Episode B24 – The Yona Kings

Synopsis:  The Macedonian kingdoms of Central Asia endured for centuries before being absorbed into the Kushan Empire.  Hadrian’s actions in Judea spark a third Jewish Revolt.

“Has it ever happened to you, O king, that rival kings rose up against you as enemies and opponents?
-Yes, certainly.
-Then you set to work, I suppose, to have moats dug, and ramparts thrown up, and watch towers erected, and strongholds built, and stores of food collected?
-Not at all. All that had been prepared beforehand.
-Or you had yourself trained in the management of war elephants, and in horsemanship, and in the use of the war chariot, and in archery and fencing?
-Not at all. I had learnt all that before.
-But why?
-With the object of warding off future danger.”Milinda Panha (The Questions of King Menander), Book III, Chapter 7 

Map of Central Asia:

12 thoughts on “Episode B24 – The Yona Kings

  1. Thanks! To let you in on a secret, after you do something for a long time, even if people are still enjoying it, they rarely comment anymore. I can't blame them, I'm the same way! So, long story short – thanks, and I'm glad you're still enjoying it! 😉 – Scott C.

  2. Dear Scott,

    I am a professor of engineering and maybe you'll be surprised to learn that your "ancient world" podcast series is a "required listening" for all my M.Sc and Ph. D. students.

    Do you plan to continue the series? I my belief is, you should, because of three reasons:

    1) There is not much on classical greek history in the podcast world..
    2) There is absolutely nothing on the hellenistic kingdoms.
    3) There is less than nothing on the surrounding parthian, armenian, aksumite, yemenite, aramean, israelite etc.. history.

    The very powerful trait of your podcasting is that you respect all cultures, and try to allocate time to all of them. This is not so with other historians/podcasters. They loose interest with egypt/mesopotamia/persia as soon as greece rises. They forget all about greece as soon as rome rises (that is why we get so little on hellenistic world). They forget rome/byzantium as soon as north europe rises..

    So, I really wish you tackle the world between 500bc-0bc, with all its cultural richness.

  3. Hi Professor Baran!

    Thank you for writing. I am surprised and happy to hear that your engineering students are listening to The Ancient World! You may be surprised to learn that I have a Masters Degree in Mechanical Engineering, and work as an engineer myself. Ancient history is purely my hobby! If you don’t mind my asking, what university do you teach in?

    You may be aware that I have created three different series to date: (1) The Ancient World – covering the first human civilizations down through 500BC, (2) Rediscovery – covering the rediscovery of these ancient civilizations, mostly in the 19th century AD, and (3) Bloodline – covering the descendants of Antony and Cleopatra. Hopefully you will be happy to hear that the current series, Bloodline, will continue all during 2016, for roughly another 24 episodes or so. You might be interested in reading the following blog post, which discusses the origins and scope of the current series:


    As I mention in the blog post, I once had plans to cover the Near East between 500BC and the Muslim conquest, but several factors narrowed that scope down to the current Bloodline series – which (mainly) covers the Near East (and other regions), between around 40BC and around 275AD, through the lens of a single family. So I do have to leave you disappointed in one respect: at the moment I have no plans to do a separate series covering the world from 500BC – 1BC. But you can never say what the future will bring!

    One of my original reasons for starting The Ancient World podcast was that there was VERY little information widely available on pre-Classical civilizations, or even other Classical civilizations beyond Greece and Rome. I appreciate your comment about respecting all cultures, since that is always my intent. It’s also no problem, since all of these cultures are so interesting! During the remainder of Bloodline, I will continue to cover as many cultures as possible – at least those cultures that have links to the characters or events in the story. I hope you enjoy the rest of Bloodline, and thanks again for writing.

    Take care,
    Scott C.

  4. Dear Scott,

    Sorry for my late reply. I teach at Marmara University, Turkey. And I already knew that you are an engineer 🙂 I suspected from the well-planned and logical progression of your podcast and checked your linkedin profile..

    Two of my students become very devoted fans of the "ancient world". As we live in turkey, we are surrounded by ancient ruins, and your podcast brings a lot of explanation in a very effortless way. I calculate that to get the same amount of knowledge I had to read maybe 5-10 books.

    I have listened "ancient world" and "discovery" many times. I havent listened the "bloodline", as I thought that it was a historical novel. But now I plan to listen that one too..

    You are probably right that doing the whole history 500bc-600ad may be an overkill, especially when michel duncan's "history of rome" is around. But I think a podcast of "500bc 600ad minus rome" would be great. The story of greece&rome is told and retold countless times. But there is practically nothing on hellenistic kingdoms, iran, bactria, nabateans, aksumites and ethiopians, or middle east under rome. So I keep my fingers crossed for a change of heart in you. Because I believe you are one of the very limited number of persons who can pull such a complicated project through without any hitch..

    Best Wishes,

  5. Here's a new radio play from BBC Radio 4 Extra, set in of the empire of the Mamluks, a slave dynasty in Egypt in the 13th-16th century AD. A millennium or two after the events recounted in Scott's Ancient World Podcast, but still probably of great appeal to Scott's podcast's many fans.

    Each episode of this historical audio drama, produced to the highest standards, is only available for 30 days, & the first 3 are up now, so act fast before 1st episode is taken down after its 30 days are up:


Leave a Reply

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