Invasion of the Pod People: Emperors of Rome on Cleopatra
Podcasts, when done right, have a unique way of getting into our heads and infusing us with passions and fascinations we never thought we had. At their best – Stuff You Should Know, or Dan Carlin’s Hardcore History, for example – history podcasts can act like a museum of the mind’s eye, providing an absorbing audio guide to abstract ideas, real events and human dramas.
For this event, we’re joined by Rhiannon Evans and Matt Smith, co-hosts of the Emperors of Rome podcast. They record a live episode centred around Cleopatra VII – from her Greek background and willing embrace of Egyptian culture, to her strategic and intimate relationships with Rome (and with Julius Caesar and Mark Antony). What were her political ambitions? How was her story shaped and exploited for the benefit of Emperor Augustus, and how did she try to shape her own image? What do we really know about the legendary but complicated life of Egypt’s last native pharaoh?
As well as a live recording, we hear from our guests about why ancient history is a relevant and insightful companion to today’s world – where power, corruption, dynasty and leadership remain central to how societies work. How are scholars discovering new details of humanity’s story, and how are they sharing them with the wider public?
Presented in partnership with La Trobe University.
Matt Smith works as a writer, podcaster and freelance journalist. He hosts and produces the podcasts Emperors of Rome, When in Rome, Asia Rising and Biography. He occasionally travels through time and space, and is currently working on his second novel.
At La Trobe University, Dr Rhiannon Evans teaches Ancient Mediterranean Studies – in particular, the literature and culture of Ancient Rome and its empire, as well as the Latin language and Greek and Roman mythology. She studies Roman literature of the 1st centuries BCE and CE, from Julius Caesar to the early emperors of Rome, and is especially interested in what they can tell us about ancient Romans’ views of their own and other people’s cultural identity. She has published several articles on ancient ethnicity, and a book on Roman culture and utopias.