Back to Mesoamerica, only this time, we introduce the Maya. At the edge of the highlands of Chiapas, Mexico, sits the city of Lakam Ha, today called Palenque. Among its magnificent ruins is the Temple of the Inscriptions, the tomb of king Pakal. His rule was one of the longest in human history; yet how much of his success came from the strong women around him?
We talk about the Mayan calendar, 2012, Pakal's magnificent tomb, and his sarcophagus which was NOT made by aliens.
There's more to see in Chiapas as well, like colonial San Cristóbal, indigenous villages, waterfalls, and Mayan ruins Bonmapak and Yaxchilán. But for food, we head to next door Oaxaca to talk mole and mezcal margaritas.
National Geographic Society. "Exclusive: Laser Scans Reveal Maya 'Megalopolis' Below Guatemalan Jungle." 2/1/18.
Pillsbury, Joanne. “The Red Queen and Her Sisters: Women of Power in Golden Kingdoms”
Schele, Linda and Peter Mathews. The Code of Kings : the Language of Seven Sacred Maya Temples and Tombs
Photo by Jan Harenburg
Music by the Orchestra Marimba de Chiapas
It's our SECOND ANNIVERSARY. Two years of history, travel, food, and such. What a ride. To celebrate, let's visit Oregon, a weird, magical place I love. I lived there for three years in the early 2010's and in this episode, I give the 30 things I love most about one of America's least understood states, including its real wonder, a volcanic caldera turned perfectly blue body of water: the imaginatively named Crater Lake.
There's more to Oregon than meets the eye, and I hope you enjoy this little trip down the rabbit hole. Portlandia is reality television, by the way.
Photo by Zainubrazvi on wikicommons.
Another big episode, as Muhammad arrives on the scene. An illiterate merchant in faraway Arabia, Muhammad develops a new faith and community that builds upon the monotheist faiths of his people's neighbors. Ali A Olomi, historian and host of the Head on History podcast, joins me to discuss Muhammad's impact as well as the holiest site in Islam: the Kabaa in Mecca.
But most people are forbidden from visiting the Kabaa, so the wonder for this episode is the holiest site in Islam that others can, in theory, visit: the Al-Aqsa Mosque and the Dome of the Rock in Jerusalem. Randa Ulankiewicz drops by to discuss visiting those sites and Palestine in general.
From the foundation of the religion to its remarkable rise and conquest of Syria and Mesopotamia, we'll cover the world-changing impact of the world's most unexpected major religion.
This episode is therefore much longer than normal, with significantly more detail than usual. But there's stuffed grape leaves and hummus, so it's worth it.
Armstrong, Karen. Islam: a Short History.
Armstrong, Karen. Muhammad: a biography of the prophet
Donner, Fred McGraw. Muhammad and the Believers: at the Origin of Islam
Lonely Planet Israel & the Palestinian Territories
Lonely Planet Saudi Arabia
Moon Guide to Jerusalem