The Ancient World
The Ancient World
Scott C.
LATEST SERIES – CARCHEMISH (tracing the life and death of the Neo-Hittite kingdoms)
Episode C1 – Carchemish
Synopsis:  In the late 14th century BC, the Hittite Great King Suppiluliuma wrested Syria from the grip of the Hurrian kingdom of Mitanni.  Two of his sons would succeed him to the throne, while two others founded new dynasties in the cities of Aleppo and Carchemish. “The Euphrates is my frontier.  In my rear, I established Mount Lebanon as my frontier.  And all of the cities of the land of Carchemish – these fortified cities – I gave to Piyassili, my son… Since Prince Piyassili crossed the Euphrates with Prince Shattiwaza and penetrated to the city of Irrite, all the cities on the west bank which Piyassili my son holds, these belong to Piyassili.” – The Suppiluliuma-Shattiwaza Treaty “The gods ran before my father, namely the Sun Goddess of Arinna, the Storm God of Hatti, the Storm God of the Army Camp, and Ishtar of the Field.  He conquered the enemy.” – Mursili, The Deeds of Suppiluliuma I Map of the Late Bronze Age eastern Mediterranean: The Hittite Royal Family:
Apr 8
29 min
Episode S5 – Ordeal by Fire
Synopsis:  In the 4th century AD, the Ethiopian kingdom of Axum converted to Christianity even as the neighboring Himyarites of Yemen converted to Judaism.  Centuries later, Axum’s invasion of Yemen to stop the persecution of Christians triggered a conflict with Persia. Map of the kingdoms of Axum and Himyar:
Oct 23, 2020
31 min
Episode S4 – Children of the Moon
Synopsis:  The Sabaeans and Himyarites leveraged their control over south Arabian aromatics into a lucrative trade that spanned the ancient world.  The region’s remoteness, wealth and active diplomacy afforded some protection from the powerful empires who frequently dominated the north.  Map of the Arabian Peninsula:
Oct 9, 2020
23 min
Episode S3 – Queen Mavia
Synopsis:  A century after Queen Zenobia, another Syrian Arab warrior queen rises to challenge the power or Rome – and succeeds.  The story of Queen Mavia of the Tanukh. “Mavia, queen of the Saracens, had begun to convulse the villages and towns on the border of Palestine and Arabia with a violent war, and to ravage the neighboring provinces.” – Rufinas
Jul 10, 2020
27 min
Episode T18 – Tigranes
Synopsis:  The death of King Philip I marks the official end of the Seleucid line.  Invited by the Antiochenes to rule them, King Tigranes II of Armenia proceeds to conquer all of Syria – including Cleopatra Selene’s stronghold of Ptolemais-Akko.  But Tigranes’ refusal to abandon his ally, King Mithridates VI of Pontus, leads to his empire’s destruction. “Tigranes…marched forth with an army of such huge proportions that he actually laughed heartily at the appearance of the Romans present there.  He is said to have remarked that, in cases where they came to make war, only a few presented themselves, but when it was an embassy, many came.”  – Cassius Dio, Rome, Book 36 “Pompey…expelled Antiochus (XIII), from the government of Syria, although he had done the Romans no wrong…The pretense was that it was unseemly for the Seleucidae, whom Tigranes had dethroned, to govern Syria, rather than the Romans, who had conquered Tigranes.”  – Appian, The Syrian Wars, Book 10 (Absolutely awesome and super-useful) map of Syria and surrounding territories c. 87 BC Map of the Greater Armenian Empire of King Tigranes II
Apr 10, 2020
37 min
Episode T17 – The Sons of Grypus
Synopsis: With Rome encroaching from the north and south, the sons of Grypus battle Parthians, usurpers and local powers to keep their hold on Syria. “As he lingered on the banks of the Euphrates, (Sulla) received a visit from Orobazus, a Parthian, who came as an ambassador from King Arsaces, although up to this time the two nations had held no intercourse with one another.  This also is thought to have been part of Sulla’s great good fortune, that he should be the first Roman with whom the Parthians held conference when they wanted alliance and friendship.” – Plutarch, Parallel Lives, Sulla “Straton, the tyrant of Berroea…called in Zizon, the ruler of the Arabian tribes, and Mithridates Sinax, the ruler of the Parthians, who coming with a great number of forces, and besieging Demetrius (III) in his encampment, into which they had driven them with their arrows, compelled those that were with him by thirst to deliver up themselves.  So they took a great many spoils out of that country, and Demetrius himself, whom they sent to Mithridates (II).” – Josephus, Antiquities of the Jews, Book XIII, Chapter 12 (Absolutely awesome and super-useful) map of Syria and surrounding territories c. 95 BC
Mar 27, 2020
29 min
Episode T16 – The Sons of Thea
Synopsis: While the Ptolemies intrigue in Coele Syria, Antiochus VIII Grypus and his half-brother Antiochus IX Cyzicenus struggle for seventeen years to win control of the north.  After the rivals die in quick succession, the kingdom comes under control of Seleucus VI and Demetrius III, the allied sons of Grypus. “Then Grypus proceeded to besiege Antioch, the city where Cyzicenus’ wife Cleopatra (IV) was to be found, and when it was captured Tryphaena, the wife of Grypus, ordered that the highest priority be given to hunting down her sister…to ensure that she escape one of the miseries of captivity.  For Tryphaena believed that it was from feelings of jealousy towards herself that Cleopatra had entered this kingdom rather than any other, and that she had declared herself her sister’s enemy by marrying her sister’s foe.” – Justin, Epitome of the Philippic History of Pompeius Trogus, Book 39
Mar 13, 2020
23 min
Episode T15 – Grypus
Synopsis: Cleopatra Thea convinces her son Antiochus VIII Grypus to return to Syria and share the throne.  But once Zabinas is defeated and the kingdom secure, Grypus decides to avenge his brother’s murder. “Ptolemy (Physcon)…proceeded to devote his entire strength to the destruction of Alexander (Zabinas’) kingdom, which the latter had acquired by Ptolemy’s resources solely because of his hatred for Demetrius (II).  He therefore sent assistance to Grypus on a massive scale and also gave him the hand of his daughter, Tryphaena, in marriage.”  – Justin, Epitome of the Philippic History of Pompeius Trogus, Book 39 “After recovering his father’s throne and being freed from threats from abroad, Grypus became the target of his mother’s treachery.  Through her lust for power she had already betrayed her husband, Demetrius, and killed her other son; now she took it ill that her prestige was diminished by Grypus’ victory, and so she set before him a cup of poison.”  – Justin, Epitome of the Philippic History of Pompeius Trogus, Book 39
Feb 28, 2020
27 min
Episode T14 – Zabinas
Synopsis: Demetrius II returns to Syria, but his unpopularity – and support for the Egyptian Queen Cleopatra II – results in a usurper named Alexander Zabinas taking most of his kingdom.  Fleeing a military defeat, Demetrius is denied entry to Ptolemais-Akko by Cleopatra Thea, an act that leads to his death.  The elevation of their son Seleucus V results in a darker tragedy. “Released from confinement among the Parthians and restored to his throne, Antiochus’ brother Demetrius (II) decided to make war on Egypt…For his mother-in-law, Cleopatra (II), promised him the throne of Egypt as the reward for his assistance against her brother.” – Justin, Epitome of the Philippic History of Pompeius Trogus, Book 39. “Demetrius (II), for his part, was defeated by Alexander (Zabinas) and, with misfortune besetting him on all sides, he was finally abandoned even by his wife and children. Left with a few slaves, he made for Tyre, intending to use the sanctity of the temple to protect himself; but as he disembarked from this ship he was killed on the orders of the governor.” – Justin, Epitome of the Philippic History of Pompeius Trogus, Book 39.
Feb 14, 2020
30 min
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