Coffee and Circuses

David Walsh

The Roman poet Juvenal once said people are entertained as long as they have 'bread and circuses'. Now we can go one better with 'coffee and circuses'! David Walsh chats to a range of people involved in the study of the Roman World: what led to their interest in this? what projects are they engaged in at the moment? where does the study of the Roman World go in future?

You can contact the show at, and find David on Twitter and Instagram @d_j_walsh (

Theme tune: 'La Calahorra' by Rolemusic (

Hosted on Acast. See for more information.

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2: Rosemary Sutcliff: History is People
2: Rosemary Sutcliff: History is People
In this essay, 'History is People' acclaimed historical novelist Rosemary discussed her responsibilities as a children's author and her belief that human nature remains essentially consistent and relatable throughout history, using a range of texts from the Homeric Age to the English Civil War to illustrate her points.The essay was originally distributed at a conference for the Children's Literature in Education journal in Exeter in 1971, and was later reprinted in the 1973 anthology Children and Literature: Views and Reviews, edited by Virginia Haviland, which is where this reading is taken from. The text can be found here: Cast:Alex Davis as Rosemary SutcliffNikos Karydis as HomerFlavio Bacci as the Roman soldierSarah Bremner as Margret PastonVicky Saward Read as Catherine ParrAnd Jay Ingate as Edward SpencerMusic Credits:Meditation Impromptu One to Three, Touching Memories, Relaxing Piano Music and Crossing the Divide, all by Kevin Macleod and available from incompetech.comIf you’d like to find out more about Rosemary Sutcliff, you can visit the official website at RosemarySutcliff.netYou can also read David's analyses of various Sutcliff novels and short stories on website for the Our Mythical Childhood Survey, an international project which looks at the influence of Classical culture on modern children’s media: Hosted on Acast. See for more information.
1: Rosemary Sutcliff and Re-imagining Roman Britain (Documentary)
1: Rosemary Sutcliff and Re-imagining Roman Britain (Documentary)
With millions of copies sold in a variety of languages, as well as various literary awards and a CBE to her name, Rosemary Sutcliff was one of the most successful 20th century authors of historical fiction.  Many of her works follow the adventures of a family across the generations, from Roman to Post-Roman Britain, beginning with Marcus in her most famous novel The Eagle of the Ninth. Alongside this series – known as the Dolphin Ring Saga – she also published several others novels set in Roman Britain, including Outcast, Mark of the Horse Lord, Song for a Dark Queen and The Capricorn Bracelet. Sutcliff was able to conjure an evocative picture of life in Roman Britain, not only regarding her characters and the material culture they interact with, but also the natural world that they inhabit. Although she passed away in 1992, Sutcliff’s impact continues to be felt to this day, with various archaeologists and historians having been inspired to pick up their trowels and pens by Sutcliff.  How Sutcliff came to imagine Roman Britain had much to do with her experiences in childhood and adolescence. She did not have an easy time growing up, with her father often away on naval duty for long periods at a time and her mother frequently experiencing depressive episodes. Moreover, she was diagnosed with Still’s Disease at a young age, which severely affected her mobility for the rest of her life, and her illness coupled with her family’s frequent moves meant her childhood was often lonely. However, one way in which Sutcliff was able to escape these issues was reading vast amounts of literature, with Rudyard Kipling her favourite author. Before becoming an author, she also found success as a painter, with her work displayed at the Royal Academy. As the 14th December 2020 marks what would have been Sutcliff’s 100th birthday, we’ve put together an audio documentary about her life and works, exploring how she engaged with themes such as religion, nature, nationality, sexuality, material culture and disability Roman Britain, as well as her continuing impact today. You can find out more about Rosemary Sutcliff at Contributors to this documentary include:Anthony Lawton (Sutcliff’s Godson and Chair of Sussex Dolphin)Kate Gilliver (Cardiff University)Donald Gordon (The Trimontium Trust)Tony Keen (University of Notre Dame)Deborah Roberts (Haverford College) Giacomo Savani (Trinity College Dublin) Ellen Swift (University of Kent)Voice-overs were provided by:Alex Davis (Rosemary Sutcliff)Lee Grana (Agricola)Andy Bates (Uncle Aquila)Phil Hughes (Esca)Jay Ingate (Alexios) The music featured in this production includes: • Peace of Mind • Winds of the Rain Forest • Garden Music • Easy Lemon • White Lotus • Sad Trio • Relaxing Piano Music • Music for Manatees  All by Kevin Macleod Along with ‘Time to Run Finale' by Dexter Britain Hosted on Acast. See for more information.