You've seen the Pyramid on countless tourism brochures, but what do you really know about the Mayan city of Chichén Itzá and it's magnificent pyramid? Did you know it's built over a cenote, a natural water-filled sinkhole? Have you heard the legend of the Toltec king from Central Mexico who might have conquered the city in 987?
To help explore the answers, Robert Bitto from the Mexico Unexplained podcast appears with his take on the mysteries of the pyramid. We also talk about the Spanish archbishop who first described the city after having burned nearly all Mayan writings and the wild rush that was 2012, the apocalypse that didn't quite come off.
Join us for some cochinita pibil as we talk about the Yucatán!
Carlsen, William. Jungle of Stone: the True Story of Two Men, Their Extraordinary Journey, and the Discovery of the Lost Civilization of the Maya
Fehrenbach, TR. Fire and Blood: a History of Mexico
Hecht, John. Lonely Planet: Cancún, Cozumel & the Yucatán
Landa, Diego de. Yucatan Before and After the Conquest
Onstott, Jane. National Geographic Traveler: Mexico
Prado, Liza and Gary Chandler. Moon Handbook: Yucatán Peninsula
Schele, Linda. The Code of Kings: the Language of Seven Sacred Maya Temples and Tombs
Stephens, John L. Incidents of Travel in Yucatan
Weaver, Muriel Porter. The Aztec, Maya, and Their Predecessors: Archaeology of Mesoamerica
Webster, David L. The Fall of the Ancient Maya: Solving the Mystery of the Maya Collapse
Music by Los Tres Reyes, Los Montejo, Victor Manuel Aarón Sánchez, and Hidalgo Tzec Haas
Photograph by wikipedia user Cocojorgefalcon
Sometimes a wonder which no longer exists is worth an episode. In the 9th century, the Abbasid caliphs of Baghdad created the Bayt al-Hikma, the House of Wisdom, a great library which served as the starting point for a remarkable intellectual program. There, hundreds of scribes translated as many Greek, Persian, Indian and other documents that they could, and these widespread translations fueled new advances that would make Baghdad the Silicon Valley of the 9th and 10th centuries. Men like al-Khwarizmi, the Father of Algebra, and al-Kindi, the Philosopher of the Arabs, changed the world.
Dr. Ali A Olomi, frequent guest, friend of the show, and host of Head on History, appears to discuss the House of Wisdom, the thinkers who worked there, and the caliphs who helped make it happen, like Harun al-Rashid and al-Mamun.
In the process, we'll cover murderous kings, "true crime" mysteries, civil wars that really were brother vs brother, medieval machines, brilliant alchemists and mathematicians, and the guy who gave us the three-course meal and toothpaste. Plus we revisit masgouf, Iraq's favorite grilled fish.
Bobrick, Benson. The Caliph's Splendor: Islam and the West in the Golden Age of Baghdad
Hann, Geoff et al. Iraq: the Ancient Sites & Iraqi Kurdistan: the Bradt Travel Guide
Kennedy, Hugh. When Baghdad Ruled the Muslim World: the Rise and Fall of Islam's Greatest Dynasty
Lyons, Jonathan. The House of Wisdom: How the Arabs Transformed Western Civilization
Morgan, Michael Hamilton. Lost History: the Enduring Legacy of Muslim Scientists, Thinkers, and Artists
Thousand and One Nights
Photograph of Mustansiriya Madrassa by Taisir Mahdi