Podcasts are a wonderful thing. You can listen or watch them on computers, game consoles and Internet streaming appliances via various apps, or carry them with you on a mobile device like a tablet, smartphone or MP3 player. They can be about any topic under the sun and, anyone can produce one if they want to. All one needs is a basic computer and microphone, some cheap or free software, and a web site to host them on for download. The barrier to entry is low, with no need of a big media company to produce or distribute the content.
I am a huge history geek and podcasts about history are my favorite. World history is a vast topic and there are podcasts on just about any specific area of historical study a person might want. I tend to be most interested in ancient and medieval history as well as almost all aspects of military history. Below is Part One of my listing of favorite history podcasts, in no particular order of preference. You can find these via the linked websites or search in iTunes or your favorite podcast app:
- 12 Byzantine Rulers (http://12byzantinerulers.com/): This podcast from history author and lecturer Lars Brownworth discusses in detail 12 emperors of the Byzantine Empire, also known as the Eastern Roman Empire. I’ve been fairly well versed in the Roman Empire for some time, but until I discovered this series I knew little about the half of the empire that survived the fall of the Western Roman Empire by a millennia. This is the first podcast I ever listened to even before I had my first iPod.
- Norman Centuries (http://normancenturies.com/): Another podcast series by the aforementioned Mr. Brownworth. This one covers the conquests, migrations, and lasting impact of the Normans. The Normans were descendants of Viking “Northmen” who came exploding out of Scandinavia in the Middle Ages. From the podcast’s website:
In the course of two centuries the Normans launched a series of extraordinary conquests, transforming Anglo-Saxon England into Great Britain, setting up a powerful Crusader state in Antioch, and turning Palermo into the dazzling cultural and economic capital of the western Mediterranean.
If you thought the Normans were just the oppressors of the Saxons in England and got really annoyed by some guy named Robin Hood, give this one a listen.
- A History of the World in 100 Objects (http://www.bbc.co.uk/ahistoryoftheworld/): My best friend since 1979, a fellow geek, introduced me to this one. This is a unique podcast produce by the BBC for radio and also distributed online. It covers the entirety of human history by using 100 objects on display in the British Museum. It’s a really cool concept because as you listen to an episode you can visit the series’ website and see photos and other additional information about the object. I think it’d be a great teaching tool in schools as well.
Give these a listen. Tomorrow, Part Two…