History podcasts

Posted on ..

I've become addicted to listening to (other people's) podcasts, especially on history. It turns out there are now good series on many topics with more emerging all the time. I like most the ones that follow the template laid down by the History of Rome, which is probably the most influential of all history podcast series. This is the template I follow myself: take a historical subject, start at the beginning and tell it in installments in great detail. That podcast finished with the demise of the Western empire but has been continued by the (in my opinion equally excellent) History of Byzantium. These by the way make good historical background for HoPWaG. Unfortunately no one has yet launched a History of Islam podcast, which someone really should. But there are good medieval history ones, I have just been getting into History of the Crusades which is witty and very accessible (maybe a bit basic at first but gets more detailed and interesting as it goes). The British History podcast is also excellent, very detailed and often funny, and has covered ancient Britain and early medieval Britain so far. Then Lars Brownsworth has done an earlier podcast on Byzantium (good but not nearly as detailed as the more recent History of Byzantium one) and now a podcast on the Normans, which I like. Less related to the periods I've reached is a podcast on WWII which seems to be very popular and is extremely detailed. Finally, check out the facebook group for history podcasters which has links to many more - but these are the ones I've been managing to listen to myself!

Update in late 2015: a recent addition with relevance for the series of episodes on philosophy in India is the History of India podcast. Also, Mike Duncan of the History of Rome has done the absolutely wonderful series Revolutions, looking at the English, American, French and Haitan revolutions (so far). Highly recommended.

Update in 2020: Check out also the Abbasid History Podcast.

Update in 2023: while writing episodes on Shakespeare I got into Emma Smith's lecture series which is available as podcasts, Approaching Shakespeare. Also check out the series by David Runciman, History of Ideas and more recently Past Present Future. Great episodes on (mostly) political thinkers of the modern era up to the 20th century.

João on 30 May 2013

Many thanks for this

Many thanks for this information. Unfortunately the links are all broken. I think you have to put an "http://" in front of the urls, otherwise they will just point back to your site.

Dyami Hayes on 30 May 2013

Thanks for the suggestions!

Thanks for the suggestions!

Dyami Hayes on 30 May 2013

All the links are broken As

All the links are broken As Joao mentioned ;)

Peter Adamson on 30 May 2013

Oops, sorry about that!

Oops, sorry about that! Thanks for pointing it out, I have fixed the links and Joao's diagnosis was correct.

Stacy on 30 May 2013

Thanks for the list. I've

Thanks for the list. I've been listening to The History of Rome together with your podcast and it has been very useful to get the bigger picture. (Love your podcast BTW!) Another good one which is taking the same "without any gaps" approach is The Podcast History of Our World (http://podcasthistoryofourworld.blogspot.com). He takes a bit of a more multi-disciplinary approach, mixing in a lot of literature and mythology. So far he is only up to ancient Greece, but it's very entertaining.

Zeke on 30 May 2013

I don't know of any Islamic

I don't know of any Islamic history podcasts, but I do know of this one: http://www.ottomanhistorypodcast.com/. I Haven't listened to it much though, so I couldn't say how good it is.

Peter Adamson on 30 May 2013

Thanks, I actually know of

Thanks, I actually know of both of those podcasts too and started on the History of our World one - I didn't like it quite as much as some others just because it seemed a bit less detailed (I felt like I knew a lot of what he was saying). On the other hand I think one should always go through 5-10 episodes before making up one's mind, it takes a while for podcasters to get into a good and stable rhythm (I feel my Presocratic episodes aren't as good as later ones, in fact). I haven't checked out the Ottoman history one though perhaps I should, as I warm up to cover philosophy in the Ottoman empire in a few months.

Carol Andersen on 31 May 2013

I can't believe I actually

I can't believe I actually missed the History of Byzantium - usually I pounce on anything like this! So I now have nearly 30 episodes to catch up, but with a 20+ hour plane flight coming up in a few weeks that should present no problem...
Thanks for the heads-up about these podcasts.

Peter Adamson on 1 June 2013

Ha! Well, I don't know where

Ha! Well, I don't know where he's from - though I vaguely recall that he moved to Texas while he was making that podcast. I grew up in Boston. Anyway it's a great honor to be compared to Mike Duncan in any respect!


Erik Stadnik on 19 August 2014

I *just* finished a

I *just* finished a binge-listen of 'The History of Rome' and came over here to explore, since I remember you (Peter) tweeting about various other excellent history podcasts. And I hit the mother-lode! Thanks so much--both for this and the *amazing* education you're giving so many, myself included, of course.

In reply to by Erik Stadnik

Peter Adamson on 19 August 2014

Great, thanks! If you liked

Great, thanks! If you liked THoR I also recommend Mike Duncan's new series, Revolutions.

Robert on 27 April 2016

Dear Peter,

Dear Peter,

Thank you for your excellent podcast. I am only at Plato , but am hooked!

Through the podcast of The Myths and History of Ancient Greece and Rome I found the History of Islam podcast: https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/the-history-of-islam-podcast/id1060…. I still have to start listening to this podcast, but you may find it of interest.

Once more, thank you and kind regards,


In reply to by Robert

Peter Adamson on 28 April 2016

Good, glad you are enjoying

Good, glad you are enjoying it! Yes, I know about both of those podcasts, I started in on History of Islam though I haven't gotten very far (I am trying to follow too many at the same time!).

In reply to by Peter Adamson

dukeofethereal on 10 August 2017

I will recommend you some

I will recommend you some podcasts for you to listen to .

History of Japan by Isaac Meyers (topical)

China History Podcast by Laszlo Montgomery (brilliant podcast, it is topical and does not go in chronological order). Also has two sister podcasts 'Chinese sayings' and 'China Vintage Hour'.


The History of China Podcast by Chris Stewart (goes in chronological order, recently concluded the Tang Dynasty).  

The History of the Mongols by Ben Hill (completed series)

The History of the Early  Church by Terry Young

The Ancient World by Scott Chesworth 

The History of Iran Podcast by Khodadad Rezakhani (hiatus for nearly two years unfortunately)

History of Southeast Asia by Charles Kimball

The History of Egypt podcast by Dominic Perry 

The History of Singapore by PJ Thum

The History of the Ottoman Empire by Lynn Perkins

In reply to by dukeofethereal

Peter Adamson on 11 August 2017

Thanks! I have listened to

Thanks! I have listened to several of these, at least in part - followed the Egypt podcast for a long time, and also heard all the ones on Iran (pity he stopped putting them out). Some of these are new to me though. How good is the SE Asia one?

In reply to by Peter Adamson

hstrypdcstfn on 1 October 2017

unfortunately the History of

unfortunately the History of SE Asia podcast isn't that great. It's not bad, just "meh".

William on 11 March 2020

I'd highly recommend

I'd highly recommend Literature and History. All episodes are excellently produced, with frequent references to scholarly work in each, and a good portion of them reviewed by academics. Some would be of particular interest to enthusiasts of the history of philosophy, such as Hellenism and the Birth of the Self, the one on Lucretius, or the few on Seneca, but religion and philosophical understandings are recurring themes. The next episode is on Marcus Aurelius, which should have yet more fruit for those interested in the history of philosophy.

In reply to by William

Peter Adamson on 11 March 2020

Great tip, thanks! I may

Great tip, thanks! I may check that out myself.

In reply to by William

Spencer on 11 March 2020

Literature and History

Literature and History Podcast recommendation...I second the motion. This podcast, by Doug Metzger, is truly outstanding. I am one of those who has always loved history and (decades ago) read some classic literature, and always wished I had read more. But as I have gotten older and my patience for reading classic literature has waned, Literature and History fulfils the desire to at least know more about the literature that has in part shaped Western Civilization. Now, when someone says "it is like a Greek drama," I actually have a sense of what that means. Also, again to second poster William, the episode on Lucretius was superb.

William on 19 November 2020

Ancient Greece Declassified

You might also enjoy Ancient Greece Declassified. He's just started a special series on Plato's Republic, with interview episodes to come with Rachel Barney, Angie Hobbs, Jonathan Lear, Mary Townsend, Gabriel Richardson Lear, and Ben Morison.

Add new comment

The content of this field is kept private and will not be shown publicly.