Podcast

The Fall of Rome Podcast

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 reshaped our understanding of one of the most important events in human history. PhD historian and specialist Patrick Wyman brings the cutting edge of history to listeners in plain, relatable English.

Episodes

  • Interview: Historian Kyle Harper on Disease, Climate and the Fall of the Roman Empire

    Apr 03 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 Empire.Subscribe to Tides of History today so you never miss an episode: https://smarturl.it/TOHWatch the trailer for Darkest Hour: http://bit.ly/2uH7nAtThank you to our sponsors:Hello Fresh - Take $30 off your first week of meals when you enter cod...more

  • Tides of History: Natural Disasters and the End of the Roman Empire

    Mar 20 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, call the end of the Roman Empire.Subscribe to Tides of History today so you never miss an episode: https://smarturl.it/TOHThank you to our sponsors:Hello Fresh - Take $30 off your first week of meals when you enter code TIDES30 at:www.hellofresh.comSqu...more

  • Tides of History: Justinian the Great and the Reconquest of the Western Empire

    Mar 06 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.Subscribe to Tides of History today so you never miss an episode: https://smarturl.it/TOHThank you to our sponsors:Hello Fresh - Take $30 off your first week of meals when you enter code TIDES30 at:www.hellofresh.comSquarespace - Get a free trial and sa...more

  • Tides of History: How the Eastern Roman Empire Survived Attila the Hun and the Disastrous Fifth Century

    Feb 20 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 family of soldiers and bureaucrats.Subscribe to Tides of History today so you never miss an episode: https://smarturl.it/TOHThank you to our sponsors:Texture - Get a 14-day free trial with access to thousands of online magazines here:www.texture.com/ti...more

  • Tides of History: Why Didn't The Eastern Empire Fall?

    Feb 06 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 another until 1453. What was so special about the eastern half of the Roman Empire, and how did it avoid the fate of its western cousin?Subscribe to Tides of History today so you never miss an episode: https://smarturl.it/TOHThank you to our sponsors:Te...more

  • Interview: Christianizing the Roman Empire with Professor Lisa Bitel

    Jan 16 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.

  • Tides of History: How Latin Became the Romance Languages

    Dec 14 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 mutually intelligible tongues.Thank you to our sponsors:Hello Fresh - Take $30 off your first week of meals when enter code TIDES30 at:www.hellofresh.comSquarespace - Get a free trial and save 10% when you launch your domain here:www.squarespace.com/tidesZi...more

  • Tides of History: The Decline and Fall of the Roman City

    Nov 14 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 an episode: https://smarturl.it/TOHThank you to our sponsors:Audible - Try audible free and get a free audio book when you visit them here:www.audible.com/tidesSquarespace - Get a free trial and save 10% when you launch your domain here:www.squarespac...more

  • Tides of History: The Roman City

    Oct 24 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 them so important to the Roman Empire.Subscribe to Tides of History today so you never miss an episode: https://smarturl.it/TOH

  • Introducing Tides of History

    Jul 20 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 cultural change that shape the world and everyone who lives on it. In this new series from Wondery, PhD historian Patrick Wyman (Fall of Rome) brings the cutting edge of that history to listeners in plain, relatable English. Episodes 1 & 2...more

  • 23: Could the Roman Empire Have Survived?

    Jun 22 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 the Third Century. Take the survey at wondery.com/survey.

  • 22: The Brilliance of Saint Augustine. An Interview with Elizabeth Bruenig

    Jun 15 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 politics and Christianity (@ebruenig on Twitter) joins me to discuss Augustine's life, thought, and greater meaning. Take the survey at Wondery.com/survey.

  • 21: Rome's Legacy and the Barbarian Kingdoms

    Jun 08 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. Take the survey at Wondery.com/survey.

  • 20: The Anglo-Saxon Migration, the North Sea World, and the Birth of England

    May 25 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 200 years, rewrote the political, demographic, linguistic, and cultural maps of eastern Britain, transforming it into England. Watch a preview of Genius, the new show on National Geographic about Albert Einstein, starring academy award winner Geoff...more

  • 19: Why Didn't Rome Rise Again? An Interview with Professor Walter Scheidel

    May 18 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 outstanding books on Rome and beyond, most recently "The Great Leveler", on the history of economic inequality - argues that this lack of recurring empires is what laid the groundwork for the eventual rise of Europe, the Great Divergence, that underpins ...more

  • 18: The Warlords of Northern Gaul and the Rise of the Franks

    May 11 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 become the kingdom of the Franks. Watch a preview of Genius, the new show on National Geographic about Albert Einstein, starring academy award winner Geoffrey Rush: NatGeoTV.com/Genius Take the survey at wondery.com/survey.

  • 17: Ostrogothic Kingdom or the Western Empire Reborn?

    Apr 27 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, the new show on National Geographic about Albert Einstein, starring academy award winner Geoffrey Rush: NatGeoTV.com/Genius Take the survey at wondery.com/survey.

  • 16: The Kingdom of the Visigoths

    Apr 13 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 preview of Genius, the new show on National Geographic about Albert Einstein, starring academy award winner Geoffrey Rush: NatGeoTV.com/Genius Take the survey at wondery.com/survey.

  • 15: The Death of the Roman Political System

    Mar 30 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 from the control of the imperial center. Watch a preview of Genius, the new show on National Geographic about Albert Einstein, starring academy award winner Geoffrey Rush: NatGeoTV.com/Genius Take the survey at wondery.com/survey.

  • 14: The Calamitous Fifth Century - A Narrative History

    Mar 16 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 and events of the calamitous fifth century. Take the survey at wondery.com/survey.

  • 13: The Unraveling of the Roman World

    Mar 02 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 too did that easy movement and the world it had created. Take the survey at wondery.com/survey.

  • 12: The Fall of the Roman Economy

    Feb 17 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 economy it supported, but in different ways, in different places, at different times. If you have a spare moment, take the survey at wondery.com/survey.

  • 11: The Roman Economy Before the Fall

    Feb 03 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 organized, how it functioned, and what it had come to look like just before it all went south. If you have a spare moment, please take the survey at Wondery.com/survey.

  • 10: The Late Roman Army, Barbarians, and the Frontier

    Jan 13 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 huge economic driver and a cultural world unto itself. Subscribe to Hollywood & Crime at smarturl.it/hollywoodandcrime Check out the new History Matters podcast: https://soundcloud.com/historymatterspodcast

  • 9: Attila and the Empire of the Huns

    Dec 13 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 from the Ural Mountains in Russia to the Rhine River in Germany.

  • 8: The Vandals and the Fall of Roman Africa

    Nov 23 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.

  • Special Episode: The End Of The Gladiators

    Oct 30 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.

  • 7: The Three Transformations Of Roman Gaul

    Oct 20 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 constituent parts. The north became a playground for Frankish warlords, while in the two southern locales, life went on much as it had before.

  • 6: The Catastrophic Fall Of Roman Britain

    Oct 01 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 was split among an innumerable number of petty kingdoms. What happened? How did everything go so wrong?

  • 5: Just How Screwed Up Was the Later Roman Empire?

    Sep 15 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, empire that could no longer hold itself together? In this episode, we discuss just how things had changed between the peak of the Roman Empire in the second century and the beginning of the end in the fourth.

  • 4: The Gothic Sack of Rome

    Sep 03 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 Empire?

  • 3: The Goths and the Beginning of Rome's End

    Aug 27 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 army in more than 350 years. How did a rag-tag group of migrants defeat the cream of the army and leave an emperor dead on the battlefield?

  • 2: The Barbarian World

    Aug 12 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 tightly tied to Rome, and those connections are what we'll investigate today, through the eyes of a Goth named Wulfila. Take the survey at Wondery.com/survey.

  • 1: Introduction

    Aug 05 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 events in history.