Welcome to the home for UC Classics Ancient World Podcasts, produced by the faculty and graduate students of the University of Cincinnati’s Department of Classics. Come along with us as we explore compelling stories about the lives of people living in the ancient Mediterranean.

Episodes cover topics related to the ancient city of Pompeii and its destruction, Cincinnati and its ties to ancient Greek and Roman culture, and Qumran and the Dead Sea Scrolls. These series bring together experts in ancient history, language, and archaeology from our department, from UC’s Judaic Studies Department, and from Hebrew Union College to share their passion and knowledge about the Classical world.

The UC Classics Ancient World Podcasts are suitable for audiences of all ages with an interest in the past, and make a great supplement on a visit to a museum, or for middle school, high school, and college classes!

These podcasts are just one part of our department’s outreach program, aimed at engaging the wider Cincinnati community and promoting enthusiasm about the ancient world. Learn more about our offerings of public lectures, presentations, and educational content at: https://classics.uc.edu/outreach

Some of podcasts has been made possible due to the generous support of a Society Outreach Grant from the Archaeological Institute of America: http://www.archaeological.org/grants/712

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Interview Series

An Interview with Morag Kersel

In an interview from 2013, we hear from Morag Kersel, Associate Professor of Anthropology at Depaul University, and co-director of the Galilee Prehistory Project in Israel and the Following the Pots Project in Jordan. In this discussion, Professor Kersel shares insights from her research on the trade in antiquities from the Middle East, her thoughts about looting, trafficking, and collecting ancient artifacts, and some of her experiences as a contractor for the U.S. Department of State.

You can learn more about Professor Kersel’s exciting work in her book, co-authored with Christina Luke, U.S. Cultural Diplomacy and Archaeology: Soft Power, Hard Heritage (Routledge Studies in Archaeology, 2013).

Brian Rose Interview

In this podcast from 2012, Christian Cloke sits down with Brian Rose, the James B. Pritchard Professor of Archaeology in the Department of Classical Studies at the University of Pennsylvania, and Curator-in-Charge of the Mediterranean collection of University Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology. Professor Rose is a Trustee of the American Academy in Rome, the English-language editor of Studia Troica, former President of the American Research Institute in Turkey, and former President of the Archaeological Institute of America, a position he held from 2007 to 2011. He taught in UC’s Classics department from 1987 to 2005.

An Interview with Jodi Magness

In the first of a series featuring interviews with leading scholars in the study of the ancient world, Christian Cloke sits down with Professor Jodi Magness of the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill to discuss her research on Qumran, past and present fieldwork at sites like Yotvata (a Roman fort in southern Israel) and Huqoq (a village and synagogue site in Galilee), and learn about eating donkey and camel in the desert.

For more on Professor Magness, see her website: http://jodimagness.org

To read more about the Dead Sea Scrolls online, visit the Digital Dead Sea Scrolls Project: http://dss.collections.imj.org.il

Produced and recorded by Christian Cloke; featuring Vivaldi's Gloria.

The Dead Sea Scroll Series

Dead Sea: The Non-Biblical Texts of the Dead Sea Scrolls

Professor John Kampen of Methodist Theological School in Ohio and Hebrew Union College shares his considerable expertise on the Dead Sea Scrolls and discusses the many types of writing preserved within these amazing artifacts. He explains that the scrolls contain, in addition to many fragments of Biblical books, many pseudo-Biblical writings, original compositions, and a wide array of texts in many genres, a great number of which have been defined only through the discovery and study of the Dead Sea Scrolls themselves. Learn firsthand what’s in many of the scrolls, why this matters, and why the study of the scrolls is so difficult even today.

Professor Kampen is the author of Wisdom Literature, a commentary on all of the wisdom texts in the Qumran corpus.

 Written and performed by Dr. John Kampen (Methodist Theological School in Ohio and Hebrew Union College); featuring Sarah Lima; produced by Christian Cloke and Sarah Lima; featuring Vivaldi's Gloria; recording and editing by R. Aaron Allen Productions.

Dead Sea: The Babatha Archives

Join ancient historian Lindsey Haines (UC Classics) for “This Year in History, 1961” and learn about Yigael Yadin’s discovery of the Babatha Archives in the Cave of Letters at Nahal Hever in eastern Israel. This remarkable archive of documents, dated to the 2nd century A.D., contains the personal legal papers of a woman named Babatha. Learn about this remarkable ancient woman’s struggles to retain her property, care for members of her family, and secure her finances during trying political times when women’s legal rights were not always assured.

Written and performed by Lindsey Haines; produced by Christian Cloke and Sarah Lima; featuring Vivaldi's Gloria; recording and editing by R. Aaron Allen Productions.

Dead Sea: How a Canadian University Bought the Dead Sea Scrolls and Why it Matters

Dr. Jason Kalman of Hebrew Union College shares the remarkable story of McGill University’s attempts to purchase scrolls from Cave 4 at Qumran in the early 1950s. Although the process was complicated, drawn out, full of international intrigue, and ultimately never brought any scrolls to Montreal, McGill Professor R.B.Y. Scott’s efforts prompted others to act and resulted in the preservation of the Dead Sea Scrolls, whose study has revolutionized our understanding of ancient Judaism.

Dr. Kalman is the co-author with Jaqueline Du Toit of Canada's Big Biblical Bargain: How McGill University Bought the Dead Sea Scrolls (MQUP, 2010) and the author of Hebrew Union College and the Dead Sea Scrolls (HUC-JIR, 2012). 

Written and performed by Dr. Jason Kalman (Hebrew Union College); featuring Christian Cloke; produced by Christian Cloke and Sarah Lima; featuring Vivaldi's Gloria; recording and editing by R. Aaron Allen Productions.

Dead Sea: Ancient Texts Come Alive

Papyri, parchment and scrolls, oh my! In this interview, UC Classics historian Andrew Connor discusses The Dead Sea Scrolls as artifacts, and provides us with some of the finer points of ancient writing. Learn how scrolls were made, what ink scribes used, and how texts are preserved. Have you ever wondered what the Dead Sea Scrolls and the Declaration of Independence have in common? Listen to this podcast to find out!

Written by Andrew Connor; featuring Andrew Connor and Sarah Lima; produced by Christian Cloke and Sarah Lima; featuring Vivaldi's Gloria; recording and editing by R. Aaron Allen Productions.

Dead Sea: Hot Dry Air: an interview with Flavius Josephus (Flavius Josephus)

In this episode of Radio Romanus Publicus’ “Dry, Hot Air,” set in the 90s A.D., host Terry Maxima visits with author Flavius Josephus, one of our most important sources for Jewish history in the Greco-Roman period, especially during the years when the Dead Sea Scrolls were produced. Josephus wrote extensively on the Essenes, whom many scholars associate with the Scrolls and the community at Qumran. In the interview, he describes the relationship of Jews and Judaea to Rome, his own role in the recent rebellion, and how he’s found a place for himself among the court of the Roman emperors. Get an insider’s view of contemporary politics, religion, and hear about the historian’s new and future projects firsthand!

Written by Dr. Matthew Kraus (UC Judaic Studies); featuring Matthew Kraus (Flavius Josephus), Desiree Gerner (Announcer), and Rachel Meeks (Terry Maxima); produced by Christian Cloke and Sarah Lima; featuring Vivaldi's Gloria; recording and editing by R. Aaron Allen Productions.

An Archaeologist Visits Qumran

It has been over 50 years since approximately 900 Dead Sea scrolls and fragments were discovered in 11 caves in the neighborhood of Qumran, Israel. In spite of decades of scholarly debate, many questions remain about the site. Who lived at Qumran? Was it a fortress, a mansion, an agricultural center, a pottery workshop, or a commune for an ancient Jewish sect called the Essenes? Was it where the Dead Sea Scrolls were written, or just where they were collected? Journey with UC Classics Professor Barbara Burrell, your archaeological roving reporter, as she describes Qumran’s surroundings, its features, its finds, and its place in history.

Written and performed by Barbara Burrell; produced by Christian Cloke and Sarah Lima; featuring Vivaldi's Gloria; recording and editing by R. Aaron Allen Productions.

Cincinnati and the Classics Series

Classics: The Present Disturbed Conditions: An Archaeologist in Wartime

In 1939, University of Cincinnati archaeologist Carl Blegen was on the verge of one of the greatest discoveries of his esteemed career. The excavations he was leading in western Greece, on the Ano Englianos Ridge in the municipality of Pylos, had uncovered not only Homer’s Palace of Nestor, but also a huge deposit of clay record tablets that led to the decipherment of a prehistoric system of writing. A few short months into excavations, however, on September 1, 1939, German Forces invaded Poland. The Second World War had begun, and the astounding discoveries at Pylos had to be momentarily set aside. Drawing from Blegen’s correspondence and papers from archives on two continents, this podcast looks at his life “from the sidelines” in America between 1939 and 1942, as well as his time serving the Office of Strategic Services, a forerunner of the Central Intelligence Agency.

Written by Andrew Connor; featuring Andrew Connor and Taylor Coughlan; produced by Christian Cloke and Sarah Lima; featuring Vivaldi's Gloria; recording and editing by R. Aaron Allen Productions.

Classics: Economic Crisis! Ancient coins and hoards

Historian David Schwei and Archaeologist Chris Cloke (UC Classics) report live while on-site in Greece, where they discuss coins found during excavation. Learn how ancient coins were made, how the Greek and Roman economies worked, and what we can learn from coins’ images as well as where they are found. The hosts discuss how the tradition of including rulers' portraits on money began with Alexander the Great and continues even today with monarchs such as Queen Elizabeth II. They also explain how people in the ancient world hoarded their coins in times of strife or economic uncertainty, and unwittingly created some of archaeology’s most amazing finds.

 Written by David Schwei; featuring Christian Cloke, David Schwei, and Sarah Lima; produced by Christian Cloke and Sarah Lima; featuring Vivaldi's Gloria; recording and editing by R. Aaron Allen Productions.

A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to Fountain Square: Finding Rome in Cincinnati

Ancient historian Kristina Neumann and philologist Michael Hanel (UC Classics) discuss how the modern city of Cincinnati has much in common with ancient Rome. Learn where the name Cincinnati came from and what it has to do with early Roman history. Through a look at these cities’ water supply, their hilly terrain, and their entertainment venues (from the Roman Colosseum to Paul Brown Stadium, home of the Bengals), a tour of downtown Cincinnati shows that more than just the city’s name harkens back to an important Classical past.

 Written by Kristina Neumann; featuring Michael Hanel and Kristina Neumann; produced by Christian Cloke and Sarah Lima; featuring Vivaldi's Gloria; recording and editing by R. Aaron Allen Productions.


Pompeii Series

The Tombs of Pompeii

UC Classics graduate student Allison Emmerson shares her expertise on Pompeii’s tombs. She explains ways in which monuments commemorating individuals, their families, their slaves, and former slaves can offer insights into how people lived and what they valued. While these tombs are an important part of the site for studying the dead, they also played a prominent role in the living city, serving as places to stop and sit, write graffiti, and even deposit trash.

Pliny’s Letters and the Eruption of Vesuvius

While scientists today closely monitor the world’s active volcanoes, in AD 79 when Mount Vesuvius erupted, there was little warning and panic took precedence over scientific observation. Fortunately, one famous Roman politician and writer, Pliny the Younger, was on the scene and in a series of famous letters made many important observations about the eruption and its impact on the residents of the Bay of Naples. Join UC Classics graduate student Mitchell Brown for an in-depth glimpse at these fascinating contemporary accounts of the destruction of Pompeii.

Human Remains at Pompeii

No trip to Pompeii is complete without a glimpse of the stunning casts of the site’s ancient residents who were trapped by the eruption of Mount Vesuvius. Ever since Pompeii’s rediscovery in the 1740s, the bodies of the volcano’s victims have captivated visitors to the site. UC Classics graduate student Sarah Lima delves into the study of human remains at Pompeii, and shares how they have played a prominent role in the development of modern archaeology and shaped the popular imagination of the site’s last days.

Food Part 1 of 2 (Dining at Home)

In this episode of the long-lost Roman cooking show, “The Splendid Triclinium,” join host Flavia Poma as she talks Roman cuisine with UC Classics graduate student Kristina Neumann. In Part 1 they examine the eating habits of the rich and famous, discuss the Roman diet, and take a closer look at Roman pots, pans, flatware, and dishes. They say “you are what you eat,” and from Pompeii we can learn a lot about what ancient Romans ate!

Food Part 2 of 2 (Dining out and Grocery Shopping)

In our second episode of “The Splendid Triclinium,” our host and guest move from the dining room to the fish market and fast-food restaurant! While many of the large houses of Pompeii’s wealthiest citizens had spectacular dining rooms, most of the city’s inhabitants had humble cooking facilities at home and relied on restaurants and carry-out menus. Discover where Romans did their grocery shopping, and learn about recipes for dormice (yes, mice!) and, for the less adventurous, deep-fried honey cakes.


Go live to the arena of Pompeii in early AD 79 to meet burgeoning gladiatorial superstar, Severus, fresh off a major victory! Our intrepid reporter interviews the new champ, learns about his training, his finishing moves, and asks why it’s so tricky to fight against a lefty! Severus talks corruption, riots, the politics of the games, and gives his thoughts on the construction of the new Colosseum in Rome. Learn why the Romans loved gladiatorial combat so much from someone with firsthand experience!

Commerce and Business

Without the eruption of Mount Vesuvius, Pompeii would not be what it is today, but without a prosperous local economy, there would have been no site at all. UC Classics professor Peter van Minnen looks to archaeology and ancient texts to answer the tough questions about how people in Pompeii made their living. Learn about ancient farming, shipping, and slavery, and discover how the very volcano which destroyed the city also gave rise to a booming local wine industry!