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Literature and History

A podcast covering Anglophone literature from ancient times to the present.
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Literature and History
2019
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Sep 9, 2019

Statius’ Thebaid, Books 1-6. This epic is hardly ever read or taught these days, but in 100 CE, it was as famous as anything in the Roman world.

Aug 26, 2019

Petronius’ Satyricon is a contender for history’s first novel, a picaresque filled with sex, misadventures, and details about daily life.

Aug 5, 2019

Seneca’s Phaedra (c. 50s CE) is the story of an illicit passion, a stoic cautionary tale and simultaneously vivid character study.

Jul 17, 2019

Seneca’s Thyestes, probably written around the 50s CE, is one of the most horrifying and influential plays ever written.

Jun 26, 2019

Stoicism, starting with Zeno in 300 BCE, was a popular philosophy by the lifetime of Seneca, perhaps even making its way into the New Testament.

Mar 30, 2019

Seneca the Younger (c 1 BCE-65 CE) practiced the philosophy of stoicism over the course of several volatile, and very different imperial reigns.

Feb 23, 2019

For mysterious reasons, in 8 CE, Ovid was exiled from Rome. Ovid’s last works were composed an ocean away from  Italy, on the western shore of the Black Sea.

Feb 8, 2019

Ovid’s Metamorphoses, Books 11-15. The vast Metamorphoses draws to a resonant conclusion as Ovid brings his great poem to Rome itself.

Jan 27, 2019

Ovid’s Metamorphoses, Books 6-10. In the middle portion of Ovid’s great poem, psychological transformations become as gripping as physical ones.

Jan 14, 2019

Ovid’s Metamorphoses, Books 1-5. This book influenced thousands of years of later literature, and remains one of our best source texts on classical mythology.

Dec 10, 2018

Ovid’s Art of Love is ancient Rome’s manual of seduction – a record of the steamier side of the Augustan Age.

Nov 13, 2018

The love poetry of Ovid (43 BCE-17 CE) was standard Latin curriculum for hundreds of years, but it was also the product of a very specific historical moment.

Oct 10, 2018

Propertius (c. 50-1 BCE) took the Latin elegiac form to new heights of complexity and passion, even weaving subtle satire throughout his work.

Sep 1, 2018

Virgil’s Aeneid, Books 10-12. The end of Rome’s great epic is about something Romans of Virgil’s generation knew very well indeed. War.

Aug 13, 2018

Virgil’s Aeneid, Books 7-9. Aeneas’ arrival in Italy begins auspiciously enough, but soon things take a turn for the worse.

Jul 6, 2018

Virgil’s Aeneid, Books 4-6. The story of Dido and Aeneas, and his subsequent journey to the underworld, is the heart of Rome’s most famous poem.

May 31, 2018

Virgil’s Aeneid, Books 1-3. The Aeneid is Rome’s great epic. Learn the story of its first three books, and when and why Virgil began writing it.

May 4, 2018

Virgil’s Georgics (c. 29 BCE), or agriculture poems, show the poet reaching his full strength as a writer, and using an old form to analyze the history around him.

Apr 12, 2018

Virgil’s Eclogues (c. 38 BCE) are poems about country life. Far from being innocent celebrations, though they are often cryptic filled with a haunting darkness.

Mar 19, 2018

Horace (65-8 BCE) was a central figure in shaping Augustan Age tastes in satire and literary criticism. His bumbling, self conscious persona has been charming readers for millennia.

Feb 19, 2018

The Roman poet Horace (65-8 BCE), a contemporary of Augustus, endured wars, regime changes, and became a literary spokesman for the new principate.

Jan 31, 2018

Catullus (c. 85-54 BCE) is Rome’s most famous early poet. Departing from epic tradition, Catullus wrote a canon of short works that have been famous since antiquity.

Jan 15, 2018

Following his consulship, Cicero did his best to salvage the battered Republic, eventually going head to head with the powerful young general Mark Antony.

Dec 20, 2017

The story of Cicero’s career is an epic tale, filled with courtroom dramas, corruption, conspiracy, greed, and Cicero’s own enduring hope for a better future.

Dec 9, 2017

Cicero (106-43 BCE) was the undisputed master of the Latin language. During his first thirty years, he witnessed events that heralded the Republic’s end.

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