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.