A History Blog and Podcast
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.
info_outline Episode 88: Fortress Antioch 09/28/2018
Episode 88: Fortress Antioch In this episode, we follow the First Crusader as the crusader army swings south into Asia Minor and approaches the formidable city of Antioch. At Antioch, the First Crusade will nearly meet its premature end as the crusaders quickly go from besiegers to besieged.
info_outline Episode 86: The Gathering Storm 08/31/2018
Episode 86: The Gathering Storm In this episode we begin the Crusades. Specifically, we need to catch up on Byzantium a little bit since we left off with Michael IV in the middle of the Eleventh Century. After we get back up to speed in the East we will then turn our attentions towards setting the stage for the First Crusade which begins in 1095.
info_outline Supplemental: Medieval Art Part Two 08/03/2018
Supplemental: Medieval Art Part Two In this episode we wrap-up our survey of Early Medieval Art by looking at the changes brought about by the transition to the Middle Ages particularly the advent of Christianity. Like in the last episode, here are a few links to images that I reference:
info_outline Supplemental: Early Medieval Art Part One 07/20/2018
Supplemental: Early Medieval Art Part One In this episode we are going to begin our look at Early Medieval Art by considered Late Classical and specifically Roman influences on artistic expression that outlived the empire itself. For this episode, you might want to view the following images:
info_outline 85 07/11/2018
85 In this episode we look at Northern and Southern Italy during the Early Medieval period (roughly 800 - 1000 AD). We see just how different the two regions were during this period as urbanization continued in the north while, in the south, geography was not conducive to such developments.
info_outline Episode 84: Social and Political Transformation in Medieval Italy 06/22/2018
Episode 84: Social and Political Transformation in Medieval Italy In this episode we take a break from the political narrative to focus on some of the key social and economic changes that are taking shape in Northern Italy between 875 and 1000 AD. During this period, Medieval Italy experiences a number of changes (urbanization, estate fragmentation) that will result in major changes to Italian economic and social life. Finally, I want to answer the question: what happened to the old Roman Senators and wealthy landowners after the collapse of the Western Roman Empire?
info_outline Episode 83: Holier Than Thou 06/08/2018
Episode 83: Holier Than Thou In this episode we continue our examination of the Holy Roman Empire between 973 and 1106. We pick up the story with Otto II and then follow Otto III and Henry II as they try desperately to both expand and consolidate German power in medieval Europe. Then, we detail the stories of Henry III and IV who would battle increasingly powerful and difficult Popes. The story comes to a climax in the epic showdown between Pope Gregory VII and Henry who must humble himself before the Pope and then seeks his revenge.