In Our Time: 25 Key Figures in Ancient History

In Our Time: 25 Key Figures in Ancient History

A BBC Radio 4 Collection


Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss 25 major leaders, thinkers and writers of the classical world

'The best thing on Radio 4, possibly the best thing on the radio full stop'
The Spectator

In Our Time is one of BBC Radio's most successful and best-loved programmes, with a weekly listenership of over two million. Since 1998, it has 'transformed the landscape for serious ideas at peak listening time' (The Times), introducing its audience to an astonishing array of intriguing topics, from the epic of Gilgamesh to the gin craze.

This special thematic collection focusses on some of the most important rulers, philosophers and writers of ancient Greece, Rome and Egypt. Across 25 episodes, presenter Melvyn Bragg and a panel of top-class academics engage in lively and eloquent conversation as they explore the lives, reputations and impact of these pivotal figures. Their subjects include emperors, statesmen, military leaders, authors, poets, playwrights, fabulists and theorists - among them Julius Caesar, Cleopatra, Alexander the Great, Socrates, Pythagoras, Ovid, Aesop and Sappho.

Whether you're a long-standing In Our Time fan or a new listener, a student of ancient history or simply keen to expand your knowledge; this thoughtfully curated compilation of illuminating, accessible discussions is sure to enlighten and entertain.

Production credits
Presented by Melvyn Bragg
Produced by Thomas Morris, Simon Tillotson, Victoria Brignell, Natalia Fernandez and Luke Mulhall

First broadcast on BBC Radio 4 on the following dates:

Part I: Leaders of Ancient Rome

Julius Caesar 2 October 2014
With Christopher Pelling, Catherine Steel and Maria Wyke

Cleopatra 2 December 2010
With Catharine Edwards, Maria Wyke and Susan Walker

Cicero 25 January 2018
With Melissa Lane, Catherine Steel and Valentina Arena

Agrippina the Younger 31 March 2016
With Catharine Edwards, Alice König and Matthew Nicholls

Nero 25 April 2019
With Maria Wyke, Matthew Nicholls and Shushma Malik

Constantine the Great 5 October 2017
With Christopher Kelly, Lucy Grig and Greg Woolf

Marcus Aurelius 25 February 2021
With Simon Goldhill, Angie Hobbs and Catharine Edwards

Pliny the Younger 12 December 2013
With Catharine Edwards, Roy Gibson and Alice König

Queen Zenobia 30 May 2013
With Edith Hall, Kate Cooper and Richard Stoneman

Part II: Leaders of Ancient Greece

Pericles 17 September 2020
With Edith Hall, Paul Cartledge and Peter Liddel

Alexander the Great 1 October 2015
With Paul Cartledge, Diana Spencer and Rachel Mairs

Part III: Thinkers of Ancient Rome and Ancient Greece

Galen 10 October 2013
With Vivian Nutton, Helen King and Caroline Petit

Thucydides 29 January 2015
With Paul Cartledge, Katherine Harloe and Neville Morley

Xenophon 26 May 2011
With Paul Cartledge, Edith Hall and Simon Goldhill

Heraclites 8 December 2011
With Angie Hobbs, Peter Adamson and James Warren

Socrates 27 September 2007
With Angie Hobbs, David Sedley and Paul Millett

Archimedes 25 January 2007
With Jackie Stedall, Serafina Cuomo and George Phillips

Pythagoras 10 December 2009
With Serafina Cuomo, John O'Connor and Ian Stewart

Part IV: Writers of Ancient Rome

Seneca the Younger 23 February 2017
With Catharine Edwards, Mary Beard and Alessandro Schiesaro

Josephus 21 May 2015
With Tessa Rajak, Philip Alexander and Martin Goodman

Ovid 29 April 2021
With Maria Wyke, Gail Trimble and Dunstan Lowe

Horace 15 November 2018
With Emily Gowers, William Fitzgerald and Ellen O'Gorman

Part V: Writers of Ancient Greece

Aesop 20 November 2014
With Pavlos Avlamis, Simon Goldhill and Lucy Grig

Herodotus 23 September 2021
With Tom Harrison, Esther Eidinow and Paul Cartledge

Sappho 9 April 2015
With Edith Hall, Margaret Reynolds and Dirk Obbink

© 2022 BBC Studios Distribution Ltd. (P) 2022 BBC Studios Distribution Ltd.

About the author

Melvyn Bragg

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