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John Caius was a prominent medical professional in the 16th century. A staunch adherent to the teachings of Galen, who himself was the ultimate authority on medical knowledge for close to 15 centuries. John Caius owned a copy of Galen’s text and that original copy survives at Eton College, Berkshire, with Caius’ notes and annotations there for revi…
 
From blood transfusions to replacement of legs, during Shakespeare’s lifetime was when medical science was trying to figure out the best way to replace broken or damaged body parts with transplants. Having only just discovered that the heart was a muscle, pumping at regular intervals, it was a revolution in medical science to consider each body par…
 
In the year 1600, when William Shakespeare was just 36 years old, William Adams became the first Englishman to reach Japan. Adams sailed as part of a 5-ship fleet employed for the expedition by a private Dutch company. Adams would serve in Japan under Shogun Tokugawa Ieyasu, helping to build the first Western Style ships in Japan, and later helping…
 
On June 2, 1609, a ship named the Sea Venture set sail for Jamestown, Virginia. On the way, the ship was blown off course by a horrible hurricane. The storm badly damaged the ship and all hands onboard fought off the rising water until the ship ran aground on the island of Bermuda. After salvaging parts of the Sea Venture to build another ship, the…
 
This week Emily went for a walk in Flintshire with football legend Michael Owen and his international dressage champion and fashion entrepreneur daughter, Gemma Owen. They chat about their three adorable dogs, the competitive streak in the Owen family and their pocket money rules! See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.…
 
William Shakespeare uses the word “moon” over 160 times in his works, talking about the shape of the moon, the horns of the moon, and even traits of the moon like moonshine or moonbeam. For Shakespeare’s lifetime, the moon held almost as prominent a place in life as the sun, with people planning their lives around the phases of the moon. Described …
 
John Taylor is a poet contemporary to Shakespeare, but with a decidedly unique approach to the writing profession. John Taylor trained professionally as a waterman, or a river worker who taxied passengers to and from city destinations on the rivers like the River Thames in London. John Taylor used his occupation as a waterman to talk with the vario…
 
Shakespeare’s plays mention several kinds of alcoholic beverages, some of which we still have today like wine, ale, and beer, but others are more firmly situated in the past, making them pretty obscure references outside of niche historical circles that enjoy recreating beverages from antiquity. For example, The Merry Wives of Windsor, Henry VI, an…
 
In a 16th century painting by Casper Stromayr, two men, presumably doctors, are standing behind a table on which a set of surgical instruments are laid out very neatly. In the notes for the painting we discover that some of the instruments are specifically for surgery of the eye. Cataract surgery like the one being prepared for in this painting was…
 
In the 16th century plague impacted Shakespeare’s daily life through regular closings of the theater due to the fear of disease spreading in enclosed spaces. In addition to large crowds gathering together in the theater, contemporary science warned against one particular threat of contagion: the laundry. It was believed that certain materials could…
 
Throughout Shakespeare’s lifetime there were dozens of books printed on plants called herballs. These books contained drawings of various grasses, flowers, herbs, and trees that grew in England. The drawings we have surviving today total more than 1,000 woodcuts from Shakespeare’s lifetime literally illustrating for us that the plant industry in En…
 
In Shakespeare’s Pericles, the character Thasia gives birth on a ship at sea and, dying in childbirth, is thrown overboard in her coffin by Pericles. There’s a great deal to unpack in the story about this moment, but seeing it happen in the play lead me to wonder: Were women really traveling on board ships in the 16th century (sailing and explorati…
 
One of the byproducts of introducing disruptive innovation to the theater industry of the 16th century is that not everyone is a fan of your work. For William Shakespeare, as he and his compatriots masterminded theaters like the Globe and the Blackfriars, there was a considerable faction of Puritans in London who felt their work was corrupting the …
 
Many of Shakespeare’s most powerful scenes are based on physical action that isn’t directly written about in the scripts of his works. For example, when Ophelia goes mad and demonstrates her madness on stage, we know for certain what she says during that scene because her lines are written out for us but it’s unclear what her physical movements sho…
 
Born in the late 1480s, and dying an astonishing one hundred and fifty two years later in 1635, Old Tom Parr is famous for living longer than any man in England before or since his lifetime. Overlapping Shakespeare’s lifetime entirely, being born before the bard and living more than twenty years after the bard’s death, Old Tom Parr was born in Alde…
 
Shakespeare references “beer” in his works 6 times, drawing attention to specific kinds of beer like “small beer” “double beer” and even one reference in Hamlet to beer barrels where the Prince of Denmark suggests that beer barrels had a stopper to keep them sealed. Drinking beer in Shakespeare’s lifetime was almost as regular as drinking water is …
 
700 years before Shakespeare a man named Saint Swithun established his place in history mostly because of the miracles that surrounded his death and burial. St. Swithun would capture the imagination of writers for centuries after his death, with one of his most famous miracles being recorded in a book called Historia major from the 15th century. Th…
 
One of the most powerful aspects of modern day theater performance is the spooky sounds, creaking doors, or the wailing noises of the witches across the moor. These same sound effects were important on stage for Shakespeare’s original performances of his plays, as well, but as you might imagine, with a decidedly less computer-based generation. Whil…
 
One of the most remembered lines from Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet is when Sampson says “I bite my thumb at your sir!” It’s funny to us today partly because we don’t understand why someone would bite their thumb. We can tell from context that it's’ meant to be an insult, but do you know why it was insulting? Culture of the 16th-17th century when …
 
In a series of highly political and pro-English history plays known as his “Henriad” performances, Shakespeare uses a variety of figurative words and expressions to describe the “Turks” or members of the Ottoman Empire. Almost all of Shakespeare’s references are rather negative towards the Ottomans, which at face value may lead you to believe that …
 
When Shakespeare performed scenes like the ocean waves of the Tempest, the flying acrobatics of ghosts, or had his characters change location from the streets of verona to the castles of Kings of England, there were technologies, machines, and specialty techniques used in the 16th century to accomplish these feats of nature and fantastic visual eff…
 
When London established a new mayor every October, there was a pageant put on to celebrate the appointment and introduce the new mayor to the city known as the Lord Mayor’s Show. This event was an extravagant affair, featuring a huge parade that followed an established route through the city. In one of the earliest accounts we have of the Lord Mayo…
 
Wild carrots are indigenous to Europe and known as Queen Anne’s Lace, as well as Devil’s Plague, and Fool’s Parsley, this wild carrot variety was known primarily for its use as an herb and in medicinal recipes. The formal, cultivated carrot arrived in England by the 15th century, and right up until Shakespeare’s lifetime, carrots were mostly purple…
 
In this Christmas special Emily and Ray went for a walk round Regent’s Park with Jack Whitehall and his Cavapoo, Coco. They chatted about the Whitehall family dogs, his childhood where he was an extroverted kid, his rebellious phase at school, and his new film, Clifford the Big Red Dog. See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.…
 
Shakespeare uses the word “pearl” over 40 times across his works. He describes them as objects of high value, and in Troilus and Cressida, uses the pearl to describe a rare and valuable woman saying “she is a pearl, Whose price hath launch'd above a thousand ships.” The pearl trade was an industry well established under Henry VIII of England, who l…
 
Metal was used in Shakespeare’s lifetime to create a variety of items including swords, armor, guns, and even horseshoes. In one reference from Henry IV Part II, Shakespeare draws attention to the fact that a “smith” the term for someone who works with metal, was responsible for creating some of these items when the character Davy says “Here is now…
 
In this bonus episode join Emily as she discusses low-alcohol wines on the new Sunday Times podcast 'Wine Times' - with Miquita Oliver and Will Lyons. As well as three great wines to taste; Emily talks about 'Walking the Dog' and her canine companion Raymond, Will explains the process of removing alcohol from wine, and Miquita asks "are all screwca…
 
You may have heard of common superstitions like throwing salt over your shoulder when you spill some to ward off bad luck, or crossing your fingers when you tell a lie to prevent consequences of your transgression. These kinds of small acts to try and control or influence the spiritual realm around you were more than just common superstitions for t…
 
It is Thanksgiving this week here in the US where we take time to intentionally be grateful for what we’ve been given and count our blessings, but it is also the one time of year where the whole nation remembers an event that began during the life of William Shakespeare: the journey of the Pilgrims on the Mayflower. Not many people realize the stor…
 
In 1593, Shakespeare wrote Venus and Adonis the play in which he writes “like the deadly bullet of a gun, His meaning struck her ere his words begun.” As our guest this week explains, “This is likely a reference to the phenomenon of a supersonic bullet hitting the target before the gunshot is heard. The Henrician arquebuses housed at the Royal Armo…
 
In 1588, William Shakespeare turned 24 years old. This year is part of what we call “Shakespeare’s Lost Years” because we don’t know precisely what Shakepeare was doing at this time. Many speculations have been made that Shakespeare hopped a ride with one of the touring companies that visited his hometown of Stratford Upon Avon to make his fortunes…
 
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