Category Archives: Update


Hey everybody. Hope you’re enjoying the series on Thomas Dallam, the series which will indeed soon be getting to Thomas Dallam. Next full episode we’ll be looking at the relationship between England and the Ottoman Empire, the relationship that took Dallam to Constantinople, and we’ll do that through a series of three English ambassadors living in the city and dealing with their French and Venetian opposite numbers, the sometimes bloody palace infighting, and the occasional fatal blunder committed by their countrymen.

That episode will be out next weekend. This Monday, I’ll be putting up something shorter, another experiment with the mini-episode format. The topic might still change, but I’m thinking it will be about a character who came up already but we didn’t have time to really get into. Look for that on Monday.


Twitter: @circus_human

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Update, Ko-Fi, and Ideas

Hello generous listener,

This being an off-week there’ll be no new episode. Actually, I’m struggling with the next one at the moment, but there is still hope that it will be out on time, this coming Friday.

We’re continuing to follow the trail of Elizabethan trade to newly risen Saadian Morocco and getting ever closer to Thomas Dallam’s departure for the Ottoman court. It is, as always, a very interesting time, as the Saadians had replaced a relatively weak Watassid dynasty and pushed Morocco into the middle of the Habsburg-Ottoman struggles, becoming, as Weston Cook puts it, “… no longer an arena of contest, but a potential contestant… .” In search of gold, sugar, and a market for its cloth, England inched towards a curious friendship with this potential contestant, running deeply afoul of the Portuguese as they did. We’ll get into all of that and more next time.

If you look to the top of the page, you’ll find a new “Support Human Circus” tab. There, you can help the podcast out, if you’re into the whole donation thing, by clicking on the Ko-fi link. Any and all help makes a huge difference in keeping the podcast sustainable and fun (because having coffee money makes everything more fun).

I’m also looking at starting to put out mini-episodes now and then, between the larger, main narrative, ones. The idea will be to tell stories that I think are really interesting but which would entail too much of an aside to wedge them into the regular episodes, so watch for one of those on the rise of the Saadian dynasty some time over the next few weeks.

Think that’s everything for now. Questions, comments, and accusations can be sent to me at @circus_human or at Talk to you in a week.


Episode Update and Preview

Hello friends,

I’m writing today, hopefully finishing writing today, for episode 4, and that should mean I’ll have it recorded and released on time this weekend. This episode is going to wrap up the Schiltberger series, so we’ll say our sad goodbyes to our Bavarian friend and be moving on.

And where will we be going? Back to Anatolia of course, this time in the company of an English traveller. The year was 1599, and he had a gift to deliver to Sultan Mehmed III. There’ll be less bloodshed but just as much fun.

But we’re not done with Schiltberger just yet. This episode, we’ll hear about his post-Timur adventures, the continuing misfortune of those he followed, his take on the infidel religions, and a piece of oddball spy-work in Alexandria.

Until Friday,


Off Week Update

Hello Good Citizens,

I’ll be recording Episode 3 of the Schiltberger series tomorrow, which means you should have it on Friday assuming nothing untoward happens. This episode will follow Schiltberger’s story as he tells of Timur and his blood-soaked conquests from Damascus to Delhi. It’ll be peak-violence for the Schiltberger narrative, but we’ll also get to know Timur and his history (and connection to Genghis Khan), witness epic undertakings under tremendously harsh conditions, and get a good look at Timur’s capital city of Samarkand through the eyes of a food loving Castilian ambassador named Ruy Gonzalez de Clavijo.

I think Episode 4 will likely bring the Schiltberger series to a conclusion, though I might do a bit of a wrap-up episode after that because there’s a lot of good stuff that hasn’t had an obvious place in the podcast. Once Schiltberger is done, there are a few possibilities as to where we’ll go next, but I’m thinking of coming back to Ottoman Istanbul, 200 years after Schiltberger, for the story of another traveller, an English one this time. I think it should make a good stand-alone episode, but it’ll probably turn into two or three as these things go.

Enjoy your weeks and look for the new episode on Friday!



Future Plans and Present Difficulties

Hello gentle strangers,

Hope you all enjoyed the first episode. If, for some reason, you are here but have not listened to the first episode, then you should do so now (and I hope you enjoy it). The intention with Human Circus has been to release episodes bi-weekly, and it just so happens that today, Friday, January the 27th, should mark the release of episode two. Sadly, I have been struck down by a non-fatal plague and will not be able to fulfill this promise, but I trust you’ll forgive me. Look for the new episode on Monday or Tuesday when I’ll, presumably, be well enough to record, edit, etc.

Our second episode will continue Johann Schiltberger’s story into the Ottoman domains and under the rule of Bayezid. We’ll talk a little about the origins of the Ottomans, a bizarre incident involving thousands of snakes, and Schiltberger’s escape attempt, before meeting the new terror of the Steppe: Timur.

The Schiltberger series should run 4, or possibly 5, episodes, and following that I’m thinking of doing a few one-off episodes focussing on some of the characters we’ve met in the Schiltberger narrative but not really had time to give any attention to. Boucicaut is a strong possibility. Though I haven’t fully decided yet, the series after Schiltberger’s may be focussed on Timur. We shall see.