The Top Ten Ancient History Podcasts You May Not Have Heard
There are podcasts on every subject these days. Even the ancient world has been brought into the modern one through this medium. If you are looking for another way to learn about the past, check out this list of some of the top contenders of ancient history podcasts. Whether you want a new option to listen to while you do housework, commute, or jog along your favorite trails, you will find a history themed podcast that fits your interests here.
The History Chicks (Beckett Graham and Susan Vollenweider)
This podcast focuses on the stories of historical women. While there are few on their extensive podcast list that are from the classical period, the number of famous female historical figures starts to climb after the 1400s. Each podcast runs about an hour, begins with a 30-second summary of the historical woman’s life, and has a lighthearted style. The synopsis accompanying an episode includes images, information on the subject’s life, and some ‘find out more’ sources. You can search the episodes by chronological time period as well.
The History Chicks talk about fascinating historical women such as Queen Nzinga. ( Public Domain )
The Ancient World (Scott Chesworth)
Now in its third season, this podcast covers human society from its earliest civilizations through to the Greek and Romans. The first season begins with ancient Sumer and follows the rise and fall of some of ancient history’s most prominent civilizations through to Rome. Season two was all about archaeologists rediscovering ancient sites and season three traces the bloodline from Cleopatra to Queen Zenobia . Chesworth has a well-researched storytelling style. Each podcast runs approximately 30 minutes and has a synopsis with sources used to create the episode.
The Almost Forgotten (Charlie Fliegel)
This podcast focuses on the lives and times of great historical figures that have mostly fallen through the cracks of our collective memories. You may have heard of these people, but they don't always get the attention they deserve. Each episode synopsis provides maps and images to accompany the topics covered in the podcast, a list of sources, and a list of famous people named in the episode. Episodes run for approximately 40 minutes and generally, but not always, focus on one key figure from world history at a time. There are six seasons of the podcast, but they all follow a similar pattern.
- The human skull that challenges the Out of Africa theory
- Preserved in Legends and Ice: What Led to the Extinction of the Dorset Culture?
- Are the Reclusive Shihuh People of Musandam the Original Arabians?
The History of Rome (Mike Duncan)
The History of Rome by Mike Duncan is one of the most well-known ancient history podcasts. It tells the story of the Roman Empire from Aeneas's arrival in Italy all the way to the exile of Romulus Augustulus, last Emperor of the Western Roman Empire. Duncan narrates the story as an audiobook, but a fascinating one. The Punic Wars, Marius and Sulla, Julius Caesar, the Huns, Vandals, and Goths are all there. A short synopsis accompanies each of the bite-sized episodes, which run 10-25 minutes long. The final episode, number 189, was posted in 2012, but the show continues to draw in history enthusiasts fascinated by the Roman Empire.
The story of ancient Rome is a great theme for a history podcast. ( Freesurf /Adobe Stock)
The History of Byzantium (Robin Pierson)
This is a podcast dedicated to the story of the Roman Empire from the collapse of the West in 476 AD to the fall of Constantinople in 1453 AD. It picks up where the famed ‘History of Rome’ podcast by Mike Duncan left off, but with even more depth and context provided than the predecessor. The podcast host follows an academic storytelling style and also answers listeners’ questions. Maps and images are included in each episode synopsis. Episodes run 25-40 minutes long and there are over 200 episodes to date.
Medieval Death Trip (Patrick Lane)
Medieval Death Trip features a selected medieval text (often historical, occasionally literary) that touches on the odd, the gruesome , the unexpected, and similarly curious incidents, images, or ideas. In addition to presenting the text itself, each episode features commentary and musings upon that text. This podcast shows you that primary sources in history are not always dry – sometimes they’re even witty, illuminating, and weird. Lane combines source materials with historical interpretations to present interesting characters and events from Medieval times. References, images, and a key text consulted for the episode are included in each episode synopsis. More than 80 episodes have been created to date. Podcasts run from 45 minutes to an hour long and follow a well-researched, but natural storytelling style.
Want to learn more about the weird and sometimes gruesome side of Medieval history? ( diter /Adobe Stock)
Viking Age Podcast (Lee Accomando)
Including a few episodes in the pre-Viking Age in Scandinavia to provide context, this podcast focuses on the history of the ancient Norsemen . Raiding, trading, and the settlement of Scandinavians abroad are all covered. So are aspects of the traditional culture and society of the Norse homelands. The style is one of a natural storyteller and each episode runs about an hour long. An episode synopsis provides a general overview, some sources consulted, and an interactive map is available on the website to illustrate the geographical side of things.
Earth Ancients (Cliff Dunning)
Earth Ancients provides alternative perspectives on ancient civilizations, their ruined cities, and artifacts developed from advanced science and technology . This podcast also discusses anomalous archaeological discoveries which have not been covered by conventional science and media. Ancient aliens are included as well as research demonstrating terrestrial-made ancient advanced knowledge. Each episode sits at about two hours long and includes featured guest speakers on distinct themes and archaeology-related news. The style is conversational and natural and interviews are also included. There are more than 250 episodes. Episode synopses include information on key guest speakers and a general overview on the theme covered.
The Archaeology Show (April Kamp-Whittaker and Chris Webster)
The Archaeology Show is produced by the Archaeology Podcast Network. It's hosted by a contract archaeologist and an academic who interview people from around the world on a variety of archaeology-themed topics. They examine archaeology news and history . There are more than 100 episodes, each running about one hour long. Episodes are relaxed-academic, conversational, and interview style. Each episode synopsis provides a general overview of the show topic and some related links.
Origin Stories – The Leakey Foundation
The Origin Stories podcast is created by the Leakey Foundation and explores questions such as: What makes us human? How are we different from chimpanzees? Who are our earliest ancestors and how do we know? Episodes combine science and narrative to explore our human story and explain why we are the way we are. On average, episodes are 20-40 minutes long and are generally academic and informative presentations by experts such as Mary Leakey , Margaret Mead, and Carl Sagan.
Origins Stories teaches us more about human evolution. ( adrenalinapura /Adobe Stock)
Top Image: Ancient history podcasts bring the past to the present. Source: master1305 / Adobe Stock
The History of India Podcast by Kit Patrick totally deserves to be on this list.