Ancient Journeys

in Daily Programme, Radio Riel Main

by Elrik Merlin on Wednesday, 18 July, 2012

In today’s programme, we’ll be taking a musical journey through ancient worlds, from Greece and Rome, to the Americas, the South Pacific, Antartica – and even the Moon.

On this day (or possibly tomorrow) in 64AD the great fire began that destroyed much of the city of Rome over the ensuing two weeks. The Emperor Nero, often claimed to have been “fiddling while Rome burned”, or at least playing the lyre, was in fact away at Antium, and according to Tacitus, on his return opened up many remaining Imperial buildings and lands for the refugees from the fire, and dropped the price of wheat to help them. But the rumour had already spread that he had watched the city burn, and he gained no thanks for his efforts. It was suggested that he had arranged for the city to be set to flame to enable him to rebuild it to his specifications.

A few days away, on 24 July, is the anniversary of the discovery by Westerners of the lost city of Macchu Picchu in the Andes in 1911.

Thus today we will be travelling ancient and distant worlds, guided by the ancient Piri Reis Map, thanks to the E S Posthumus album Cartographer, a marvellous symphonic album with lyrics that appear to be in Latin or Esperanto, but may in fact be a vocal melisma like that found in Karl Jenkins’s Adiemus albums, where words are used for their sound rather than their meaning. (And as we’re taking an extended voyage today, we’ll be hearing the latter’s Imagined Oceans today too.)

We will also touch the shores of Antartica with Vaughan Williams, ancient South America with Cusco, the South Pacific with Jalan Jalan, the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World with Stuart Mitchell, and the land of the Cathars with Christian Sales. We’ll even visit the Moon with both Laurie Johnson and Mannheim Steamroller, and discover ancient peoples with Hans Zimmer. And, of course, a great deal more. The music is largely, but not exclusively, instrumental, with conventional and electronic instrumentation. We do hope you enjoy the journey.

And don’t forget to join us for the latest in our series The Black Mass at 11am and 7pm Pacific (7pm and 3am UK time).

Today’s programme is presented by Elrik Merlin. You can listen to the programme in‐world now at, or simply click here to start your player, if your browser is configured to do so. Listeners in the United States are encouraged to tune in using this link:


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