Friday, August 19, 2011

Summertime tip: across podcast listening

While your favorite podcast may be on a summer break you probably are looking for something else to listen to. Suppose your favorite podcast's subject is what you are generally interested in and this might be the time to look for other podcasts who touch upon the same subject and get a broader perspective.

When I listened to the Irish History Podcast (feed) I got fascinated by its episodes about the Viking era in Irish history. For lack of a Viking History Podcast, some holes in this history are not covered by the Irish History Podcast. What was their trade? Where did they exactly come from? Why did they go on plunder?And how is it they got to be so successful? It goes to show there is much to be found out about Vikings and Normans, Scandinavian history in general and the time in the Middle Ages that they dominated Europe. Although there is not one podcast that takes care of the subject, there are several that touch upon it (like the Irish History podcast) and by listening across podcasts, a lot can be learned.

Not only Ireland was beset by Vikings, also Anglo-Saxon England was visited and the podcast History of England (feed) by David Crowther does a very good job of relating this era. In a good portion of the first thirty episodes you get to learn a lot and it wonderfully complements the Irish story. For example, from David we learn that the Vikings that landed in Ireland were mostly from Norway, whereas England was dominated by the Danes. The Swedes concentrated their efforts towards the Baltic. Those Vikings that got hold of Normandy, eventually became the Normans, a Francophone branch of this Scandinavian family. The podcast Norman Centuries (feed) is dedicated to the Normans.

The Norman story and the English story obviously come together around 1066, which is also elegantly told by Notes on History (feed), but apart from England, Norman conquests also take us into the Mediterranean and eventually all the way to Constantinople, where Normans became the famous Varangian Guard, about whom you will also learn in the podcast 12 Byzantine Rulers (feed)

There in the east, the Normans met Vikings who reached the same point but through a different route. Swedish Vikings conquered eastward and became known as the Rus, the founders of later Russia as we learn in the opening issues of the Russian Rulers History Podcast (feed)

As usual with Historic subjects, the archives of BBC's In Our Time are worth a visit and offer among others:
Volga Vikings,
The battle of Stamford Bridge,
Alfred and the battle of Edington
And The Norman yoke.

Irish History Podcast,
Norman Centuries,
Notes on History,
12 Byzantine Rulers,
Russian Rulers History Podcast.