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In Our Time: History

BBC

History

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Overview

Historical themes, events and key individuals from Akhenaten to Xenophon.

356 Episodes

Napoleon's Hundred Days

Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss Napoleon Bonaparte's temporary return to power in France in 1815, following his escape from exile on Elba . He arrived with fewer than a thousand men, yet three weeks later he had displaced Louis XVIII and taken charge of an army as large as any that the Allied Powers could muster individually. He saw that his best chance was to pick the Allies off one by one, starting with the Prussian and then the British/Allied armies in what is now Belgium. He appeared to be on the point of victory at Waterloo yet somehow it eluded him, and his plans were soon in tatters. His escape to America thwarted, he surrendered on 15th July and was exiled again but this time to Saint Helena. There he wrote his memoirs to help shape his legacy, while back in Europe there were still fears of his return.With Michael Rowe Reader in European History at Kings College LondonKatherine Astbury Professor of French Studies at the University of WarwickAndZack White Leverhulme Early Career Research Fellow at the University of PortsmouthProducer: Simon Tillotson In Our Time is a BBC Studios Audio production.Reading list:Katherine Astbury and Mark Philp (ed.), Napoleon's Hundred Days and the Politics of Legitimacy (Palgrave, 2018)Jeremy Black, The Battle of Waterloo: A New History (Icon Books, 2010)Michael Broers, Napoleon: The Decline and Fall of an Empire: 1811-1821 (Pegasus Books, 2022)Philip Dwyer, Citizen Emperor: Napoleon in power 1799-1815 (Bloomsbury, 2014)Charles J. Esdaile, Napoleon, France and Waterloo: The Eagle Rejected (Pen & Sword Military, 2016)Gareth Glover, Waterloo: Myth and Reality (Pen & Sword Military, 2014)Sudhir Hazareesingh, The Legend of Napoleon (Granta, 2014)John Hussey, Waterloo: The Campaign of 1815, Volume 1, From Elba to Ligny and Quatre Bras (Greenhill Books, 2017)Andrew Roberts, Napoleon the Great (Penguin Books, 2015)Brian Vick, The Congress of Vienna: Power and Politics after Napoleon (Harvard University Press, 2014) Zack White (ed.), The Sword and the Spirit: Proceedings of the first ‘War & Peace in the Age of Napoleon’ Conference (Helion and Company, 2021)

Transcribed - Published: 16 May 2024

Julian the Apostate

Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss the last pagan ruler of the Roman Empire. Fifty years after Constantine the Great converted to Christianity and introduced a policy of tolerating the faith across the empire, Julian (c.331 - 363 AD) aimed to promote paganism instead, branding Constantine the worst of all his predecessors. Julian was a philosopher-emperor in the mould of Marcus Aurelius and was noted in his lifetime for his letters and his satires, and it was his surprising success as a general in his youth in Gaul that had propelled him to power barely twenty years after a rival had slaughtered his family. Julian's pagan mission and his life were brought to a sudden end while on campaign against the Sasanian Empire in the east, but he left so much written evidence of his ideas that he remains one of the most intriguing of all the Roman emperors and a hero to the humanists of the Enlightenment. With James Corke-Webster Reader in Classics, History and Liberal Arts at King’s College, LondonLea Niccolai Assistant Professor in Classics at the University of Cambridge and Fellow and Director of Studies in Classics, Trinity College And Shaun Tougher Professor of Late Roman and Byzantine History at Cardiff UniversityProducer: Simon TillotsonReading list:Polymnia Athanassiadi, Julian: An Intellectual Biography (first published 1981; Routledge, 2014)Nicholas Baker-Brian and Shaun Tougher (eds.), Emperor and Author: The Writings of Julian the Apostate (Classical Press of Wales, 2012)Nicholas Baker-Brian and Shaun Tougher (eds.), The Sons of Constantine, AD 337-361: In the Shadows of Constantine and Julian, (Palgrave Macmillan, 2020)G.W. Bowersock, Julian the Apostate (first published 1978; Harvard University Press, 1997)Susanna Elm, Sons of Hellenism, Fathers of the Church: Emperor Julian, Gregory of Nazianzus, and the Vision of Rome (University of California Press, 2012)Ari Finkelstein, The Specter of the Jews: Emperor Julian and the Rhetoric of Ethnicity in Syrian Antioch (University of California Press, 2018)David Neal Greenwood, Julian and Christianity: Revisiting the Constantinian Revolution (Cornell University Press, 2021)Lea Niccolai, Christianity, Philosophy, and Roman Power: Constantine, Julian, and the Bishops on Exegesis and Empire (Cambridge University Press, 2023)Stefan Rebenich and Hans-Ulrich Wiemer (eds), A Companion to Julian the Apostate (Brill, 2020)Rowland Smith, Julian’s Gods: Religion and Philosophy in the Thought and Action of Julian the Apostate (Routledge, 1995)H.C. Teitler, The Last Pagan Emperor: Julian the Apostate and the War against Christianity (Oxford University Press, 2017)Shaun Tougher, Julian the Apostate (Edinburgh University Press, 2007)W. C. Wright, The Works of Emperor Julian of Rome (Loeb, 1913-23)

Transcribed - Published: 18 April 2024

The Mokrani Revolt

Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss the revolt that broke out in 1871 in Algeria against French rule, spreading over hundreds of miles and countless towns and villages before being brutally suppressed. It began with the powerful Cheikh Mokrani and his family and was taken up by hundreds of thousands, becoming the last major revolt there before Algeria’s war of independence in 1954. In the wake of its swift suppression though came further waves of French migrants to settle on newly confiscated lands, themselves displaced by French defeat in Europe and the loss of Alsace-Lorraine, and their arrival only increased tensions. The Mokrani Revolt came to be seen as a watershed between earlier Ottoman rule and full national identity, an inspiration to nationalists in the 1950s.WithNatalya Benkhaled-Vince Associate Professor of the History of Modern France and the Francophone World, Fellow of University College, University of OxfordHannah-Louise Clark Senior Lecturer in Global Economic and Social History at the University of GlasgowAnd Jim House Senior Lecturer in French and Francophone History at the University of Leeds Producer: Simon Tillotson Reading list: Mahfoud Bennoune, The Making of Contemporary Algeria: 1830-1987 (Cambridge University Press, 1988)Julia Clancy-Smith, Rebel and Saint: Muslim Notables, Populist Protest, Colonial Encounters, Algeria and Tunisia 1800–1904 (University of California Press, 1994) Hannah-Louise Clark, ‘The Islamic Origins of the French Colonial Welfare State: Hospital Finance in Algeria’ (European Review of History, vol. 28, nos 5-6, 2021)Hannah-Louise Clark, ‘Of jinn theories and germ theories: translating microbes, bacteriological medicine, and Islamic law in Algeria’ (Osiris, vol. 36, 2021)Brock Cutler, Ecologies of Imperialism in Algeria (University of Nebraska Press, 2023) Didier Guignard, 1871: L’Algérie sous Séquestre (CNRS Éditions, 2023)Idir Hachi, ‘Histoire social de l’insurrection de 1871 et du procès de ses chefs (PhD diss., University of Aix-Marseille, 2017) Abdelhak Lahlou, Idir Hachi, Isabelle Guillaume, Amélie Gregório and Peter Dunwoodie, ‘L'insurrection kabyle de 1871’ (Etudes françaises volume 57, no 1, 2021)James McDougall, A History of Algeria (Cambridge University Press (2017)John Ruedy, Modern Algeria: The Origins and Development of a Nation (Indiana University Press, 2005, 2nd edition)Jennifer E Sessions, By Sword and Plow: France and the Conquest of Algeria (Cornell University Press, 2011)Samia Touati, ‘Lalla Fatma N’Soumer, 1830–1863: Spirituality, Resistance and Womanly Leadership in Colonial Algeria (Societies vol. 8, no. 4, 2018)Natalya Vince, Our Fighting Sisters: Nation, Memory and Gender in Algeria, 1954-2012 (Manchester University Press, 2015)

Transcribed - Published: 4 April 2024

The Sack of Rome 1527

Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss the infamous assault of an army of the Holy Roman Emperor on the city of Rome in 1527. The troops soon broke through the walls of this holy city and, with their leader shot dead early on, they brought death and destruction to the city on an epic scale. Later writers compared it to the fall of Carthage or Jerusalem and soon the mass murder, torture, rape and looting were followed by disease which was worsened by starvation and opened graves. It has been called the end of the High Renaissance, a conflict between north and south, between Lutherans and Catholics, and a fulfilment of prophecy of divine vengeance and, perhaps more persuasively, a consequence of military leaders not feeding or paying their soldiers other than by looting. WithStephen Bowd Professor of Early Modern History at the University of EdinburghJessica Goethals Associate Professor of Italian at the University of AlabamaAnd Catherine Fletcher Professor of History at Manchester Metropolitan UniversityProducer: Simon TillotsonReading list:Stephen Bowd, Renaissance Mass Murder: Civilians and Soldiers during the Italian Wars (Oxford University Press, 2018)Benvenuto Cellini, Autobiography (Penguin Classics, 1999)Benvenuto Cellini (trans. Julia Conaway Bondanella and Peter Bondanella), My Life (Oxford University Press, 2009)André Chastel (trans. Beth Archer), The Sack of Rome 1527 (Princeton University Press, 1983Catherine Fletcher, The Beauty and the Terror: An Alternative History of the Italian Renaissance (Bodley Head, 2020)Kenneth Gouwens and Sheryl E. Reiss (eds), The Pontificate of Clement VII: History, Politics, Culture (Routledge, 2005)Francesco Guicciardini (trans. Sidney Alexander), The History of Italy (first published 1561; Princeton University Press, 2020)Luigi Guicciardini (trans. James H. McGregor), The Sack of Rome (first published 1537; Italica Press, 2008)Judith Hook, The Sack of Rome (2nd edition, Palgrave Macmillan, 2004)Geoffrey Parker, Emperor: A New Life of Charles V (Yale University Press, 2019)

Transcribed - Published: 21 March 2024

The Hanseatic League

Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss the Hanseatic League or Hansa which dominated North European trade in the medieval period. With a trading network that stretched from Iceland to Novgorod via London and Bruges, these German-speaking Hansa merchants benefitted from tax exemptions and monopolies. Over time, the Hansa became immensely influential as rulers felt the need to treat it well. Kings and princes sometimes relied on loans from the Hansa to finance their wars and an embargo by the Hansa could lead to famine. Eventually, though, the Hansa went into decline with the rise in the nation state’s power, greater competition from other merchants and the development of trade across the Atlantic. WithJustyna Wubs-Mrozewicz Associate Professor of Medieval History at the University of AmsterdamGeorg Christ Senior Lecturer in Medieval and Early Modern History at the University of ManchesterAnd Sheilagh Ogilvie Chichele Professor of Economic History at All Souls College, University of OxfordProducer: Victoria BrignellReading list: James S. Amelang and Siegfried Beer, Public Power in Europe: Studies in Historical Transformations (Plus-Pisa University Press, 2006), especially `Trade and Politics in the Medieval Baltic: English Merchants and England’s Relations to the Hanseatic League 1370–1437`Nicholas R. Amor, Late Medieval Ipswich: Trade and Industry (Boydell & Brewer, 2011)B. Ayers, The German Ocean: Medieval Europe around the North Sea (Equinox, 2016)H. Brand and P. Brood, The German Hanse in Past & Present Europe: A medieval league as a model for modern interregional cooperation? (Castel International Publishers, 2007)Wendy R. Childs, The Trade and Shipping of Hull, 1300-1500 (East Yorkshire Local History Society, 1990)Alexander Cowan, Hanseatic League: Oxford Bibliographies (Oxford University Press, 2010)Philippe Dollinger, The German Hansa (Macmillan, 1970)John D. Fudge, Cargoes, Embargoes and Emissaries: The Commercial and Political Interaction of England and the German Hanse, 1450-1510 (University of Toronto Press, 1995)Donald J. Harreld, A Companion to the Hanseatic League (Brill, 2015)T.H. Lloyd, England and the German Hanse, 1157 – 1611: A Study of their Trade and Commercial Diplomacy (first published 1991; Cambridge University Press, 2002)Giampiero Nigro (ed.), Maritime networks as a factor in European integration (Fondazione Istituto Internazionale Di Storia Economica “F. Datini” Prato, University of Firenze, 2019), especially ‘Maritime Networks and Premodern Conflict Management on Multiple Levels. The Example of Danzig and the Giese Family’ by Justyna Wubs-Mrozewicz Sheilagh Ogilvie, Institutions and European Trade: Merchant Guilds, 1000-1800 (Cambridge University Press, 2011)Paul Richards (ed.), Six Essays in Hanseatic History (Poppyland Publishing, 2017)Paul Richards, King’s Lynn and The German Hanse 1250-1550: A Study in Anglo-German Medieval Trade and Politics (Poppyland Publishing, 2022)Stephen H. Rigby, The Overseas Trade of Boston, 1279-1548 (Böhlau Verlag, 2023)Justyna Wubs-Mrozewicz and Stuart Jenks (eds.), The Hanse in Medieval & Early Modern Europe (Brill, 2012) Justyna Wubs-Mrozewicz, ‘The late medieval and early modern Hanse as an institution of conflict management’ (Continuity and Change 32/1, Cambridge University Press, 2017)

Transcribed - Published: 29 February 2024

Nefertiti

Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss the woman who inspired one of the best known artefacts from ancient Egypt. The Bust of Nefertiti is multicoloured and symmetrical, about 49cm/18" high and, despite the missing left eye, still holds the gaze of onlookers below its tall, blue, flat topped headdress. Its discovery in 1912 in Amarna was kept quiet at first but its display in Berlin in the 1920s caused a sensation, with replicas sent out across the world. Ever since, as with Tutankhamun perhaps, the concrete facts about Nefertiti herself have barely kept up with the theories, the legends and the speculation, reinvigorated with each new discovery. WithAidan Dodson Honorary Professor of Egyptology at the University of BristolJoyce Tyldesley Professor of Egyptology at the University of ManchesterAnd Kate Spence Senior Lecturer in Egyptian Archaeology at the University of Cambridge and Fellow of Emmanuel CollegeProducer: Simon TillotsonReading list:Dorothea Arnold (ed.), The Royal Women of Amarna: Images of Beauty from Ancient Egypt (The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1996) Norman de Garis Davies, The Rock Tombs of el-Amarna (6 vols. Egypt Exploration Society, 1903-1908) Aidan Dodson, Amarna Sunset: Nefertiti, Tutankhamun, Ay, Horemheb and the Egyptian Counter-reformation. (American University in Cairo Press, 2009 Aidan Dodson, Nefertiti, Queen and Pharaoh of Egypt: her life and afterlife (American University in Cairo Press, 2020)Aidan Dodson, Tutankhamun: King of Egypt: his life and afterlife (American University in Cairo Press, 2022)Barry Kemp, The City of Akhenaten and Nefertiti: Amarna and Its People (Thames and Hudson, 2012)Dominic Montserrat, Akhenaten: History, Fantasy and Ancient Egypt (Routledge, 2002)Friederike Seyfried (ed.), In the Light of Amarna: 100 Years of the Nefertiti Discovery (Ägyptisches Museum und Papyrussamlung Staatlich Museen zu Berlin/ Michael Imhof Verlag, 2013)Joyce Tyldesley, Tutankhamun: Pharaoh, Icon, Enigma (Headline, 2022) Joyce Tyldesley, Nefertiti’s Face: The Creation of an Icon (Profile Books, 2018)Joyce Tyldesley, Nefertiti: Egypt’s Sun Queen (Viking, 1998)

Transcribed - Published: 15 February 2024

Tiberius

Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss the Roman emperor Tiberius. When he was born in 42BC, there was little prospect of him ever becoming Emperor of Rome. Firstly, Rome was still a Republic and there had not yet been any Emperor so that had to change and, secondly, when his stepfather Augustus became Emperor there was no precedent for who should succeed him, if anyone. It somehow fell to Tiberius to develop this Roman imperial project and by some accounts he did this well, while to others his reign was marked by cruelty and paranoia inviting comparison with Nero.WithMatthew Nicholls Senior Tutor at St. John’s College, University of OxfordShushma Malik Assistant Professor of Classics and Onassis Classics Fellow at Newnham College at the University of CambridgeAnd Catherine Steel Professor of Classics at the University of GlasgowProducer: Simon TillotsonReading list:Edward Champlin, ‘Tiberius the Wise’ (Historia: Zeitschrift für Alte Geschichte, 57.4, 2008)Alison E. Cooley, ‘From the Augustan Principate to the invention of the Age of Augustus’ (Journal of Roman Studies 109, 2019)Alison E. Cooley, The Senatus Consultum de Cn. Pisone Patre: text, translation, and commentary (Cambridge University Press, 2023)Eleanor Cowan, ‘Tiberius and Augustus in Tiberian Sources’ (Historia: Zeitschrift für Alte Geschichte, 58.4, 2009)Cassius Dio (trans. C. T. Mallan), Roman History: Books 57 and 58: The Reign of Tiberius (Oxford University Press, 2020)Rebecca Edwards, ‘Tacitus, Tiberius and Capri’ (Latomus, 70.4, 2011)A. Gibson (ed.), The Julio-Claudian Succession: Reality and Perception of the Augustan Model (Brill, 2012), especially ‘Tiberius and the invention of succession’ by C. VoutJosephus (trans. E. Mary Smallwood and G. Williamson), The Jewish War (Penguin Classics, 1981)Barbara Levick, Tiberius the Politician (Routledge, 1999)E. O’Gorman, Tacitus’ History of Political Effective Speech: Truth to Power (Bloomsbury, 2019)Velleius Paterculus (trans. J. C. Yardley and Anthony A. Barrett), Roman History: From Romulus and the Foundation of Rome to the Reign of the Emperor Tiberius (Hackett Publishing, 2011)R. Seager, Tiberius (2nd ed., Wiley-Blackwell, 2005)David Shotter, Tiberius Caesar (Routledge, 2005) Suetonius (trans. Robert Graves), The Twelve Caesars (Penguin Classics, 2007)Tacitus (trans. Michael Grant), The Annals of Imperial Rome (Penguin Classics, 2003)

Transcribed - Published: 11 January 2024

Marguerite de Navarre

Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss Marguerite, Queen of Navarre (1492 – 1549), author of the Heptaméron, a major literary landmark in the French Renaissance. Published after her death, The Heptaméron features 72 short stories, many of which explore relations between the sexes. However, Marguerite’s life was more eventful than that of many writers. Born into the French nobility, she found herself the sister of the French king when her brother Francis I came to the throne in 1515. At a time of growing religious change, Marguerite was a leading exponent of reform in the Catholic Church and translated an early work of Martin Luther into French. As the Reformation progressed, she was not afraid to take risks to protect other reformers.With Sara Barker Associate Professor of Early Modern History and Director of the Centre for the Comparative History of Print at the University of LeedsEmily Butterworth Professor of Early Modern French at King’s College LondonAnd Emma Herdman Lecturer in French at the University of St AndrewsProducer: Simon TillotsonReading list: Giovanni Boccaccio (trans. Wayne A. Rebhorn), The Decameron (Norton, 2013)Emily Butterworth, Marguerite de Navarre: A Critical Companion (Boydell &Brewer, 2022)Patricia Cholakian and Rouben Cholakian, Marguerite de Navarre: Mother of the Renaissance (Columbia University Press, 2006)Gary Ferguson, Mirroring Belief: Marguerite de Navarre’s Devotional Poetry (Edinburgh University Press, 1992)Gary Ferguson and Mary B. McKinley (eds.), A Companion to Marguerite de Navarre (Brill, 2013)Mark Greengrass, The French Reformation (John Wiley & Sons, 1987)R.J. Knecht, The Rise and Fall of Renaissance France (Fontana Press, 2008)R.J. Knecht, Renaissance Warrior and Patron: The Reign of Francis I (Cambridge University Press, 2008)John D. Lyons and Mary B. McKinley (eds.), Critical Tales: New Studies of the ‘Heptaméron’ and Early Modern Culture (University of Pennsylvania Press, 1993)Marguerite de Navarre (trans. Paul Chilton), The Heptameron (Penguin, 2004)Marguerite de Navarre (trans. Rouben Cholakian and Mary Skemp), Selected Writings: A Bilingual Edition (University of Chicago Press, 2008) Marguerite de Navarre (trans. Hilda Dale), The Coach and The Triumph of the Lamb (Elm Press, 1999)Marguerite de Navarre (trans. Hilda Dale), The Prisons (Whiteknights, 1989)Marguerite de Navarre (ed. Gisèle Mathieu-Castellani), L’Heptaméron (Libraririe générale française, 1999)Jonathan A. Reid, King’s Sister – Queen of Dissent: Marguerite of Navarre (1492-1549) and her Evangelical Network (Brill, 2009)Paula Sommers, ‘The Mirror and its Reflections: Marguerite de Navarre’s Biblical Feminism’ (Tulsa Studies in Women’s Literature, 5, 1986)Kathleen Wellman, Queens and Mistresses of Renaissance France (Yale University Press, 2013)

Transcribed - Published: 21 December 2023

The Theory of the Leisure Class

Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss the most influential work of Thorstein Veblen (1857-1929). In 1899, during America’s Gilded Age, Veblen wrote The Theory of the Leisure Class as a reminder that all that glisters is not gold. He picked on traits of the waning landed class of Americans and showed how the new moneyed class was adopting these in ways that led to greater waste throughout society. He called these conspicuous leisure and conspicuous consumption and he developed a critique of a system that favoured profits for owners without regard to social good. The Theory of the Leisure Class was a best seller and funded Veblen for the rest of his life, and his ideas influenced the New Deal of the 1930s. Since then, an item that becomes more desirable as it becomes more expensive is known as a Veblen good. With Matthew Watson Professor of Political Economy at the University of WarwickBill Waller Professor of Economics at Hobart and William Smith Colleges, New YorkAndMary Wrenn Senior Lecturer in Economics at the University of the West of EnglandProducer: Simon TillotsonReading list:Charles Camic, Veblen: The Making of an Economist who Unmade Economics (Harvard University Press, 2021)John P. Diggins, Thorstein Veblen: Theorist of the Leisure Class (Princeton University Press, 1999)John P. Diggins, The Bard of Savagery: Thorstein Veblen and Modern Social Theory (Seabury Press, 1978)John Kenneth Galbraith, The Affluent Society (Penguin, 1999) Robert Heilbroner, The Worldly Philosophers: The Lives, Times and Ideas of the Great Economic Thinkers (Penguin, 2000), particularly the chapter ‘The Savage Society of Thorstein Veblen’Ken McCormick, Veblen in Plain English: A Complete Introduction to Thorstein Veblen’s Economics (Cambria Press, 2006)Sidney Plotkin and Rick Tilman, The Political Ideas of Thorstein Veblen (Yale University Press, 2012)Juliet B. Schor, The Overspent American: Why We Want What We Don't Need (William Morrow & Company, 1999)Juliet B. Schor, Born to Buy: The Commercialized Child and the New Consumer Culture (Simon & Schuster Ltd, 2005)Thorstein Veblen, The Theory of the Leisure Class (first published 1899; Oxford University Press, 2009)Thorstein Veblen, The Theory of Business Enterprise (first published 1904; Legare Street Press, 2022)Thorstein Veblen, The Higher Learning in America (first published 2018; Johns Hopkins University Press, 2015) Thorstein Veblen, Absentee Ownership and Business Enterprise in Recent Times: The Case of America (first published 1923; Routledge, 2017)Thorstein Veblen, Conspicuous Consumption (Penguin, 2005)Thorstein Veblen, The Complete Works (Musaicum Books, 2017)Charles J. Whalen (ed.), Institutional Economics: Perspective and Methods in Pursuit of a Better World (Routledge, 2021)

Transcribed - Published: 14 December 2023

The Barbary Corsairs

Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss the North African privateers who, until their demise in the nineteenth century, were a source of great pride and wealth in their home ports, where they sold the people and goods they’d seized from Christian European ships and coastal towns. Nominally, these corsairs were from Algiers, Tunis or Tripoli, outreaches of the Ottoman empire, or Salé in neighbouring Morocco, but often their Turkish or Arabic names concealed their European birth. Murad Reis the Younger, for example, who sacked Baltimore in 1631, was the Dutchman Jan Janszoon who also had a base on Lundy in the Bristol Channel. While the European crowns negotiated treaties to try to manage relations with the corsairs, they commonly viewed these sailors as pirates who were barely tolerated and, as soon as France, Britain, Spain and later America developed enough sea power, their ships and bases were destroyed. WithJoanna Nolan Research Associate at SOAS, University of LondonClaire Norton Former Associate Professor of History at St Mary’s University, TwickenhamAnd Michael Talbot Associate Professor in the History of the Ottoman Empire and the Modern Middle East at the University of GreenwichProducer: Simon Tillotson Reading list:Robert C. Davis, Christian Slaves, Muslim Masters: White Slavery in the Mediterranean, the Barbary Coast and Italy, 1500-1800 (Palgrave Macmillan, 2004)Peter Earle, Corsairs of Malta and Barbary (Sidgwick and Jackson, 1970) Des Ekin, The Stolen Village: Baltimore and the Barbary Pirates (O’Brien Press, 2008)Jacques Heers, The Barbary Corsairs: Warfare in the Mediterranean, 1450-1580 (Skyhorse Publishing, 2018)Colin Heywood, The Ottoman World: The Mediterranean and North Africa, 1660-1760 (Routledge, 2019)Alan Jamieson, Lords of the Sea: A History of the Barbary Corsairs (Reaktion Books, 2013)Julie Kalman, The Kings of Algiers: How Two Jewish Families Shaped the Mediterranean World during the Napoleonic Wars and Beyond (Princeton University Press, 2023)Stanley Lane-Poole, The Story of the Barbary Corsairs (T. Unwin, 1890)Sally Magnusson, The Sealwoman’s Gift (A novel - Two Roads, 2018)Philip Mansel, Levant: Splendour and Catastrophe on the Mediterranean (John Murray, 2010)Nabil Matar, Turks, Moors and Englishmen in the Age of Discovery (Columbia University Press, 1999)Nabil Matar, Britain and Barbary, 1589-1689 (University Press of Florida, 2005)Giles Milton, White Gold: The Extraordinary Story of Thomas Pellow and North Africa’s One Million European Slaves (Hodder and Stoughton, 2004)Claire Norton (ed.), Conversion and Islam in the Early Modern Mediterranean: The Lure of the Other (Routledge, 2017)Claire Norton, ‘Lust, Greed, Torture and Identity: Narrations of Conversion and the Creation of the Early Modern 'Renegade' (Comparative Studies of South Asia, Africa and the Middle East 29/2, 2009) Daniel Panzac, The Barbary Corsairs: The End of a Legend, 1800-1820 (Brill, 2005)Rafael Sabatini, The Sea Hawk (a novel - Vintage Books, 2011)Adrian Tinniswood, Pirates of Barbary: Corsairs, Conquests and Captivity in the 17th century (Vintage Books, 2010)D. Vitkus (ed.), Piracy, Slavery and Redemption: Barbary Captivity Narratives from Early Modern England (Columbia University Press, 2001)J. M. White, Piracy and Law in the Ottoman Mediterranean (Stanford University Press, 2018)

Transcribed - Published: 7 December 2023

The Federalist Papers

Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss Alexander Hamilton, James Madison and John Jay's essays written in 1787/8 in support of the new US Constitution. They published these anonymously in New York as 'Publius' but, when it became known that Hamilton and Madison were the main authors, the essays took on a new significance for all states. As those two men played a major part in drafting the Constitution itself, their essays have since informed debate over what the authors of that Constitution truly intended. To some, the essays have proved to be America’s greatest contribution to political thought. With Frank Cogliano Professor of American History at the University of Edinburgh and Interim Saunders Director of the International Centre for Jefferson Studies at Monticello Kathleen Burk Professor Emerita of Modern and Contemporary History at University College London And Nicholas Guyatt Professor of North American History at the University of Cambridge Producer: Simon Tillotson Reading list: Bernard Bailyn, To Begin the World Anew: The Genius and Ambiguities of the American Founders (Knopf, 2003) Mary Sarah Bilder, Madison’s Hand: Revising the Constitutional Convention (Harvard University Press, 2015) Noah Feldman, The Three Lives of James Madison: Genius, Partisan, President (Random House, 2017) Jonathan Gienapp, The Second Creation: Fixing the American Constitution in the Founding Era (Harvard University Press, 2018) Alexander Hamilton, John Jay, James Madison (eds. George W. Carey and James McClellan), The Federalist: The Gideon Edition (Liberty Fund, 2001) Alison L. LaCroix, The Ideological Origins of American Federalism (Harvard University Press, 2010) James Madison, Alexander Hamilton and John Jay, The Federalist Papers (Penguin, 1987) Pauline Maier, Ratification: The People Debate the Constitution, 1787-1788 (Simon and Schuster, 2010) Michael I. Meyerson, Liberty's Blueprint: How Madison and Hamilton Wrote the Federalist Papers, Defined the Constitution, and Made Democracy Safe for the World (Basic Books, 2008) Jack Rakove, Original Meanings: Politics and Ideas in the Making of the Constitution (Knopf, 1996) Jack N. Rakove and Colleen A. Sheehan, The Cambridge Companion to The Federalist (Cambridge University Press, 2020)

Transcribed - Published: 9 November 2023

The Economic Consequences of the Peace

In an extended version of the programme that was broadcast, Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss the influential book John Maynard Keynes wrote in 1919 after he resigned in protest from his role at the Paris Peace Conference. There the victors of World War One were deciding the fate of the defeated, especially Germany and Austria-Hungary, and Keynes wanted the world to know his view that the economic consequences would be disastrous for all. Soon Germany used his book to support their claim that the Treaty was grossly unfair, a sentiment that fed into British appeasement in the 1930s and has since prompted debate over whether Keynes had only warned of disaster or somehow contributed to it. With Margaret MacMillan Emeritus Professor of International History at the University of Oxford Michael Cox Emeritus Professor of International Relations at the London School of Economics and Founding Director of LSE IDEAS And Patricia Clavin Professor of Modern History at the University of Oxford Producer: Simon Tillotson Reading list: Manfred F. Boemeke, Gerald D. Feldman and Elisabeth Glaser (eds.), The Treaty of Versailles: A Reassessment after 75 Years (Cambridge University Press, 1998) Zachary D. Carter, The Price of Peace: Money, Democracy and the Life of John Maynard Keynes (Random House, 2020) Peter Clarke, Keynes: The Twentieth Century’s Most Influential Economist (Bloomsbury, 2009) Patricia Clavin et al (eds.), Keynes’s Economic Consequences of the Peace after 100 Years: Polemics and Policy (Cambridge University Press, 2023) Patricia Clavin, ‘Britain and the Making of Global Order after 1919: The Ben Pimlott Memorial Lecture’ (Twentieth Century British History, Vol. 31:3, 2020) Richard Davenport-Hines, Universal Man; The Seven Lives of John Maynard Keynes (William Collins, 2015) R. F. Harrod, John Maynard Keynes (first published 1951; Pelican, 1972) Jens Holscher and Matthias Klaes (eds), Keynes’s Economic Consequences of the Peace: A Reappraisal (Pickering & Chatto, 2014) John Maynard Keynes (with an introduction by Michael Cox), The Economic Consequences of the Peace (Palgrave Macmillan, 2019) Margaret MacMillan, Peacemakers: Six Months that Changed the World (John Murray Publishers, 2001) Etienne Mantoux, The Carthaginian Peace or the Economic Consequences of Mr. Keynes (Oxford University Press, 1946) D. E. Moggridge, Maynard Keynes: An Economist’s Biography (Routledge, 1992) Alan Sharp, Versailles 1919: A Centennial Perspective (Haus Publishing Ltd, 2018) Robert Skidelsky, John Maynard Keynes, 1883-1946 (Pan Macmillan, 2004) Jürgen Tampke, A Perfidious Distortion of History: The Versailles Peace Treaty and the Success of the Nazis (Scribe UK, 2017) Adam Tooze, The Deluge: The Great War, America and the Remaking of the Global Order, 1916-1931 (Penguin Books, 2015)

Transcribed - Published: 26 October 2023

Louis XIV: The Sun King

In 1661 the 23 year-old French king Louis the XIV had been on the throne for 18 years when his chief minister, Cardinal Mazarin, died. Louis is reported to have said to his ministers, “It is now time that I govern my affairs myself. You will assist me with your counsels when I ask for them [but] I order you to seal no orders except by my command… I order you not to sign anything, not even a passport, without my command, and to render account to me personally each day” So began the personal rule of Louis XIV, which lasted a further 54 years until his death in 1715. From his newly-built palace at Versailles, Louis was able to project an image of himself as the centre of gravity around which all of France revolved: it’s no accident that he became known as the Sun King. He centralized power to the extent he was able to say ‘L’etat c’est moi’: I am the state. Under his rule France became the leading diplomatic, military and cultural power in Europe. With Catriona Seth Marshal Foch Professor of French Literature at the University of Oxford Guy Rowlands Professor of Early Modern History at the University of St Andrews and Penny Roberts Professor of Early Modern History at the University of Warwick Producer: Luke Mulhall

Transcribed - Published: 22 June 2023

The Shimabara Rebellion

Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss the Christian uprising in Japan and its profound and long-term consequences. In the 1630s, Japan was ruled by the Tokagawa Shoguns, a military dynasty who, 30 years earlier, had unified the country, ending around two centuries of civil war. In 1637 a rebellion broke out in the province of Shimabara, in the south of the country. It was a peasants’ revolt, following years of bad harvests in which the local lord had refused to lower taxes. Many of the rebels were Christians, and they fought under a Christian banner. The central government’s response was merciless. They met the rebels with an army of 150 000 men, possibly the largest force assembled anywhere in the world during the Early Modern period. Once the rebellion had been suppressed, the Shogun enforced a ban on Christianity and expelled nearly all foreigners from the country. Japan remained more or less completely sealed off from the rest of the world for the next 250 years. With Satona Suzuki Lecturer in Japanese and Modern Japanese History at SOAS, University of London Erica Baffelli Professor of Japanese Studies at the University of Manchester and Christopher Harding Senior Lecturer in Asian History at the University of Edinburgh Producer Luke Mulhall

Transcribed - Published: 8 June 2023

The Battle of Crécy

Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss the brutal events of 26 August 1346, when the armies of France and England met in a funnel-shaped valley outside the town of Crécy in northern France. Although the French, led by Philip VI, massively outnumbered the English, under the command of Edward III, the English won the battle, and French casualties were huge. The English victory is often attributed to the success of their longbowmen against the heavy cavalry of the French. The Battle of Crécy was the result of years of simmering tension between Edward III and Philip VI, and it led to decades of further conflict between England and France, a conflict that came to be known as the Hundred Years War. With Anne Curry Emeritus Professor of Medieval History at the University of Southampton Andrew Ayton Senior Research Fellow in History at Keele University and Erika Graham-Goering Lecturer in Late Medieval History at Durham University Producer Luke Mulhall

Transcribed - Published: 11 May 2023

Cnut

Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss the Danish prince who became a very effective King of England in 1016. Cnut inherited a kingdom in a sorry state. The north and east coast had been harried by Viking raiders, and his predecessor King Æthelred II had struggled to maintain order amongst the Anglo-Saxon nobility too. Cnut proved to be skilful ruler. Not only did he bring stability and order to the kingdom, he exported the Anglo-Saxon style of centralised government to Denmark. Under Cnut, England became the cosmopolitan centre of a multi-national North Atlantic Empire, and a major player in European politics. With Erin Goeres Associate Professor of Old Norse Language and Literature at University College London Pragya Vohra Lecturer in Medieval History at the University of York and Elizabeth Tyler Professor of Medieval Literature and Co-Director of the Centre for Medieval Studies at the University of York Producer Luke Mulhall

Transcribed - Published: 4 May 2023

Solon the Lawgiver

Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss Solon, who was elected archon or chief magistrate of Athens in 594 BC: some see him as the father of Athenian democracy. In the first years of the 6th century BC, the city state of Athens was in crisis. The lower orders of society were ravaged by debt, to the point where some were being forced into slavery. An oppressive law code mandated the death penalty for everything from murder to petty theft. There was a real danger that the city could fall into either tyranny or civil war.Solon instituted a programme of reforms that transformed Athens’ political and legal systems, its society and economy, so that later generations referred to him as Solon the Lawgiver. WithMelissa Lane Class of 1943 Professor of Politics at Princeton UniversityHans van Wees Grote Professor of Ancient History at University College Londonand William Allan Professor of Greek and McConnell Laing Tutorial Fellow in Greek and Latin Languages and Literature at University College, University of Oxford Producer Luke Mulhall

Transcribed - Published: 20 April 2023

Mercantilism

Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss how, between the 16th and 18th centuries, Europe was dominated by an economic way of thinking called mercantilism. The key idea was that exports should be as high as possible and imports minimised. For more than 300 years, almost every ruler and political thinker was a mercantilist. Eventually, economists including Adam Smith, in his ground-breaking work of 1776 The Wealth of Nations, declared that mercantilism was a flawed concept and it became discredited. However, a mercantilist economic approach can still be found in modern times and today’s politicians sometimes still use rhetoric related to mercantilism. With D’Maris Coffman Professor in Economics and Finance of the Built Environment at University College London Craig Muldrew Professor of Social and Economic History at the University of Cambridge and a Member of Queens’ College and Helen Paul, Lecturer in Economics and Economic History at the University of Southampton. Producer Luke Mulhall

Transcribed - Published: 13 April 2023

Megaliths

Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss megaliths - huge stones placed in the landscape, often visually striking and highly prominent. Such stone monuments in Britain and Ireland mostly date from the Neolithic period, and the most ancient are up to 6,000 years old. In recent decades, scientific advances have enabled archaeologists to learn a large amount about megalithic structures and the people who built them, but much about these stones remains unknown and mysterious. With Vicki Cummings Professor of Neolithic Archaeology at the University of Central Lancashire Julian Thomas Professor of Archaeology at the University of Manchester and Susan Greaney Lecturer in Archaeology at the University of Exeter.

Transcribed - Published: 30 March 2023

Chartism

On 21 May 1838 an estimated 150,000 people assembled on Glasgow Green for a mass demonstration. There they witnessed the launch of the People’s Charter, a list of demands for political reform. The changes they called for included voting by secret ballot, equal-sized constituencies and, most importantly, that all men should have the vote. The Chartists, as they came to be known, were the first national mass working-class movement. In the decade that followed, they collected six million signatures for their Petitions to Parliament: all were rejected, but their campaign had a significant and lasting impact. With Joan Allen Visiting Fellow in History at Newcastle University and Chair of the Society for the Study of Labour History Emma Griffin Professor of Modern British History at the University of East Anglia and President of the Royal Historical Society and Robert Saunders Reader in Modern British History at Queen Mary, University of London. The image above shows a Chartist mass meeting on Kennington Common in London in April 1848.

Transcribed - Published: 9 March 2023

Tycho Brahe

Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss the pioneering Danish astronomer Tycho Brahe (1546 – 1601) whose charts offered an unprecedented level of accuracy. In 1572 Brahe's observations of a new star challenged the idea, inherited from Aristotle, that the heavens were unchanging. He went on to create his own observatory complex on the Danish island of Hven, and there, working before the invention of the telescope, he developed innovative instruments and gathered a team of assistants, taking a highly systematic approach to observation. A second, smaller source of renown was his metal prosthetic nose, which he needed after a serious injury sustained in a duel. The image above shows Brahe aged 40, from the Atlas Major by Johann Blaeu. With Ole Grell Emeritus Professor in Early Modern History at the Open University Adam Mosley Associate Professor of History at Swansea University and Emma Perkins Affiliate Scholar in the Department of History and Philosophy of Science at the University of Cambridge.

Transcribed - Published: 2 March 2023

The Great Stink

Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss the stench from the River Thames in the hot summer of 1858 and how it appalled and terrified Londoners living and working beside it, including those in the new Houses of Parliament which were still under construction. There had been an outbreak of cholera a few years before in which tens of thousands had died, and a popular theory held that foul smells were linked to diseases. The source of the problem was that London's sewage, once carted off to fertilise fields had recently, thanks to the modern flushing systems, started to flow into the river and, thanks to the ebb and flow of the tides, was staying there and warming in the summer sun. The engineer Joseph Bazalgette was given the task to build huge new sewers to intercept the waste, a vast network, so changing the look of London and helping ensure there were no further cholera outbreaks from contaminated water. The image above is from Punch, July 10th 1858 and it has this caption: The 'Silent Highway'-Man. "Your Money or your Life!" With Rosemary Ashton Emeritus Quain Professor of English Language and Literature at University College London Stephen Halliday Author of ‘The Great Stink of London: Sir Joseph Bazalgette and the Cleansing of the Victorian Metropolis’ And Paul Dobraszczyk Lecturer at the Bartlett School of Architecture at University College London

Transcribed - Published: 26 January 2023

The Irish Rebellion of 1798

Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss the momentum behind rebellion in Ireland in 1798, the people behind the rebellion and the impact over the next few years and after. Amid wider unrest, the United Irishmen set the rebellion on its way, inspired by the French and American revolutionaries and their pursuit of liberty. When it broke out in May the United Irishmen had an estimated two hundred thousand members, Catholic and Protestant, and the prospect of a French invasion fleet to back them. Crucially for the prospects of success, some of those members were British spies who exposed the plans and the military were largely ready - though not in Wexford where the scale of rebellion was much greater. The fighting was initially fierce and brutal and marked with sectarianism but had largely been suppressed by the time the French arrived in August to declare a short-lived republic. The consequences of the rebellion were to be far reaching, not least in the passing of Acts of Union in 1800.The image above is of Theobald Wolfe Tone (1763 - 1798), prominent member of the United IrishmenWith Ian McBride Foster Professor of Irish History at Hertford College, University of OxfordCatriona Kennedy Senior Lecturer in Modern History at the University of YorkAnd Liam Chambers Head of Department and Senior Lecturer in History at Mary Immaculate College, LimerickProducer: Simon Tillotson

Transcribed - Published: 5 January 2023

Demosthenes' Philippics

Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss the speeches that became a byword for fierce attacks on political opponents. It was in the 4th century BC, in Athens, that Demosthenes delivered these speeches against the tyrant Philip II of Macedon, father of Alexander the Great, when Philip appeared a growing threat to Athens and its allies and Demosthenes feared his fellow citizens were set on appeasement. In what became known as The Philippics, Demosthenes tried to persuade Athenians to act against Macedon before it was too late; eventually he succeeded in stirring them, even if the Macedonians later prevailed. For these speeches prompting resistance, Demosthenes became famous as one of the Athenian democracy’s greatest freedom fighters. Later, in Rome, Cicero's attacks on Mark Antony were styled on Demosthenes and these too became known as Philippics.The image above is painted on the dome of the library of the National Assembly, Paris and is by Eugene Delacroix (1798-1863). It depicts Demosthenes haranguing the waves of the sea as a way of strengthening his voice for his speeches.With Paul Cartledge A. G. Leventis Senior Research Fellow at Clare College, University of CambridgeKathryn Tempest Reader in Latin Literature and Roman History at the University of RoehamptonAndJon Hesk Reader in Greek and Classical Studies at the University of St AndrewsProducer: Simon Tillotson

Transcribed - Published: 15 December 2022

The Morant Bay Rebellion

Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss the rebellion that broke out in Jamaica on 11th October 1865 when Paul Bogle (1822-65) led a protest march from Stony Gut to the courthouse in nearby Morant Bay. There were many grounds for grievance that day and soon anger turned to bloodshed. Although the British had abolished slavery 30 years before, the plantation owners were still dominant and the conditions for the majority of people on Jamaica were poor. The British governor suppressed this rebellion brutally and soon people in Jamaica lost what right they had to rule themselves. Some in Britain, like Charles Dickens, supported the governor's actions while others, like Charles Darwin, wanted him tried for murder. The image above is from a Jamaican $2 banknote, printed after Paul Bogle became a National Hero in 1969.With Matthew J Smith Professor of History and Director of the Centre for the Study of the Legacies of British Slavery at University College LondonDiana Paton The William Robertson Professor of History at the University of EdinburghAndLawrence Goldman Emeritus Fellow in History at St Peter’s College, University of OxfordProducer: Simon Tillotson

Transcribed - Published: 1 December 2022

The Knights Templar

Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss the military order founded around 1119, twenty years after the Crusaders captured Jerusalem. For almost 200 years the Knights Templar were a notable fighting force and financial power in the Crusader States and Western Europe. Their mission was to protect pilgrims in the Holy Land, and they became extremely wealthy yet, as the crusader grip on Jerusalem slipped, their political fortune declined steeply. They were to be persecuted out of existence, with their last grand master burned at the stake in Paris in 1314, and that sudden end has contributed to the strength of the legends that have grown up around them.WithHelen Nicholson Professor of Medieval History at Cardiff UniversityMike Carr Lecturer in Late Medieval History at the University of EdinburghAnd Jonathan Phillips Professor of Crusading History at Royal Holloway, University of LondonProducer: Simon Tillotson

Transcribed - Published: 3 November 2022

Angkor Wat

Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss the largest and arguably the most astonishing religious structure on Earth, built for Suryavarman II in the 12th Century in modern-day Cambodia. It is said to have more stone in it than the Great Pyramid of Giza, and much of the surface is intricately carved and remarkably well preserved. For the last 900 years Angkor Wat has been a centre of religion, whether Hinduism, Buddhism or Animism or a combination of those, and a source of wonder to Cambodians and visitors from around the world.WithPiphal Heng Postdoctoral scholar at the Cotsen Institute and the Programme for Early Modern Southeast Asia at UCLAAshley Thompson Hiram W Woodward Chair of Southeast Asian Art at SOAS University of LondonAndSimon Warrack A stone conservator who has worked extensively at Angkor WatProducer: Simon Tillotson

Transcribed - Published: 21 July 2022

Comenius

Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss the Czech educator Jan Amos Komenský (1592-1670) known throughout Europe in his lifetime under the Latin version of his name, Comenius. A Protestant and member of the Unity of Brethren, he lived much of his life in exile, expelled from his homeland under the Catholic Counter-Reformation, and he wanted to address the deep antagonisms underlying the wars that were devastating Europe especially The Thirty Years War (1618-1648). A major part of his plan was Universal Education, in which everyone could learn about everything, and better understand each other and so tolerate their religious differences and live side by side. His ideas were to have a lasting influence on education, even though the peace that followed the Thirty Years War only entrenched the changes in his homeland that made his life there impossible.The image above is from a portrait of Comenius by Jürgen Ovens, 1650 - 1670, painted while he was living in Amsterdam and held in the RikjsmuseumWithVladimir Urbanek Senior Researcher in the Department of Comenius Studies and Early Modern Intellectual History at the Institute of Philosophy of the Czech Academy of SciencesSuzanna Ivanic Lecturer in Early Modern European History at the University of KentAndHoward Hotson Professor of Early Modern Intellectual History at the University of Oxford and Fellow of St Anne’s CollegeProducer: Simon Tillotson

Transcribed - Published: 16 June 2022

The Davidian Revolution

Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss the impact of David I of Scotland (c1084-1153) on his kingdom and on neighbouring lands. The youngest son of Malcolm III, he was raised in exile in the Anglo-Norman court and became Earl of Huntingdon and Prince of Cumbria before claiming the throne in 1124. He introduced elements of what he had learned in England and, in the next decades, his kingdom saw new burghs, new monasteries, new ways of governing and the arrival of some very influential families, earning him the reputation of The Perfect King.With Richard Oram Professor of Medieval and Environmental History at the University of StirlingAlice Taylor Professor of Medieval History at King’s College LondonAndAlex Woolf Senior Lecturer in History at the University of St AndrewsProducer: Simon Tillotson

Transcribed - Published: 2 June 2022

Olympe de Gouges

Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss the French playwright who, in 1791, wrote The Declaration of the Rights of Woman and of the Female Citizen. This was Olympe de Gouges (1748-93) and she was responding to The Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen from 1789, the start of the French Revolution which, by excluding women from these rights, had fallen far short of its apparent goals. Where the latter declared ‘men are born equal’, she asserted ‘women are born equal to men,’ adding, ‘since women are allowed to mount the scaffold, they should also be allowed to stand in parliament and defend their rights’. Two years later this playwright, novelist, activist and woman of letters did herself mount the scaffold, two weeks after Marie Antoinette, for the crime of being open to the idea of a constitutional monarchy and, for two hundred years, her reputation died with her, only to be revived with great vigour in the last 40 years.With Catriona Seth Marshal Foch Professor of French Literature at the University of OxfordKatherine Astbury Professor of French Studies at the University of WarwickAndSanja Perovic Reader in 18th century French studies at King’s College LondonProducer: Simon Tillotson

Transcribed - Published: 19 May 2022

Homo erectus

Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss one of our ancestors, Homo erectus, who thrived on Earth for around two million years whereas we, Homo sapiens, emerged only in the last three hundred thousand years. Homo erectus, or Upright Man, spread from Africa to Asia and it was on the Island of Java that fossilised remains were found in 1891 in an expedition led by Dutch scientist Eugène Dubois. Homo erectus people adapted to different habitats, ate varied food, lived in groups, had stamina to outrun their prey; and discoveries have prompted many theories on the relationship between their diet and the size of their brains, on their ability as seafarers, on their creativity and on their ability to speak and otherwise communicate.The image above is from a diorama at the Moesgaard Museum in Denmark, depicting the Turkana Boy referred to in the programme. With Peter Kjærgaard Director of the Natural History Museum of Denmark and Professor of Evolutionary History at the University of CopenhagenJosé Joordens Senior Researcher in Human Evolution at Naturalis Biodiversity Centre and Professor of Human Evolution at Maastricht UniversityAndMark Maslin Professor of Earth System Science at University College LondonProducer: Simon Tillotson

Transcribed - Published: 12 May 2022

The Arthashastra

Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss the ancient Sanskrit text the Arthashastra, regarded as one of the major works of Indian literature. Written in the style of a scientific treatise, it provides rulers with a guide on how to govern their territory and sets out what the structure, economic policy and foreign affairs of the ideal state should be. According to legend, it was written by Chanakya, a political advisor to the ruler Chandragupta Maurya (reigned 321 – 297 BC) who founded the Mauryan Empire, the first great Empire in the Indian subcontinent. As the Arthashastra asserts that a ruler should pursue his goals ruthlessly by whatever means is required, it has been compared with the 16th-century work The Prince by Machiavelli. Today, it is widely viewed as presenting a sophisticated and refined analysis of the nature, dynamics and challenges of rulership, and scholars value it partly because it undermines colonial stereotypes of what early South Asian society was like. WithJessica Frazier Lecturer in the Study of Religion at the University of Oxford and a Fellow of the Oxford Centre for Hindu StudiesJames Hegarty Professor of Sanskrit and Indian Religions at Cardiff University And Deven Patel Associate Professor of South Asia Studies at the University of PennsylvaniaProducer: Simon Tillotson

Transcribed - Published: 31 March 2022

In Our Time is now first on BBC Sounds

Looking for the latest episode? New episodes of In Our Time will now be available first on BBC Sounds for four weeks before other podcast apps.If you haven’t already, you can download the BBC Sounds app to listen to the In Our Time podcast first.BBC Sounds is also available in lots of other places. Find us on your voice device or smart speaker, on your connected TV, in your car, or at bbc.co.uk/sounds.The latest episode is available on BBC Sounds right now.BBC Sounds – you can find exclusive music mixes, live BBC radio and more podcasts like this one.

Transcribed - Published: 4 March 2022

Peter Kropotkin

Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss the Russian prince who became a leading anarchist and famous scientist. Kropotkin (1842 - 1921) was born into privilege, very much in the highest circle of Russian society as a pageboy for the Tsar, before he became a republican in childhood and dropped the title 'Prince'. While working in Siberia, he started reading about anarchism and that radicalised him further, as did his observations of Siberian villagers supporting each other without (or despite) a role for the State. He made a name for himself as a geographer but soon his politics landed him in jail in St Petersburg, from which he escaped to exile in England where he was fêted, with growing fame leading to lecture tours in the USA. His time in Siberia also inspired his ideas on the importance of mutual aid in evolution, a counter to the dominant idea from Darwin and Huxley that life was a gladiatorial combat in which only the fittest survived. Kropotkin became such a towering figure in public life that, returning to Russia, he was able to challenge Lenin without reprisal, and Lenin in turn permitted his enormous public funeral there, attended by 20,000 mourners.With Ruth Kinna Professor of Political Theory at Loughborough UniversityLee Dugatkin Professor of Biology at the University of LouisvilleAndSimon Dixon The Sir Bernard Pares Professor of Russian History at University College London

Transcribed - Published: 24 February 2022

The Temperance Movement

Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss the momentum behind teetotalism in 19th Century Britain, when calls for moderation gave way to complete abstinence in pursuit of a better life. Although arguments for temperance had been made throughout the British Isles beforehand, the story of the organised movement in Britain is often said to have started in 1832 in Preston, when Joseph Livesey and seven others gave a pledge to abstain. The movement grew quickly, with Temperance Halls appearing as new social centres in towns in place of pubs, and political parties being drawn into taking sides either to support abstinence or impose it or reject it. The image above, which appeared in The Teetotal Progressionist in 1852, is an example of the way in which images contained many points of temperance teaching, and is © Copyright Livesey Collection at the University of Central Lancashire. WithAnnemarie McAllister Senior Research Fellow in History at the University of Central LancashireJames Kneale Associate Professor in Geography at University College LondonAndDavid Beckingham Associate Professor in Cultural and Historical Geography at the University of NottinghamProducer: Simon Tillotson

Transcribed - Published: 3 February 2022

The Gold Standard

Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss the system that flourished from 1870 when gold became dominant and more widely available, following gold rushes in California and Australia. Banknotes could be exchanged for gold at central banks, the coins in circulation could be gold (as with the sovereign in the image above, initially worth £1), gold could be freely imported and exported, and many national currencies around the world were tied to gold and so to each other. The idea began in Britain, where sterling was seen as good as gold, and when other countries rushed to the Gold Standard the confidence in their currencies grew, and world trade took off and, for a century, gold was seen as a vital component of the world economy, supporting stability and confidence. The system came with constraints on government ability to respond to economic crises, though, and has been blamed for deepening and prolonging the Great Depression of the 1930s. WithCatherine Schenk Professor of Economic and Social History at the University of OxfordHelen Paul Lecturer in Economics and Economic History at the University of SouthamptonAndMatthias Morys Senior Lecturer in Economic History at the University of YorkProduced by Eliane Glaser and Simon Tillotson

Transcribed - Published: 20 January 2022

The Hittites

Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss the empire that flourished in the Late Bronze Age in what is now Turkey, and which, like others at that time, mysteriously collapsed. For the next three thousand years these people of the Land of Hatti, as they called themselves, were known only by small references to their Iron Age descendants in the Old Testament and by unexplained remains in their former territory. Discoveries in their capital of Hattusa just over a century ago brought them back to prominence, including cuneiform tablets such as one (pictured above) which relates to an agreement with their rivals, the Egyptians. This agreement has since become popularly known as the Treaty of Kadesh and described as the oldest recorded peace treaty that survives to this day, said to have followed a great chariot battle with Egypt in 1274 BC near the Orontes River in northern Syria. WithClaudia Glatz Professor of Archaeology at the University of GlasgowIlgi Gercek Assistant Professor of Ancient Near Eastern Languages and History at Bilkent UniversityAndChristoph Bachhuber Lecturer in Archaeology at St John’s College, University of OxfordProducer: Simon Tillotson

Transcribed - Published: 23 December 2021

The May Fourth Movement

Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss the violent protests in China on 4th May 1919 over the nation's humiliation in the Versailles Treaty after World War One. China had supported the Allies, sending workers to dig trenches, and expected to regain the German colonies on its territory, but the Allies and China's leaders chose to give that land to Japan instead. To protestors, this was a travesty and reflected much that was wrong with China, with its corrupt leaders, division by warlords, weakness before Imperial Europe and outdated ideas and values. The movement around 4th May has since been seen as a watershed in China’s development in the 20th century, not least as some of those connected with the movement went on to found the Communist Party of China a few years later.The image above is of students from Peking University marching with banners during the May Fourth demonstrations in 1919.With Rana Mitter Professor of the History and Politics of Modern China and Fellow of St Cross College, University of OxfordElisabeth Forster Lecturer in Chinese History at the University of SouthamptonAnd Song-Chuan Chen Associate Professor in History at the University of WarwickProducer: Simon Tillotson

Transcribed - Published: 9 December 2021

The Battle of Trafalgar

Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss the events of 21st October 1805, in which the British fleet led by Nelson destroyed a combined Franco-Spanish fleet in the Atlantic off the coast of Spain. Nelson's death that day was deeply mourned in Britain, and his example proved influential, and the battle was to help sever ties between Spain and its American empire. In France meanwhile, even before Nelson's body was interred at St Paul's, the setback at Trafalgar was overshadowed by Napoleon's decisive victory over Russia and Austria at Austerlitz, though Napoleon's search for his lost naval strength was to shape his plans for further conquests.The image above is from 'The Battle of Trafalgar' by JMW Turner (1824).WithJames Davey Lecturer in Naval and Maritime History at the University of ExeterMarianne Czisnik Independent researcher on Nelson and editor of his letters to Lady HamiltonAndKenneth Johnson Research Professor of National Security at Air University, AlabamaProducer: Simon Tillotson

Transcribed - Published: 2 December 2021

The Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth

Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss the republic that emerged from the union of the Kingdom of Poland and Grand Duchy of Lithuania in the 14th Century. At first this was a personal union, similar to that of James I and VI in Britain, but this was formalised in 1569 into a vast republic, stretching from the Baltic to the Black Sea. Kings and princes from across Europe would compete for parliament to elect them King and Grand Duke, and the greatest power lay with the parliaments. When the system worked well, the Commonwealth was a powerhouse, and it was their leader Jan Sobieski who relieved the siege of Vienna in 1683, defeating the Ottomans. Its neighbours exploited its parliament's need for unanimity, though, and this contributed to its downfall. Austria, Russia and Prussia divided its territory between them from 1772, before the new, smaller states only emerged in the 20th Century. The image above is Jan III Sobieski (1629-1696), King of Poland and Grand Duke of Lithuania, at the Battle of Vienna 1683, by Marcello Bacciarelli (1731-1818)With Robert Frost The Burnett Fletcher Chair of History at the University of AberdeenKatarzyna Kosior Lecturer in Early Modern History at Northumbria UniversityAndNorman Davies Professor Emeritus in History and Honorary Fellow of St Antony’s College, University of OxfordProducer: Simon Tillotson

Transcribed - Published: 14 October 2021

The Manhattan Project

Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss the race to build an atom bomb in the USA during World War Two. Before the war, scientists in Germany had discovered the potential of nuclear fission and scientists in Britain soon argued that this could be used to make an atom bomb, against which there could be no defence other than to own one. The fear among the Allies was that, with its head start, Germany might develop the bomb first and, unmatched, use it on its enemies. The USA took up the challenge in a huge engineering project led by General Groves and Robert Oppenheimer and, once the first bomb had been exploded at Los Alamos in July 1945, it appeared inevitable that the next ones would be used against Japan with devastating results.The image above is of Robert Oppenheimer and General Groves examining the remains of one the bases of the steel test tower, at the atomic bomb Trinity Test site, in September 1945.WithBruce Cameron Reed The Charles A. Dana Professor of Physics Emeritus at Alma College, MichiganCynthia Kelly Founder and President of the Atomic Heritage FoundationAndFrank Close Emeritus Professor of Theoretical Physics at the University of Oxford and a Fellow of Exeter College, OxfordProducer: Simon Tillotson

Transcribed - Published: 7 October 2021

Herodotus

Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss the Greek writer known as the father of histories, dubbed by his detractors as the father of lies. Herodotus (c484 to 425 BC or later) was raised in Halicarnassus in modern Turkey when it was part of the Persian empire and, in the years after the Persian Wars, set about an inquiry into the deep background to those wars. He also aimed to preserve what he called the great and marvellous deeds of Greeks and non-Greeks, seeking out the best evidence for past events and presenting the range of evidence for readers to assess. Plutarch was to criticise Herodotus for using this to promote the least flattering accounts of his fellow Greeks, hence the 'father of lies', but the depth and breadth of his Histories have secured his reputation from his lifetime down to the present day.WithTom Harrison Professor of Ancient History at the University of St AndrewsEsther Eidinow Professor of Ancient History at the University of BristolAndPaul Cartledge A. G. Leventis Senior Research Fellow at Clare College, University of CambridgeProducer: Simon Tillotson

Transcribed - Published: 23 September 2021

Edward Gibbon

Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss the life and ideas of one of the great historians, best known for his History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire (published 1776-89). According to Gibbon (1737-94) , the idea for this work came to him on 15th of October 1764 as he sat musing amidst the ruins of Rome, while barefooted friars were singing vespers in the Temple of Jupiter. Decline and Fall covers thirteen centuries and is an enormous intellectual undertaking and, on publication, it became a phenomenal success across Europe. The image above is of Edward Gibbon by Henry Walton, oil on mahogany panel, 1773.WithDavid Womersley The Thomas Wharton Professor of English Literature at St Catherine’s College, University of OxfordCharlotte Roberts Lecturer in English at University College LondonAnd Karen O’Brien Professor of English Literature at the University of OxfordProducer: Simon Tillotson

Transcribed - Published: 17 June 2021

Booth's Life and Labour Survey

Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss Charles Booth's survey, The Life and Labour of the People in London, published in 17 volumes from 1889 to 1903. Booth (1840-1916), a Liverpudlian shipping line owner, surveyed every household in London to see if it was true, as claimed, that as many as a quarter lived in poverty. He found that it was closer to a third, and that many of these were either children with no means of support or older people no longer well enough to work. He went on to campaign for an old age pension, and broadened the impact of his findings by publishing enhanced Ordnance Survey maps with the streets coloured according to the wealth of those who lived there.The image above is of an organ grinder on a London street, circa 1893, with children dancing to the Pas de QuatreWithEmma Griffin Professor of Modern British History at the University of East AngliaSarah Wise Adjunct Professor at the University of CaliforniaAndLawrence Goldman Emeritus Fellow in History at St Peter’s College, University of OxfordProducer: Simon Tillotson

Transcribed - Published: 10 June 2021

The Interregnum

Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss the period between the execution of Charles I in 1649 and the unexpected restoration of his son Charles II in 1660, known as The Interregnum. It was marked in England by an elusive pursuit of stability, with serious consequences in Scotland and notorious ones in Ireland. When Parliament executed Charles it had also killed Scotland and Ireland’s king, without their consent; Scotland immediately declared Charles II king of Britain, and Ireland too favoured Charles. In the interests of political and financial security, Parliament's forces, led by Oliver Cromwell, soon invaded Ireland and then turned to defeating Scotland. However, the improvised power structures in England did not last and Oliver Cromwell's death in 1658 was followed by the threat of anarchy. In England, Charles II had some success in overturning the changes of the 1650s but there were lasting consequences for Scotland and the notorious changes in Ireland were entrenched.The Dutch image of Oliver Cromwell, above, was published by Joost Hartgers c1649With Clare Jackson Senior Tutor at Trinity Hall, University of CambridgeMicheál Ó Siochrú Professor in Modern History at Trinity College DublinAndLaura Stewart Professor in Early Modern History at the University of YorkProducer: Simon Tillotson

Transcribed - Published: 27 May 2021

The Second Barons' War

Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss the years of bloody conflict that saw Simon de Montfort (1205-65) become the most powerful man in England, with Henry III as his prisoner. With others, he had toppled Henry in 1258 in a secret, bloodless coup and established provisions for more parliaments with broader representation, for which he was later known as the Father of the House of Commons. When Henry III regained power in 1261, Simon de Montfort rallied forces for war, with victory at Lewes in 1264 and defeat and dismemberment in Evesham the year after. Although praised for supporting parliaments, he also earned a reputation for unleashing dark, violent forces in English politics and, infamously, his supporters murdered hundreds of Jewish people in London and elsewhere.With David Carpenter Professor of Medieval History at King’s College LondonLouise Wilkinson Professor of Medieval Studies at the University of LincolnAndSophie Thérèse Ambler Lecturer in Later Medieval British and European History at Lancaster UniversityProducer: Simon Tillotson

Transcribed - Published: 6 May 2021

Ovid

Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss the Roman poet Publius Ovidius Naso (43BC-17/18AD) who, as he described it, was destroyed by 'carmen et error', a poem and a mistake. His works have been preserved in greater number than any of the poets of his age, even Virgil, and have been among the most influential. The versions of many of the Greek and Roman myths we know today were his work, as told in his epic Metamorphoses and, together with his works on Love and the Art of Love, have inspired and disturbed readers from the time they were created. Despite being the most prominent poet in Augustan Rome at the time, he was exiled from Rome to Tomis on the Black Sea Coast where he remained until he died. It is thought that the 'carmen' that led to his exile was the Art of Love, Ars Amatoria, supposedly scandalising Augustus, but the 'error' was not disclosed.With Maria Wyke Professor of Latin at University College LondonGail Trimble Brown Fellow and Tutor in Classics at Trinity College at the University of OxfordAnd Dunstan Lowe Senior Lecturer in Latin Literature at the University of KentProducer: Simon Tillotson

Transcribed - Published: 29 April 2021

The Franco-American Alliance 1778

Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss the treaties France entered into with the United States of America in 1778, to give open support to the USA in its revolutionary war against Britain and to promote French trade across the Atlantic. This alliance had profound consequences for all three. The French navy, in particular, played a decisive role in the Americans’ victory in their revolution, but the great cost of supporting this overseas war fell on French taxpayers, highlighting the need for reforms which in turn led to the French Revolution. Then, when France looked to its American ally for support in the new French revolutionary wars with Britain, Americans had to choose where their longer term interests lay, and they turned back from the France that had supported them to the Britain they had just been fighting, and France and the USA fell into undeclared war at sea.The image above is a detail of Bataille de Yorktown by Auguste Couder, with Rochambeau commanding the French expeditionary force in 1781With Frank Cogliano Professor of American History at the University of EdinburghKathleen Burk Professor Emerita of Modern and Contemporary History at University College LondonAndMichael Rapport Reader in Modern European History at the University of GlasgowProducer: Simon Tillotson

Transcribed - Published: 22 April 2021

Pierre-Simon Laplace

Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss Laplace (1749-1827) who was a giant in the world of mathematics both before and after the French Revolution. He addressed one of the great questions of his age, raised but side-stepped by Newton: was the Solar System stable, or would the planets crash into the Sun, as it appeared Jupiter might, or even spin away like Saturn threatened to do? He advanced ideas on probability, long the preserve of card players, and expanded them out across science; he hypothesised why the planets rotate in the same direction; and he asked if the Universe was deterministic, so that if you knew everything about all the particles then you could predict the future. He also devised the metric system and reputedly came up with the name 'metre'. WithMarcus du Sautoy Simonyi Professor for the Public Understanding of Science and Professor of Mathematics at the University of OxfordTimothy Gowers Professor of Mathematics at the College de FranceAndColva Roney-Dougal Professor of Pure Mathematics at the University of St AndrewsProducer: Simon Tillotson

Transcribed - Published: 8 April 2021

The Russo-Japanese War

Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss the conflict between Russia and Japan from February 1904 to September 1905, which gripped the world and had a profound impact on both countries. Wary of Russian domination of Korea, Japan attacked the Russian Fleet at Port Arthur and the ensuing war gave Russia a series of shocks, including the loss of their Baltic Fleet after a seven month voyage, which reverberated in the 1905 Revolution. Meanwhile Japan, victorious, advanced its goal of making Europe and America more wary in East Asia, combining rapid military modernisation and Samurai traditions when training its new peasant conscripts. The US-brokered peace failed to require Russia to make reparations, which became a cause of Japanese resentment towards the US.WithSimon Dixon The Sir Bernard Pares Professor of Russian History at University College LondonNaoko Shimazu Professor of Humanities at Yale NUS College, SingaporeAndOleg Benesch Reader in Modern History at the University of YorkProducer: Simon Tillotson

Transcribed - Published: 1 April 2021

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