Latest Episodes

Episode #59 – How Do You Explain the First Crusade? (Part II)

Peter the Hermit was one of the most important people of the medieval era. He was instrumental in rousing the peasants of Europe and convincing them to march east on crusade. However, for someone so significant we can say almost nothing about him for sure. His life is basically one big legend. (more…)

Episode #58 – How Do You Explain the First Crusade? (Part I)

There are few medieval events that are still as politically loaded as the Crusades. Even though the First Crusade was launched well over 900 years ago people are still debating it’s merits. The debate becomes even more complicated when you consider all of the mythology, falsehoods, and popular misconceptions that surround this event. (more…)

Episode #57 – Was There a Real Prester John?

In the 10th century a letter started circulating that had been allegedly written to the Byzantine Emperor by a mysterious eastern King. The King identified himself as Prester John and claimed that he was marching to relieve the crusaders in the holy land. He also claimed that his kingdom was filled with wonders including a fountain of youth, eagles that deliver magical gems, and a menagerie of monsters. Was Prester John an elaborate hoax or was there a real figure who inspired the story? (more…)

Episode #56 – Who Was Japan’s Greatest Swordsman? (Part II)

In classic samurai films the swordsman Miyamoto Musashi was always presented as rough but honourable. The real Musashi may have been considerably more complicated. If we look closely at some of the samurai’s most famous duels, we may find reason to question Musashi’s reputation as the ultimate “lone wolf”. (more…)

Episode #55 – Who Was Japan’s Greatest Swordsman? (Part I)

The samurai swordsman Miyamoto Musashi is the archetypal lone-wolf warrior. Legend has it that in course of his life he fought over sixty duels and never once lost. His psychological strategies and unique two sworded fighting style made him one of the most famous martial artists in Japan’s history. However, many of Musashi’s most celebrated exploits have been distorted by centuries of myth-making. (more…)