Historical Podcast Recommendations

In my final year or so in an office, I seemed to spend most of my time with earphones plugged in. Fortunately it was the sort of job where that was completely fine, in fact almost everyone spent the long nights listening to music. I spent more time listening to podcasts, especially historical podcasts, and given that I'm taking this back up again on long walks – for I am trying to take more walks this year, it was one of my resolutions to actually take advantage of nice days a bit more – I thought I might highlight my favourites.

First and foremost must probably be the History of Rome, a podcast by Mike Duncan. The hint is in the title; this covers the entire history of Ancient Rome, from its near-mythical establishment all the way through to the collapse of the Western Roman Empire. This one is a behemoth; almost two hundred episodes, mostly about half an hour in length. Not something you are going to get through in a hurry, but if you are seeking to gain a basic understanding of the Empire, this is the one to go for. I've just about managed it twice, astoundingly. It's on the long side, but it definitely has my recommendation.

If you are looking for something a bit more manageable, I can recommend seeking out Lars Brownworth's two podcasts – Twelve Byzantine Rulers and the Norman Centuries. The first of these is complete in eighteen episodes, the second essentially complete in nineteen. (I've been waiting for the last of the Norman podcasts for months...) In about nine or ten hours, these will give you an excellent rundown on Byzantine history and the Norman Conquests of England and Italy, in all the detail you might want; further, Mr. Brownworth has written two excellent books to accompany each of the series, and both are well worth looking up.

Going a little further back, I can recommend a podcast that looks at the ancient world, called...the Ancient World Podcast. This one stops just about at the start of the Roman Empire, and covers everything from the beginnings of civilization onwards, putting the pieces together across the world. I had thought this was finished at thirty-six episodes, but there are a few more appearing now, so I've got those to look forward to.

One I very recently discovered, but am enjoying, is Fin Dwyer's Irish History Podcast. I didn't know anything like enough about the history about our neighbours over the Irish Sea, and I'm fixing that little problem now. I'm still fairly early into this podcast, at about episode eight, but I'm very much enjoying this one so far, though some of the names can be a bit of a handful at times! He also has a book, Witches, Spies and Stockholm Syndrome, about Medieval Ireland; it's sitting on my shelf but I have yet to get to it....


  1. Good choices of history podcasts! Since you liked the History of Rome, you might want to check out The History of Byzantium by Robin Pierson. Pierson is using the History of Rome as his model and hopes to follow the Byzantines until their fall. Other good ones are The History of WWII by Ray Harris Jr., and one of the most interesting and dynamic history podcasts I've listened to: Dan Carlin's Hardcore History by, of course Dan Carlin.

  2. Dan's stuff is the best you just have look past the fact it takes 3 months a go to get a new one