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A.D. History Podcast

Antonine Plague Vs. Today & What Was The Relationship Between Rome and Han Dynasty China? | 161AD-170AD

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We see how Rome fought the Antonine Plague compared to COVID-19 today, and uncover the unusual relationship between Rome & Han Dynasty China.



In the newest A.D. History Podcast, Paul and Patrick explore the Antonine Plague that massacred Rome, comparing it to what we are experiencing today with COVID-19. Additionally, they explore a most fascinating question: What was the relationship between the Roman Empire and Han Dynasty China? These two hegemons of their era had a most unusual relationship; whilst maintaining a fundamentally curiosity about the other. Despite their distance with Rome and the Han Dynasty sitting on the opposite sides of their known world from the other, neither escaped the attention, interest, or influence of their counterpart.

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The Antonine Plague & The COVID-19 Pandemic of Today

The Antonine Plague is noted to have broken out in the Roman Empire in 165AD, lasting a total of 15 years. The Antonine Plague was believed to have originated in East Asia, likely proliferating into Roman territory due to normal economic activity and legions returning from combat in Parthia.

Antonine Plague symptoms according to the Roman imperial physician Galen – the most authoritative contemporaneous medical historic source documenting the virus outbreak – describes a condition similar to Smallpox.

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Boudicca Resists Rome & The Aeolipile: The Unknown FIRST Steam Engine | 51AD - 60AD

Rome’s Antonine Plague experience shares many similarities, as well as many differences, for how the world is currently coping with the COVID-19 Pandemic.

Paul and Patrick examine many of those facets from the relevant medical knowledge, public response to the outbreak, respective technologies involved, the economic damage both virus’s have wrought and more. 

Roman Empire & Han Dynasty China: The Distant Relationship Fraught With Ambiguity That Dictated The Ancient World

Han Dynasty China and the Roman Empire in the late Second Century were the two powerhouse actors of their known world. Rome and the Han Dynasty may have existed on opposite poles, yet still had a fundamental and dynamic impact on each other. Their relationship – however distant –  dictated the greater ancient world during their coexistence. 

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The Death of Wang Mang, Augustus, and the Roman Republic | 11AD - 20AD

Between 161AD and 166AD, Chinese records from that period make explicit mention of an envoy arriving in Han territory claiming to be on a diplomatic mission from the Roman Empire. Unfortunately, no Roman records from that same period corroborate any such delegation being commissioned.

While it is not possible to know the truth of that supposed envoy’s claim, it begs a greater question: What was the relationship between the Rome Empire and Han Dynasty China like?

Did China and Rome ever have direct, formal diplomatic contact? What did they know about each other? What efforts did they make to establish formal contact? How did they view their hegemonic equivalent?

Paul and Patrick go up to the hilt in illuminating the connections between these ancient superpowers. 

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What Will Future Historians Take the Most Interest in About the Recently Passed Year 2020? Your Responses!

In our special middle segment, we share your responses to our question: “What do you believe future historians will take the most interest in about our recently passed year 2020?”

We asked. You responded. We always love hearing from you, and receiving your incredibly thoughtful insights about history!


Host – Paul K. DiCostanzo

Write to Paul K. DiCostanzo at

Host – Patrick Foote

Write to Patrick Foote at

Anna Domini voiced by Anna Chloe Moorey

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Listen to the A.D. History Podcast on your Favorite Podcast Platforms: Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts, Amazon Music, Audacy, PandoraiHeartRadioTuneIn, Stitcher, RadioPublic, Pocket Casts, Player FM, Digital Podcast, Podchaser, CastboxPodbean, Spreaker, YouTubeDeezer

The A.D. History Podcast explores the last two thousand years of world history in an innovative new way. Join hosts Paul K. DiCostanzo and Patrick Foote as they examine the past two millennia, beginning in 1 AD, and progressing forward ten years every episode until they reach the modern day. Within each ten-year installment, Paul and Patrick aim to share incredibly important, but often overlooked fascinating historic events and figures from around the world in prospective fashion; attempting to see history through the eyes and in the world of those who lived it. By identifying these sometimes lesser known - but in no way less significant aspects of history - the A.D. History Podcast endeavors to take these many disparate threads and weave a fuller, richer tapestry of true world history from 1AD to HD.