Thursday, March 24, 2011

Ottoman Age of Exploration

I am always ready to recommend any issue of the podcast New Books in History, but here is one that I consider among the essentials in history podcast listening: Marshal Poe interviews Giancarlo Casale about “The Ottoman Age of Exploration” (feed)

The great thing about history podcast listening is to get a grip on the general narrative of history. That is why I keep looking in all corners for good history podcasts: I am trying to have a fairly detailed idea of human history from the moment our ancestors stood upright until today. Frequently I find immense lacunae in the narrative as I got it from school. Giancarlo Casale fills such a lacuna.

We have heard plenty about the European age of exploration and we may have heard about the explorative journeys the Chinese undertook in the centuries before the Europeans began. But in between, there are also the Ottomans. Just like everybody else, they tried to explore the Indian Ocean, found their bases and profit from the spice trade. Casale explains when they did it, why and how. Casale also gives the best concise explanation I have heard ever, why exactly spices were such an excellent commodity. In short, this is stuff you must know to get a better understanding of what you had already learned.

More NBIH:
The mysteries of whites and of mass,
A Soviet Memoir,
This I accomplish,
Not your idea of World War II,
When Akkadian was Lingua Franca.

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