History of Rome Podcast Episode 135 Brothers in Name Only sees Constantine and Licinius dividing up the Empire following the death of Maximinus Daia in 313. It was similar to Octavian and Anthony, way back in Episode 47. Licinius was engaged in a contest with those ever-troublesome Sassanids over Armenia, and Constantine was involved with the Christian church which faced its own questions over what to do with the bishops who had collaborated with the Roman authorities during the Persecution. Bishop Donatus from Africa believed that they should not be admitted back into the church because they were ‘traditors‘. The Donatists (as they came to be called) were often over-ruled by those in the church who took a more forgiving line, so they repeatedly appealed to Constantine to intervene on their behalf. However Constantine emphasized unity over doctrine, as we will see at the Council of Arles. Meanwhile Licinius’ wife (who just happened to be Constantine’s sister) gave birth to a son, so the question of succession arose again. Constantine championed his own son Crispus. Eventually Constantine and Licinius met in battle. Constantine won, and restored the Tetrarchy by appointing two junior emperors- VERY junior, because two of them were babies. Episode 136 Let This Be Our Final Battle sees Constantine’s wife Faustus giving birth to more sons, while Constantine was becoming increasingly overt in his Christianity. Licinius and Constantine met in battle again in 324 CE and this time Constantine triumphed and for the first time in 40 years, Rome was ruled by just the one emperor. Licinius had ruled for 16 turbulent years, and he died in suspicious circumstances in exile. Constantine’s son Crispus came to a bad end in 326CE too, executed on his father’s orders (did he have an affair with his step-mother? Or was it the Wicked Stepmother’s Revenge -again?). Episode 137 The Christian Emperor sees Constantine stepping into his Christianity. He banned pagan worship, and returned property to Christians who had had it confiscated (but this time he didn’t recompense the people who had bought the confiscated goods- he only offered to pardon them). All Constantine wanted was a united church
Australia If You’re Listening Episode 6: Can We Keep Digging for Energy? (ABC) punctures the idea that CCS is going to solve our problems. The irony is that CCS and nuclear power will only ever be feasible if there is a price on carbon- which of course the Liberal/National government has made such a toxic topic. Gas, meanwhile, has been and will continue to be only a small part of our energy mix. However, back-tracking away from an available power source is something that humans have never done before.
In Our Time Early Christian martyrdom. (BBC) With Candida Moss (Edward Cadbury Professor of Theology at the University of Birmingham), Kate Cooper (Professor of History at Royal Holloway, University of London) and James Corke-Webster (Senior Lecturer in Classics, History and Liberal Arts at King’s College London). This episode fits in quite well with my History of Rome podcasts. By 300 CE, about 10% of Romans were Christians when The Great Persecution started with Emperor Diocletian in 303 AD and lasted around eight years. Much of this persecution sprang from an idea that Roman society had to get back to a good relationship with its own Roman gods. It is probably more correct to speak of “Christianities” (plural), and until about 90 CE, as far as the Romans were concerned, Christians were indistinguishable from Jews. Particular attention is paid to Ignatius and Polycarpus, two bishops, and the female Perpetua of Carthage.”Dying for a good cause” was an important idea in Roman society (after all, lots of Roman worthies committed suicide to avoid disgrace), and the idea of a “good death”, especially for a Christian slave, involved just a few hours of pain for the promise of eternal life.
The History Listen (ABC) Buried Treasure: the story of Lake Pedder. Fifty years ago, despite protests, Lake Pedder was flooded to provide hydro-electric power as part of Eric “Electric” Reece’s grand hydro-electric plan. This episode features Rima Truchanas, whose own life is deeply tied to Lake Pedder, after her parents Melva and the photographer Olegas Truchanas joined the campaign to stop it being flooded. Olegas’ photographs were shown at slide shows around Australia, as a way of increasing awareness of this amazing sand-fringed glacial lake. But flooded it was, and six years later there were plans to build another dam on the Franklin River – and this time the protests were heeded. Amazingly, there are now suggestions that Lake Pedder could be rehabilitated as part of the UN Decade of Ecosystem Restoration. I don’t really think that it will happen, given the emphasis on hydro-electricity today.
Things Fell Apart (BBC Radio 4) Episode 5: A Scottish Jewish Joke takes us back to the very early days of the internet in 1988 when a software designer, Brad Templeton, uploaded onto a message board a joke in poor taste. The joke was chosen randomly from jokes that were sent to him, and as it turned out, it appeared on the anniversary of Kristalnacht. An MIT academic complained about the joke and tried to get him sacked and banned from Usenet. Stanford University, through which he was able to gain access to the internet, banned the page, explaining that they wanted to value people over caricatures, even if that was at the expense of free speech. John McArthur, a professor of Artificial Intelligence started a petition, arguing that we find the limits of free speech by running into the walls. And this is the Internet as we know it today.
Stuff They Don’t Want You to Know The ‘State’ of Hawaii: Union or Occupation On Foreign Correspondent the other night, they had a program ‘Keep Hawaii Hawaiian’ about the struggle of native Hawaiians for land, language and culture (that sounds familiar). This program gives a really good analysis of the 1893 coup d’etat against Queen Liliʻuokalani by predominantly white landowners in Hawaii, overseen by the U.S.S. Boston which just happened to be moored nearby. The coup was opposed by President Grover Cleveland but a joint sitting of Congress approved it. As recently as 2018 it is still being questioned at UN level. Very interesting- I wonder how many American school kids know about it?