Interview with Writer and Roman Historian, Garrett Ryan

  • Posted: 24.02.2022
  • Roman Historian

    1) A little about yourself and how you got interested in ancient history? and specifically ancient Greece and Rome

    I’ve been interested in history as long as I can remember. I earned a PhD in Greek and Roman history, and taught at a few universities before leaving academia. I think my fascination with the classical world specifically may have started the first time I visited Rome, when I was 14 years old. Seeing the Forum, the Pantheon, and all the other physical remains of antiquity left a deep and lasting impression.

    2) What are your first impressions after seeing Rome, what do you remember the most?

    I think I was struck above all by the sheer depth of Roman history. I come from the American Midwest, where few buildings are much more than 100 years old. To see monuments that were 2,000 years old, and connected with some of the great people and events of ancient history – well, that was awe-inspiring! The Pantheon was most impressive of all. I remember standing in the center of the rotunda and just looking up at the oculus, marveling.

    3) Of the many historical figures appearing in the Roman Empire, who do you like the most, and why?

    I’ve always been fascinated by Julius Caesar, just because he was so versatile – general, statesman, author – and so profoundly shaped the course of Roman history. But I think the Roman I like most as a personality is Marcus Aurelius, one of history’s few philosopher kings. It’s hard to read the Meditations and remain unmoved by the emperor’s profound sense of duty and moral responsibility.

    Roman Historian

    Photo: © Garrett Ryan

    4) Is there evidence that a civilization collapsed when Rome fell? how do you feel about this opinion?

    The Germanic tribes that conquered the Western Roman Empire maintained some aspects of Roman civilization. The Ostrogoth king Theodoric, for example, was an emperor in all but name. Some regions, such as southern Gaul, remained relatively unaffected by the collapse of the imperial order. But archaeological evidence makes it clear that standards of living fell almost everywhere.

    5) Ancient Roman technology that we use today as usual it’s not news, like aqueducts, bridges, but the 5 most important ones in your opinion?

    I think the 5 most important Roman inventions were: blown glass, water mills, the true arch, hydraulic concrete, and the codex (book).

    Roman Historian

    Photo: © Garrett Ryan

    6) Rome surprises many people with its antiquity and urban architecture, how strongly does the urban atmosphere effects on personality traits?

    The emperors clearly intended the great monuments and forums of Rome to communicate their power, to convey their policies, and to connect themselves with the grand narrative of Roman history. These, in short, were places designed to impress – and they remain impressive today.

    Roman Historian

    Photo: © Garrett Ryan

    7) You have a very cool and useful channel on YouTube called toldinstone, what is the most important thing for you when you make videos for followers?

    Thank you! When I write a script, my aim is always to make the ancient world, in some small way, come to life for my viewers. I try to choose topics that are a little obscure, but still familiar enough to be intriguing.

    8) Thanks to some games, the new generation is interested in history, reads and watches videos, including yours, do you think ancient history can become trendy in nowadays?

    I don’t know if ancient history will ever be really mainstream, but I think that the Greeks and Romans will continue to inspire movies, shows, and video games – and that these media will continue to fascinate and intrigue.

    Roman Historian

    Photo: © Garrett Ryan

    9) You are the author of several books like “Naked Statues, Fat Gladiators, and War Elephants”, do you have plans to write another one?

    Yes – in fact, I just signed the contract for a sequel to Naked Statues!

    10) TOP 10 reasons to fall in Love with Rome today…

    Off the top of my head, I can give you five:
    A fascinating artistic tradition
    Great literature, from Cicero to Ovid
    Great architecture, from the Colosseum to the Pont du Gard
    A culture that never ceases to surprise and fascinate
    And finally, by getting to know the Romans, you’ll gain a deeper understanding of the whole Western cultural tradition – and perhaps of your own society

    Contact Garrett
    • Web:
    • YT: toldinstone (207K subscribers)
    • IG: toldinstone

    It was big interview and absolutely great, it’s a honor to have an opportunity interview with Garrett from USA, thanks!!