The Ancient World

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The Ancient WorldThree Great Series.


Show host, researcher, writer and narrator Scott Chesworth takes a broad view of the very early development of human society from the earliest civilizations down through to the Greeks and Romans.

He started with a cozy 12-episode outline figuring it would run around 3 months - famous last words!

Scott Chesworth

It is now THREE epic series! Join us on these exciting journeys!


The series that started it all! A whirlwind tour covering the very first human civilizations down through 500 BC in (around) 30 episodes.


Round out your understanding of the ancient world with this series, which covers the rediscovery of all these ancient civilizations in the modern era. From the Rosetta Stone to Assyrian cuneiform, and from the Great Flood to King Tut, enjoy the stories of the adventurers and scholars who unlocked the secrets of the distant past


Did you know that Mark Antony and Cleopatra had a daughter? That she became Queen of the North African Kingdom of Mauretania? That her son became a trusted Roman client king, and her granddaughter became Queen of the Syrian Kingdom of Emesa? Follow the story of this famous (yet historically-neglected) bloodline, as it passes through the Syrian Emperors of Rome to culminate in the great conflict between Rome and Palmyra.

Broadcast by kind permission of Scott Chesworth.

The Ancient World Show Archive:

The Rest of My Interview

Wednesday 11th July 2018

with Drew from the Wonders of the World Podcast, where we talk about Palmyra, Odaenathus, and (of course) Queen Zenobia. Enjoy!

Just Did My First Interview

Tuesday 26th June 2018

with the lovely and talented Drew from the Wonders of the World podcast, where we talk about the exotic Roman Emperor Elagabalus, the amazing temple complex at Baalbek, and lots of other fun stuff.  Enjoy!  And please also check out his other episodes (it helps if you bring a healthy love of Demetrius Poliorcetes ;)

Episode B54 - Efqa

Friday 23rd March 2018

Synopsis: Monotheism, modern Syria, the world’s first romance story, and the end of the Bloodline.“The oasis and town of Palmyra owe their existence to the plentiful spring that runs from Jebel Muntar. This spring dominates a narrow passage in the principal route between the Homs pass and the Euphrates River and is in the heart of the Syrian desert. The oasis furnishes a resting place between Iraq and Central Syria, and it was a primary stop for caravans plying between the Gulf, Iran, and the Mediterranean.” – Khaled Al-Asaad and Adnan Bounni,Palmyra: History, Monuments& Museum

Episode B53 - Memento Mori

Friday 9th March 2018

Synopsis: Aurelian returns East to crush Palmyrene revolts in Syria and Egypt. The sources relate differing accounts of Zenobia’s ultimate fate.“To the tumultuous throng which crowded under these porticoes the solitude of death has succeeded. The silence of the tomb is substituted for the hum of polite places.” – Count C.F.C deVolney,The Ruins, or Meditations on the Revolutions of Empires “The elevation of Odaenathus and Zenobia appeared to reflect new splendor on their country, and Palmyra, for a while, stood forth the rival of Rome; but the competition was fatal, and ages of prosperity were sacrificed to a moment of glory.” – Gibbon,The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire“When the sand seems to disappear, not beneath the verdure of an oasis but beneath an accumulation of marble and worked stones, silence falls among the travelers…it is then that a man, even the least civilized, feels himself to be small and, despite himself,...

Episode B52 - Palmyra

Saturday 24th February 2018

Synopsis: Boxed in by Aurelian’s siege, Zenobia makes a desperate attempt to enlist the support of the Persians.“Palmyra was the last resource of the widow of Odaenathus. She retired within the walls of her capital, made every preparation for a vigorous resistance, and declared, with the intrepidity of a heroine, that the last moment of her reign and of her life should be the same.” - Gibbon,The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire“You have the prospect of such Magnicient Ruines, that if it be Lawful to frame a Conjecture of the Original Beauty of the place, by what is still remaining, I question somewhat whether any City in the World could have challenged Precedence over this in all its Glory.” – W. Halifax,A Relation of a Voyage from Aleppo to Palmyra in Syria, 1695

Episode B51 - Emesa

Friday 9th February 2018

Synopsis: After a crushing defeat at the Battle of Emesa, Zenobia retreats to Palmyra. Aurelian has a divine encounter at the Temple of Elah Gabal.“After this, the whole issue of the war was decided near Emesa in a mighty battle fought against Zenobia and Zabdas, her ally. When Aurelian’s horsemen, now exhausted, were on the point of breaking their ranks and turning their backs, suddenly by the power of a supernatural agency, as was afterwards made known, a divine form spread encouragement throughout the foot-soldiers and even rallied the horsemen. Zenobia and Zabdas were put to flight, and a victory was won in full.” –The Historia Augusta

Episode B50 - Augusta

Friday 26th January 2018

Synopsis: Aurelian’s vision compels him to spare the defiant citizens of Tyana. As the Romans advance through Anatolia, Zenobia concentrates her forces in Syria, and the two sides finally clash at the Battle of Immae.“As soon as the Emperor was on his march thither, Ancyra submitted to the Romans, and afterwards Tyana, and all the cities between that and Antioch. There finding Zenobia with a large army ready to engage, as he himself also was, he met and engaged her as honor obliged him.” – Zosimus,the History“Zenobia would have ill deserved her reputation, had she indolently permitted the Emperor of the West to approach within a hundred miles of her capital…The Queen of Palmyra animated the armies by her presence, and devolved the execution of her orders on Zabdas, who had already signaled his military talents by the conquest of Egypt. The numerous forces of Zenobia consisted for the most part of light archers, and of heavy cavalry clothed in complete...

Episode B49 - Nemesis

Friday 12th January 2018

Synopsis: Zenobia orders her general Zabdas to capture Anatolia. After subduing the Marcomanni and the Goths, Aurelian makes preparations to reclaim the East.“(Aurelian) was naturally of a severe disposition. A peasant and a soldier, his nerves yielded not easily to the impressions of sympathy, and he could sustain without emotion the sight of tortures and death. Trained from his earliest youth in the exercise of arms, he set too small a value on the life of a citizen, chastised by military execution the slightest offences, and transferred the stern discipline of the camp into the civil administration of the laws.” – Edward Gibbon,The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire“Since there were in the army two tribunes, both named Aurelian…the soldiers game him the nickname of ‘Sword-in-hand,’ so that, if anyone chanced to ask which Aurelian had done anything or performed any exploit, the reply would be made ‘Aurelian Sword-in-hand,’ and...

Holiday Break

Sunday 26th November 2017

So…Egypt, huh? Yeah, that was pretty crazy. And what about this new guy, Aurelian? I can’t quite put my finger on it but he seems like he could be trouble. But I’m sorry to say it’ll be a few weeks before we continue the story. You have to admit I’ve been pretty good – I got 5 new episodes out back to back. I’m not asking for a parade or anything, I’m just pretty happy I managed to pull it off. But now yeah, the usual– work and the Holidays are putting me a little behind the podcast production curve. Things being where they are Zenobia-wise, my plan is to write the final episodes of the series then release them all in another steady string– starting sometime around the beginning of the New Year. Which means I’m not talking about a huge break, just a few weeks. So everyone please enjoy your Holidays, and look forward to starting off 2018 with more new episodes of The Ancient World.I also wanted to mention that– for...

Episode B48 - 270

Friday 24th November 2017

Synopsis: Zenobia’s armies successfully capture Arabia Petraea and Egypt. The death of Claudius and his brother Quintillus pave the way for the Emperor Aurelian.“Zenobia began to think of extending her dominion, and therefore sent Zabdas into Egypt.” – Zosimus,The History“Nor was the plague confined to the Barbarians alone, but began to infest the Romans, many of whom died, and amongst the rest Claudius, a person adorned with every virtue…Quintillus, the brother of Claudius, was then declared emperor. He had reigned but a few months, and had performed nothing worthy of notice, before Aurelian was raised to the imperial throne.” – Zosimus,The History