It’s time for another episode of Smarter Smart Phone use, where I offer advice and recommendations for how to get more from phone on your daily commute. More education that is, and not so much thrill of endangerment and dissociation. Enough banter though, let’s get to the subject, because this week is a prize gem of a recommendation.
You’ll need a podcast player on your phone to take advantage of this. I use the Podcast Addict application on Android or the Apple Podcast Application on iPhone. Once you have the player downloaded, simply run a search for podcasts looking for “history of Rome,” or check out the link to the iTunes webpage. It’s absolutely worth it. Here are a few reasons why.
The History of Rome is the history of the West:
Along with the Ancient Greeks, no society has been so influential and so imitated in Western society as the Romans. All these centuries later, we still have Roman names for calendar months and keep Roman traditions for some of the holidays. Up until the last hundred years, the rulers of both Germany and Russia were known as Kaiser and Czar (both drawn from “Caesar”) respectively. The “Holy Roman Empire” dominated much of central Europe for around a thousand years before modern times, and, of course, drew the inspiration for its name from the Romans before them. Much of Western thought, philosophy, language, government, and military finds root in the Roman history, so to learn that history is to learn our own.
Mike Duncan’s style and pace are amazing:
If you have never had the privilege of listening to a really great storyteller envelop you in a large scale narrative, I can assure you, this is the chance to give yourself a proper introduction. Mike Duncan starts off smooth and smart in the very first episode and quickly establishes himself as “the” voice of unfolding events. He is never overly wordy but his writing and diction are strong and intellectual. He does not allow the narrative to bog down with unnecessary details and yet does not leave out important information as he explains each particular period of Roman History. The episodes are quick and efficient, but you still leave each episode feeling very informed; with a good sense of the motives and methods of the major players of the time. At just about 20 – 25 minutes for an average episode, the length is perfect for a normal work commute, and you’ll probably look forward to each coming episode the way you anticipate a cherished television show.
History in general is a sorely overlooked subject in many people’s lives today.
It is very worth the time to learn something about how our world came to be the way it is. Even though the Roman Empire in the West ended fifteen centuries ago, the culture and the events of their time helped to influence the course of events that eventually brought us here. If you don’t really know much about Julius Caesar and his rise to power or how Christianity became the religion in the West, it all starts here, and these things are not only good knowledge as a point of reference, they are a real pleasure to learn when taught in the form of a well told story. In English, we have two similar words: “story” and “history.” In many other languages, such as German and Spanish, “story” and “history” are the same word; an excellent reminder that it really is our “story.” Don’t let yourself shy away because of how boring or tedious the subject may have been in school; this “story” is interesting and entertaining just as all great stories should be.
What are you doing that is more important?
Please tell me the answer is not music or talk radio. Not that music is unworthy of your ear, but how many times have you heard those songs by now? Are they really better use of your time than learning something new? If you are a talk radio listener, how much good information are you getting in an average commute; not to mention most of the syndicated morning shows will force you to listen to almost as much commercial as show. Please consider making a change to something new and educational; give this fantastic podcast a listen.
That is my pitch for this episode. Please don’t wait to check this out. As usual, if you don’t have data capacity to allow you to stream the episodes on your commute, there are ways around this. Simply visit the link at http://thehistoryofrome.typepad.com/the_history_of_rome/archives.html to download all the archived episodes (every episode), and convert them to the playback method of your choice. Remember, this costs you NO MONEY, and you will be helping to promote an educational tool that can be of benefit to anyone. Please take advantage of this resource and share the information with others … just don’t share the information until you park the car!
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