A quick break from the wonders narratives to answer many questions about Drew, the show, the wonders, food, travel and more! Find out which wonders missed the list, why there won't be a WotW cookbook, and why Drew has issues with "synergy" and "win-win" scenarios. Plus a new Demetrios Poliorcetes!
The greatest of squares throbs with life: the scent of spiced, roasted meat, the cacophony of voices and drums, the visual rainbow of color. The Djemaa el-Fna is everything and more. Its history reflects the great medieval golden age of Morocco under the Almoravid and Almohad dynasties, a golden age for prosperity but not necessarily for culture.
Both dynasties began as fundamentalists determined to bring back religion to the libertine cities, and both eventually fell victim to cosmopolitan delights. But the story of Ibn Tumart and the Almohads has much to teach us about the intensity of extremism.
The always brilliant Nitin Sil from Flashpoint History returns to discuss the rise and fall of the Almohads and their legacy in Spain, Morocco and beyond. And listener Jesse Oppenheim also comes back to discuss visiting the square. Plus there will be tagines!
Photograph by Michal Osmenda
The Cambodian jungle hides one of the world's largest pre-industrial cities: Angkor. Highlighted by its magnificent main temple, Angkor Wat, the city's other monuments testify to the prosperity of the Khmer empire. Those other monuments, many still semi-ruined by the jungle, make for even more compelling travel than Angkor Wat itself.
From Suryavarman's exploits in battle to Jayavarman VII's countless Buddha-like faces, Angkor's kings led a society built on pushing back the jungle, until the jungle finally won.
Listener Jesse Oppenheim joins us to discuss visiting Angkor, learning from guides who survived the Khmer Rouge, and fighting through instagramming yogis. Plus, of course, food.
Photograph by Gisling
Perhaps America's most famous landscape, Monument Valley and its fantastically shaped red-streaked buttes have starred in countless films and television shows. But its story truly hearkens to the people who have lived here for centuries: the Navajo, and before them, the Ancestral Puebloans.
In this episode, we'll discuss how the Ancestral Puebloans rose and then collapsed, victims of social breakdown in the face of climate change, and how the legacy of colonial oppression lives on in the dish most commonly associated with the Navajo: fry bread and the Navajo taco. But despite those setbacks, the culture of the indigenous southwest lives on strong to this day.
DuVal, Linda. “THE WRITING ON THE WALL; The Southwest: Mysterious and beautiful, the ancient petroglyphs and pictographs etched on canyons throughout Colorado, New Mexico, Arizona, Utah and Nevada speak to the eye and the soul.” in the Baltimore Sun
frommers.com (Arizona and New Mexico)
Kohler, Timothy A., Mark D. Varien, Aaron M. Wright and Kristin A. Kuckelman. “Mesa Verde Migrations: New archaeological research and computer simulation suggest why Ancestral Puebloans deserted the northern Southwest United States” in American Scientist
Newitz, Annalee. “Conservatism took hold here 1,000 years ago. Until the people fled.” in the Washington Post.
Schwindt, Dylan M., R. Kyle Bocinsky, Scott G. Ortman, Donna M. Glowacki, Mark D. Varien and Timothy A. Kohler. “The Social Consequences of Climate Change in the Central Mesa Verde Region.” in American Antiquity
Woodhouse, Connie A., David M. Meko, Glen M. MacDonald, Dave W. Stahle, and Edward R. Cook. “A 1,200-year perspective of 21st century drought in southwestern North America” in PNAS
Photograph by wikipedia user Supercarwaar
At the southern end of Arabia, Yemen was once rich from trade and frankincense. By the 11th century, it had fallen off the map, but two strong queens led it back to prosperity, particularly Arwa Al-Sulayhi, whose reign did more for Yemen than 350 years of men who followed. There's assassins, executions, heads on pikes.
Among Arwa's accomplishments was refurbishing the Great Mosque of Sana'a, Yemen's capital, whose medieval old city features gingerbread-like skyscrapers. Despite the horrors of war, Yemen perseveres.
Charlie from the Almost Forgotten podcast joins us to discuss Arwa and other historical figures that we've forgotten. Plus saltah!
Daftary, Dr. Farhad. Sayyida Hurra: The Isma‘ili Sulayhid Queen of Yemen
Mackintosh-Smith, Tim. Yemen: the Unknown Arabia
Mernissi, Fatima. The Forgotten Queens of Islam
Walker, Jenny. Lonely Planet Oman, UAE and the Arabian Peninsula
Wintour, Patrick. “Yemen civil war: the conflict explained” in the Guardian
Music by Mohamed al-Kouek, Kamilia Anbar Yakout, and Mohamed Hmoud al-Harithy
Photograph by Maria Gropa
THIS EPISODE CONTAINS EXPLICIT CONTENT.
A group of temples sits in the hills of central India, stunningly studded with sculptures. Built by the Chandela dynasty, they are remarkably well preserved testaments to medieval power, but they are best known for their many erotic images.
Anirudh Kanisetti of the Echoes of India podcast returns to discuss the Chandelas, their connection with tantra, their views of sex, their run-ins with the famed Turkic warlord Mahmud of Ghazni, and how all of that relates to India's political environment today.
Medieval India shows the panoply of human experience in all its colors and shades. Nothing is a simplistic black and white.
Bose, Nemai Sadhan. History of the Candellas of Jejakabhukti
Desai, Devangana. Khajuraho
Desai, Devangana. The Religious Imagery of Khajuraho
Dikshit, R.K. The Candellas of Jejakabhukti
Keay, John. India: a History
Lonely Planet India
Miller, Sam. Blue Guide India
Mitra, Sisir Kumar. Early Rulers of Khajuraho
Nasr, Mohamed. The Emergence of Muslim Rule in India
Ramadurai, Charukesi. “India’s Temples of Sex” BBC Travel
Tammita-Delgoda, Sinharaja. A Traveller's History of India
It's the world's greatest comic strip. The Bayeux Tapestry, technically an embroidery, documents the events leading up to the Battle of Hastings and the Norman Conquest.
We explore this cheeky document and tell its tale: the story of 1066, that most crucial year in English history. It's the tale of Edward the Confessor, powerful earl Harold Godwinson, one-man military machine Harald Hardrada, and William the Bastard, Duke of Normandy. There's battles, invasions, and an insane amount of luck, and the Tapestry covers it all. Or rather the parts it wants to cover.
I've wanted to tell this story since I started the podcast. I hope you enjoy it. Plus, there's an apple pie at the end you won't want to miss.
Bridgeford, Andrew. 1066 : the hidden history in the Bayeux Tapestry
Harper, Damian and Catherine Le Nevez. Lonely Planet Road Trips: Normandy & D-Day Beaches
Howarth, David. 1066: the Year of the Conquest
Marren, Peter. 1066: the Battles of York, Stamford Bridge & Hastings
Morris, Marc. The Norman Conquest: The Battle of Hastings and the Fall of Anglo-Saxon England
Rick Steves France
Wilson, David M. The Bayeux Tapestry