Ancient Art Podcast (audio) podcast

Ancient Art Podcast (audio)

Lucas Livingston

This is the audio-only version of the Ancient Art Podcast. Subscribe to the HD-video Ancient Art Podcast at Explore the art and culture of the Ancient Mediterranean World in the Ancient Art Podcast with your host Lucas Livingston. Uncover the truths and unravel the mysteries of the civilizations that shaped our modern world. Each episode features detailed examinations of exemplary works from the Art Institute of Chicago and other notable collections in addition to broad themes and concepts of Ancient Mediterranean art and culture.

70 episodi

  • Ancient Art Podcast (audio) podcast

    67: Buddha's Past Lives – Dipankara and Shakyamuni


    Two tales from the many lives of Buddha. The top scene depicts Buddha Shakyamuni meditating in the Indrashala cave awaiting his rebirth on Earth. The bottom scene shows Buddha Dipankara meeting the hermit Sumedha. Among other Gandharan works of art, this Buddhist carving might include representations of the Hindu gods Indra and Brahma. But that's only the tip of the iceberg. The big bombshell is that we have an honest to goodness cameo of the legendary Greek hero Hercules! Image: Relief with Buddha Shakyamuni Meditating in the Indrashala Cave (top) and Buddha Dipankara (bottom), Gandharan region, Kushan period, 2nd/3rd century, Art Institute of Chicago, 2015.447. For the transcript, image credits, and more, visit Connect at and
  • Ancient Art Podcast (audio) podcast

    66: Star Wars and Stupas


    Episode 66 of the Ancient Art Podcast picks up where we left off in episode 65 with the Gandharan Stupa Reliquary in the Art Institute of Chicago. We briefly touch on some commonalities between Buddhism and Star Wars. We also learn more about the historic origin of the four pillars around the dome, discover what the deal is with those lion capitals, and revisit the Persians, Persepolis, Alexander the Great, Ashoka the Great, and Buddha humbly giving his first sermon in the deer park at Sarnath. And keep a sharp eye open for a passing nod to the great science fiction author H. P. Lovecraft. For the transcript, image credits, and more, visit Connect at and
  • Ancient Art Podcast (audio) podcast

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  • Ancient Art Podcast (audio) podcast

    65: Gandharan Stupa Reliquary


    Episode 65 of the Ancient Art Podcast explores a Gandharan Stupa Reliquary in the collection of the Art Institute of Chicago. The subdued appearance of this small reliquary belies its cultural and aesthetic significance at the crossroads of East and West, where great empires collide. Who were the Gandharans and what is their legacy? Walk in the footsteps of godlike leaders, like Alexander the Great, Ashoka the Great, Cyrus, and Darius. Discovery the cultural and historic mark they left on the land and its people. For the transcript, image credits, and more, visit Connect at and
  • Ancient Art Podcast (audio) podcast

    63: Dogs in Antiquity: Greece and Rome


    In my third installment of a three-part series on dogs in antiquity, we're back in our familiar stomping ground of the Classical World to consider the roles of dogs in ancient Greece and Rome. Ancient writings give us the names of prized breeds in antiquity, which we match to magnificent examples in art. Classical authors like Arrian and Xenophon have much to say about the roles of dogs, from hunting and guarding to racing and companionship, but what about warfare? We meet Odysseus and his faithful hound Argos, rub elbows with Alexander the Great's canine companion Peritas, dodge the burning cinders of Patroklos's funeral pyre, and knock on the door to Hell guarded by sturdy Cerberus. Transcript, Credits, Photo Gallery and more at Connect at and
  • Ancient Art Podcast (audio) podcast

    62: Dogs in Antiquity: China


    Last time in our three-part series on dogs in antiquity, we explored the ancient hairless breeds of the New World and had a look at the popular ceramic funerary effigy of the Colima dog from a couple thousand years ago. We were also introduced to a young celebrity, Sputnik, my cute little hairless Xoloitzcuintli-Chihuahua mix. This time in episode 62 of the Ancient Art Podcast we're off to China to discover the prehistoric domestication of dogs and look closely at a 2,000 year old ceramic mastiff dog sculpture of the Han Dynasty in the Art Institute of Chicago! We also learn the roles dogs played in ancient China and try our lot with a cast of the Shang dragon oracle bones. And we might even bump into Loa Tzu! Music: A Concert of Classical Chinese Music by The Flowing Stream Ensemble. Transcript, Credits, Photo Gallery and more at Connect at and
  • Ancient Art Podcast (audio) podcast

    64: Striding Horned Wild Man


    Just in time for Christmas, episode 64 of the Ancient Art Podcast spins a Yuletide yarn. All decked out for the holidays, this amazing, little, elvish sprite weaves us up a tall mountain pass on an enchanting journey through antiquity. The 5,000 year old horned striding figure from the ancient Near Eastern Proto-Elamite culture captivates our imagination of the enigmatic wild man of collective ancient lore. Herein we meet Gilgamesh's Enkidu, Egyptian gods and Pharaohs, the Greco-Roman Hercules, Olympian athletes, modern statesmen, and Europe's pagan renderings of an untamed, primal Santa Claus and companions Knecht Ruprecht, Perchta, Belsnickel, Zwarte Piet, the Julbocken, and of course Krampus! This video is just a short primer. For the big picture visit Connect at and
  • Ancient Art Podcast (audio) podcast

    61: Dogs in Antiquity: Xoloitzcuintli & Colima


    Dig in to this feast for the eyes as we discuss the role of dogs in ancient Mesoamerican civilization and art. This is our first in a three-part series on dogs in antiquity. This episodes serves up one of the most popular examples of canines in art, the Colima dog of ancient West Mexico, captured in an exemplary ceramic specimen in Art Institute of Chicago. Our lingua culinaria isn’t too off base, as the hairless hounds and pudgy puppies of ancient Mesoamerica were in fact a common food source. And with their rising popularity on the modern scene, the hairless xoloitzcuintli and Peruvian dog breeds might just be the new black! Music: Nunca Fui a Granada by GranadaDoaba. Transcript, Credits, Photo Gallery and more at Connect at and
  • Ancient Art Podcast (audio) podcast

    60: Comets & Antiquity, Halley's Comet, ISON, Apophis, and More


    It's a cosmic collision of contemporary and antiquity on the Ancient Art Podcast! The prophesied comet of the century, Comet ISON, may have bit the dust, but that's no reason to pile dirt on our exploration of comets of past and present in the world of art. In two rare examples of auspicious comets in antiquity, Augustus Caesar and Mithridates VI of Pontus exploit coinage as vehicle for propaganda. We discuss the cameo of Halley's Comet on the Bayeux Tapestry capturing the Battle of Hastings in AD 1066, then trace Halley's Comet's apparitions back to 87 BC, 164 BC, ... no wait, 240 BC. Holy smokes ... 466 BC!? Chinese observers take the cake with the Comet Atlas of Mawangdui. And does the ancient, sacred, and much-maligned symbol of the swastika owe its origin to ancient comets? Lastly, has the ancient Egyptian demon serpent of chaos, Apophis, set his sights on Earth with a firestorm from above in 2036? Transcript, Credits, Photo Gallery and more at Connect at and
  • Ancient Art Podcast (audio) podcast

    59: A Witches' Sabbath


    Greetings gashlycrumbs! Enjoy this spooktacular free Halloween segment of the Ancient Art Podcast episode 59, "A Witches' Sabbath!" Meet the wicked witches, devilish denizens, and things that go bump in the night in the Art Institute of Chicago's painting "A Witches' Sabbath" by Dutch artist Cornelis Saftleven. Grab the complete episode at The complete episode explores the peculiar fascination Dutch and Flemish artists had with the proverbial "fire and brimstone," including the famous pioneer of the genre Hieronymus Bosch. A detailed examination of "A Witches' Sabbath" reveals various influences and motivations. We discuss the cultural context of Christian puritanism, the twisted history and legacy of the Witches' Sabbath a.k.a. Walpurgisnacht, and its relationship with legend of Faust. For detailed image credits and more, visit Connect at and Photography © The Art Institute of Chicago. Cornelis Saftleven, Dutch, 1607-1681, A Witches' Sabbath, c. 1650, Oil on panel, 21 3/8 x 30 3/4 in. (54.3 x 78.2 cm), George F. Porter Collection, 1945.290, The Art Institute of Chicago.
  • Ancient Art Podcast (audio) podcast



    A short announcement about some changes to the Ancient Art Podcast. The Ancient Art Podcast and have teamed up to host episodes of the podcast at Episodes now include quizzes, handouts, discussions, and more. Visit to see more! You can now help support the Ancient Art Podcast. Visit and click on the "Donate" link. Thanks for the support and for 7 great years and counting! Connect at and

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