A new series that explores extremely wealthy rulers, tycoons and visionaries on the History Channel recently featured James Rietveld, a lecturer in the Interdisciplinary General Education (IGE) program.
The History Channel’s “Crazy Rich Ancients” introduces mysterious icons from the past, discusses who among them were the richest and explores how they spent their wealth. The show also highlights their obsessions from billion-dollar parties to nine-figure palaces. The episode featuring Rietveld is titled “Unreal Estates” and can be viewed on the History Channel’s website.
“This was my first time on the History Channel,” said Rietveld. “It was a wonderful experience, but a lot of work. I was on Episode 7 and I spoke about Nero’s Golden House, a luxurious palace that was built following the great fire of Rome in 64 CE.”
Rietveld is scheduled to make another appearance on “Crazy Rich Ancients” on Sunday, Aug.28 at 10 p.m. In this episode, he will talk about Justinian, a former Byzantine emperor, and Hagia Sophia, which was the main church of the Byzantine Empire before being converted to a mosque. He will answer questions concerning massive wealth in relation to power.
“Ever since I was 12, I was instilled with a passion for historical studies,” said Rietveld. “This was the result of my father bringing our family to Europe for seven months in 1979. While living there, I became fascinated by Roman history, culture and religion. This experience has made me who I am today.”
Rietveld joined IGE in spring of 2020. He teaches a variety of IGE courses including IGE 3200: Visions of Science & Technology, IGE 3300: Demons, the Undead & The Monstrous Other, and IGE 3600: UFO’s, The Illuminati & Other Conspiracy Theories. His research interests focus on the history, religion and archaeology of the Eastern Mediterranean during the Greco-Roman and Byzantine eras. He also teaches in the history and religious studies departments at California State University, Fullerton (CSUF).
Rietveld earned his doctorate in religious studies from Claremont Graduate University (CGU) and his master’s and bachelor’s degrees in history from CSUF.
Rietveld has also published several articles and two books. In 2012, he published a mini book on the London fire of 1666 titled “London in Flames” and in 2014 he published a book titled
“Artemis of the Ephesians: Magic, Mysteries, and Sacred Landscapes,” which is an archaeological investigation focused on interpreting local beliefs within the city of Ephesus in connection to their famous goddess.
For more information about Rietveld, please visit his faculty profile page.