About Rob

Who is Rob?  A dreamer.   

Forget Game of Thrones, and all it’s medieval fantasy lore.  It may have been based on the War of the Roses, but there are no dragons and white walkers.   You want true stories of cities falling, burning towers, and armies that clash then dive into the classics and the histories of Egypt, Greece and Rome.  There are self-satisfied imbecilic know-nothings that believe they know the world and see the Classics as a waste of time. 

General George S. Patton said, “Prepare for the unknown by studying how others in the past have coped with the unforeseeable and the unpredictable.”

At one time, the world was new, everything was fresh, and by looking into the past we can see “what is then is now.”

I have seen a government clerk display proudly a book of Meditations by Marcus Aurelius as if a lover sent her flowers. 

I have seen the rise of black classicists in academia keeping the tradition alive and interpreting it for a new age.

I have seen a translator of Sophocles use the tale of Ajax as a teaching lesson for Veterans suffering from PTSD. 

The Classics will teach you how to think. 

Don’t get me wrong.  I know the ancient world was rough.  If disease did not get you, war and famine could.  However, amongst all the tumult and the burning of Troy there were people, philosophers and kings thinking grand thoughts.  And THAT makes the study of the ancient world worthwhile.

Our Mission

This blog and podcast is about ancient society and its influence on modern culture. On the show we interview writers, historians, academics, and the dreamers that use the ancient world as their muse.

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Why Should i listen to this Show?

Because it’s fun and informative. Over 3 million downloads have taken place. We have explored what was its really like living in ancient Rome. Including the fear while running from the armies of Spartacus, the purpose of Roman Triumphs, and the dangers of holding the rank of Emperor. We have done this through interviewing hisotorians and writers.  We have included dramatic narratives that bring you into the action. We have done this through ‘heavily researched’ storytelling.

Subject Matter Experts that appeared on the show:

Steven Saylor, an American author of historical novels. He is a graduate of the University of Texas at Austin, where he studied history and classics. Saylor’s best-known work is his Roma Sub Rosa historical mystery series. His hero is Gordianus, the finder, who solves mysteries in the backdrop of historical events of the Republic.

Natalie Haynes, author and BBC Radio 4 host, of Natalie Haynes Stands Up for the Classics. Natalie appears twice on the show sharing insights on her books The Ancient Guide to Modern Life, and The Furies.

Dr. Jerry Toner, of Cambridge University, UK, that shares his work The Roman Guide to Slave Management. This is an in-depth painstakingly researched work on slavery in Roman times, mixed with alternating fictional chapters of the advice of a slave owner and his helpful hints for successful slave ownership.

Dr. Joel Christensen, professor of Classical and Early Mediterranean Studies at Brandeis University, whose translation of a 3rd Century poem BATROMYOMACHIA takes us into the world of frogs and mice acting like Homeric Heroes of old. 

Next season’s exciting guests.

How do I contact Rob Cain?

About Ancient Rome Refocused

A podcast about Ancient Rome and its influence on modern culture. On the show we interview writers, historians, academics, musicians, artists and the dreamers that use the ancient world as their muse.

About Rob

  • Shot at on Cicero Avenue in Chicago.
  • Jumped into an ancient Indian watering hole in Nevada and had to be pulled out by a friend. I know…stupid.
  • Was privileged to see Phil Silvers, Jean Simmons, and Bob Hope perform live at the Chicago Theater downtown.
  • Got lost in Rome.
  • Saw a sunset over Cairo while standing near the top of a pyramid.
  • Saw an asteroid burn up over Chicago.
  • Almost died at least two times.
  • Served honorably for 17 years in the Army Reserve and 11 years active duty until retirement.

Rob Cain on the red carpet for the Ancient Rome Refocused opening

  • Refused to obey an illegal order given to me by an Army Colonel.
  • Rode across the United States on board the passenger train the San Francisco Zephr.
  • Hitched a ride with a cargo plane out of Glenview Naval Air Station, flew cross-country to San Francisco and hitched a ride on a Cessna piloted by a Marine heading in the direction of Hollywood, California.
  • Found the book Alice in Wonderland, with a signature of Charles Dodgson on the title page.
  • My father’s final words to me before he passed away were the following, “Have fun.”

Rob Cain’s Acceptance Speech in an alternate Universe on the edge of a Parallel World

It is strange to accept this award for something that doesn’t seem like work at all. I accept this award from myself to myself for pursuing a direction that I should have grabbed years ago. I love what I do. I have interviewed novelists, writers, historians, artists, professors and historical enthusiasts that have made the ancient world their muse. My focus has been mainly on Ancient Rome, Greece and Egypt. Does this include Africa? Of course it does, and assorted eastern kingdoms. Satraps, kings and chieftains are all invited.

The original meaning of history came from the Greeks: “to inquire.” This word also means to seek information. For what purpose? To “seek information.” It can’t be just that. The best explanation comes from the book ‘History’ by John H. Arnold who teaches history at the University of East Anglia.


“To find out how it really was.”

Isn’t that something we all want to know? Those that can dispel the fog of time, allows us to understand who and what we are now. Piecing together the past is the ultimate detective story. Forget Game of Thrones. It’s just a veiled attempt to tell the story of the War of the Roses. Finding King Richard III’s grave under a parking lot in Leicester, England is far more exciting than who wins the iron throne. Finding 80 headless skeletons of gladiators that were decapitated with the heads placed between their legs tells a story. Romans did not bury people like that. Don’t you want to know that story? In other words don’t you want to know, “How it really was?”

Finally, I wish to thank Mrs. Anderson, who taught literature in the late 1960s at Holmes School in Oak Park, Illinois. I remember 3 glorious months doing nothing but reading ‘D’Aulaires’ Book of Greek Myths.’ The stories and illustrations were breathtaking. I remember the first day, it was one of those storms in May that move off the prairie and turn the clouds black. The playground was swept up in small funnel spouts of elm and oak leaves chasing each other across the blacktop. Channel 7 news was warning of possible thunder storms. Our classroom was brightly lit, the room lit by fluorescent lights making the windows inky black. And as we watched leaves and rain bead up on the windows, Mrs. Anderson gave us our first lesson on the God Zeus and how he had the power to rein lightning bolts upon the earth. For 3 months we learned the about the Greek and Roman Gods, and we wrote and performed Greek plays about each of the mythological tale we were assigned.

My story was Baucis and Philemon, an old married couple that opened their home to two beggars that turned out to be Zeus and Hermes.

I have to share something. I don’t know way, I can’t remember what her face looked like. I have wondered about this a lot, and my ego speculates that maybe…just maybe…she was a

Σίβυλλα [Sybyl] ?

If true, I want live in such a world of magic.

Mrs. Anderson, if you were not a Sybyl, nor some goddess in disguise, I just want you to know one thing. Your class was the magic I needed.

The band is playing me off. In conclusion, be careful on the drive home, and watch out for gods and goddesses in disguise!

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