Some call him the richest person in human history. Whether that's true, Mansa Musa of Mali shook up the world with his gold-laden hajj through Cairo and his university in Timbuktu.
That city at the edge of the Sahara might seem like the furthest place on earth, but it was a remarkable center of learning, home to as many as 700,000 manuscripts.
Cody Michaels from the History Unwritten podcast comes by to talk about Musa, his gold, and his famous journey to Mecca, as well as how African history is so much more than what we're commonly taught. Plus poulet yassa!
Baxter, Joan. "Africa's 'greatest explorer'" in BBC News
Bell, Nawal Morcos. "The Age of Mansa Musa of Mali: Problems in Succession and Chronology" in The International Journal of African Historical Studies
Coleman de Graft-Johnson, John. "Mūsā I of Mali" in Encyclopaedia Britannica
Hamidullah, Mohammed. "Echos of What Lies Behind the ‘Ocean of Fogs’" in Muslim Historical Narratives
Levtzion, N. "The Thirteenth- and Fourteenth-Century Kings of Mali" in The Journal of African History
Mohamud, Naima. "Is Mansa Musa the richest man who ever lived?" in BBC Africa
Sogoba, Mia. "Mansa Musa: the Rejected Ruler of the Mali Empire?" in Culture of West Africa
Photograph by Francesco Bandarin
We go to the Greek island of Santorini to learn about the eruption that devastated the Minoan civilization of nearby Crete. Plus minotaurs, donkeys, Atlantis and Cretan cuisine! Thanks to Margo Anton and Seth Ruderman for their help.
East vs West? Maybe. We're off to Iran to greet the rise of the Persian Achaemenid Empire, the world's greatest by this point in history. Between Cyrus and Darius, we'll deal with two Great rulers, but we've also got medieval Iranian love poetry, unappetizing royal banquets, Croesus making bad decisions, and kebabs! `
Even better, Yentl from theQueerClassicist.com comes by to bring her knowledge of Achaemenid Persia, as we climb the magnificent staircases of Persepolis.
Note: This episode contains a bit of profanity.
The swampy county of Flanders was the richest part of Europe in the 14th century, fueled by the international cloth trade, and Bruges was the center of that trade, spinning English wool into Flemish cloth. The trade brought power to the craft guilds, and that power brought those guilds into conflict with the aristocracy, and ultimately, the king of France.
In this episode, Manuel Van den Eycke of the Random History of Belgium Podcast joins us to examine the Bruges Matins, a worker-led uprising, and the subsequent Battle of the Golden Spurs. That victory, which nationalists have given connotations well beyond the intent of the participants.
We also talk about Belgian food (the best), including chocolate, fries, beer, and waffles, with a recipe for Liege-style waffles that will bring a smile to your face.
Belgium means so much to me, and I hope my enthusiasm shines through in this episode.
Brown, Elizabeth, A.R. “Philip IV, King of France” in Encyclopedia Britannica
“Enchanted Bruges” New York Times 2006
“The Rise and Fall of the Medieval Flemish Cloth Industry” DiscoveringBelgium.com
Rick Steves Belgium: Bruges, Brussels, Antwerp & Ghent
Thomson, Emma. Northern Belgium: Flanders With Brussels, Bruges, Ghent & Antwerp
Photo by Hans Hillewaert