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Human Circus: Journeys in the Medieval World

Recorded History Podcast Network

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

26:49 | Aug 28th

As indicated in the title, I'm going back to the Thomas Dallam series to give it a proper ending. When I did the Dallam series, I left him in Constantinople with the Ottoman sultan, so here I'm taking his story up to its conclusion with a mini-episod...Show More

43:42 | Aug 15th

This is the end of the Salah ad-Din series, featuring the arrival of Richard the Lionheart and Philip II at Acre, the Battle of Arsuf, and the Treaty of Jaffa. If you like what you hear and want to chip in to support the podcast, my Patreon is here, ...Show More

40:51 | Jul 28th

This is the end of my Salah ad-Din series, part one. As I mention in the episode, I was aiming to wrap things up here, even aiming to do so with an extra-long episode, but there's just too much left to do that. So, this is the end, part one. In this ...Show More

40:35 | Jul 1st

Salah ad-Din (Saladin) enters Aleppo, struggles with Reynald de Chatillon, and faces the armies of Guy de Lusignan at the Horns of Hattin.If you like what you hear and want to chip in to support the podcast, my Patreon is here, my Ko-fi is here, and ...Show More

53:19 | Jun 19th

The story of Salah ad-Din's expansion from Egypt back into Syria, his brushes with Rashid ad-Din Sinan's Assassins, his constant lobbying of the Abbasid caliph in Baghdad, his struggles with the Zengid remnants and with a cast of enemies among the cr...Show More

48:45 | May 25th

Salah ad-Din/Saladin part one, from birth into banishment to ruler of 12th-century Egypt. This is the story of the rise of the Ayyubid founder. If you like what you hear and want to chip in to support the podcast, my Patreon is here, my Ko-fi is here...Show More

50:25 | Apr 28th

After David had died, Moses/Maimonides still had a lot of life left to live, so this episode is about that life in Ayyubid EgyptIf you like what you hear and want to chip in to support the podcast, my Patreon is here, my Ko-fi is here, and Paypal is ...Show More

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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
ARCHIVED: The podcast creator has made this episode no longer available for listening.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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 there.humancircuspodcast.compatreon.com/humancircus@circus_humanSourc...Show More

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

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: www.twitter.com/circus_humanEmail: HumanCircusPod@gmail.com Instagram: www.in...Show More

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

44:06 | 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. Thanks for listening!  Website: humancircuspodcast.comTwit...Show More

37:00 | 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. Thanks for Listening!Website: humancircus...Show More

25:52 | 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

40:57 | Jun 17th, 2017

Edward Barton takes up residence in Constantinople, struggles with his unofficial position, navigates the death of a sultan, and eventually goes to war alongside the Ottomans against a Christian foe. And Thomas Dallam's departure creeps closer.  Than...Show More

42:26 | 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

35:03 | May 27th, 2017

The doomed King Sebastian lands in Morocco, and I take a moment from the Dallam timeline for a mini-episode. Thanks for listening!  Website: humancircuspodcast.comTwitter: www.twitter.com/circus_human Email: HumanCircusPod@gmail.com Instagram: www.i...Show More

53:32 | May 19th, 2017

The prelude to Dallam's Ottoman adventure continues with Elizabethan England's trade and where it took them. Today, that means Morocco, and England's often forgotten 16th-century friendship with its sultans. We'll get into antagonism with Spain, Port...Show More

45:48 | Apr 19th, 2017

We begin 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 stage, introducing some of the background, and f...Show More

51:50 | Mar 4th, 2017

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'll look at how things ...Show More

53:25 | Feb 17th, 2017

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, and elephants, poisoned-sc...Show More

56:30 | Feb 3rd, 2017

Today, we'll follow Johann Schiltberger's journey under Bayezid's control. There will be an escape attempt, epic battles, an epic snake battle, and some Ottoman history. I hope you like it. Thanks for listening everybody! Enjoy.If you like what you h...Show More

48:27 | Jan 13th, 2017

We begin the travels of Johann Schiltberger, a 14th/15th century, Bavarian Marco Polo who left his home for the crusade against the Ottomans and didn't make it back for a long, long time. In the intervening 30 years, he travelled widely as a prisoner...Show More