Smarty Pants Podcast

CSI: Roman Empire


How climate change and disease might have been the real killers


By Stephanie Bastek

December 22, 2017


The Roman Empire’s reputation precedes it: a wingspan that stretched from Syria to Spain, and from the Nile to Scotland’s doorstep. Centuries of unbroken rule, a unified commonwealth, and at one point nearly a quarter of the world’s population. And then, it all came tumbling down. Why Rome fell has been a favored subject of armchair theorizing pretty much since the empire started teetering—and now, one historian has a bold new idea. Kyle Harper joins us on the podcast to explore how climate change and disease might have played a key role in the fall of an entire civilization.

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Our theme music was composed by Nathan Prillaman.

Stephanie Bastek is the associate editor of the Scholar and the producer/host of the Smarty Pants podcast.

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