Ancient World Now: The Aeneid

Click here for direct link to audio Episode #11.

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This stamp depicts the famous Capitoline statue of Romulus and Remus and their wolf-mom. These twin baby boys were sons of Mars, the god of war, and Rhea Silvia.  Rhea’s uncle, for complicated reasons, threw the babies into the Tiber River and imprisoned their mother.

Another version of the legend has Rhea Silvia thrown into the river with her boys and she becomes the wife of the river god. In any case, the boys bob around in the water for a while, get tossed ashore, and are found by a she-wolf. The lady wolf raises the twins until the proverbial shepherd comes along and takes over the task. The boys grow up and start to build their own city, but sibling rivalry rears its ugly head! Romulus has his own ideas about the way things should go, quarrels with Remus and kills him. Romulus names his city Rome.

One version of this foundation myth has Romulus and Remus as sons of Mars and Ilia, who was the daughter of our very own Aeneas and his newly-acquired ladylove, Lavinia. Does anyone besides me prefer Turnus to our Trojan prince?

Here’s Hollywood’s take on the story! Eeekkk! These ancient tales! Divine parentage, abandonment, exposure, feral children!

Today’s podcast is the final installment of The Aeneid. Enjoy!

Ancient World Now:The Aeneid

Click here for direct link to audio Episode #10.

Click here for previous episodes.

Queen Dido of Carthage. Dead. Built her own funeral pyre and as the flames whipped around her, plunged a dagger into her heart. So thoroughly had she humiliated herself for love of Aeneas, that she could no longer bear to go on. She cursed Aeneas and all of his descendants as she lay dying. Legend has it that her curse was the seed of hatred between Rome and Carthage that lead to the Punic Wars (264-146 B.C.E). Children in Rome were taught from an early age to hate the powerful north African state and all Roman children knew the Latin phrase “Carthago delenda est” or “Carthage must be destroyed”. When Rome finally did destroy Carthage, Roman soldiers were instructed to sow the land with salt so that nothing could grow there. Carthage was abandoned. Later, however, she was rebuilt and became a glorious and influential Roman colony. Some of the best preserved Roman mosaics and ruins are found in Carthage. And to think it all began with a mighty and righteous queen who had her heart broken by a no-good two-timing transient!

Another amazing story of Carthage might is that of Hannibal (no, not the psychopath) and his war elephants, but you have to listen to the podcast to find out! Enjoy!

Ancient World Now: The Iliad

Click here for direct link to audio Episode #3.

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Diomedes was one of the most revered heroes of the ancient world. Though we don’t hear much about him nowadays, he had as many adventures as Achilles and Odysseus! He is quite overshadowed by those other characters. But a huge chunk of The Iliad is devoted to his “aristeia”, or glory day on the battlefield, during which, he wounds Aphrodite, goddess of love.

This dramatic painting is by Arthur Heinrich Wilhelm Fitger and shows the mad chaos of Aphrodite’s desperate move to save her wounded son, Aeneas. And if you are a good student of the ancient world, you know that, yes, of course she saves him. Virgil’s Aeneid is the tale of Aeneas’s trials and tribulations after the Trojan War. Stay with me and you will hear my version of The Aeneid, soon to come as a podcast.

Next week we begin The Odyssey!!!

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