Ulugh Beg was the Astronomer King of Samarkand, who in one of the richest cities of the Silk Road, built a madrassa and observatory to chart the stars. Wonderful astronomer. Not much of a king. His madrassa though stands on, one of the three grand buildings of the Registan square.
Scott Chesworth of the Ancient World and Nadeem Ahmad of Eran ud Turan both visited Uzbekistan just before the pandemic, and they join us with tales of gorgeous tilework, empty museums, and more plov (Uzbek rice pilaf) than you can imagine.
Bradley, Chris. The Silk Road
Carter, Jamie. “The Tragic Story Of The Man Who Unlocked The Universe” in Forbes
Ibbotson, Sophie. Uzbekistan : the Bradt travel guide
Krisciunas, Kevin. "Ulugh Beg's Zij," in H. B. Paksoy, ed., Central Asian Monuments.
Manz, Beatrice Forbes. Power, Politics and Religion in Timurid Iran
Waugh, Daniel C. “Ulugh Beg and His Observatory” in Silk Road Seattle
Photograph by Euyasik, @Wikipedia, CC BY-SA 3.0
It's the largest masonry dome ever built, its terracotta curves dominating the Florence skyline. The story of how that dome was built is the story of the birth of the Renaissance.
But the real story is that of the artists, the petty, bickering, intensely human geniuses: the secretive, bitter Filippo Brunelleschi and the social climbing, self-promoting Lorenzo Ghiberti, not to mention their friends like Donatello. Yes. That Donatello. They bicker and feud and bring Florence new perspectives.
Bry Rayburn of the Pontifacts Podcast comes by to talk about her favorite city in the whole world. We share our experiences and love of stracciatella gelato. Plus bistecca alla fiorentina.
PS - Despite this being my longest episode, I still completely failed to mention that the name of the cathedral is Santa Maria del Fiore: Saint Mary of the Flower, which sounds so nice. So there you go.
Hollingsworth, Mary. The Family Medici: The Hidden History of the Medici Dynasty
King, Ross. Brunelleschi’s Dome: How a Renaissance Genius Reinvented Architecture
Perry, Susannah. Fodor's 25 Best: Florence
Rick Steves Italy 2020
Walker, Paul Robert. The Feud That Sparked the Renaissance: How Brunelleschi and Ghiberti Changed the Art World
Photograph by Grueslayer @Wikipedia, CC BY-SA 4.0