iTunes Reviews

The die is podcast.

by Zen Near from USA on June 19, 2015

Two noodnicks on opposite sides of the earth blather, banter and bicker. They are 2 different versions of defective citizens of the British empire. One is Australian. One is American. What holds them together? A common subject: Julius Caesar. One of the creators of the British empire itself. So basically this is a funhouse mirror reflection of the effects of empire. Twisted, warped but ultimately a good time. Usually it’s the American that’s crass and loud, but not this time, it’s the Aussie that shoots his mouth off like a drunk chimp with a shotgun. The American on the other hand is the sort of emasculated male that generally characterizes the denizens of “nerdery.” But their co-dependent brand of wacky, caffiene-fueled and nicotine-worshipping history show somehow, and I stress this, SOMEHOW manages to successfully convey the complex person that JC was. Ruthless, selfish, political, bi-curious (as the hosts clearly are), victorious, risk taking, lenient and rebellious. This is the show to listen to. Laugh and learn. If you really want to make the world a better place give these hearty lads some money, that way you could say, “I came, I saw, I sponsored!”

 

The rock DJs of history

by M3.1415926535 from Canada on June 19, 2015

Life of Caesar plays like an early morning rock DJ show. Full of low brow humor at it’s finest, Ray and Cam entertain and educate and even play a few songs. Oh and something something Julius Caesar.

The jocular banter tries very hard but always fails to mask a well researched and presented story of one of histories more remarkable individuals. Even when Cam is channeling some sort of Australian Seth Macfarlane character the genuine passion for telling the story leaks through. Their eulogy for Pompey Magnus being one of the better examples.

If you love history you’ll be entertained. If you need your history to be boring look elsewhere. If you’re easily offended just run away now.

I always skip the part after they say “that’s all the history for this week” so keep your darn coffee mug, and I guess I’ll never know if Ray ever rescued his car from the frozen depths of snowpocalpyse or snowmageddon or whatever it was.

Thank god I didn’t know about this before

… … by KrystenL92 from Canada on June 12, 2015

It’s been less than 1 week and I just finished episode 17. I have to send out a big thanks to my sister, Jackie, for making me try out Life of Caesar. I do have to say I’m glad I only found out about this podcast now, as I’m fairly sure I wouldn’t have done any homework in Uni and failed miserably. It’s so effing funny that I often have to rewind because I can’t hear over my laughter. Thanks for making me love history again, and turning it into a story instead of a bunch of facts that are only good during Jeopardy or Trivial Pursuit.

Not great comedy podcasting, but great history podcasting.

… … by UtilityMaximizer from USA on June 11, 2015

I listen to a LOT of history podcasts. I have been trying to figure out what to say about this one for a while now.

Cameron Reilly and Ray Harris Jr. are both history buffs, and have produced other history podcasts. I haven’t listened to Reilly’s Napoleon podcast yet, because the topic doesn’t interest me much (though I might try it at some point). I have been listening to Harris’s WWII podcast. If you’re familiar with it, you will be glad to know that Harris’s fumbling over words, mispronunciations (how many times did he say “respectfully” when he meant “respectively” when covering the Battle of Britain?), and weird melodramatic Shatner-like pauses are not on display here. Actually, he doesn’t do most of the talking.

Reilly takes the lead here, and that’s a good thing. He is the wittier of the two, particularly when he’s not trying to be witty. Unfortunately, they try too hard to be humorous, and they try too often. Reilly and Harris are, frankly, usually not that funny. The 80s musical bits are usually not funny. Harris and Cameron’s liberal use of hip hop lingo comes off as forced. Their jokes about Caesar’s possible bisexuality come off as juvenile or even homophobic, though they themselves do not understand how anyone could perceive it as such. They don’t understand that the offense comes from their asymmetric treatment Caesar’s sexuality. They find the mere fact that he might have had homosexual relationships hilarious and worthy of jokes, but don’t see the mere fact that he had heterosexual relationships as worthy of jokes. Caesar has to get more extreme in his heterosexual relationships before they find it worthy of jokes.

I don’t want to give the impression that they are never funny. In fact, there are a few moments in every episode that make me laugh out loud. There’s just a lot that falls flat.

Still, I think that if you come to this podcast wanting to learn about the life of Caesar, you will not be disappointed. This is not a Cliffs Notes version of history. This is not a rehashing of Mike Duncan’s podcast. This is is a thoroughly researched, well-presented narrative of the events that eventually led to the fall of the Roman Republic. Reilly often reads directly from primary sources (which is hard to do, yet he pulls it off delightfully), and seems to have complete mastery of all the details. Harris does a good job of giving us the big picture, bringing us back from getting lost in all those details. Frankly, they’ve filled in a lot of gaps for me, making clear motivations that I previously did not understand. They are also good at making these long-dead personalities come alive. This is not great comedy podcasting, but it is great history podcasting.

Yes, Reilly sometimes says critical things about the United States. Honestly, if you can’t listen to criticism without throwing a tantrum, life must be very difficult for you. It is hard to learn without listening to people who disagree with you. I am more troubled by his occasional stupid comments about the equivalence between capitalism and communism, but that’s probably because I’m an economist. In any case, I can tune out those sorts of comments, because they are few and far between, and there is so much good storytelling to enjoy.

I’m going to send them a few dollars monthly, because I want to help them keep going. I can’t justify giving them a 5 star review, but I will gladly give them four. Give this podcast a try, and give it a try for at least five or six episodes. I think you will come around.

Inciteful and Interesting

… … by Red velvet22 from USA on June 9, 2015

As a history teacher I have found great entertainment from these podcasts. I disagree with the sentiment that this is a pedestrian account of Caesar, on the contrary I feel they are giving a very detailed account of events. Perhaps we should ‘pull a Sulla’ and eliminate any nay sayers. Those who feel Cameron is openly attacking religion and different countries need to relax, gain a sense of humor, and accept your nation is not as exceptional as you may believe (America, France, The Helvetti).

I commend both Cameron and Ray for their superb work and will continue to be a faithful listener – I cannot wait to see how this story ends ….. just kidding! Good work men and enjoy a nice pipe for a change of pace.

Know what you’re in for… and you will enjoy.

… … by Boonstun from Australia on June 6, 2015

A well – researched yet academic-lite look at J.C. (not meant as insult). The hosts discuss the topic in depth and their enthusiasm for the subject is infectious. The occasional self-indulgence is worth enduring because 1. it’s almost as funny as Cameron thinks it is. Sometimes. And 2. All bulls*t aside, the historical detail and analysis of events is genuinely impressive.

Pull on your own sulla

… … by kruiken70 from Canada on June 5, 2015

True story: My wife heard me listening to this and said she “I don’t like that guys accent.” I told her that you get to the Aussie after a while and she said, “No. I meant the other guy.”
Sadly, she tuned out before the guys started talking about Caesar’s double penetration maneuvers and thus failed to witness the high-brow humour of the podcast. In defence of Ray, I enjoy his velvety tones even though they are mixed with high pitched girlish titters each time Cam makes a dick joke.
I’ve learned a lot from Cam and Ray and am truly surprised at how often the word “bitches” was used in Caesar’s day.

Inspired comedic genius

… … by [email protected] from Australia on June 4, 2015

As a FIFO worker, I get a lot of travel time on my hands. This podcast has made the hours disappear, and occasionally I learn something. The efforts of both Ray and Cam are top notch, both know their material well (and their history) delivering random tangents with ease. I’ve worked my way through 25 episodes in the last 2 weeks, and am hoping to be caught up in another 2. The politics is entertaining to say the least, as are the frequent comparisons between Rome and the events of today. Among other things, that is what history is for – failing to learn from past condemns us to repeat it. Keep up the good work.

wheww *whipes brow*

… … by Kingly Faye from Canada on May 31, 2015

An amazing Podcast with one small issue, The hosts do not know how to shut up. The longer form episodes are quite a lot to get through, after flying through the first bunch that were all about an hour each the episodes got a lot longer and more intimidating to get through. The hosts have a great back and forth and are able to keep their own energies up, even if mine begins to fade. I love the content as Caesar is the most interesting man in History (Dos Equis guys lowers his head slightly in less pride, not shame, because theres no shame in being behind Caesar. Caesar doesn’t mind either, so I hear). Like I said the long episodes take some effort not to zone out by the 2+ hours mark, but the narratives that do develop through the longer form episodes do help, and I’m glad to say I’m finally on the most recent episode, it only took me 10 months or so. Highly recommend, don’t let Cam ruin it for you, and enjoy the story, you won’t be (too) upset you did.

Goes up to 11

… … by annulian from UK on May 28, 2015

This is truly the Spinal Tap of podcasts. When I first tuned in I was expecting the awesome J David Markham from the History of Napoleon podcast but only got Cameron Reilly instead. I was further disappointed to find that the podcast was flippant and often offensive. Gradually I began to get their drift and even managed to cope with the off colour jokes.

I can forgive a lot from any podcast that can cram in Iron Maiden into an ancient history series. Finally, something clicked and I realised I was listening to a work of Tufnel-esqe genius to rival the classic “Stonehenge.” Now that they have reached episode 36 after the death of Cato, I feel that they have finally hit their stride, expertly blending history, human and epic story telling. I can only hope Caesar lived a long and eventful life and we can look forward to another 100 episodes as it would be a shame if he dropped dead of a heart attack or something. So despite the sad absence of J David Markham, they have earned their 5 stars for producing a bodice riper of a history podcast that should bring a smile to a stone idol and get the ghosts of Cato, Caesar, Pompey and Mark Anthony dancing in their graves.

Funny and interesting

… … by Hailleselassie from Sweden on May 20, 2015

I have listened to a LOT of history podcasts, and I have noticed a funny thing. The podcasts done by professional historians are often less in depth, than the ones done by amateur historians. The professional historians sort of dumb it down, probably imagining that the people just want the broad strokes (even though they took the effort to look for podcasts about history). Some of the amateurs, on the other hand, do a podcast LIKE THEY WANT IT. Not leaving out lots of details and important people, to give historical context (very important). So the amateurs are doing the professional job.
The producers of the Life of Caesar Podcast are just such amateurs! The podcasts are filled with details, relevant and tangential. And even though they are amateur historians, they are professional podcasters, with plenty of experience from the Napoleon podcast and the WWII podcast. It is so extensive that Caesar doesn’t cross the Rubicon until episode 28. And believe me, that’s a good thing! Because the episodes are funny as hell! The chemistry between these guys is legendary! I now live in fear of being committed to a mental hospital for laughing out loud when there’s no one around. But as long as I get to keep my phone in the loony bin, I can hack it. Five stars for Cam and five for Ray!

Dr.

… … by Frisker Snailbite from USA on May 19, 2015

yes! this a podcast very! I find the two gentelmans with exceptionaly great friendship untilt the end! so good together they flow like Nile. I listen this podcast thru my headfones when I scooter to my local adult store for films. its very nice way to pass time and listen to the great man emperor of old Rome! dont pool a sula ahaha! so great. brb

The Humorless or Pretentious Academics need not apply

… … by Massachusettensis Verissimus from USA on May 14, 2015

Ray and Cam have a unique dynamic among podcasts going on and after producing probably over 60 hours of audio on the life of someone that’s been deceased for over you millenia, they still manage to keep it fresh, engaging and joyous; its true lightning in a bottle.

The joie de vivre these two bring to podcasting about history, as blood soaked and seemingly fatalistic an subject as there is, is something special. They make it fun, light hearted and relatable. If you think to yourself “I could do this” after listening to them, that’s a good thing because you can!

You don’t have to be a stodgy old professor to read Plutarch or Suetonius, so the insane detractors who attack the research or “personalities” behind this show can go fly a kite while Cam reads the audience a letter from Cicero germane to the point he’s making. If you can’t take a joke or handle opinions other than your own, Life of Caesar isn’t the thing for you, a therapist is…

Ceasar was a vampire, WHO KNEW?!?!

… … by Bluebelle51 from USA on May 5, 2015

You HAVE to listen to this podcast, ok you don’t HAVE to, I mean, no one is going to give you a sharp rap on the knuckles with a tire iron if you don’t, but you are going to miss out on some of the most insanely funny, weaving of the tale of Big Julie ever. (and really, if you’re going to be stubborn about it, someone probably should give you a sharp rap on the knuckles)
Beware though, it’s TOTALLY addicting, I mean one episode and I was hooked, and I mean HOOKED, (I admit it, I’m a binge listener, if anyone knows a 12 step program, I’m seriously going to need it by the time they hit the Ides of March, gulp)

To the dimbulb wingnuts, just keep going, you aren’t going to like the music, the humor is above your head, and you are seriously not going to like the occasional truth spoken about the US. But everyone else, jump on in!
As someone who lives in the rural deep south of the US, I can say, I totally identify with Ray, who has (like me) on more than one occasion, ax murdered a snake, at the same time I can also identify with Cam, who admits to ENJOYING, a good cigar!
I mean history with an attitude, what could possibly better?!?!
Not to mention its got a great beat and you can dance to it!

Love the podcast

… … by jaynecanucks1980 from Canada on April 30, 2015

While I don’t listen to this podcast as often as I probably should, but when I do listen to the podcast, I am thoroughly entertained both by the information and the hosts. Cameron and Ray make a dry podcast an enjoyable treat!

Not stuffy enough? Then, get stuffed!!

… … by Podcaster non greater from Australia on April 29, 2015

It seems EVERYONE has a podcast these days (I CERTAINLY do, but this isn’t about me).
As someone with a boring day job, naturally I listen to podcasts and I particularly enjoy history based ones. The LOC podcast has been a refreshing change of pace because it actually sounds like it DOESN’T have a stick up its back passage. Then again, I don’t know what hosts Cameron Reilly (the “overbearing” Australian) and Ray “Snakekiller” Harris (the straight bat playing American) get up to in their spare time. I’d just as soon not know the answer either. I DO know, however, that this podcast has rapidly become one of my favourites -historically based or otherwise.
I love the fun these two have with it, I love the mispronunciations, and I LOVE the tangents.
LONG LIVE THE TANGENTS!!!!!
I give this podcast FIVE stars, three dead snakes and a soiled stick.
Adem,
Australia

Big Julie

… … by Paulmcguinness from Ireland on April 25, 2015

Occasionally more Sid Caesar than Julius Caesar, there’s still enough that is fresh and new about “big Julie” to keep the listener informed and entertained.
What the two hosts lack in knowledge, ability to read, or remember the facts they had previously reported, they compensate for with enthusiasm and gusto for the subject matter
More Levitas than gravitas, they are engaging company on walks, drives or when ignoring the family without having to leave the house.
To summarise in one word, I’m compelled to coin a new one; “informaltive”

History made enjoyable

… … by JamesMnKC from USA on April 14, 2015

Cameron and Ray do a fantastic job of presenting history in a way that is both fun and informative. Love listening to each episode. The companion series is equally enjoyable. I would advise listening to several episodes to “get the feel” of the series, and then once you get past the political snarking of Cameron (not that it is entirely unwarranted, and it is definitely not inaccurate!), you will find that the episodes are jampacked full of facts and thoughtful opinions.

They bring history alive

… … by Luft-Flak-Vierling from USA on April 14, 2015

I love this podcast. Cameron and Ray’s personalities bring history alive and in such a humorous vivid way. In my opinion as a lover of history, this is how history should be taught in school. If it was taught as something alive, enjoyable, and accessible rather than something hallowed, sacrosanct, and stuffy we would have less kids listing History as their least favorite subject in school.

Ive been an ameteur historian for most of my life, I was introduced to it as a child and the bug never left me, and I am still learning things here, and the stories stick because of the animated, excited, hilarious way they are told. So for me, it serves a great purpose, and it is teaching me. 5/5

The Most Enthusiastic Fellating of Caesar since Servillia

… … by Jmag11 from USA on April 13, 2015

If you’re a history fan, you’ve probably enjoyed Mike Duncan’s podcasts and his extraordinary gift for constructing a coherent and relatively dispassionate narrative out of the mess of the past. Ray and Cam’s show is a wholly different animal. I listen to Ray and Cam with great enthusiasm, well, for their enthusiasm. Here are two blokes who just love history. If Mike works hard to give a straight unbiased account, Ray and Cam – and especially Cam – have left any such pretention in the rear view mirror and just gone right on driving. Where Mike is the thoughtful scholar with the brain you’d love to pick for insights, Ray and Cam are the amateur enthusiast friends, you’d love to have over for a cigar and a bourbon so you can argue about history with increasing passion as the bottle runs dry.

To be fair, Cam isn’t the first person to be seduced by Caesar; what worked so well for the great man in Bithyia has gone right on working for thousands of years through his account of his own exploits. It can be hard to recall that our available sources on Caesar were for somewhere between centuries and more than a millennia under the control of regimes ruled by men who claimed authority, in part, based on their titular connection to Julius and his nephew. Early on, Life of Caesar gave some time to considering the veracity of Caesar’s account, but now such pauses are half-hearted, when they happen to all. By even those of Caesar’s actions that are most questionable – such as burying the Republic – are explained with “what other choice did he have?” Likewise Caesar’s clemency isn’t considered for the political advantage he might have believed it afforded in an effort to craft for a crown, but are explained by Caesar being a nice guy. And don’t even get me started on Pompey’s motivations and actions, which now often get explained with a thoughtful “what a dick!”

Disagreement, however, shouldn’t mean closing your ears to someone’s point of view – even if you’re talking about an Australian. Ray and Cam bring so much energy and excitement to this topic that the show makes a fine fun listen. So what if I often find myself shaking my head? Shaking your head shouldn’t end a conversation but begin one. These guys plainly do their research, even if they tend to see the world as too black and white. Besides, how can you not appreciate one guy with such eclectic taste in music and another who kills mighty snakes? Gentleman, keep up the good work!

Informative and fun

… … by Narakamin from Australia on April 13, 2015

I have only recently discovered podcasts (I know, get with it) but as a casual lover of ancient and especially roman history, found this podcast exactly to my tastes. While filled with a lot of factual information, the two presenters manage to keep it fun and light, despite some of the very heavy subject matter! It helps that Cameron is an Aussie, as listening to two american accents could well give me a headache…

Fun, Funny and Much More

… … by Chadbro from USA on April 13, 2015

The podcast is a great listen for those new to Roman History because the hosts peak your interest by making it fun and hopefully lead to your own research. For old timers it is a fun bar room recounting of the stories we know all too well.

Best double act since Marius and Sulla

… … by Englishknight55 from UK on April 10, 2015

Sure Cameron can be a pilum in the labienus, but he’s a perfect foil to Ray’s measured comments. Makes me laugh every week and the best podcast by far, but guys, get a room already!

Sticking their tongues straight down the back of Caesar’s toga

… … by 00000088888 from USA on April 8, 2015

The two hosts of this Caesar tongue bath should just have sex and get it over with. The sexual tension is thick.

Mixed

… … by Tarkenton 10 from USA on April 8, 2015

At first loved the podcast, finding it very funny. Even as a conservative Republican I was able to tolerate Cam as I found him irreverent and un-PC, which I respect. However his constant criticism of US starts to wear, and I am surprised he never gets pushback from Ray. My bigger criticism though is that I frequently lose track of the narrative due to the tangents and generally disorganized nature of the podcast, being unrehearsed and unpolished. I do enjoy the premium podcast and support them financially as I appreciate the passion and commitment to the topic.

Needs more cowbell!

… … by Caesarfever from Australia on April 6, 2015

This absorbing podcast is a great combination entertainment and history. I don’t believe Cesar was a one dimensional historical figure but I think of this immortal quote when I’m listening to the podcast. ‘Villains who twirl their moustaches are easy to spot. Those who clothe themselves in good deeds are well-camouflage’. – From another famous bald dude. Keep up the great work guys!

Entertaining and informative

… … by eppis1 from USA on March 24, 2015

Very entertained by this interesting pair of podcasters. I’m here for the subject matter, of which I’m woefully ignorant. It’s refreshing to hear a non-North American’s take on the both the ancient and modern worlds, though I sometimes chafe at Cameron’s candor. Hell, at least not ranting “death to America,” I like the premium podcasts for both Caesar and Alexander, too, for their interesting and educated guests. I 20 plus episodes behind, and feel as if it’s a great gift to have so much territory to catch up on. I gave the show 4 stars, but would have given it 4 and half, if I knew how.

Even though it’s free, you’ll want to pay them

… … by Massageninja from USA on March 23, 2015

(Rant at end)
I am staggered at the sheer amount of enjoyment I have had from the 33 episodes I have listened to so far. Every episode I think to myself, “I really need to give these guys money.” I feel they are akin to that scruffy looking guy with the violin on the street corner who suddenly whips out a concerto. You feel obligated to reach for the cash. (I should also add that they shill for coin less than NPR. Maybe mention it in passing once per episode.)
So, what makes it good? Vivid detail. I am imagining Cam and Ray, locked up in their studies, or possibly just the loo, pouring over four or five volumes at the same time, each pursuing a different path of study. Then they banter back and forth, a la Abbot and Costello, weaving together the history with salient (and often irreverent) details that reflect their own individual interests. What you leave with is a solid body of facts, with enough story telling mixed in that you still UNDERSTAND Ceasar. In context, which I feel most history books leave out.
RANT: There seems to be a lot of debate about whether Cam, an Australian, should be drawing parallels to American history. I was born in America and have three passports full of stamps. THE MOST VALUABLE THING AN AMERICAN CAN HAVE IS AN OUTSIDER’S OPINION. Ever notice that cat owners aren’t aware that their house stinks? Got some food stuck in your teeth? Don’t you WANT someone to tell you how things look from the outside? America is, indeed, modeled after Rome. We have a SENATE. LOOK AT OUR CAPITOL BUILDING!! LINCOLN MEMORIAL!! EVERYTHING IN WASHINGTON DC!!! The government is not trying to hide this fact. People on the inside have noticed. (Doonesbury and Bush Jr.)
Ok. I feel better now. You can disagree with people’s opinions. But it’s a good idea to listen.
One complaint about the show: music. Love the song choices, BUT Cam just queues it up from the beginning til he gets to the lyric he wants. Tighter clips, please?

Don’t make me go all Vastatio on you…

… … by chopking99 from USA on March 23, 2015

I just wrote a long review of Life of Alexander, and felt compelled to write (a shorter) one for this pod as well. In brief, it’s awesome. As a huge fan of Mike Duncan’s History of Rome, I could not wait to start Life of Caesar. Then I find out it is co-hosted by two of my favorite history podders, Ray and Cam. Ray’s serious and scholarly approach on the History of WWII pod is great, but gets tossed out the window of an out-of-control beer delivery truck when he gets sucked into Cam-Land. They guys have a lot of fun, play some crappy (joking) music, and still deliver an astounding amount of well-researched information. Those who get their undies all in a bundle over Cam’s opinions on politics and religion, can go back to The O’Reilly Factor, and take their meds. Some epic one-liners like “Pull a Sulla”, and “Go All Vastatio”, which I have used at office meetings (resulting empty vacuous stares) are worth the price of admission alone, which is free. In conclusion, try it, you might like it.

A conservative Christian’s last stand

… … by Warrenmy from USA on March 21, 2015

As the last surviving conservative christian listener I have to say this is a great podcast! Coming from other Roman podcasts such as: The History of Rome by Mike Duncan I was expecting something similar but instead it turned out to be a different spin on history making it a laugh and commentary to go along with it. Never mind Cam’s anti-American rants. If you came from a country where it’s greatest cultural contributions are Crocodile Dundee, Crocodile Hunter and the Boomerang, you would have a little envy too. Relax, being the worlds authority on crocodiles