Two Friends Talk History

Two Friends Talk History

Two Friends Talk History is a podcast where public historian, Zofia, chats with scholars, archaeologists, researchers and more to explore fascinating histories, look behind the scenes and ask the big question that's missing in much academic discourse: so what? Why is this relevant today? Find me on Instagram at Two Friends Talk History and at Support the Pod cool merch @


May 24, 2023 64 mins

In this episode of Two Friends Talk History, Zofia interviews Senior Lecturer in Classics at the University of St Andrews, and founder of the Visualising War and Peace Project, Dr Alice König. In this interview, Zofia asks Alice about ideas of representing war in antiquity, and if concepts like a ‘peace movement’ was possible in a period of Roman Imperium. We discuss the absences in war narratives, and war’s impacts on women and ch...

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In this week's episode of Two Friends Talk History, Zofia is joined by Dr Sam Ellis, an expert in the language of tyranny in antiquity and the study of monocratic power in the Greek polis from the Archaic to the Hellenistic period.  We explore how the language used to frame the actions of sole rulers has created a construct of 'tyrant' that remains with us today.

 For a suggested reading list and more infor...

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March 1, 2023 45 mins

This week on Two Friends Talk History, I spoke with Dr Maxime Ratcliffe, hot off the press with his recently awarded doctorate, to discuss Romano-British well depositions and the tantalising mysteries that were buried within them. We explore their persistence in the British landscape, and their possible uses in antiquity.

For a suggested reading list and more information, please check out my website for a blog post on this...

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January 29, 2023 50 mins

In this week’s episode, Zofia is joined by returning guest, archaeologist, and archaeobotanist, Alexandra Slucky, to discuss the archaeology of alcohol! We discuss the archaeological process used to identify historic alcoholic vessels and processes.

For a suggested reading list and more information, please check out my website for a blog post on this episode and more resources:

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January 6, 2023 35 mins

In this episode, Zofia interviews Dr Elke Close about Polybius, the Achaean statesman, teacher, and historian from the Hellenistic period. Polybius was active in Megalopolis at the tail end of the period of Greek independence following the wars of the Hellenistic kings and the rise of the Roman empire. 

Elke discusses the social context and political realities that Polybius faced while held in Rome as a hostage, which, fortunately, ...

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December 7, 2022 70 mins

In this episode, Zofia interviews Dr Alex Imrie about the historical context and impact of the Severan dynasty on the Roman Empire and beyond. We unpack how the dysfunctional family engaged with each other and the tumultuous world of politics and warfare around them while trying to connect to a human center.

Dr Imrie is a Tutor in Classics at the University of Edinburgh and the National Outreach Co-ordinator for the Class...

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Kicking off Series 3, in this episode, Zofia interviews Dr Barbara Winter to discuss how indigenous artifacts have traditionally been collected and displayed in western Canada. This discussion touches on the arguments historically used to keep acquired material culture outside of minority communities (by colonial powers), and in large museum collections. To challenge these historic narratives made by caretakers of cultural heritage...

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December 29, 2021 44 mins

Drawing the year to a close, this week, Zofia is joined by historian Dr Rory Nutter. Together we discuss the linguistic changes that took place in the Italian peninsula over the 4th- 3rd centuries BCE as Latin speakers interacted with the mosaic of languages spoken in the region, and the importance of looking at the materiality of objects when reading inscriptions.

Tangents include awkward linguistic encounters, Aeclanum field schoo...

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December 3, 2021 62 mins

In this weeks' episode, Zofia is joined by classical scholar and vampire fang-atic, doctoral candidate at the University of Edinburgh, Ambra Ghiringhelli. 

Getting to the heart of the vampires in antiquity and in the archaeological record, we shine light in the darkest of spooky places where these immortal bloodsuckers have haunted our imaginations and cemeteries alike. 

We hope you enjoy the final interview of a three-part jour...

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November 3, 2021 49 mins

In this episode, Zofia is joined again by Latinist and researcher of ancient magic, Celeste De Blois, a Classics doctoral candidate at the University of Edinburgh.
Celeste returns to the pod to discuss witches in Greek mythology, Homeric stories, and Roman elegies.

Click here to read the Homeric Hymn to Demeter, discussed in the episode. 
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October 22, 2021 38 mins

In this episode, Zofia is joined by archaeologist and Late Antique period specialist Dr Javier Martínez Jiménez, currently a PDRA in the Cambridge Faculty of Classics "Impact of the Ancient City" ERC Project, to discuss his new article and foray into Classical Reception Studies, who looked at naughties tv Teen Wolf reboot and how it uses Classical mythology, language and bodies to present an updated version of the werewol...

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September 22, 2021 48 mins

In this episode, Zofia is joined by archaeologist and University of Edinburgh PhD candidate, James R. Page! James shares his insights into how Romans dealt with the changing and often dangerous environment of river transportation, and how local resilience and adaptation changed landscapes in their pursuit of water management!

I hope you enjoy the episode!

If you would like to find out more about James' work, you can find him on ...

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September 4, 2021 40 mins

This week, Zofia is  joined by archaeologist and outdoor adventure entrepreneur, Dr Meg Currie-Moodie. Meg and I talk about the globalised Mediterranean in antiquity, and what it meant to have shared visual language - a visual koine.
We discuss large-scale material culture which employs globalised artistic elements - the Royal Mausoleum of Mauretania built Juba II called Kubr-er-Rumia in Arabic - and a small-scale devotional s...

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August 18, 2021 44 mins

From my recent stay at the British School at Athens, I am joined by archaeologist and Byzantine pottery specialist, the talented Dr Rossana Valente!

Dr Rossana Valente (Richard Bradford McConnell Studentship holder) is a postdoctoral researcher at the British School at Athens and Visiting Research Fellow at Newcastle University. Rossana is part of the team analysing the ceramics for Byzantine period Sparta and has fascinating things...

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July 24, 2021 55 mins

In this episode, Zofia is joined by archaeologist and Late Antique period specialist Dr Javier Martínez Jiménez, currently a PDRA in the Cambridge Faculty of Classics "Impact of the Ancient City" ERC Project, to discuss the social changes that characterised the transition to the Late Antique period. We discuss the knock-on effects of these changes as they impacted technology like water provisioning and urban contraction. 


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July 3, 2021 51 mins

In this episode, Zofia is joined by fellow French Canadian and doctoral candidate, Celeste Du Bois, to discuss Roman curses and love magic in literature and in the archaeological evidence of curse tablets. We explore the challenges to studying religion from the bottom up (so to speak) and some of the intriguing ritual practices of people in the Greco-Roman.

I  hope you enjoy the interview!

Tangents include using Latin for e...

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In this special episode, Zofia is joined by Hettie and Makis Metaxas from Poros, Kefalonia, who have worked tirelessly on advocating for the conservation of one of the most important monuments of Kefalonia’s Bronze Age, which they also helped discover- the Tzanata tholos tomb! 

We discussed their work to protect this important archaeological site just weeks before the Regional Governor of the Ionian Islands officially confirmed new ...

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In this episode, Zofia is joined by the creator of Hellenistic History website and outreach, Dr Elke Close, to discuss the Achaean League (koinon) of the Greeks during the second century BCE. We chat about the different tools she used to investigate ancient federalism from Polybius, epigraphy to numismatics, and ultimately, the showdown with Rome at the Battle of Corinth in 146 BCE.

Tangents include: Polybius picking fight...

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May 21, 2021 66 mins

In this episode, Zofia is reunited with Dr Briana King, a specialist in cult of Aphrodite and Greek erotica in the late-Classical period, to discuss the dynamic and variable roles that Hellenistic Queens played by focusing on queen Olympias of Macedon and Arsinoe II of Egypt. We explore their martial actions, power plays and divine associations. 

Tangents include road tripping in Greece, Netflix series ideas, and exploring...

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This week, Zofia is joined by Dr Alex Lee to discuss the popular religious processions that took place in northern and central Italy from 1399-1400 in response to the outbreak of deadly plague. These processions were called ‘Bianchi’ because of their adherent’s white robes. 

We discuss Dr Lee's research into the religious responses from the community members as they went on processions, what they could expect on their...

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