Human Circus: Journeys in the Medieval World

Recorded History Podcast Network

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A narrative history podcast following the journeys of medieval travellers and their roles in larger historical events. Telling great stories, showing the interconnected nature of the medieval world, and meeting Mongols, Ottomans, Franciscans, merchan...Show More

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The Sons of Maimon 2: What's Done is Gone

51:40 | Apr 8th

Moses and David ben Maimon make their home in Fatimid - soon to be Ayyubid - Egypt, where the Nile and caravan routes linked the Mediterranean ports to the Red Sea and the crossing to the coast of India, a crossing David would attempt to make.If you ...Show More

The Sons of Maimon 1: Exile

46:57 | Mar 19th

This is my first episode on Maimonides/Moses and his little brother David, on their exile from their homeland in Al-Andalus, and on their winding way to Egypt, which would be their long-term home. If you like what you hear and want to chip in to supp...Show More

Rabban Bar Sauma 4: Ilkhanid End Times

45:40 | Feb 22nd

The conclusion of the Rabban Bar Sauma series. It's Bar Sauma's return to the Ilkhanate and the results of his journey. It's the end of the line for him and his friend the catholicus, and it's the changes that were going on in the Ilkhanate and how t...Show More

Rabban Bar Sauma 3: Barbazoma, Tartarus, Orientalis

45:08 | Feb 3rd

This is Rabban Bar Sauma part 3 of 4, the story of the Mongol envoy's diplomatic efforts in Paris, Bordeaux, and Rome, his experience as a pilgrim to the sites and saints of Italy and France, and his attempts to improve the Ilkhanid cause against the...Show More

Rabban Bar Sauma 2: Ilkhanid Infighting, Ilkhanid Envoy

49:57 | Jan 16th

In this episode, our monkish friends attempt to navigate the violent waters of Ilkhanid Mongol politics, and Bar Sauma himself embarks on another long journey, this time heading for Rome.If you like what you hear and want to chip in to support the po...Show More

Rabban Bar Sauma 1: The Monks of Kublai Khan

48:09 | Dec 24th, 2018

First in a series on Rabban Bar Sauma, covering his life from miracle-baby through cave-bound monk and on to pilgrim, with ambassador to the cities of western Europe not far behind. This episode takes us from Yuan China to Jerusalem, or perhaps not q...Show More

Geoffrey's Crusade 5: Boniface, Baldwin, and the Bulgarians

47:36 | Nov 25th, 2018

All good things must end, and even those not so good. With this episode, we bring the Fourth Crusade to something of an end. It's Baldwin and Boniface's rivalry. It's the king of the Bulgarians. It's the long spiral. If you like what you hear, my Pat...Show More

Halloween Special: Medieval Ghost Stories

49:37 | Oct 29th, 2018

A Halloween special full of medieval ghost (or revenant) stories from the 11th and 12th centuries, featuring Orderic Vitalis, Thietmar of Merseburg, William of Newburgh, and, briefly representing the 6th-century, Gregory of Tours.If you like what you...Show More

Geoffrey's Crusade 4: Simon and the Seven Thieves

45:32 | Oct 17th, 2018

This one will be a bit of a side step in the Fourth Crusade story. This is a story of furta sacra, or sacred theft, following the fall of Constantinople, and of one theft in particular. This the story of Saint Simon and how he came to Venice.The medi...Show More

Geoffrey's Crusade 3: One Alexius After Another

51:34 | Sep 26th, 2018

This is part three of my Fourth Crusade series. It's got emperors, fires, and first hand accounts of the taking of Constantinople. Hope you enjoy it!My Medieval Christmas Kickstarter can be found here!If you like what you hear, my Patreon is here, my...Show More

Introducing American Scandal

17:32 | Sep 25th, 2018

Since the founding of the United States, in every generation, in every field of business, politics, sports and society, we’ve watched in shock as corruption, deceit and desire bring down heroes, titans and those we thought we could trust.In the after...Show More

Geoffrey's Crusade 2: Imperial Virtues

49:08 | Aug 30th, 2018

The Fourth Crusade continues, with the assault on Zara, a long winter in the city, and one reasonable occasion to go to Constantinople.If you like what you hear, my Patreon is here, my Ko-fi is here, and Paypal is here.Sources:Geoffrey de Villehardou...Show More

Geoffrey's Crusade 1: Venetian Appointments

41:09 | Aug 17th, 2018

Using the the chronicles of two participants in the Fourth Crusade - the one a common knight, the other a leader involved in decision making and the important work of an envoy - we follow the growth of the Fourth Crusade through the elevation of Pope...Show More

Marco and the Polos 7: Marco Polo Comes Home

42:39 | Jul 28th, 2018

On this, the last episode of the Marco Polo series, Marco comes home to Venice. I touch on a bit of the history of the book (or books), The Travels of Marco Polo, and we follow Marco as he disentangles himself from the stifling embrace of Kublai Khan...Show More

Marco and the Polos 6: The Grand Tour

37:30 | Jun 30th, 2018

It's the grand tour of the world, or at least that part of it from Southeast Asia to the African coast, and you are taking it with/as Marco Polo. There will be monstrous birds, cannibals, the spice trade, and quite a lot of date wine. There'll be the...Show More

Marco and the Polos 5: The Echoes of the Wind

51:56 | Jun 9th, 2018

Marco Polo's story of "Zipangu," the secluded island kingdom, abundant with gold, and Kublai Khan's attempt to take it all, is the subject of this episode. I talk about the two Mongol invasions of Japan and how their story has reached us. Sources:The...Show More

Marco and the Polos 4: Did You Go to China, Marco?

44:09 | May 19th, 2018

In this episode, I look at the question of whether Marco actually went to China (some have thought he did not at all, or only made it to the capital), and, if so, what he was doing More

Marco and the Polos 3: Marco and the Great, Great Khan

40:39 | Apr 24th, 2018

Marco Polo was a tremendous admirer of Kublai Khan and of his Genghisid legacy more generally. This episode, we explore that admiration, the character of Kublai, and the anecdote of the treacherous minister.www.humancircuspodcast.comSources:The Trave...Show More

Marco and the Polos 2: Of Assassins and Other Things

39:45 | Apr 4th, 2018

The three Polos depart for the summer palace of Kublai Khan. There'll be Assassins, baked corpses, and papal elections along the way!Website: humancircuspodcast.comTwitter: Instagram: More

Marco and the Polos 1: From Venice to the World

46:12 | Mar 10th, 2018

The journey of Venice's most famous merchant and traveller begins today, but we won't see much of him in this episode. We'll look at Venice in the early 13th century and touch on the 4th crusade, Mediterranean-Asian trade, and the Pax Mongolica, befo...Show More

To See the Mongols 7: Mongol Civil War

43:51 | Feb 21st, 2018

It’s a busy episode. We’re catching up on the Mongol world and all that was happening away from the specific journeys of European friars. That means the rise of Hulagu and Kublai, the Mongol expansion into Persia and Syria in the west and Song China ...Show More

To See the Mongols 6: The Road from Karakorum

39:07 | Feb 1st, 2018

Friar William wraps up his affairs at the court of Mongke Khan and heads for home. Today, we cover his last audience with the khan, cross the walls of Alexander, and advise King Louis IX as to the future of the crusades. Thanks for listening! Website...Show More

To See the Mongols 5: The Great Debate

52:24 | Jan 19th, 2018

Friar William goes through stone-cracking cold, frozen toes, and the threat of demons to reach the camp of Mongke Khan. There, his interpreter causes him more problems, and he falls into the bizarre religious life of the camp before being drawn into ...Show More

To See the Mongols 4: A William Leaves Town

37:35 | Jan 5th, 2018

We go east again this episode, in the company of a friar who carried a letter to the son of Batu Khan. Was he there on behalf of King Louis IX? Was his mission more personally religious in nature? Why was he so concerned with the noses of Mongol wome...Show More

To See the Mongols 3: An Interregnum

36:10 | Dec 9th, 2017

Today, a quick rewind into what it means to be a Mongol, some early reactions to the Mongol invasion, some King Louis IX, the death of a khan, and the question of who is to be next. Also, I horribly butcher Eljigidei's name (Sorry, Eljigidei). Thanks...Show More

To See the Mongols 2: A New Khan

42:07 | Nov 16th, 2017

Giovanni Carpine returns, to the podcast, and to Lyon. This episode we hear about his journey to the kurultai, the great council which raised Guyuk as the new great khan, his diplomatic dealings with Guyuk, and the news and views he brought home with...Show More

To See the Mongols 1: Giovanni Carpine Goes East

33:51 | Nov 2nd, 2017

Giovanni Carpine starts off a new series and a new set of travellers in the surprisingly interconnected world of the 13th century. Over the next number of episodes, I'll be focussing on contacts between Latin Christian Europe and the Mongols, and the...Show More

Edward Webbe: His Trials, Travels, and Job Application

34:54 | Sep 13th, 2017

Edward Webbe was, maybe, a 16th-Century adventurer who moved in and out of captivity and other forms of trouble. His troubles took him from Elizabethan England to Muscovy, Crimea, Constantinople, Italy, and possibly to Persia and the lands of Prester...Show More

Thomas Dallam 7: A Concert for the Sultan

42:51 | Aug 17th, 2017

Thomas Dallam's travels conclude, or at least the part of them that I'll be covering here. There will be comedic chaos on the trip up the Hellespont, awkward interactions with the local ambassador, one incredibly stressful musical performance, and th...Show More

Thomas Dallam, Part 6 - Human Circus: Histories

40:37 | Jul 29th, 2017

The 1599 voyage continues, and Thomas Dallam draws ever closer to the Ottoman court at Constantinople. There are carrier pigeons, imprisonments, problems with presents, and adventures ashore. Enjoy, Devon. Twitter: @circus_human Donate to...Show More

Thomas Dallam, Part 5 - Human Circus: Histories

33:30 | Jul 14th, 2017

The journey of Thomas Dallam begins in earnest. This episode our adventurous organ maker finally leaves London for Constantinople, encountering storms, pirates, infinite porpoises, and Algiers along the way. D. Twitter: @circus_human Donate ...Show More

Thomas Dallam, Mini Episode 2 - Human Circus: Histories

23:22 | Jun 30th, 2017

We're back to Constantinople again this episode for another try at the mini-episode format. Here, I'm talking about Esperanza Malchi, a Spanish-born Jewish woman who rose to prominence in the Sultan's palace during the final years of the 16th century...Show More

Thomas Dallam, Part 4 - Human Circus: Histories

37:28 | Jun 17th, 2017

Part four of my series on, or leading up to, Thomas Dallam's journey. This one takes us back to Constantinople to follow another English ambassador there named Edward Barton. Enjoy! D. Twitter: @circus_human Donate to the podcast: https://ko...Show More

Thomas Dallam, Part 3 - Human Circus: Histories

38:57 | Jun 7th, 2017

Elizabethan England's engagements with the Islamic world continue in this episode, this time taking us back to Constantinople with England's first ambassador there, William Harborne. There's piracy, palace intrigue, and Harborne's steadfast distaste ...Show More

The Battle of the Three Kings - Human Circus: Histories

30:32 | May 27th, 2017

Hello friends, Trying something slightly new today with a mini-episode, a shorter, more focused, show to slip between main episodes in the Elizabethan trade series. Except that it didn't turn out to be quite as mini as I initially imagined. In any...Show More

Thomas Dallam, Part 2 - Human Circus: Histories

50:02 | May 19th, 2017

Greetings Citizens! This episode, we carry on with the prelude to Dallam's Ottoman adventure by continuing to explore Elizabethan England's trade and where it took them. Today, that means Morocco and England's often forgotten 16th century friendsh...Show More

Thomas Dallam, Part 1 - Human Circus: Histories

42:05 | Apr 29th, 2017

This is episode one of a projected five which will follow the journey of Thomas Dallam, Elizabethan organ-maker and ill-prepared ambassador to the Ottoman Sultan. This first episode, we're not actually going to get to Dallam though. We're setting the...Show More

The Travels of Johann Schiltberger 04 - Human Circus: Histories

50:20 | Mar 4th, 2017

Hello good people, This is the 4th and final episode in my little series on Johann Schiltberger. Our wandering friend has come a long way and been through a great deal, but here he is, on the edge of making it back to Bavaria. In this episode, we'...Show More

The Travels of Johann Schiltberger 03 - Human Circus: Histories

52:02 | Feb 17th, 2017

  Good people, Episode 3 is here, and it follows Johann Schiltberger on his merry way, after the Battle of Angora and into the life of Timur, the limitlessly violent Turko-Mongol conqueror. There will be pyramids of heads, flaming camels, a...Show More

The Travels of Johann Schiltberger 02 - Human Circus: Histories

54:15 | Feb 3rd, 2017

Hello everyone, Sickness has slowed this down and weather has added a few more hours, but I've traversed the snowy roads to find a working internet connection and bring you this episode, and only  a week late! Today, we'll follow Johann Schiltb...Show More

The Travels of Johann Schiltberger 01 - Human Circus: Histories

44:13 | Jan 12th, 2017

This has, unsurprisingly, taken longer than expected, but at last we are here. At Human Circus, we'll be telling stories every two weeks, usually in "seasons," but sometimes in one-off episodes. We're starting with the travels of Johann Schiltberg...Show More