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Here is what I hear in this audio:

When Roman empire crumbled, Europe was procedured by famine, plague,prosecutions. and steed of war so persistent, it only rarely interrupted by peace [...].

I'm now watching some documentaries that are not only interested me but also helps me improving my listening and enlarge vocabulary for my coming IETLS. The words I'm asking in the recording really stand in the way of understanding the content.

So I really want you help me to figure it out, but I'm not just looking for convenience or being lazy; there are no caption available in my country and there's no way for me to figure it out after using all the methods I know: dictation software and guess-and-spellcheck method.

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Have you tried any of these resources? –  Autoresponder Sep 5 '11 at 10:40
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2 Answers

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There is a transcript of the whole program on the web, which I found by Googling.

narrator: WHEN The roman empire crumbled, europe was besieged by famine, plague, persecutions,//, and a state of war so persistent it was only rarely interrupted by peace.

Half of the people that you know today were dead tomorrow.

You couldn't even bury them all.

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You are the superman! –  yozloy Sep 5 '11 at 11:51
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This is what it sounds like to me- "When the Roman Empire crumbled, Europe was besieged by famine..."

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This is definitely what he says. –  tenfour Sep 5 '11 at 9:58
    
@user11761 it makes sense, Thanks for your quick reply, BTW I updated the recording, and extend for a few seconds, Does the phrase steep of war sounds Okay? –  yozloy Sep 5 '11 at 10:16
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The phrase is "state of war". You're being confused by the American merger of d/t between a stressed and an unstressed vowel (and that vowel sounds like "ee" to me as well, so I also heard "steed" the first time through). –  Peter Shor Sep 5 '11 at 10:24
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