Episode 29 – A More Perfect Empire

“Remember this lesson well:  Whenever you can, act as a liberator.  Freedom, dignity, and wealth—these three together constitute the great happiness of humanity.  If you bequeath all three to your people, their love for you will never die.” – Cyrus the Great (quoted by Xenophon)

Servius Tullius laid the foundation for the Roman Republic, but his dubious claim to the throne led to his violent overthrow by Tarquin the Proud.  Cyrus the Great governed his vast empire with wisdom and temperance before meeting his end along Persia’s volatile eastern frontier.  Cambyses II’s Egyptian designs were aided by a high-level betrayal in the court of Ahmose II.

Series References and Further Reading:


12 thoughts on “Episode 29 – A More Perfect Empire

  1. Great episode! I look forward to every episode and this one didn't disappoint.

    Out of curiosity, do you have any plans to continue pod-casting after this is over? You do a great job and I'd definitely be interested in any future projects from you!

  2. Thanks! Glad you enjoyed it. I'm just about finished drafting the next episode – the reign of Cambyses, and the ascension of Darius. I'll certainly be taking a break after this series, but I have an idea or two for other series that I may explore down the line. I'll do my best to keep everyone updated on both the blog and my Facebook page. But for now, I still see this series running for a few more months! Thanks again – Scott C.

  3. Thanks! It just looks like the math is working out that way. I have around 2 – 3 "normal" episodes left to bring us up to 500BC, then 1 -2 "special" episodes to wrap up the series. Since I post around every 2 weeks, that kind of carries us through the Summer. Glad you're enjoying them!

  4. Very much so Scott. I'm amazed at the way you can carve such a coherent, highly addictive and informative narrative spanning over several millenia out of what must be a kaleidoscopic body of sources. Truly enjoyable, also looking forward to your next project :-). Thank you so much.


  5. That's very nice of you to say. And you're very welcome, I really enjoy doing them. I feel privileged to be able to tell folks about so many interesting civilizations! Thanks

  6. Hey Scott,
    My name's Alexander Shaffer and I'm a long time listener. I picked up around the time episode 3 came out. I'm interested in starting a podcast of my own, exclusively on the Persians. I thought I'd see if you had any tips for the aspiring podcaster, and some clues for good source material. Thanks in advance and keep up the good work!

  7. Hi Alexander! Good to hear from you, and thanks for being a long-time listener. Great to hear about the new podcast. What kind of tips would be most useful: how-to, technical stuff, or general inspiration? As far as source material, for Persia I relied mainly on Tom Holland's "Persian Fire." Of course, in my time-frame I really only had 3 kings to deal with: Cyrus, Cambyses and Darius. Anyway, let me know what info would be most useful, and I'll pass some tips along. Take care

  8. Sorry in advance for the long list, but I figure you'll have some edifying answers for all the questions!

    1. How long did it take you to write the first episode/ how long does it take you to write a typical episode now that you're in full swing?

    2. How do you sort out contradictory accounts? I want to get my facts straight, but I'm beginning to realize there are always going to be 10 people with 11 different versions of the story.

    3. How forgiving, on a scale from 1 to Assyrian (1 being very forgiving and Assyrian being "display my skin at a dinner party") are the listeners about mistakes?

    4. What did your outlines/drafts look like for each episode? Was there a general formula?

    5. Is there anything technical that you didn't know going in that would be useful for me?

    Thank you so much for responding! It's a bit surreal, and definitely a treat to communicate with someone who has been on my i-pod for 2 1/2 years.

  9. Alexander, slight change of plan: since I thought other listeners might also appreciate the Q&A, I've decided to make it a Blog Post. It should be posted over the next day or so. Good luck, and have fun!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *