, how they paint a vivid picture of this important period of history. Enjoy unlimited access to award-winning original documentaries that are released weekly and AD-FREE podcasts. Get a subscription for £1 per month for 3 months with code ANCIENTS - sign up here. You can take part in our listener survey here.

Transcribed - Published: 28 February 2024

Roman Special Forces

The Romans were renowned for their military prowess and skill. Their legions successfully conquered vast swathes of the Mediterranean world, led by battle-weathered centurions trained in the art of war and strategy. But did the Romans owe any of their military success to the actions of special forces? In short, did the Romans have an SAS?  In this episode of the Ancients Tristan Hughes is joined by friend of the show Dr Simon Elliott to explore whether or not the Romans employed elite SAS style units on their far-flung conquests and discover how they used specially trained scouts to carry out covert operations on the frontiers of Empire.  This episode was produced by Joseph Knight, and edited by Aidan Lonergan Enjoy unlimited access to award-winning original documentaries that are released weekly and AD-FREE podcasts. Get a subscription for £1 per month for 3 months with code ANCIENTS - sign up here. You can take part in our listener survey here.

Transcribed - Published: 25 February 2024

Origins of Carthage

Famed as one of Rome’s fiercest enemies, the city of Carthage was one of the jewels of the ancient Mediterranean world. Situated on the coast of North Africa on the tip of what is now Tunisia, it first rose to prominence as a Phoenician colony. But how did this once fledgling outpost rise to claim it’s ancient pre-eminence?  In this episode of the Ancients, Tristan Hughes is once again joined by Dr. Eve MacDonald to explore the origins of this most famous of ancient cities and tell the story of how Princess Dido of Tyre journeyed across the seas to found the future home of Hannibal, bane of Rome. This episode was produced by Elena Guthrie and Joseph Knight and edited by Aidan Lonergan. Scriptwriter: Andrew Hulse  Enjoy unlimited access to award-winning original documentaries that are released weekly and AD-FREE podcasts. Get a subscription for £1 per month for 3 months with code ANCIENTS - sign up here. You can take part in our listener survey here.

Transcribed - Published: 22 February 2024

Ice Age Britain: Finding the First Homo sapiens

Over 45,000 years ago, Ice Age Britain was undergoing a transformation.  The first modern humans, Homo sapiens, were arriving and beginning to settle in the British Isles. Their evolutionary predecessors, the Neanderthals, were on their way to extinction. Until now we have known very little about this period. But that might be about to change with the discovery of a new centre of Stone Age archeology in South West Wales. Wogan Cavern, situated underneath Pembroke Castle, was the ideal place for newly-arrived prehistoric hunter-gatherer communities to dwell and is littered with stone tools, bones and other hallmark remains of ancient human settlement. In this special on-location episode of The Ancients, Tristan Hughes went to visit the cavern and speak to the archeologists who uncovered it, Dr. Rob Dinnis and Dr. Jennifer French.  This episode was produced by Joseph Knight and edited by Aidan Lonergan Discover the past with exclusive history documentaries and ad-free podcasts presented by world-renowned historians from History Hit. Watch them on your smart TV or on the go with your mobile device. Get 50% off your first 3 months with code ANCIENTS sign up now for your 14-day free trial HERE. You can take part in our listener survey here.

Transcribed - Published: 17 February 2024

Sulla

Lucius Cornellius Sulla Felix is one of the most important Roman statesmen of antiquity. An inspiration to figures such as Julius Caesar, Sulla rose to prominence during the late second and early first centuries BC, and was a military man turned dictator after his brutal victory over Marius and Cinna at the Battle of the Colline Gate. Today, Tristan is joined by Dr Alex Petkas to discuss what the sources say about Sulla, how he rose to power, and what we know of his role in the downfall of the Roman Republic. This episode was edited by Joseph Knight. Senior producer was Elena Guthrie. Discover the past with exclusive history documentaries and ad-free podcasts presented by world-renowned historians from History Hit. Watch them on your smart TV or on the go with your mobile device. Get 50% off your first 3 months with code ANCIENTS sign up now for your 14-day free trial HERE. You can take part in our listener survey here.

Transcribed - Published: 15 February 2024

Persia Reborn: Rise of the Sasanians

The Sasanians are renowned as one of Rome's most feared enemies. Founded in third century Persia by an Iranian noble called Ardashir, their dynasty oversaw the growth of a mighty empire that brought down the Parthians and survived into the early Middle Ages. But how did one family oversee the rebirth of Persia as a Mesopotamian heavyweight? In this episode of the Ancients, Tristan Hughes is joined by Dr Eve MacDonald to explore how the Sassanids came to dominate a region that had been under the control of Parthian kings for five hundred years, and discover why they dared to challenge the might of Rome. This episode was produced by Joseph Knight and edited by Aidan Lonergan Discover the past with exclusive history documentaries and ad-free podcasts presented by world-renowned historians from History Hit. Watch them on your smart TV or on the go with your mobile device. Get 50% off your first 3 months with code ANCIENTS sign up now for your 14-day free trial HERE. You can take part in our listener survey here.

Transcribed - Published: 11 February 2024

The Epic of Gilgamesh: Quest for Immortality

The Epic of Gilgamesh is one of the oldest surviving works of storytelling in history. It begins with the tale of Gilgamesh’s friendship with the wild man Enkidu. But after Enkidu is killed, King Gilgamesh embarks on a journey into his distant past in search for immortality.  In this episode of the Ancients, the second part of our series on the Epic of Gilgamesh, Dr Sophus Helle returns to speak to Tristan Hughes about Gilgamesh’s quest and his encounters with a mysterious sage called Ut-napishtim - who some claim may have been the inspiration behind the biblical figure of Noah & his famous Ark. The first part of our Gilgamesh series, The Epic of Gilgamesh: Rise of Enkidu can be found here This episode was produced by Joseph Knight and edited by Aidan Lonergan Discover the past with exclusive history documentaries and ad-free podcasts presented by world-renowned historians from History Hit. Watch them on your smart TV or on the go with your mobile device. Get 50% off your first 3 months with code ANCIENTS sign up now for your 14-day free trial HERE. You can take part in our listener survey here.

Transcribed - Published: 8 February 2024

The Epic of Gilgamesh: Rise of Enkidu

The Epic of Gilgamesh is one of the oldest surviving works of storytelling from history. Written in ancient Mesopotamia over three thousand years ago, this epic poem recounts the fabled tale of King Gilgamesh of Uruk and the forging of his friendship with Enkidu, a wild man sent by the Gods to keep Gilgamesh on the right path. In this episode of the Ancients, Tristan Hughes is joined by Dr Sophus Helle to explore and recount this oldest of myths - first written in Old Babylonian on cuneiform tablets - and discover how it became a foundational work in the tradition of heroic sagas.  This episode was edited by Aidan Lonergan and produced by Joseph Knight Discover the past with exclusive history documentaries and ad-free podcasts presented by world-renowned historians from History Hit. Watch them on your smart TV or on the go with your mobile device. Get 50% off your first 3 months with code ANCIENTS sign up now for your 14-day free trial HERE. You can take part in our listener survey here.

Transcribed - Published: 4 February 2024

The First Dogs

For millennia dogs have been undoubtedly man’s best friend. But when did humans first start keeping dogs as pets? The fascinating story of how ancient hunter gatherers first domesticated our now beloved canines is the subject of today’s episode and takes us right back into the depths of the Ice Age. Tristan is joined in this episode by archeologist Dr Angela Perri to chat about how the wild wolf packs that roamed the icy wastes of the ancient world gradually became the four pawed friends we know and love today. This episode was edited by Aidan Lonergan and produced by Annie Coloe and Joseph Knight Discover the past with exclusive history documentaries and ad-free podcasts presented by world-renowned historians from History Hit. Watch them on your smart TV or on the go with your mobile device. Get 50% off your first 3 months with code ANCIENTS sign up now for your 14-day free trial HERE. You can take part in our listener survey here.

Transcribed - Published: 1 February 2024

Hermes: Messenger of the Gods

Famed as the herald of the Greek gods, Hermes is the ‘jack of all trades’ when it comes to the pantheon of Mount Olympus. Known for his trademark winged sandals and snake encircled sceptre, he is the god of both thieves and shepherds. But how did he earn those titles? In this episode of the Ancients, Tristan Hughes continues our Gods and Goddesses series with Christopher Bungard to chat all things Hermes   and answer the most important of questions - how did his sandals grow wings?  Senior Producer: Elena Guthrie. Assistant Producer: Joseph Knight. Editor: Aidan Lonergan. Script Writer: Andrew Hulse. Voice Actor: Lucy Davidson Other episodes in this series include: Zeus, Hera, Hephaestus, Aphrodite, Ares, Athena, King Midas, Achilles, Poseidon, Medusa, Hades, Persephone, and Demeter. Discover the past with exclusive history documentaries and ad-free podcasts presented by world-renowned historians from History Hit. Watch them on your smart TV or on the go with your mobile device. Get 50% off your first 3 months with code ANCIENTS sign up now for your 14-day free trial HERE. You can take part in our listener survey here.

Transcribed - Published: 28 January 2024

Alexander the Great

This is everything you need to know about the famed conqueror Alexander the Great. Alongside Dan Snow, host of Dan Snow's History Hit, Tristan and Dan follow Alexander on a whistle-stop tour from his life in Macedonia to his epic battles with the Persians and eventually, to his death in Babylon. Discover the past with exclusive history documentaries and ad-free podcasts presented by world-renowned historians from History Hit. Watch them on your smart TV or on the go with your mobile device. Get 50% off your first 3 months with code ANCIENTS sign up now for your 14-day free trial HERE. You can take part in our listener survey here.

Transcribed - Published: 24 January 2024

Lascaux Cave: Ice Age Art

Lascaux Cave is an Ice Age wonder. Its walls and ceilings are adorned with stunning depictions of bison, aurochs and deer painted by hunter-gatherers 20,000 years ago using all kinds of pigments from red ochre to violet. They are, quite simply some of the most beautiful examples of Palaeolithic artwork ever discovered. In this episode of The Ancients, Tristan Hughes is joined by Prof. Paul Pettitt to delve into the wonders of Lascaux Cave. Together they explore how supposedly primitive hunter gatherers were capable of drawing such beautiful artwork and reflect on what it means for how we view Palaeolithic hunter gatherer societies today.  This episode edited by Aidan Lonergan and produced by Joseph Knight and Annie Coloe. Discover the past with exclusive history documentaries and ad-free podcasts presented by world-renowned historians from History Hit. Watch them on your smart TV or on the go with your mobile device. Get 50% off your first 3 months with code ANCIENTS sign up now for your 14-day free trial HERE.You can take part in our listener survey here.

Transcribed - Published: 21 January 2024

Cicero

Marcus Tullius Cicero is one of the most famous orators in ancient history, and a central figure during the final years of the Roman Republic. To explore his life and career, Tristan is joined by Dr Henriette van der Blom from the University of Birmingham. Together they explore Cicero's rise to power, how his speeches shaped public opinion, his relationships with the likes of Julius Caesar, and of course, how he exposed the Catiline Conspiracy. This episode was produced by Elena Guthrie and Annie Coloe, and edited by Joseph Knight. If you enjoyed this episode, you might also like our episodes on The Rise of Cicero and Cicero's Fight for the Roman Republic. Discover the past with exclusive history documentaries and ad-free podcasts presented by world-renowned historians from History Hit. Watch them on your smart TV or on the go with your mobile device. Get 50% off your first 3 months with code ANCIENTS sign up now for your 14-day free trial HERE. You can take part in our listener survey here.

Transcribed - Published: 17 January 2024

The Bronze Age Collapse

The Bronze Age Collapse was one of the most cataclysmic events in human history. Over just a few decades, civilisations across the Mediterranean from Greece and Egypt to Mesopotamia and Babylon abruptly deteriorated, bringing an end to one epoch and birthing another. But what exactly happened? And what caused these powerful and interconnected civilisations to come crashing down simultaneously?  In today’s episode of the Ancients, Tristan Hughes speaks to Eric Cline to explore the origins of the crisis which birthed the Iron Age and examine the role played by invasions, drought and famine in causing it. Discover the past with exclusive history documentaries and ad-free podcasts presented by world-renowned historians from History Hit. Watch them on your smart TV or on the go with your mobile device. Get 50% off your first 3 months with code ANCIENTS sign up now for your 14-day free trial HERE. You can take part in our listener survey here.

Transcribed - Published: 13 January 2024

The First Irish

Over 10,000 years ago, many believe Ireland was a place where hunter-gatherers roamed. A place where the earliest human communities exchanged prizes of the hunt and crafted primitive tools to aid their survival. But what if their interactions with each other were more sophisticated? What if hunter-gatherer is a misnomer? In the episode of the Ancients, Tristan Hughes speaks to Professor Graeme Warren about Ireland's rich prehistoric archaeology to discover how the earliest communities lived their lives. What do we know about these first people who made the island of Ireland their home? They also discuss how the remnants of Ireland’s distant Mesolithic past shed light on the shared practices between Ireland and other parts of Mesolithic Europe and how the Irish Sea played a significant role in the exchange of culture between those regions. Discover the past with exclusive history documentaries and ad-free podcasts presented by world-renowned historians from History Hit. Watch them on your smart TV or on the go with your mobile device. Get 50% off your first 3 months with code ANCIENTS sign up now for your 14-day free trial HERE. You can take part in our listener survey here.

Transcribed - Published: 10 January 2024

Jericho

With more than 10,000 years of history, the ancient city of Jericho is often thought to be the oldest continuously inhabited settlement in the world. Made famous by the biblical tale of its conquest by Joshua, it is situated a stones throw from the western bank of the Jordan River. But did Jericho’s famous walls really come crashing down at the sound of Joshua’s trumpets? In this episode of The Ancients, Tristan speaks to archeologist Felicity Cobbing from the Palestine Exploration Fund to explore what Jericho’s archeology can reveal about its past. In doing so they catch glimpses of the city's extraordinary evolution and the pivotal role it played in shaping the cultural, agricultural and defensive processes of other ancient civilisations. Discover the past with exclusive history documentaries and ad-free podcasts presented by world-renowned historians from History Hit. Watch them on your smart TV or on the go with your mobile device. Get 50% off your first 3 months with code ANCIENTS sign up now for your 14-day free trial HERE. You can take part in our listener survey here.

Transcribed - Published: 6 January 2024

How to Survive in Ancient Rome

This episode contains a reference to animal cruelty Would you be able to survive in ancient Rome? Today, Tristan Hughes is joined by Ben Kane to discusses the realities of daily life in the Roman Empire. Together, they discuss everything from street life and chamber pots through to pick pockets and slavery. Spoiler alert: it was quite smelly and dangerous. If you enjoyed this episode, Ben Kane also joined us for an episode on The Roman Legionary. Discover the past with exclusive history documentaries and ad-free podcasts presented by world-renowned historians from History Hit. Watch them on your smart TV or on the go with your mobile device. Get 50% off your first 3 months with code ANCIENTS sign up now for your 14-day free trial HERE. You can take part in our listener survey here.

Transcribed - Published: 4 January 2024

Zeus

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 HulseVoice over performed by Deryn OliverProduced, edited and sound designed by Elena GuthrieThe Assistant Producer was Annie Coloe Discover the past with exclusive history documentaries and ad-free podcasts presented by world-renowned historians from History Hit. Watch them on your smart TV or on the go with your mobile device. Get 50% off your first 3 months with code ANCIENTS sign up now for your 14-day free trial HERE. You can take part in our listener survey here. First published November 2022

Transcribed - Published: 31 December 2023

The Assassination of Julius Caesar

March 15th 44BC is perhaps the most notorious date in all of ancient history. On that fateful day, the Ides of March, 55-year-old Roman dictator Gaius Julius Caesar was assassinated by a group of disaffected senators. In this episode, Tristan (with a little help from Dr Emma Southon and Dr Steele Brand) untangles fact from fiction, truth from myth, to take you back to that very afternoon in the heart of Rome's doomed republic. Discover the past with exclusive history documentaries and ad-free podcasts presented by world-renowned historians from History Hit. Watch them on your smart TV or on the go with your mobile device. Get 50% off your first 3 months with code ANCIENTS sign up now for your 14-day free trial HERE. You can take part in our listener survey here. First published March 2022

Transcribed - Published: 28 December 2023

Rise of Hannibal

He was one of the greatest enemies the Romans ever faced. An excellent general and a larger-than-life figure, he led an army across the alps and dealt a series of crushing defeats upon the Romans on Italian soil. His achievements have become a thing of legend and his name has become immortalised. He was Hannibal Barca. Hannibal rests amongst antiquity's greatest generals, but how did he rise to become such a stellar commander, leading his men to incredible victories against the then dominant powerhouse in the Mediterranean? In this episode, Dr Louis Rawlings, Dr Adrian Goldsworthy and Dr Eve MacDonald explore the impressive ascent of the Carthaginian general to the status of one of the most famous military leaders in antiquity. Discover the past with exclusive history documentaries and ad-free podcasts presented by world-renowned historians from History Hit. Watch them on your smart TV or on the go with your mobile device. Get 50% off your first 3 months with code ANCIENTS sign up now for your 14-day free trial HERE. You can take part in our listener survey here. First published August 2021

Transcribed - Published: 24 December 2023

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