Category Archives: Transcript

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.

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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.

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Thomas Dallam 6 – Transcript



This is the transcript of episode 6 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.

Welcome back to Human Circus, and welcome back to the journey of Thomas Dallam, carrying to Constantinople Elizabethan England’s gift for the Ottoman Sultan and with it any hopes for strong ongoing Anglo-Ottoman relations. In February 1599, he’d left England, Elizabeth, and the merchants of the Levant Company behind. Ahead of him, waiting anxiously was Henry “the Fog” Lello, anxious for the gift that would allow him to remain in good standing and present himself before Mehmed III and to renegotiate the trade capitulations between the two sides. And Dallam, Dallam when we left him was leaving Algiers after a small taste of adventure on foreign shores. Last episode we saw him depart, saw him get a bit of experience at sea, and saw him quickly come loathe the captain of his ship, The Hector. This episode, sponsored by Luke and Annie, wonderful people both, I’ll be talking about that leg of the journey between Algiers and Constantinople and hopefully along the way getting a little at what Dallam was like, what fascinated, interested, or annoyed this organ builder from Lancashire.

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Thomas Dallam 5 – Transcript



This is the transcript of episode 5 of my podcast series on, and leading up to, 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.

Welcome back to Human Circus, and welcome back to my series on the life and times of Thomas Dallam, with the emphasis thus far squarely on the times and the life aspect rather lacking. Today, in exciting news, Dallam has arrived. At last, he will leave London for the court of the sultan, Mehmed III, and we’ll be talking about it. If this is your first time listening to the podcast, you won’t know why this is so exciting for me, but you see, I initially picked out Dallam’s story as an interesting one to cover back when I was talking about Schiltberger and Timur. I thought this would make a nice one or two parter, a man sails to Constantinople with an organ, quick and easy. Further reading on the subject led to what was basically a six episode prequel, on Elizabethan engagement with the Islamic world and on how those worlds were not so distinct as we might imagine, a story within the story of 16th-century globalization you could say. But now it’s Dallam time; there’ll be sailing and piracy and the sight of new lands. First though, let’s recap.

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Thomas Dallam 4.5 – Transcript



This is the transcript of episode 4.5 of my podcast series on, and leading up to, 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.

Welcome to Human Circus, and to my second try at a mini episode. My first didn’t actually manage “mini,” but it did convince me that my other episodes were too long and led to me shortening those up a little, so it did serve a purpose. Today, we’ll see how close to mini I’ve managed. Once again, if you’re enjoying the podcast, please keep listening after the episode to hear how you can help keep it going. Thanks very much to Carol R and Tiny M for their recent donations and helping this episode get out to you.

Today I want to tell a short story, a story of a rise to power, wealth, and influence within the perilous context of the Topkapi Palace in 16th century Constantinople. It’s the story of a Jewish woman named Esperanza Malchi, the world which she flourished in, the heights she reached, and the violence that eventually consumed her. Unfortunately, there is no great wealth of source material on Malchi, but, as always, there are a number of interesting things to talk about along the way. We’ll begin with the time she was born into.

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Thomas Dallam 4 – Transcript



This is the transcript of episode 4 of my podcast series on, and leading up to, 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.

Hello everyone. Welcome back to my series on English organ-builder Thomas Dallam which has developed into a series on Elizabethan England’s diplomatic engagements with the Islamic world, to be concluded with Dallam’s story. Last episode, we talked about England’s first ambassador to the Ottoman Empire, William Harborne. We saw the evolution of his position from “so called merchant” to official appointee and his struggles with rival diplomatic representatives, particularly the French and Venetians who he described as “subtle, malicious, and dissembling people.” We saw some of the difficulties he faced such as palace infighting and piracy, and how the latter a problem whether it was committed by or against the English. We saw him try to push Walsingham’s program, a united Anglo-Ottoman fleet against the Spanish naval threat. We saw him headed home at the end of his term, in August of 1588, successful enough in his work but worn out and underpaid, a pretty relatable figure really. And I told you he was replaced by his young secretary Edward Barton, a well-liked man who will show himself to be resourceful, bold, and not above a little underhandedness where necessary. Today, we’ll be tracing Edward Barton’s time in the sublime port of Constantinople, a time which saw him struggle due to his unofficial position, navigate the death of a sultan, and eventually go to war alongside the Ottomans in campaign against a Christian foe.

Once again, if you enjoy the episode, please keep listening after it’s done for ways to help me out with it.  

Let’s talk first about the circumstances as Barton stepped up and into his new job. Specifically, let’s talk about at his employers.

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Thomas Dallam 3 – Transcript



This is the transcript of episode 3 of my podcast series on, and leading up to, 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.

Hello everyone. Welcome back to my ongoing exploration of Elizabethan English trade with Islamic powers, and my ongoing attempt to get to the story of Thomas Dallam, the man I’m going to be talking about pretty soon now.

If you have a question, comment, or complaint, you can reach me at circus_human on twitter or by email at humancircuspod@gmail.com, no spaces, en dashes or em dashes. The website is human_circus.blubrry.com. Finally, if you feel compelled to help keep the podcast afloat, please keep listening at the end of the episode, and I’ll tell you how you can.

Last full-length episode, we talked about England’s developing friendship with Saadian Morocco under Al-Malik and Al-Monsur, and I mentioned at the end that there was at the same time an association building between England and the Ottoman Empire. When we last looked in on the state of Anglo-Ottoman diplomacy in the episode about Jenkinson’s visit to Safavid Persia, we saw Ottoman Sultan Suleyman interceding against English traders. Things had to change quite significantly for that relationship to reach the exchanging of gifts stage, and it’s the later developments of that change that we’ll be talking about here, largely through a look at the efforts of a single English representative in Constantinople, a man named William Harborne.

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Mini Episode, Battle of Three Kings – Transcript



This is the transcript of episode 2.5 of my podcast series on, and leading up to, 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.

Welcome to the first Human Circus Mini-episode. The idea here is to cover events, themes, ideas, or people that don’t quite fit into the main series for one reason or another, and to do it in shorter, more focused episodes than I do with the full lengths, so that’ll probably usually look like 15-20 minutes, but we’ll see how it goes here. If you have any comment, questions, or suggestions you would like to send my way, you can do so at humancircuspod@gmail.com, or on twitter @circus_human. The website is human_circus.blubrry.com. Finally, if you are enjoying the show, if it brings you at least as much joy as a single mediocre coffee in a month, then you can let me know, and help keep the podcast sustainable, by donating to my coffee page at ko-fi.com/A7071B1K, and you can find that link on the website. Now, let’s get to late 16th century Portugal.

Girolamo Conestaggio once wrote of King Sebastian of Portugal, that he, “young and unskilled, guided by some sinister star, or by that divine permission which would punish this people, went into Africa, to a dangerous (although glorious) enterprise, leaving the realm emptied of money, naked of nobility, without heirs, and in the hands of ill-affected governors.”

Sebastian was bound for the Battle of the Three Kings. We talked briefly about the outcome last episode, how Elizabeth took a certain amount of blame for it, how it would result in al-Mansur on the Moroccan throne and Philip of Spain on the Portuguese one, but I want to take the opportunity here to cover the event in more detail. We’re joining the story as King Sebastian prepared to invade Morocco.

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Thomas Dallam 2 – Transcript



This is the transcript of episode 2 of my series on, and leading up to, 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.

Welcome back to our thus-far effectively Dallamless series on the life and times of Thomas Dallam, one of the most successful organ-men of the 17th century, and also, for a few months in Constantinople, the fulcrum on which Anglo-Ottoman relations pivoted. But we should recap.

As we saw last episode, Elizabethan England was some distance removed from global empire status. In fact, its merchants were casting about for overseas markets, constrained as they were by the successes of the hostile Spanish and Portuguese dominating the ways west and south respectively, to the Americas and Africa, by turmoil in the Spanish Habsburg ruled Low Countries, and by the Ottoman Empire’s stranglehold on overland trade with the east. This was not quite the England of sugar and slaves and the sun never setting. That was on the way though, and both sugar and slaves were becoming important.

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Thomas Dallam 1 – Transcript



This is the transcript of episode 1 of my podcast series on, and leading up to, 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.

“The ship wherein I was to make my voyage to Constantinople, Lying at Graves End, I departed from London in a pair of ores, with my chest and such provision as I had provided for that purpose, the ninth of February 1599, being Friday.”

So begins the travel journal of a man on the cusp of a 15-month adventure. Its writer was no professional sailor, soldier, merchant or ambassador, but he was entrusted with the international delivery of a very special package. He seems never to have left England before, but on that February day, he was leaving for the court of the Ottoman Sultan, Mehmed the 3rd.

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