Saturday, 5 January 2013

History Podcasts...

Last blog I wrote about the gaming podcasts I listen to, today I’m writing about the history podcasts I enjoy:

12 Byzantine Rulers

A podcast by Lars Brownworth, each episode covers the reign of various Byzantine monarchs, and from beginning to end manages to neatly encapsulate the history of the fascinating Byzantine empire.  Lars Brownworth presents his podcast well, it is obviously well scripted and listens much like a documentary series.  I understand it draws strongly on the book by John Julius Norwich, but 12 Byzantine Rulers also manages to stand on its own as a fascinating ride through the history of one of the great empires of antiquity.

Ancient Warfare Magazine podcast

A conversational podcast where a group of experts talk about specific events or subjects, whether it be the Summerian military, or the disaster of the Teutoburg forest.  The Ancient Warfare magazine podcast occasionally meander off into the realms of minutia, but is an interesting if infrequent listen in its own right.

The History of the World in 100 Objects

Neil MacGregor, director of the British Museum gives a glimpse into the history of humanity via the intermediaries of the objects they left behind.  Each episode covers a single object, and gives a brief glimpse of the culture and world that was its context.  An interesting podcast, and Neil’s style is certainly enjoyable and idiosyncratic, but too often it is but a shallow glance - episodes are short and sweet.

In Our Time with Melvyn Bragg

Probably one of my favourite podcasts of this category, Melvyn can ride the direction of the conversation too hard at times; there are moments when listening that I would love to stop the panel and ask them to give a bit more detail.  Despite this mild criticism In Our Time is a highly enjoyable podcast covering an eclectic mix of topics, events, personalities and circumstances in history.  Well worth a listen.  I downloaded the back catalogue and this managed to keep my mind occupied while I painted our son’s room - very much recommended.

Norman Centuries

Norman Centuries is the second series of history podcasts by Lars Brownworth.  Again following the trail of John Julius Norwich, Lars this time tackles the history of the Normans.  Each episode is centered around one ruler, but may cover more than their single rule.  It is an excellent and highly enjoyable listen about a time and a culture that I find quite interesting.  Lars, as in 12 Byzantine Rulers, is a solid presenter, and his scripting for each episode engaging and interesting.  One of my favourites - if only there were more such podcast series!

This is by no means an exhaustive list, just a list of those I have found and enjoyed.  No doubt there are others, in fact - if you listen to a history podcast that is excellent, I'd love to find out about it!


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