Mike Duncan (podcaster)

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Mike Duncan
American Podcaster Mike Duncan.png
Mike Duncan in his study
Born Redmond, Washington
Alma mater Western Washington University (B.A.)
Texas State University
Known for The History of Rome, Revolutions
Spouse Brandi

Mike Duncan is an American podcaster best known for his award-winning Roman history podcast, The History of Rome (THoR) as well as Revolutions podcast. The History of Rome podcast aired between 2007 and 2012 and covered Roman history from its legendary founding to the fall of the Western Roman Empire, gaining renown for its well-researched historical insight, engaging style, and thoroughness. The History of Rome won best educational podcast at the 2010 podcast awards, and was listed among the best podcasts of 2015 by Apple.

Personal life[edit]

Mike Duncan was born in Redmond, Washington and attended Western Washington University, attaining a degree in Political Science with a minor in Philosophy. He is an avid fan of the Seattle Mariners baseball team.[1]

During the course of The History of Rome, Duncan married his wife Brandi and made a special THoR episode on Roman wedding customs in celebration.[2] Mike and Brandi currently live in Madison, Wisconsin with their son Elliott William and two pets.[3][4] Brandi is a dedicated runner and has competed in the Austin Marathon.[5] Aside from podcasting, Duncan is currently a stay-at-home dad, and has worked previously as a fishmonger.[3] Duncan also occasionally creates political comic strips in collaboration with illustrator Jason Novak.[6]

Interest in history[edit]

Duncan’s interest in Roman history grew from a “general interest in ancient civilizations”. As a child, he would often flip through his parents encyclopedia set to the entries on Ancient Egypt or Ancient Greece, the Mayans, the Inca, etc. The largest and most encompassing of those civilizations to Duncan was always the Romans. Mike became especially interested in Roman history while reading his grandfather's paperback version of The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire.[2]

Describing himself as “a complete history geek”, Duncan also has a huge interest in American history. He believes the greatest difference between America and Rome is that compared to Rome, America has only spent a short time on the world stage.[2]

Regarding modern history, Duncan has predicted that Silicon Valley may in the future be deemed as groundbreaking as the Renaissance was. He has stated “We have lived in the last twenty years through some of the most impressive advances in human civilization.”[7]

The History of Rome[edit]

Mike Duncan is perhaps best known for his podcast "The History of Rome," often abbreviated THoR; it is an award-winning weekly podcast which aired between 2007 and 2012. In the 2010 Podcast Awards, The History of Rome won best educational podcast. The podcast covers the time period from the origin of the Roman Kingdom to the Fall of the Western Roman Empire, focusing on the most accepted chain of events according to historical consensus. The show is renowned for its concise style, historical depth, wit, and consistency.


A podcast called "Revolutions" was launched on September 15, 2013. The podcast encompasses some of the biggest revolutions throughout history in a varying number of episodes, including the English, American, French, Haitian, 1848, Mexican, Russian, Chinese, and Cuban revolutions.[8] [9] While Duncan initially planned to limit his podcast to 12-15 episodes per revolution, he ran over that self-imposed limit with the English Civil War and the American Revolution and decided to give up on it for the French Revolution, which ultimately wound up being 54 episodes not counting supplementals. The first section of Revolutions covered the English Civil War from the reign of Charles I to the Restoration. The second section covered the American Revolution, while the third, a history of The French Revolution, covered the period between financial crisis of the 1770s to the coup of 18 Brumaire which brought General Napoleon Bonaparte to power as First Consul of France in 1799. The Haitian Revolution was the fourth season, and then is being followed by the currently airing season on the Spanish American wars of independence.[10] Duncan's Revolutions series mostly follow a chronological approach with one or two episodes at the beginning dedicated to the pre-history of the revolution and its causes, sometimes highlighting when and how the revolution could have been avoided. He also includes "supplementals" - special episodes not counted in the normal number of episodes and of more varying length compared to roughly half-hour normal episodes - in his narrative that deal with a particular topic or person in depth and are sometimes verbatim reproductions of historical texts such as the American declaration of Independence or the French Declaration of the Rights of Man and the Citizen.

Future endeavors[edit]

On several occasions, Duncan has mentioned turning his History of Rome podcast into book format, though he has expressed concern such a change could take significant rescripting, since he had geared his podcast to a spoken medium.[2] On October 9, 2015, it was announced that Mike Duncan had signed a deal with a publisher to pen a book entitled "The Storm Before The Storm" where Duncan will examine Roman history between 135 B.C. to 80 B.C. Special attention will be given to the question: "If America is Rome, where are we on the historical timeline?".[11]

On June 4, 2016, Duncan's book, "The History of Rome: The Republic (Volume 1)" was published. The book is a collection of edited transcripts from the first 46 episodes of the podcast, covering the time period from the founding of the Roman Kingdom through the breakdown of the Republic.[12]