Literature and History

A podcast covering Anglophone literature from ancient times to the present.
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Literature and History



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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.

Nov 16, 2017

Lucretius (c. 94-53 BCE) is our most important source for Epicurean philosophy, perhaps the most misunderstood school of thought from the ancient world.

Oct 20, 2017

The Roman playwright Terence (c. 184-159 BCE) produced a string of brilliant comedies in the 160s BCE. His masterpiece, The Brothers, continues to astonish us today.

Sep 29, 2017

Plautus (c. 254-184 BCE) was a prolific comedy writer. His late play, The Rope, captures the dizzying changes sweeping Rome after the Second Punic War.

Sep 17, 2017

Roman literature grew slowly from Greek traditions during the 300s and 200s BCE. Learn about its earliest figures, and how they paved the way for the Age of Cicero.

May 3, 2017

A retrospective of everything L&H has covered so far, plus some special announcements.

Apr 24, 2017

The Hellenistic period – 330-30 BCE, saw Alexander’s successor kingdoms rotting away in the east, the rise of Rome, and the birth of modern consciousness.

Apr 4, 2017

Apollonius’ Jason and the Argonauts, Books 3-4. Mesmerizing Medea takes center stage at the Argonautica’s end, dominating the epic’s events.

Mar 22, 2017

Jason and the Argonauts, Books 1-2. Journey with Jason to find the Golden Fleece, and learn about the Greco-Egyptian writer, Apollonius of Rhodes.

Mar 3, 2017

Menander’s Old Cantankerous (316 BCE), produced during the New Comedy period, shows theater beginning to take on its modern form.

Feb 22, 2017

Aristophanes’ Lysistrata, with all of its nudity, sex, and explicit language, was nonetheless his most powerful salvo against the Peloponnesian War.

Feb 7, 2017

Aristophanes’ The Clouds is a dazzling satire on Athenian philosophy, showing a very different Socrates than Plato’s.

Jan 24, 2017

Euripides’ The Bacchae, one of the darkest  and bloodiest works of Ancient Greek tragedy, is about the spread of cult religions during the late Peloponnesian War.

Jan 5, 2017

Euripides’ Medea is Ancient Greece’s most famous play. But what did it mean to the Athenians in 431 BCE who watched it on the Acropolis?

Dec 21, 2016

Sophocles’ Theban Plays, 3 of 3. Antigone is a timeless and dark story about a clash of wills. But it’s also fascinating snapshot of the philosophical brawls of 5th-century BCE Athens.

Dec 7, 2016

Sophocles’ Theban Plays, 2 of 3. Oedipus at Colonus, out of the ashes of the Peloponnesian War, is a story about a man who has lost everything but his own dignity.

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