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Good podcasts for starting research & getting inspiration

Discussion in 'Chit Chat' started by buyjupiter, Dec 27, 2013.

  1. buyjupiter

    buyjupiter Maester

    I love listening to podcasts. I cannot imagine a commute without them and I have several that I switch between. Some of the more helpful and historically accurate are:

    --The Egyptian History Podcast: This is run by a guy who goes out on digs in Egypt. I forget if he's finished with his degree program, but he's very accurate. (This is one of my favorite periods in history so I love anything that is accurate).

    --Norman Centuries: Lars Brownworth runs this one, and his podcast on the Byzantine emperors is good as well. This is extremely well researched and he tells the story in a "Great Man" approach. So the focus is more on the people in power than the farmers or merchants in the Norman-controlled lands.

    --History of the Crusades: This podcast starts off with the basics and gets you up to speed with what was going on at the time that made the Crusades possible before diving into the history of the Crusades.

    --The Ancient World: This one starts off at the beginning of civilization, but weaves in the stories of the Near East civilizations and Egypt and the Mediterranean, so instead of focusing on one until it falls away you can get a better sense of who would be trading with whom, who would be going to war against one another, etc. He touches on China when it's appropriate and actually goes into Mesoamerican civilizations when they pop up!

    --The History of Rome: This one is good for entry-level knowledge of Rome. I've found it a little dry, but I think that's because I'm still in the early bits and there's not a lot of detail that I don't already know. (I am looking forward to starting Mike Duncan's new podcast "Revolutions", but as I have not yet listened to it, I don't want to recommend it.)

    --China History: His history is accurate, but the episodes where he does overviews of Chinese civilization are very dry and just long lists of events, dates, and names. I highly recommend the first ten episodes where he just flits about Chinese history and goes into depth about a historical figure as he's very passionate about the subject when he can go in depth on it. Any of the episodes about Chinese invention are good as well.

    --The History of Byzantium: This picks up where the "History of Rome" left off, although it's done by someone besides Mike Duncan. It's good so far, and has given me a lot of new information about the Byzantine Empire that you just don't get from going through a list of rulers (like Lars Brownworth's podcast about the Byzantine Emperors).

    --British History Podcast: I can gush about this one for hours. Jamie Jeffers tells stories. Historically accurate ones. And when/if he doesn't know something because the historical record is fuzzy he tells the listener that. My favorite episodes are about the foods and preparation in early Medieval England, as well as the series about Hrothgar the barbarian and what he would have to do to get in with the popular warriors in his culture. (He also cites his sources as much as possible, which is awesome!)

    --History of English Podcast: This is a fascinating podcast. It isn't a dry grammatical survey of the English language, but a foray through how English wound up the way it is. He starts with Indo-European roots, and is into the early Germanic languages at the moment. I would highly recommend this one to anyone who is interested in language and how it shifts; and it's also helpful to learn where certain constructions come from so that when I'm writing I'm more aware of what I'm doing. (One caveat: this guy is not a linguist. He's very well researched, but will admit when he just doesn't know something.)

    --BBC Radio 4's series of objects in history (Art of Monarchy, History of the World in 100 Objects, Mozart, Shakespeare): These are awesome ways of looking at the historical record and seeing what you can learn from simple objects. I especially love the "History of the World" one as it does more than just Euro-centric history. Which is nice.

    Not history podcasts but great nonetheless:

    --Astronomycast: If you're interested in learning more about astronomy these guys are great. They never talk down, and you can get a good intermediate level of knowledge about the subject (there are some basic level astronomy episodes as well). There's a good mix of historical with current space projects in the episode list.

    --Myths and History of Greece and Rome: This guy just reads myths and stories out loud. Which is kind of fun. And it's always good to get a refresher course in Greco-Roman mythology, as it pops up in so many stories in so many different ways.

    --Freakonomics: This is good to get a background of why things work the way they do. This should be helpful at least for those of you all that do world building down to the economic level in the generalities of economics if not in the specifics.

    Anyone have any recommendations on good history/cultural podcasts that I can add into the mix?

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