Tides of History

Tides of History

wondery.com/shows/tides-of-history
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.


The Italian Wars, Part 2
Jul 18 • 54 min
In our second episode on the Italian Wars, we explore how Holy Roman Emperor Charles V’s vast territories ratcheted up the conflict from a dynastic squabble to a continent-spanning contest of great powers.
Walls throughout History: An Interview with Professor David Frye
Jul 11 • 43 min
What creates civilization, in the most basic sense? According to Professor David Frye, who joins me this week, it’s walls - Hadrian’s Wall, the Great Wall of China, city walls, and thousands more over the millennia. Support this show by supporting our…
The Italian Wars, Part 1
Jul 4 • 63 min
The Italian Wars were the defining conflict of the sixteenth century, bridging the gap between the Middle Ages and the early modern period. Today, we explore their origins in medieval dynastic infighting and their opening stages, as King Charles VIII of…
Minisode: Military Revolutions
Jun 27 • 18 min
It’s a concept! It’s a feeling! It’s… been a long time since we talked about it. We’re throwing it back to 2017 and tracing the evolution of war in the 15th and 16th centuries.
Why Bother with the Seventeenth Century? An Interview with Professor Keith Pluymers
Jun 20 • 47 min
Friend of the show Keith Pluymers returned for a great chat about fuel, environmental history, and why the seventeenth century is worth studying. You can listen to the back catalog of Tides of History, completely ad-free, only on Stitcher Premium. For a…
Condottieri: War for Profit in Renaissance Italy
Jun 13 • 55 min
In Renaissance Italy, war was simultaneously art, science, and big business, waged for profit and glory by hired contractors known as condottieri. Today, we follow one condottiere as he makes his way through the dangerous world of mercenary warfare in the…
Machiavelli’s Laboratory: The Politics of Renaissance Italy
Jun 6 • 57 min
Renaissance Italy was a political minefield, where backstabbing dukes, ambitious republics, and disloyal mercenaries created a laboratory for political innovation. This environment produced professional armies, the roots of state finance, and modern…
Classic Tides: Life in Renaissance Florence
May 30 • 54 min
We’re revisiting an episode of Tides of History we originally released in January 2018. Pay close attention, we’re going to be spending a LOT of time in Italy this summer. What was it like to have a front-row seat to the explosion of learning, art, and…
Minisode: Banking
May 23 • 15 min
We catch up a bit more on Jakob Fugger’s personality - or lack thereof - along with some of the other important south German trading firms of the age, the development of the Antwerp financial market, and the connection between banking and the patronage of…
Jakob Fugger: The Richest Man Who Ever Lived?
May 16 • 56 min
At the end of the fifteenth century, the center of European banking suddenly swung from its birthplace in Italy to south Germany. The key figure in that transition was Jakob Fugger of Augsburg, maybe the richest man who ever lived. You can listen to the…
The Rise and Fall of the Medici Bank
May 9 • 57 min
The Medici name still carries echoes of power and labyrinthine politics. But the Medici got their start as bankers, and built a financial empire that spanned fifteenth-century Europe. Popes, kings, and merchants all did business with the Medici, and the…
The Civil War, Reconstruction, and the Gilded Age: An Interview with Stanford’s Professor Richard White
May 2 • 47 min
The Civil War and its decades-long aftermath continue to define American life well into the twenty-first century. Today we chat with Stanford’s Professor Richard White, author of The Republic For Which It Stands: The United States During Reconstruction…
Minisode: Messianic Rulers and Military Revolutions in Spain
Apr 25 • 22 min
Let’s chat about some of the other interesting things Patrick discovered in his research for this month’s episodes: messianic rulership and military revolutions in the Spain of Isabella and Ferdinand.
The Spanish Inquisition, the Expulsion of the Jews, and the Rise of Spain
Apr 18 • 52 min
Queen Isabella of Castile was one of the great state-building monarchs of the later Middle Ages, but state-building had a dark side: the Spanish Inquisition, the expulsion of the Jews, and the beginnings of a decades-long war that would consume western…
Queen Isabella of Spain and the End of the Reconquista
Apr 11 • 56 min
Queen Isabella of Castile was the greatest of the state-building rulers of the late Middle Ages. During her rule, she sent Columbus to America, married Ferdinand of Aragon to launch modern Spain, and finished the centuries-long Reconquista, ending…
Historical Fiction and the Wars of the Roses: An Interview with Philippa Gregory
Apr 4 • 47 min
We talked to bestselling novelist Philippa Gregory about her views of history and historical fiction, and her perspective on the Wars of the Roses, where she has spent many years. You can listen to the back catalog of Tides of History, completely ad-free,…
1492: A Guided Tour of Europe on the Brink
Mar 21 • 54 min
1492 was a big year, and not just because a certain Genoese navigator set sail into the unknown. Europe was on the cusp of enormous changes. Follow along as we travel all across the continent and get a feel for Europe on the brink. You can listen to the…
Who Was Christopher Columbus? With Professor Felipe Fernandez-Armesto
Mar 14 • 43 min
1492 was a truly wild year, and there is no one better to talk about it with than one of Patrick’s favorite historians, Felipe Fernandez-Armesto, author of many excellent books on Columbus and exploration. You can listen to the back catalog of Tides of…
Civil Servants, State Finance, and the Rising State
Mar 7 • 53 min
States didn’t pull themselves up by their bootstraps, driven solely by the will of indomitable rulers; instead, they benefited from the services of a class of highly educated and dedicated civil servants. They administered finance and justice and executed…
The Troubled Inheritance of Mary of Burgundy and Dynastic Consolidation
Feb 21 • 50 min
When Charles the Bold, duke of Burgundy, met the business end of a Swiss halberd in 1477, his 19-year-old daughter Mary was set to inherit all of his vast possessions. But her position was precarious, surrounded by rapacious neighbors and rivals. The…
The Rise and Fall of Burgundy
Feb 14 • 62 min
The Valois dukes of Burgundy were kings in all but name. Originally a branch of the French royal family, they fought for control of the French crown, accumulated vast lands, and nearly carved out a kingdom for themselves in the borderlands between France…
Game of Thrones and Late Medieval Politics
Feb 7 • 47 min
Surprise: Patrick loves Game of Thrones. Bigger surprise: GoT is actually a pretty accurate portrayal of late medieval politics - except for the dragons. Patrick’s friend Albro Lundy, a very funny and smart TV writer, joins us to talk about it. Follow him…
Civil Wars and Political Breakdowns in Late Medieval Europe
Jan 24 • 58 min
The Wars of the Roses are infamous, but practically every European kingdom, not just England, was wracked by serious bouts of infighting in the second half of the 15th century. In a time period known for the growth of state power, why were there so many…
The Wars of the Roses, II
Jan 17 • 64 min
By 1461, the Wars of the Roses had already claimed thousands of lives and shaken England’s political system to its foundations. The bloodiest battle ever fought in England would soon follow, along with decades more of instability and periodic crisis. Love…
The Wars of the Roses
Jan 10 • 63 min
The Wars of the Roses brought what had once been Europe’s most stable and well-governed kingdom to its knees. Weakness at the center, in the form of the useless King Henry VI, reverberated outwards throughout the political system. Could England survive…
The Reformation, Live from Boston
Dec 20, 2018 • 42 min
Leah and I had the opportunity to give a public talk at the Sound Education Conference at Harvard. We talked about the Reformation, why it matters, and how historians think about it today. Support this show by supporting our sponsors! Hair Club for Men -…
Archaeology Rules with Raksha Dave!
Dec 13, 2018 • 39 min
YES we’re talking to THAT Raksha Dave, the one from Time Team, Patrick and Leah’s favorite show! She tells us about her future digs, all the cool stuff she’s done since Time Team, how she became an archaeologist, and why we should all treat old stuff with…
Vlad the Impaler and the Legend of Dracula
Dec 6, 2018 • 56 min
Medieval politics, full of assassinations and betrayal, was not for the faint of heart. But even within that landscape, one man stands out for his cruelty: Vlad the Impaler, prince of Wallachia, the inspiration for Bram Stoker’s Count Dracula. This…
George Washington and the End of the Revolution: An Interview with Author Nathaniel Philbrick
Nov 29, 2018 • 41 min
Nathaniel Philbrick - one of Patrick’s favorite authors of popular history - stopped by to chat about his latest book, In the Hurricane’s Eye: The Genius of George Washington and the Victory at Yorktown. The bestselling author filled us in on the dramatic…
Beer, Brewsters, and Women’s Work: An Interview with Judith Bennett
Nov 15, 2018 • 48 min
Professor Judith Bennett joined Patrick to talk about the difference between ale and beer, and how work - and women’s work in particular - changed over time. Check out Judith’s Books! A Medieval Life: Cecilia Penifader of Brigstock, c. 1295-1344 Sisters…
The Fall of Constantinople and the Tragic End of the Byzantines
Nov 8, 2018 • 62 min
In 1453, after more than 60 years of trying, the Ottomans finally besieged and captured the city of Constantinople. This marked the end of one phase of Ottoman expansion and the beginning of another as the dominant power of the region. It was also the end…
Holy War and the Rise of the Ottomans
Nov 1, 2018 • 57 min
The Ottoman Empire rose from humble beginnings in Anatolia to dominate a vast swathe of territory. Holy war, gaza, was a powerful driving force behind that expansion. At the Battle of Nicopolis in 1396, Ottoman holy war clashed directly with its Christian…
Archaeology and Why It Rules
Oct 18, 2018 • 35 min
Archaeology shows up all the time on Tides of History, and it’s one of Patrick’s favorite topics. Leah joins to chat about what it can tell us, how it works, and why it’s so dang cool.
Heresy, Witch Hunts, and Inquisition
Oct 11, 2018 • 49 min
The dark side of the late medieval Church was its emphasis on control and conformity. A concept of orthodoxy produced a conception of unacceptable difference, which manifested itself in hunts for heretics, witches, and the institution of the Inquisition.…
The Trials and Tribulations of the Late Medieval Church
Oct 4, 2018 • 48 min
The late Middle Ages were a time of upheaval for the universal Church, caught between the glories and overwhelming power of the High Middle Ages and the crisis of the Protestant Reformation. Support this show by supporting our sponsors! Don’t be a…
Tides of History Book Club: Silk Roads
Sep 30, 2018 • 14 min
Patrick and Leah talk about Peter Frankopan’s The Silk Roads: A New History of the World, which Patrick didn’t like very much. Critical reviews of books are just as important as glowing ones, so let’s talk about that.
The Ebb and Flow of History
Jul 20, 2017 • 19 min
History shapes our world in ways both seen and unseen. In the introductory episode of Tides of History, we explore two major tides - the Fall of Rome and the Rise of the Modern World - and why history matters in the here and now. Subscribe today so you…
Introducing Tides of History
Jul 7, 2017 • 1 min
History does not repeat itself, but it does rhyme, said Mark Twain. From the fall of the Roman Empire to the rise of the modern world: history ebbs and flows over the centuries, driven by great tides of economic, social, political, religious, and cultural…