Daily Archives: June 23, 2022

I hear with my little ear: Podcasts 8-15 June 2022

History of Rome Podcast Episode 147 Capitulation. So Julian was dead, with the Sassanids heading for victory, and with no successor named. The officers turned first to Praetorian Prefect Salutius, but he declined because he said that he was too old. Then they went for Jovian, the 39 year old and largely unknown Captain of the Imperial Bodyguard. He was openly Christian, but this hadn’t hurt his career as Julian the Apostate didn’t particularly care what your religion was, as long as you did your job. Jovian accepted capitulation to the Sassanids in order to keep his army intact, but the troops opposed this surrender and he lost all authority amongst them. He annulled the anti-Christian legislation and brought back the anti-Pagan legislation. But after 8 months, he suddenly died. Was it an accident? Who knows. But Mike Duncan thinks that it was a blessing because it brought Valentinian and his brother Valens to the role of Emperor. When Jovian up and died, they were the right men at the right time.

Episode 148 The Cousin´s Cousin. For the first time in ages, we had two emperors who didn´t hate each other. Valentinian and Valens embedded the idea of the East-West division, with Valentinian taking the western provinces and Valens the east. Valentinian generally treated the Gauls and Allamanni with contempt, and when Julian´s cousin Procopius, the last of the Constantinian dynasty, seized Constantinople, Valentinian left it to Valens to deal with. But Sharpoor was on the rise again in the east, so Valens headed off to Syria until he received news of Procopius´seizure of power, then returned to Constantinople to fight him, and won. Meanwhile Valentinian was engaged with the Allamanni and was in a good position to finish them off, but had to leave off battle because the Saxons were on the rise in Britain.

Carol Raddato, Flickr, Creative Commons

Episode 149 The Great Conspiracy takes us to the co-ordinated uprising in Britain where, on account of the neglect and stagnation that had set in, the Picts, Hiberian tribes from Ireland, the Franks on the coast and loose, unorganized Saxon tribes from Jutland all joined together against the Romans. The Romans were quickly overcome. There was no real political agenda: it was just plundering. Valentinian didn’t head over to Britain in person because defeats were politically dicey so he sent off Theodosius Snr instead (the father of the future emperor) who was a supporter of the Nicene Creed. He quickly cleared Londinium and announced an amnesty for Roman soldiers who had gone AWOL (as many had done) in order to boost the numbers of Roman troops. Valentinian was sick, so he elevated his son Gratian to full Augustus in order to secure the succession.

How It Happened (Axios) Putin’s Invasion Part V: The Fight for the Donbas picks up on Putin’s redirection of troops to the Donbas, which Putin claims is taking place on Russian soil. Many Ukrainians speak Russian, and one of the interviewees (news producer Kateryna Malofieiva) talks about how life changed once the Russians annexed the region in 2014- the currency changed; the food brands changed. There has been a complete breakdown in her family between pro-Russian and pro-Ukranian relatives. Ukraine wants to return to the 1991 borders (i.e. get back the Donbas region and Crimea) and is relying on its 44,000 battle-hardened troops who have been fighting on the Russian border since 2014. One of those is Ukrainian Cpl. Andrii Shadrin, born in the Crimea and who had never even heard Ukrainian spoken (only Russian). He joined one of the units that Putin would say was ‘Nazi’, and his parents too believe that he has been brainwashed. He thinks the same about them.

The Little Red Podcast is hosted by Graeme Smith, China studies academic at the Australian National University’s Coral Bell School of Asia Pacific Affairs and Louisa Lim, former China correspondent for the BBC and NPR, now with the Centre for Advancing Journalism at Melbourne University. Shanghaied: Living with COVID Zero was really interesting. We were all appalled by scenes of Wuhan citizens being bolted into their homes, and two years later it is happening again as Shanghai is locked down again in pursuit of COVID Zero- something that the rest of the world seems to have given up on. Shanghai residents had reassured themselves that they were so economically important that they couldn’t be shut down, but they were wrong. Two months later, upper and middle-class Shanghai residents are now aware of the power of censorship and arbitrary decision-making as their building-specific group chats were closed down on the internet, and they were being told things that they could clearly see were not true. Food handouts from the government depended on where you lived, and those factories that did remain open in effect became labour camps. Now they are ramping up their testing, with compulsory tests every couple of days, but so many low-paid workers have left Shanghai for their villages, that there are insufficient people to do the testing at such low pay.