To See the Mongols 7: Mongol Civil War



It’s a busy episode. We’re catching up on the Mongol world and all that was happening away from the specific journeys of European friars. That means the rise of Hulagu and Kublai, the Mongol expansion into Persia and Syria in the west and Song China in the east, the death of Mongke Khan, and a civil war over the future of the empire. Thanks for listening everybody!

Devon.

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To See the Mongols 6: The Road from Karakorum



Friar William wraps up his affairs at the court of Mongke Khan and heads for home. Today, we cover his last audience with the khan, cross the walls of Alexander, and advise King Louis IX as to the future of the crusades. Thanks for listening!

Devon.

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Twitter: @circus_human

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To See the Mongols 5: The Great Debate



Friar William goes through stone-cracking cold, frozen toes, and the threat of demons to reach the camp of Mongke Khan. There, his interpreter causes him more problems, and he falls into the bizarre religious life of the camp before being drawn into a debate between Muslims, Buddhists, and Christians before the khan. Thanks for listening!

Devon.

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Twitter: @circus_human

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To See the Mongols 4: A William Leaves Town



We go east again this episode, in the company of a friar who carried a letter to the son of Batu Khan. Was he there on behalf of King Louis IX? Was his mission more personally religious in nature? Why was he so concerned with the noses of Mongol women? All (or most) will be revealed… Thanks for listening!

Devon.

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Transcript: Edward Webbe



This is the transcript of my episode on Edward Webbe, Elizabethan merchant, adventurer, master gunner, and, perhaps, liar. You can listen to the episode here or through the usual podcast services.

Welcome to Human Circus. Today, we open a new book, and we begin a new journey. Actually, we’ll end a new journey too. This isn’t going to be a repeat of the Dallam series, with the conclusion getting further and further away, the longer we go. Today, it’s a stand-alone episode.

Let’s start at the title page. There, we read: “The Rare and most wonderful things which Edward Webbe an Englishman borne, hath seen and passed in his troublesome travels, in the cities of Jerusalem, Damascus, Bethlehem, and Galilee; and in the lands of Jewry, Egypt, Grecia, Russia, and in the land of Prester John. Wherein is set forth his extreme slavery sustained many years together, in the galleys and in the wars of the great Turk against the lands of Persia, Tartaria, Spain, and Portugal, with the manner of his releasement, and coming into England in May last.” We’ve definitely lost something in the way we describe our books since then.

Continue reading Transcript: Edward Webbe


To See the Mongols 3: An Interregnum



Today, a quick rewind into what it means to be a Mongol, some early reactions to the Mongol invasion, some King Louis IX, the death of a khan, and the question of who is to be next. Also, I horribly butcher Eljigidei’s name. Sorry, Eljigidei.

Thanks for listening!

Devon.

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Twitter: @circus_human

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Thomas Dallam 7 – Transcript



This is the transcript of episode 7 of my podcast series on Thomas Dallam, the Elizabethan organ builder who sailed to Constantinople with a gift for the Sultan. You can listen to the episode here or through the usual podcast services.

Today, we conclude a journey begun over 400 years ago, from London to Constantinople with an unusual musical instrument/timepiece. We also conclude a journey begun a few months ago, when I started looking at this Lancashire organ maker and his trip to see arguably the most powerful man in the world at the time, not an argument I’m actually going to get into here by the way. Last episode, I talked about the leg of Thomas Dallam’s journey from Algiers to the Hellespont, and we left him within striking distance of Constantinople. Today, we’ll talk about the last stretch and take him into the city to look at his experiences there and his place in the grand politics of the day. We won’t quite cover all of Dallam’s travels, but this will be will the end of our travels with him. Let’s get started.

Continue reading Thomas Dallam 7 – Transcript