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Everywhere around us are echoes of the past. Those echoes define the boundaries of states and countries, how we pray and how we fight. They determine what money we spend and how we earn it at work, what language we speak and how we raise our children. From Wondery, host Patrick Wyman, PhD (“Fall Of Rome”) helps us understand our world and how it got to be the way it is.
 
Barbarians, political breakdown, economic collapse, mass migration, pillaging and plunder. The fall of the Roman Empire has been studied for years, but genetics, climate science, forensic science, network models, and globalization studies have reshaped our understanding of one of the most important events in human history. PhD historian and specialist Patrick Wyman brings the cutting edge of history to listeners in plain, relatable English.
 
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China’s written history goes back more than 3,000 years, stretching deep into the Bronze Age. But just how far back does it go, and how reliable are those first legendary texts when discussing a world that had already been lost for centuries? They speak of powerful kings and capital cities, and a dynasty called the Xia, but can we find them in the …
 
How did Latin splinter into the Romance languages? In this episode, we explore how Latin transformed from a single, widely dispersed language into a series - French, Spanish, Portuguese, Italian, Romanian, and so on - of related but no longer mutually intelligible tongues. Patrick's book is now available! Get The Verge: Reformation, Renaissance, an…
 
China’s late Neolithic period saw the emergence of increasingly powerful groups of elites who buried themselves in lavishly decorated tombs and built palaces and public buildings at the hearts of their fortified settlements. From these political centers, the elites built and ruled a patchwork of small, competing states. But by around 2000 BC, all o…
 
States have defined China from the very beginning of its recorded history more than 3,000 years ago, but how did they come into being? Professor Li Liu of Stanford University is one of the world’s leading experts on the prehistoric archaeology of China, and she returns to Tides for the second time to tell us about states, elites, and why they’re so…
 
The late Bronze Age world of the Near East was an incredibly rich and complex place, full of long-distance trade, the exchange of ideas, bickering kings, and empires rising and falling. Among those empires, one of the most powerful and enigmatic was that of the Hittites, whose ruling dynasty survived more than five centuries of intrigue and war to …
 
Viewed from the perspective of international trade, political complexity, and written culture, the late Bronze Age world of the Aegean and Near East marked a high point before the fall. But how did this world come into existence? The empires of the Hittites, Mittani, and Assyrians - along with Egypt’s New Kingdom - marked the beginning of something…
 
If we know the name of an ancient Near Eastern ruler, it’s probably that of Hammurabi, thanks to his famous Code. But Hammurabi was just one ruler in a time of conflict throughout the region, and the state he built in his lifetime didn’t last beyond his death. This was an age of fragmentation that lasted for centuries, where ambitious would-be conq…
 
Archaeology has come a long way since the first crude excavations at Stonehenge more than a century ago. Our guest, Mike Parker Pearson, spent the better part of a decade excavating in the vicinity of Stonehenge, offering new interpretations of the monument that form the backbone of current understanding. And Stonehenge is just one of Professor Par…
 
The societies of the European Bronze Age lacked writing, but their illiteracy shouldn’t fool us: These were rich and sophisticated civilizations that existed in a time of deep and fundamental transformations, when new technologies, ways of understanding the world, and forms of power reshaped Europe and its people. Patrick's book is now available! G…
 
Friend of the Show, TV presenter, author extraordinaire, and historian Dan Jones returns to Tides to discuss his new book, Powers and Thrones: A New History of the Middle Ages. It’s a wonderful book and a tremendous achievement, written with both a consummate grasp of the huge scope of medieval history and a cinematic style of storytelling that kee…
 
Ancient Egypt didn’t exist in isolation from the world around it. Trade goods, ideas, and especially people flowed in and out over the millennia, but never more so than during the Second Intermediate Period, when a foreign dynasty of kings known as the Hyksos ruled much of Egypt. But were the Hyksos really the invading marauders the Egyptians portr…
 
The discovery of 21,000-23,000-year-old human footprints at White Sands National Park in New Mexico is one of the most exciting developments in the study of the deep past in recent years. But do these footprints hold up to real scrutiny? And if they’re real, how do they change our understanding of the first people in the Americas? I asked two exper…
 
The Middle Kingdom, beginning around 2000 BC, was the second of ancient Egypt’s classical ages. Powerful pharaohs ruled from the cataracts of the Nile to the Mediterranean, building enormous monuments and patronizing exceptional art and literature. But on either side of the Middle Kingdom lay two ages of chaos, the Intermediate Periods, when the ph…
 
Located to the south of Egypt, in today’s Sudan, ancient Nubia had a complicated relationship with the old state of the Nile, and scholars have traditionally understood it through the shadow of its much better understood northern neighbor. But, as Dr. Geoff Emberling of the University of Michigan explains, Nubia had a long and fascinating history o…
 
When we think of Ancient Egypt, we think of the pyramids: vast, eternal monuments to the glory of long-dead pharaohs. But we shouldn’t take them for granted: They belong to a specific place and time, and the people who built them had their reasons for doing so. The world that produced the pyramids was Egypt’s Old Kingdom, one of its three classic a…
 
We can’t understand the past without understanding when things happened, because if we can’t place them in some sort of chronological order, we can’t understand the relationship between them. But how do we know when things happened in the distant past? Professor Sturt Manning of Cornell University is an expert on chronology, using tree-rings, radio…
 
The Late Bronze Age was a remarkable time in the eastern Mediterranean and the Near East. An interconnected world sprang up, tying together the lands from Greece and Crete in the west all the way to Mesopotamia in the east and the Nile cataracts in the south. Let’s explore the Aegean during this time, looking at how palaces on Crete continued to gr…
 
It’s not an exaggeration to say that the whole of human history can be divided into two parts: before the Industrial Revolution, and after. Economist Duncan Weldon joins me to talk about the Industrial Revolution, why it started in Britain, and the trajectory of the British economy over the past two centuries. Get Duncan’s book, Two Hundred Years o…
 
From mainland Greece to Minoan Crete and the famous city of Troy, what made the Aegean Sea one of the constituent pieces of the Bronze Age world? All of these cities are linked, not just by their proximity, but by much bigger things: trade, the emergence of cities and elite classes, the development of state structures and the written word. Patrick'…
 
Bestselling author and history podcaster extraordinaire Mike Duncan returns to Tides to talk about his new book, Hero of Two Worlds: The Marquis de Lafayette in the Age of Revolution. It’s a wonderful book about a fascinating character who lived through and shaped impossibly eventful times, and I highly recommend both it and Mike’s other work. Get …
 
More than 4,000 years ago, a ruler came to power in the fractious, war-torn lands of Mesopotamia. He ruled a small state north of the region's ancient heartland, a place called Akkad, but over the course of his life, Sargon built something sprawling and unique: the world's first empire, the Akkadian Empire. Listen to new episodes 1 week early, to e…
 
To mark the release of Patrick's book The Verge: Reformation, Renaissance, and Forty Years That Shook the World, he did a virtual event with Powell's Bookstore in Portland, hosted by history podcaster extraordinaire and bestselling author Mike Duncan. Mike and Patrick discussed the book, but also the art of doing popular history, key periods in his…
 
Friend of the Show Dr. Keith Pluymers returns to tell us about how people thought about and fought over resources, especially wood, in early modern England. Scarcity, Keith argues, is more about perception than an actual lack of resources. Different groups within society had different perceptions, and they fought constantly about what to do about t…
 
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