Play • 51 min
Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss the life of Nero (37-68 AD) who became Emperor at the age of 16. At first he was largely praised for his generosity yet became known for his debauched lifestyle, with allegations he started the Fire of Rome, watching the flames as he played the lyre. Christians saw him as their persecutor, an anti-Christ,  and the number of the Beast in the Book of Revelation was thought to indicate Nero. He had confidence in his own artistry, took up acting (which then had a very low status) and, as revolts in the empire grew, killed himself after the Senate condemned him to die as a slave, on a cross.


Maria Wyke
Professor of Latin at University College London

Matthew Nicholls
Fellow and Senior Tutor at St John’s College, University of Oxford


Shushma Malik
Lecturer in Classics at the University of Roehampton

Producer: Simon Tillotson
Origin Stories
Origin Stories
The Leakey Foundation
Episode 49: Exercise
If exercise is healthy, why do so many people avoid doing it? If we're born to be active, why is it so hard to keep your New Year's resolutions about exercise? On this episode, learn about the powerful instincts that cause us to avoid exercise even though we know it’s good for us. Dan Lieberman, author of the new book Exercised: Why Something We Never Evolved to Do Is Healthy and Rewarding, tells the story of how we never evolved to do voluntary physical activity for the sake of health, and helps us think about exercise in a whole new way. About our guest Daniel Lieberman is a professor of human evolutionary biology at Harvard University, a member of The Leakey Foundation’s Scientific Executive Committee, and a pioneering researcher on the evolution of human physical activity. His research is on how and why the human body looks and functions the way it does. He has long been fascinated by the evolution of the human head but his main focus is currently on the evolution of human physical activity. He is especially interested in how evolutionary approaches to activities such as walking and running, as well as changes to our body’s environments (such as wearing shoes and being physically inactive) can help better prevent and treat musculoskeletal diseases. To address these problems, he integrates experimental biomechanics and physiology in both the laboratory and the field with analyses of the human fossil record. Links * Exercised: Why Something We Never Evolved to Do Is Healthy and Rewarding - pre-order at * Register for Dan Lieberman's January 5 Leakey Foundation lecture The Leakey Foundation Origin Stories is a project of The Leakey Foundation, a nonprofit organization dedicated to funding human origins research and outreach. Support The Leakey Foundation Support this show and the science we talk about. Donate today and your gift will be matched. Lunch Break Science Lunch Break Science is The Leakey Foundation's web series featuring short talks and interviews with Leakey Foundation grantees. Episodes stream live on the first and third Thursdays of every month.
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