Ancient History

Ancient History

episodes

Interviews with scholars of ancient history about their new books.

Stephen Harris, "Buddhist Ethics and the Bodhisattva Path: Santideva on Virtue and Well-Being" (Bloomsbury, 2023)

July 20, 2024

Buddhist Ethics and the Bodhisattva Path

Stephen Harris
Hosted by Malcolm Keating

An influential eighth-century Buddhist text, Śāntideva’s Bodhicaryāvatāra, or Guide to the Practices of Awakening, how to become a supremely virtuous …

Anthony Kaldellis, "The New Roman Empire: A History of Byzantium" (Oxford UP, 2024)

July 20, 2024

The New Roman Empire

Anthony Kaldellis
Hosted by Charles Coutinho

In recent decades, the study of the Eastern Roman Empire, also known as Byzantium, has been revolutionized by new approaches and more sophisticated mo…

Stephanie Balkwill, "The Women Who Ruled China: Buddhism, Multiculturalism, and Governance in the Sixth Century" (U California Press, 2024)

July 20, 2024

The Women Who Ruled China

Stephanie Balkwill
Hosted by Jessica Zu

In the late fifth century, a girl whose name has been forgotten by history was born at the edge of the Chinese empire. By the time of her death, she h…

Jeremiah Coogan, "Eusebius the Evangelist: Rewriting the Fourfold Gospel in Late Antiquity" (Oxford UP, 2023)

July 18, 2024

Eusebius the Evangelist

Jeremiah Coogan
Hosted by Rob Heaton

The development of Christian scriptures did not terminate once, for example, following Irenaeus and other influential patristic figures, the four gosp…

Fantastic Fauna from China to Crimea: Image-Making in Eurasian Nomadic Societies, 700 BCE-500 CE

July 14, 2024

Fantastic Fauna from China to Crimea: Image-Making in Eurasian Nomadic Societies, 700 BCE-500 CE

Petya Andreeva
Hosted by Maggie Freeman

Numerous Iron-Age nomadic alliances flourished along the 5000-mile Eurasian steppe route. From Crimea to the Mongolian grassland, nomadic image-making…

Robert E. Jones, "Priesthood, Cult, and Temple in the Aramaic Scrolls from Qumran: Analyzing a Pre-Hasmonean Jewish Literary Tradition" (Brill, 2023)

July 8, 2024

Priesthood, Cult, and Temple in the Aramaic Scrolls from Qumran

Robert E. Jones
Hosted by Ari Barbalat

The Hellenistic period was a pivotal moment in the history of the Jewish priesthood. The waning days of the Persian empire coincided with the continue…

Aaron Sherraden, "Śambūka's Death Toll: A History of Motives and Motifs in an Evolving Rāmāyaṇa Narrative" (Anthem Press, 2023)

July 4, 2024

Śambūka's Death Toll: a History of Motives and Motifs in an Evolving Rāmāyaṇa Narrative

Aaron Sherraden
Hosted by Raj Balkaran

According to Vālmīki's Sanskrit Rāmāyaṇa (early centuries CE), Śambūka was practicing severe acts of austerity to enter heaven. In engaging in these a…

Travis B. Williams et al., "The Dead Sea Scrolls in Ancient Media Culture" (Brill, 2023)

July 1, 2024

The Dead Sea Scrolls in Ancient Media Culture

Travis B. Williams, Chris Keith, and Loren Stuckenbruck
Hosted by Ari Barbalat

Media studies is an emerging discipline that is quickly making an impact within the wider field of biblical scholarship. The Dead Sea Scrolls in Ancie…

Jihye Lee, "A Jewish Apocalyptic Framework of Eschatology in the Epistle to the Hebrews" (T&T Clark, 2021)

June 29, 2024

A Jewish Apocalyptic Framework of Eschatology in the Epistle to the Hebrews

Jihye Lee

In contrast to scholarly belief that the author of the Epistle to the Hebrews envisions the transcendent, heavenly world as the eschatological inherit…

Christianity and the Transformation of the Book: A Lecture by Anthony Grafton

June 22, 2024

Christianity and the Transformation of the Book

Anthony Grafton is the Henry Putnam University Professor of History at Princeton, where he has taught since 1975. He is an historian of early modern E…

Malcolm Schofield, "How Plato Writes: Perspectives and Problems" (Cambridge UP, 2023)

June 21, 2024

How Plato Writes

Malcolm Schofield

Plato is a philosophical writer of unusual and ingenious versatility. His works engage in argument but are also full of allegory, imagery, myth, parad…

Robert D. Heaton, "The Shepherd of Hermas As Scriptura Non Grata: From Popularity in Early Christianity to Exclusion from the New Testament Canon" (Rowman & Littlefield, 2023)

June 16, 2024

The Shepherd of Hermas As Scriptura Non Grata

Robert D. Heaton

Composed within the first Christian century by a Roman named Hermas, the Shepherd remains a mysterious and underestimated book to scholars and laypeop…

Matthew Robertson, "Puruṣa: Personhood in Ancient India" (Oxford UP, 2024)

June 13, 2024

Puruṣa

Matthew I. Robertson
Hosted by Raj Balkaran

Personhood is central to the worldview of ancient India. Across voluminous texts and diverse traditions, the subject of the puruṣa, the Sanskrit term …

Catherine Michael Chin, "Life: The Natural History of an Early Christian Universe" (U California Press, 2024)

June 9, 2024

Life

Catherine Michael Chin
Hosted by Michael Motia

A vivid and intimate glimpse of ancient life under the sway of cosmic and spiritual forces that the modern world has forgotten. Life: The Natural His…

Joshua Paul Smith, "Luke Was Not a Christian: Reading the Third Gospel and Acts Within Judaism" (Brill, 2024)

June 8, 2024

Luke Was Not a Christian

Joshua Paul Smith
Hosted by Rob Heaton

One orthodoxy of critical biblical scholarship on the Third Gospel, attributed by later Christian tradition to a companion of Paul named Luke, holds t…

Marcus Schmücker, "Visnu-Narayana: Changing Forms and the Becoming of a Deity in Indian Religious Traditions" (Austrian Academy of Sciences Press, 2023)

June 6, 2024

Visnu-Narayana

Marcus Schmücker
Hosted by Raj Balkaran

The contributions to Visnu-Narayana: Changing Forms and the Becoming of a Deity in Indian Religious Traditions (Austrian Academy of Sciences Press, 20…

Scott Crawford, "The Han-Xiongnu War, 133 BC-89 AD: The Struggle of China and a Steppe Empire Told Through Its Key Figures (Pen & Sword, 2023)

June 6, 2024

The Han-Xiongnu War, 133 Bc-89 Ad

Scott Crawford
Hosted by Nicholas Gordon

For two centuries, the Xiongnu people–a vast nomadic empire that covered modern-day Siberia, Inner Mongolia, Gansu and Xinjiang—were one of the Han Dy…

Citizen Soldiers, Republican Virtues, and the Roman Way of War: A Conversation with Steele Brand

June 6, 2024

Citizen Soldiers, Republican Virtues, and the Roman Way of War

Steele Brand
Hosted by Annika Nordquist

How was the Roman way of war unique, and what were the virtues that defined the Roman Republic? Are there lessons for modern Republics from the Roman …

Sarah Nooter, "How to Be Queer: An Ancient Guide to Sexuality" (Princeton UP, 2024)

June 2, 2024

How to Be Queer

Sarah Nooter
Hosted by Mark Klobas

The idea of sexual fluidity may seem new, but it is at least as old as the ancient Greeks, who wrote about queer experiences with remarkable frankness…

David S. Richeson, "Tales of Impossibility: The 2000-Year Quest to Solve the Mathematical Problems of Antiquity" (Princeton UP, 2019)

May 28, 2024

Tales of Impossibility

David S. Richeson
Hosted by Jim Stein

David S. Richeson's book Tales of Impossibility: The 2000-Year Quest to Solve the Mathematical Problems of Antiquity (Princeton University Press, 2019…