A History Blog and Podcast
info_outline Supplemental: Europe on the Eve of the Black Death 12/06/2019
Supplemental: Europe on the Eve of the Black Death In this supplemental episode, we take a whirlwind tour of Europe at roughly the year 1350, when the plague will begin to hit Europe. We cover quickly which kingdoms were where and who was rising or declining. Then, we take stock of the huge period of history we have covered since the fall of the Western Roman Empire before moving on to the Late Middle Ages.
info_outline Episode 115: The Favorite 11/22/2019
Episode 115: The Favorite In this episode we follow the hapless reign of King Edward II of England. King Edward would find himself dominated by one court favorite after another starting with the infamous Piers Gaveston until finally he is simply removed from power in favor of his son, Edward III. In France, things are no better. The death of of Philip IV would led to three kings in the better part of two decades with no producing male heirs leading to the use of the Salic Law and, ultimately, the Hundred Years War.
info_outline Episode 114: Edward Longshanks and Philip the Fair 11/08/2019
Episode 114: Edward Longshanks and Philip the Fair In this episode we continue our look at the High Medieval period in France and England. When we last left off, the deaths of two Kings, Henry II in England and Louis IX in France, left new kings in power. In this episode we will watch as Philip of France and Edward I of England led their kingdoms increasing toward nationhood. And yes we will cover William Wallace, the "Braveheart" guy.
info_outline Episode 113: Henry III 10/25/2019
Episode 113: Henry III As the title suggests, we are heading back to western Europe for this episode. When we last left England, King John had died in the midst of a civil war. Now, the young Henry III was King of England. In this episode we follow his turbulent reign as England moves from the brink of civil war, to civil war, and back again. Meanwhile, in France, the death of Philip II will, ultimately, bring Louis IX to power.
info_outline Episode 112: All That Remains 10/11/2019
Episode 112: All That Remains In this episode we head back to 1204 and pick up the narrative of the Byzantine Empire after the sack of Constantinople by the Fourth Crusade. The sack of Constantinople leads to a crusader/Venetian coalition in charge of what had once been the greatest Christian city in the world. True to their style, the crusaders waste no time in fighting amongst themselves. Meanwhile, in Nicaea and Epiros, two rival successor states to the Byzantines work to restore all that remains.
info_outline Episode 111: The Last Crusade 09/27/2019
Episode 111: The Last Crusade In this episode we see the Mamluks bring the crusader states to their final end and the end of the crusading epoch in Europe. Then, I do my level best to break down the importance of the crusades to European history and Western Civ.
info_outline Episode 110: Pax Mongolica 09/13/2019
Episode 110: Pax Mongolica In this episode we conclude our brief Mongol storyline. We cover how the Mongol Empire transitions from one global empire to several, massive nation-states. We will also see how the Mongols successfully transition from warriors to managers. Finally, we will begin to discuss the Mongol Peace (Pax Mongolica) and how that will usher the Black Death to Europe.
info_outline Episode 109: Mongol World War 08/30/2019
Episode 109: Mongol World War In this episode, the newly titled, Genghis Khan, sees the Mongol horde explode out of the steppe against China. Then, a chance event leads the Mongols to seek out new plunder from the Middle East as a caravan raid gone bad changes world history. Then, when Genghis Khan dies, a disputed succession leaves the lovable, but drunk, Ogedei Khan in control and badly in need of new conquests. The only question is, which direction should the horde go?
info_outline Episode 108: The Great Khan 08/17/2019
Episode 108: The Great Khan For the first time on this podcast, we really leave Europe and the Near East. Genghis Khan has had a greater impact on the world than perhaps any other person in world history. His impact and the impact of the Mongol conquests are undeniable. So, in this episode we begin to look at the man who would become Genghis Khan and his rise to power.
info_outline Episode 107: The Hostage King 07/26/2019
Episode 107: The Hostage King This episode covers the crusade of King Louis IX of France which started out with a lot of promise and ends... well, I guess the title kind of gives this one away. This is our last episode before we take a HUGE divergence from the narrative to introduce the Mongols because of the massive impact they will have on our narrative.
info_outline Episode 106: Stupor Mundi (Part Two) 07/12/2019
Episode 106: Stupor Mundi (Part Two) This episode covers the second half of Frederick II's reign as Holy Roman Emperor, King of Southern Italy, and King of Sicily. I try to answer the question: why is Frederick II considered to be one of Europe's greatest Medieval Monarchs?
info_outline Episode 105: Stupor Mundi (Part One) 06/28/2019
Episode 105: Stupor Mundi (Part One) This episode covers roughly the first half of Frederick II's reign from his regency through his crusade to recover Jerusalem. We will also discuss Cardinal Pelagius and his pathetic efforts to invade Egypt.
info_outline Episode 104: A Brothers Tale 06/14/2019
Episode 104: A Brothers Tale In this episode we cover the Norman conquests of Southern Italy and Sicily between roughly 1025 and 1100. A series of brothers from the house Hauteville in Normandy personally begin the expansion as the demand for mercenaries spikes in Apulia. The conquest proceeds apace until finally Sicily and Southern Italy are united under Roger II.
info_outline Episode 103: The Lionheart and the Devil 05/31/2019
Episode 103: The Lionheart and the Devil In this episode we follow the reigns of King Richard I and King John as they battle to maintain their Plantagenent Empire against King Philip of France. We will see King Richard die after foolishly failing to wear armor one April evening. We will see King John battle the French King and his own nobles before eventually signing the Magna Carta. And we will see the final collapse of the Plantagenet Empire as England and France begin to form into nation states.
info_outline Episode 102: The Fourth Crusade - A Whole New Low 05/17/2019
Episode 102: The Fourth Crusade - A Whole New Low This episode covers the disaster that was the Fourth Crusade. Pope Innocent III will try and reinvigorate crusading and wind up sacking one of the most Christian cities in the world. Then we will take a quick look at life in the Near East between the Third and Fifth Crusades.
info_outline Episode 101: Byzantine Update 05/03/2019
Episode 101: Byzantine Update In this episode we take a look at the Eleventh and Twelfth Centuries from the Byzantine perspective. We will go from the death of Basil II through the beginning of the Fourth Crusade. These centuries give us our last look at Byzantium as an "Empire". We will also cover some of the major political and economic changes that will dictate Byzantine history in the Thirteenth and Fourteenth Centuries.
info_outline Episode 99: Battlefield Acre 04/05/2019
Episode 99: Battlefield Acre Richard the Lionheart, King of England and the Angevin Empire, arrived in the Holy Land in June, 1191. When he arrived he found the crusaders already battering the walls of Acre surrounded on the other side by Saladin's army. The fight for Acre would prove to be Richard's first real test in the Holy Land. But it would not prove to be his last. Yet, with Richard's arrival the Third Crusade could truly and fully begin.
info_outline Episode 98: The Surging Wave 03/22/2019
Episode 98: The Surging Wave In this episode we set the stage for the Third Crusade. Frederick Barbarossa will make an overland march to Asia Minor while Richard I and Philip Augustus use naval transportation for the first time en masse to start a crusade. Meanwhile, back in the Near East Saladin pressed to capture Tyre and destroy the remaining crusader outposts.
info_outline Episode 97 03/10/2019
Episode 97 In this episode we follow the career and reign of the ruler widely considered to be Germany's greatest medieval Monarch: Frederick Barbarossa. In total Frederick will conduct six Italian campaigns, battle a Pope, and rework Germany's economy. And all this before he leaves for the Third Crusade with the likes of Richard the Lionheart and Philip of France to take on Saladin.
info_outline Episode 96: Saladin and the Leper King 02/15/2019
Episode 96: Saladin and the Leper King In this episode Saladin cements his hold over the Near East by subduing Damascus, Aleppo, and Mosul. Then he turns his attention to the Crusader State: the Kingdom of Jerusalem. Meanwhile, the death of King Amalric in his early thirties results a child succeeding to the throne in Jerusalem. The young Baldwin IV would live a tragic life and his death would then lead directly to the devastating crusader defeat at the Horns of Hattin and the fall of the Kingdom of Jerusalem.
info_outline Episode 95: The Goodness of the Faith 02/01/2019
Episode 95: The Goodness of the Faith In this episode we turn back to the Near East as the fortunes of the Crusader States continue to fall. Nur al-Din presses his empire further and further into the declining Latin Kingdoms while both Nur al-Din and the Kingdom of Jerusalem fight over the future of Fatimid Egypt. Finally, at the end of the episode a new man rises to power: Saladin.
info_outline Episode 94: The Perils of Prosperity 01/18/2019
Episode 94: The Perils of Prosperity When we last left off, Henry of Normandy and Aquitaine had just become King Henry II of England. Now, in this episode, we will follow the reign of one of England's strongest kings as he navigates conflicts with Louis VII of France and his own Archbishop of Canterbury: Thomas Becket. This episode will take us to the succession of King Richard I (the Lionheart) and will be as far as we go in western European Medieval history before turning back to the Holy Land and Third Crusade.
info_outline Episode 93: A Royal Mess 01/04/2019
Episode 93: A Royal Mess In this episode we return to our narrative though not to the Crusades. We will head back to the year 1095 when the First Crusade was launched and set about catching the rest of Europe back up to speed. Then, we spend the bulk of the second half of the episode tackling Norman England. The realm of William the Conqueror is once again fractured by civil war and it is going to take Geoffrey Plantagenet and his son, the future King Henry II, to put it all back together again. (Years: 1095-1154)
info_outline Architecture 12/07/2018
Architecture In this supplemental episode, we take a look at the major trends and developments in architecture during the Early Middle Ages. We cover the basilica, changes to religious architecture, and major innovations in secular building (yes that means castles).
info_outline 92 11/23/2018
92 In this episode we cover the Second Crusade, which goes very, very poorly for the newly minted crusading armies of Western Europe. Back in the Near East, Zangi is succeeded by his youngest son, Nur al-Din, who proves to be an even stronger foe for Western Europe than his father.
info_outline Episode 91 11/13/2018
Episode 91 In this episode we take a look at the Counties of Edessa and Tripoli and give a quick overview of life in the Near East during the Crusades. Finally, the Crusader States are dealt a series of crushing blows in the 1140's setting the stage for the Second Crusade.
info_outline Episode 90: The Crusader States Part One 10/29/2018
Episode 90: The Crusader States Part One In this episode we follow the development of the four key Crusader States after the unexpected success of the First Crusade. King Baldwin I leads the Kingdom of Jerusalem to new heights while Tancred is forced to clean up a royal mess in Antioch.