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History Storytime - For Kids
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History Storytime - For Kids

Author: Sophie (7) & Ellie (4) tell history for kids

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History Storytime for children with 7 year old Sophie, 5 year old Ellie and their Daddy. Exciting history stories of knights in shining armour and their battles. Henry VIII, the Tudors, Romans, World War 2, George Washington, Helen Keller, Columbus and more characters from history have their stories told. Even stories of animals in history like elephants, dogs, cats and pigeons. Kids will love the stirring history stories of love and betrayal. See from storytelling how strong women like Marie Curie and Eleanor of Aquitaine changed history. Real life narrative history as it should be told. Helps support learning history for the National Curriculum with Key Stage 1 (KS1) and Key Stage 2 (KS2) and for all Elementary ages - Grades K-5. Great for supporting parents with homeschooling. Valued by teachers, enjoyed by parents, loved by kids.
85 Episodes
Sophie (age 7) and Ellie (age 5) tell the story of the Ancient Olympic Games.----more---- With the modern Olympic games starting this week. Sophie and Ellie decide to tell the story of how 3000 years ago the Greeks invented the first Olympic Games. Next week they will tell the story of the modern Olympic games 3000 years ago Greece was not one country. The Greeks lived in different cities which all ruled themselves. However, they all worshipped the same Gods, spoke the same language and competed together in the Olympic Games. The first Olympic games were held in Olympia which was under the mountain where the Greeks believed that the Gods lived. At the beginning of the Olympic games a flame was lit to honour the Gods. The flame stayed lit for the whole time the Olympics were on. The first Olympic event was called the Stadion. We get our word Stadium from it. The Stadion was a race like our modern 200 metre race. In one early race a runner called Orsippus was running. In the middle of the race his loincloth fell off. Now he was naked. However, he carried on running anyway. He actually won the race. He even collected his crown totally naked. People watching decided that he had gone faster because he was naked. After than other athletes ran naked too. Most of the competitors were men. However, there were some women. Sophie and Ellie tell the story of Cynesca. She was a Spartan princess. She loved horses and chariots. She entered her horses and chariots several times into the Olympics and won. Later other women entered too and they said she had been their inspiration. When the Romans invaded Greece, everything changed. The cities were no longer in charge of themselves. Now they answered to Rome. However the Romans did like many Greek things. For example, they shared the same Gods, just with different names. The Romans especially liked the Olympic Games. One Roman Emperor called Nero even competed in the Olympic Games. He was a bad man. He tried to cheat by entering the chariot race with ten horses, whereas everyone else only had four horses. However, he was so fat that his chariot overturned at the first corner. Nero told everyone that he was the winner anyway because he said he would have won! After Nero returned to Rome he was killed and the Greeks then had his name removed from the list of Olympic Champions. The Olympic Games continued under the Romans until around the time of the Barbarian invasions. The Barbarians were not interested in the Olympic games and they stopped being held. There were no Olympics for 1500 years, until the invention of the modern Olympics. We will talk about them next week. PATRONS’ CLUB If you liked this story please do join our Patrons’ Club. Details are here:    
Sophie (age 7) and Ellie (age 5) tell the history of the Vikings' discovery of the Americas – hundreds of years before Columbus.----more---- A thousand years ago the Vikings were fierce fighters and brave explorers. They had already discovered and settled in Iceland. One of them was called Erik the Red. After his enslaved people cause a landslide a neighbour kills them out of revenge. In revenge Erik kills his neighbours. He is forced to leave Iceland for three years as a punishment. He decided to explore westwards. He sailed until he found a land which he called Greenland so it sounded better than Iceland. He explored the land and then sailed home to Iceland and told everyone about it. Many people followed him to live there. They ate seals and hunted Walruses for their ivory and Narwhals for their tusks and Polar Bears for their furs. One day a ship was blown off course and ended up even further west than Greenland. They spotted a land full of trees. Now Greenland had many things but it did not have many trees. The Vikings needed trees. When the ships captain returned he told everyone about this new land. Erik and his son Leif decided to go and explore it for themselves. However, before they could set sail, Erik had an accident. He couldn’t travel anymore. Leif had to go himself. Leif sailed westwards until he found the new land. It did have trees and beautiful beaches. It also had berries which could be made into wine. We now call this land Newfoundland and it is in Canada. However, back then Leif called in Vinland. Leif stayed for two winters before returned to tell everyone in Greenland what he had found. Later his brother Thorvald went to the same place to explore some more. This time they found some local people sleeping. The Vikings attacked them and killed them. But more local people came and attacked the Vikings. Thorvald was killed. Later more Vikings arrived. At first there was peace with the local people. However, after an argument a battle started. The Vikings were losing the battle and started to run away. However, Leif’s sister was there. She was furious with the Vikings for running away. She was pregnant and couldn’t run fast herself. She picked up a Viking sword. She tore off her own clothes and charged the enemy. The battle was won thanks to her. The Vikings stayed in Vinland for hundreds of years. However, around 600 years ago the weather got colder. The Vikings seem to have left Vinland. The next Europeans to arrive was the ships of Columbus. It is important to remember that the Vikings and Columbus were not the first humans living in the Americas. There were already people living there. It was their home first. PATRONS CLUB If you liked this episode you might like our Patron’s Club. We have exclusive episodes and you can help choose an episode. You can join at
Sophie (age 7) and Ellie (age 5) tell of the History of Football. But before they start they tell everyone the wonderful news that History Storytime won Silver in the British Podcast Awards!----more---- The history of Football starts thousands of years ago in China. The Chinese played a game very like football today. There were two teams and they scored by kicking a ball into a net. The Greeks and Romans also had a game that was very similar to football but which also involved using hands. However, while people all over the world played a game very like football, the rules were written down in England. 1000 years ago, England was football crazy. People played all the time. The games were quite disorganised. Towns would play against other towns. The rules were a little vague. They used a bladder blown up to be a ball. Ellie found that really disgusting!! However, there was a problem. England was at war with France. France had amazing knightsin history. However, the English had archers. Being an archer needed a lot of practice so every week Englishmen would practice their archery. That way they could pull the massive long bows and aim them at the French knights. However, more and more English men were playing Football instead of practicing their archery. The King of England got so annoyed that he actually passed a law banning football. However people just ignored him. Then the King of Scotland passed a law banning football. Everyone in Scotland ignored him too. Even women were playing football in history. Sophie reads a poem about women tucking in their skirts to play a proper game. Everyone had a slightly different version of the game with different rules. Around 300 years ago there started to be schools for rich children. Those schools wrote down rules for the sports so that the schoolchildren could play them properly. Around 200 years ago there were trains invented. Now schools could play against other schools. So they got together and wrote rules that they would all agree on. These became the first rules for football. At first it was the rich schools who were the best teams. However, football didn’t just stay a sport for the rich. The towns organised themselves into teams. Those teams were much better than the old rich schools. Now Football was a sport for everyone, and everyone had the same set of rules. The new rules travelled around the world. However, people still have to learn how to play well. In England plays used to just charge at the opposing side with the ball. In Scotland, though, they invented a new way of playing. This involved passing the ball around a lot. This passing game was much cleverer than the English way. It is the way that football is played today. Now millions of people play football and billions enjoy watching it. HISTORY STORYTIME PATRONS’ CLUB If you liked this episode, your kids might consider joining our History Storytime Patron’s Club. We have exclusive history episodes for kids there and your kids can help to choose a history episode. You can join at
Sophie (age 7) and Ellie (age 5) tell the story of Lady Jane Grey, the Tudor who ruled England for just nine days.----more---- Henry VIII was King of England. He was married to a Spanish Princess. They had a daughter called Mary. However, Henry really wanted to have a son. He asked the Pope if he could get divorced from his Spanish Princess and marry someone different. The Pope said no. So Henry decided to change the religion of England. England was a Catholic country which meant that the Pope was in charge of the Church. So Henry decided to change it to a Protestant country which meant he was in charge of the Church. Then he divorced his Spanish Princess and married a Protestant called Anne Boleyn. They had a daughter, Elizabeth. So he chopped off Anne’s head and married again. Finally, he had a son called Edward. However, his wife died and he went onto marry three more times. After Henry died his son, Edward, became King. Edward was a strict Protestant and so were many of his nobles. However, Edward got sick and was dying. Edward and his nobles worried that his sister, Mary, would now become Queen. They were afraid she would make England Catholic again. They decided instead to have another person become Queen. Lady Jane Grey. She was a niece of Henry VIII so had royal blood. She was also a Protestant. She was very young, only 16 years old. She was clever and beautiful. She was married to a rich protestant noble. It was her husband and her father in law who came up with the idea to make her Queen. They never bothered telling her about it. Edward left a letter saying that after he died Jane should be Queen. Then Edward died. Immediately, Jane was announced as Queen. She was astonished. She fainted on being told. When she woke up she immediately said that she shouldn’t be Queen and that her cousin Mary was the rightful Queen. Her family ignored her and told everyone that she was Queen anyway. However, the people of London did not agree. Many people thought that Mary was the rightful Queen. She had been Henry VIII’s daughter. More and more people demanded Mary become Queen. After just nine days Mary was swept to the throne. Even Jane’s own father in law who had come up with the whole idea was now supporting Mary. Jane was locked up in the tower of London with her husband. Their father in law was executed. Mary did not want to kill Jane. They were family. And it hadn’t been her idea. But more protestants rebelled including Jane’s father. Mary had had enough. She executed Jane’s husband. Then she executed Jane.   Poor Jane had only been Queen for nine days and was never even crowned. She was used by the men around her for their own power. And she paid the price. PATRONS CLUB Please do join our Patrons Club. You can get exclusive episodes and help choose and episode. Details are here:
Marie Curie

Marie Curie


Sophie (age 7) and Ellie (age 5) tell the story of the amazing scientist Marie Curie.----more---- Marie Curie was born 150 years ago in Poland. Back then Poland was ruled by Russia and the Russians were not kind to the Poles. The Russians stopped the schools teaching science to the Polish children. However, Marie’s father was a science teacher. He took his school science equipment home and taught Marie there. Marie was very clever and top of her class at school. However, in Poland women were not allowed to go to university. So Marie became a governess instead to earn some money. Her sister had gone to Paris and told her that in Paris women could go to university. Marie moved to Paris and started studying Maths, Physics and Chemistry. We explain in our podcast all about these subjects. Marie met a man called Pierre. He was also a brilliant scientist. They fell in love. However, Marie wanted to return to Poland to be a scientist there. He loved her so much he said that he would follow her even if it meant he would never be a scientist again. She decided to go on her own. However, back in Poland no one would give her a job as a scientist because she was a woman. Pierre begged her to go back to Paris, be a scientist there and marry him. She agreed. Back in Paris Marie and Pierre started doing science together. Scientists had already discovered a rock called uranium. This gave off invisible rays. Marie and Pierre decided to study this rock and its rays. They crushed up the rock into a powder which gave off even more rays. Marie called this Polonium after her native Poland. As well as the powder there was some left over liquid. Marie and Pierre put the liquid in a sieve and did lot of different type of mixing with it. They found they had something completely different called Radium. This also gave off invisible rays, called Radiation. The radiation travelled through objects and so was very useful for taking pictures of things that you couldn’t see. This is how x-rays were invented. It was also useful for curing cancer because it zapped the bad cancer cells. However, in large amounts it was very dangerous. Marie and Pierre did not realise this and were often sick while doing their experiments. After these amazing discoveries, Marie and Pierre were awarded the highest prize in science – the Nobel Prize. Shortly afterwards, there was a terrible accident and Pierre was killed. Now Marie had to carry on alone. She continued to make x-ray machines and look for ways to use radiation in hospitals. Astonishingly she received the Nobel Prize again. When World War One broke out, Marie turned her x-ray machines into mobile machines that could help soldiers near the front line. She worked on them herself to help soldiers. After the war, Marie carried on working, until she died aged 66 from illnesses caused by having too much radiation. After Marie died other scientists carried on her experiments and some of these lead to inventing the Nuclear bomb. Marie Curie’s example shows that girls can achieve anything they want and are as good at science as any boy. In fact Marie was one of the greatest scientists who ever lived. PATRONS CLUB If you would like to join our Patrons' Club please go to We have exclusive episodes there. 
Magna Carta

Magna Carta


Sophie (age 7) and Ellie (age 5) tell the story of Magna Carta, which was signed at Runnymede in 1215, what it was, and what it means today.----more---- King John is not a good man. He is mean to his Barons. He taxes the poor so much that the legend of Robin Hood comes from this period. He loses most of the English lands in France. Now the Barons have to see him all the time which makes them like him even less. King John thinks that he can do what he likes and that laws are for the little people. The Barons write a list of demands down about things that they think should happen and rules which the King should obey. They call this the Great Charter which is Latin is Magna Carta. Some the demands are selfish ones that the Barons want like things about the rules for their children. Some of them are great for everyone like stopping the King putting people in prison without a trial. Some of them are good for people but seem a bit old fashioned today – like stopping the King taking someone’s horse and cart without permission. However, the most important thing about Magna Carta is that it is a set of rules that the King had to follow. No longer could he say that the laws did not apply to him. He had to follow them just like anyone else. At first King John refused to sign. However, the Barons were too strong and he was forced to sign the Magna Carta at Runnymede in 1215. Remember though that King John was a bad man. He did not intend to keep his promises. He got away from Runnymede and started a war with the Barons. The Barons got help from the French. However, when crossing some marshland the sea came in. King John lost all his crown jewels and his crown. He was so upset that he rolled over and died. The Barons offered to stop fighting if they King's young son agreed to the Magna Carta. The people looking after the young king agreed and the fighting stopped. All Kings and Queen afterwards agreed to follow Magna Carta. Whenever a King tried to do something naughty, people would point to Magna Carta and tell him not to be so naughty. Only a few parts of Magna Carta are still law. However, the principle that the King has to follow the law was made then. That is still the law now. Even though the Queen is not in charge of everything anymore, the idea of Magna Carta means that the government have to follow the law too. Magna Carta was so long ago that all those countries which were founded by Britain also used Magna Carta as the basis of their laws – places like the America, Canada and Australia. PATRONS’ CLUB If you liked this episode please join our Patrons Club. We have exclusive episodes there and you can choose an episode. You can join at    
Sophie (age 7) and Ellie (age 5) are joined by May (age 6) to tell the legends and truth behind of the Founding of Rome.----more---- We start with Aeneas escaping from a burning Troy. The gods tell him that it is his job to find the area where Rome will later be founded. Aeneas has many adventures, including visiting the underworld. He stops off in Africa where he meets Dido, the beautiful Queen of Carthage. They fall in love. Dido wants Aeneas to stay. However, the god Jupiter, reminds Aeneas that he needs to find the place where Rome will founded. Aeneas leave. Dido is furious. She curses Aeneas and his descendants and then kills herself. Later the Romans believe that the wars between Rome and Carthage are because of the curse that Dido made. Aeneas eventually finds the area near where Rome will one day be built. He settles there in some towns called the Latin people. Later one of the Kings of the Latins is thrown off the thrown by another man called Amulius. The old Kings daughter is a priestess. She has two children by the God Mars – Romulus and Remus. Amulius is worried that the boys will one day want to take his throne. So he abandons them by the river Tiber to die. However, the two babies are rescued by a she-wolf. The She-wolf takes them back to her cave and feeds them her own wolf milk to keep them alive. Later a shepherd finds them and raises them as his own son. As the boys grow up they realise who they are. They make a plan to get rid of the evil King. They are successful and they put their old grandfather back on the throne. The brothers now decide to found their own city. They find a place with seven hills and a river which looks good for a city. However, they argue about which hill to put the city on. Romulus wants to build it on the Palatine Hill. Remus wants to build it on the Aventine Hill. They argue and Remus is killed. Romulus now gets his way and the city of Rome is built on the Palatine Hill. We then discuss if these legends are true or not. We talk about how the Romans believed that they were true and that is important. The stories are probably not totally true. However, it is true that Rome was founded on the Palatine Hill and previously had been different Latin villages. So there is some truth in all the stories. PATRONS CLUB If you liked this episode you might like to join our Patrons’ Club. We have exclusive episodes there and you can help choose an episode or be in an episode like May. You can join at
William Shakespeare

William Shakespeare


Sophie (age 7) and Ellie (age 5) tell the story of the Life of William Shakespeare.----more---- William Shakespeare was born into Tudor England 500 years ago. He wrote some of the most famous plays in history. We tell the story of Hamlet and Ellie points out that this the same story as Disney’s The Lion King. We talk about how Shakespeare's plays are so famous that many people copy them and we watch them even today. William Shakespeare's father was a glove maker and also leant people money. He sent his son William to a local school. There he would have learned reading, writing, Latin and lots of history. Many of the things that were later in his plays are things he would have learned at school. When Shakespeare was 18 years old he met a girl called Anne. They got married and had a baby. Shakespeare then disappears for seven years from history. The girls explore the things which might have happened to him. Did he have to run away because he was caught poaching? Did he go on holiday to Italy? Did he go to London to learn how to write plays? By the time Shakespeare reappears, he is writing plays in London. We learn about what Tudor London was like – including some disgusting bits from our History of the Toilet episode.   The theatre is different then. All the parts are played by men – even women’s parts. Rich people pay for groups of people to write and act in plays. Shakespeare's friends are called the Lord Chamberlains company because the Lord Chamberlain pays for them. Some people want the theatres to be shut down. They think God does want people to have so much fun. However, Queen Elizabeth like the theatre and she keeps the theatres open. Shakespeare and his friends even build their own amazing theatre called the Globe theatre.   Then the Queen dies. Luckily, the new King, King James, also likes the theatre. In fact he likes Shakespeare and his friends so much that he agrees to pay for their plays. Now they are called the Kings Company. King James is very interested in witches so Shakespeare makes a play about witches, called Macbeth.   However, Shakespeare wants to retire and go home to Anne. One of his last plays is called the Tempest and it is about a powerful magician who wants to stop being a magician. Ellie points out that this is like Shakespeare being an amazing writer of plays but wanting to stop.   Then there is an accident in one of his plays. The Globe Theatre burns down. At that point, Shakespeare really has had enough. He stops writing plays and goes back to Stratford to be with Anne. However, we still remember him and watch his plays today. BRITISH PODCAST AWARDS We have been shortlisted for the British Podcast Awards in the Kids and Family category. You can vote for us too for the Listeners Choice Award. We would love it if you could. You don’t need to be in the UK to vote. Details are here: Listeners' Choice Award — British Podcast Awards, supported by Amazon Music PATRONS CLUB If you would like to join our patrons club you can join here: We have exclusive episodes like our one on the History of Chocolate or on Napoleon and Josephine or you can choose an episode like one of our Patrons chose this episode.
Sophie (age 7) & Ellie (age 5) tell of the Persian invasion of Ancient Greece and the Battles of Thermopylae and Salamis.----more---- The Persians are determined to get their revenge for their defeat at the Battle of Marathon. The new Persian Emperor, Xerxes, decides to conquer all of Greece once and for all. He assembles the largest army the world has ever seen. The army is too big to be taken by sea. So he builds a bridge of boats to get it from Asia to Europe. However, in building the bridge we learn how Xerxes is a cruel ruler. One of the nobles asks for his son to be left behind. Xerxes agrees but executes the nobles son and chops his body in two. There is a storm and the bridge of boats is destroyed. Xerxes has the sea whipped and red hot irons placed in it as a punishment. Finally, his army gets across and marches into Greece. Many Greek cities surrender. However, Athens and Sparta fight. The Spartans are fierce warriors. Their King, Leonidas, visits an Oracle to find out what is going to happen. The Oracle says that either a Spartan King will die or Greece will be conquered. Leonidas realises that he will have to die if Greece is to be saved. The Spartans choose a clever place to fight. It is called Thermopylae. It is a narrow path between the mountains and the sea. The Persians cannot get their whole army down the path as it is too narrow. The Spartans hold the massive Persian army at bay. However, the Persians discover a path through the mountains. Now they can get behind the Spartans. Most of the Greeks retreat. But Leonidas and 300 Spartans decide to fight to the death to delay the Persians. Leonidas also knows that if he dies then Greece will be saved. Persian archers kill Leonidas. However, his sacrifice has never been forgotten. Before the invasion, the Athenians had discovered silver in the hills near Athens. After a long discussion they had decided to use the money to build a mighty fleet. Athens is captured by the Persians but the Athenians still have their fleet. The Persian and the Athenian led fleet meet in battle near the island of Salamis. The Persian Emperor settles down on the land to watch the battle. The seas are narrow near Salamis and the Persians numbers do not help them. The Greeks win the battle. The Persians realise that now the Greeks can say to the bridge of boats and destroy it. This would trap the Persian Emperor in Greece. Quickly the Emperor and most of his army run home. A little of their army stays and is destroyed the next year. This war did not just save Ancient Greece. It also saved all the things that the Greeks had invented, like Democracy and Freedom. They gave those ideas to us. This is why we remember the battles of Thermopylae and Salamis today. PATRON’S CLUB If you liked this episode then do please join our Patron’s Club. We have an exclusive episode there all about what happened after the Persian Invasion of Ancient Greece. Sparta and Athens go to war with each other…
Sophie (age 7) & Ellie (age 5) tell the history of the Persian invasion of Ancient Greece and how it led to the Marathon race. Ancient Greece was a set of city states who ruled themselves. Next door was the mighty Persian Empire. The Persian Emperor told his people what to do. There were a few Greek cities in the Persian Empire. They did not like it. They rebelled. However, the Persians crushed the Greek cities. The Greek city of Athens helped the Greek cities rebel. The Persian Emperor was furious and decided to punish Athens. He sent an army to capture the city. The Persian army landed at Marathon near Athens. The Athenians marched their army out to meet the Persians. The Athenians blocked the road to Athens with tree trunks. They then sent messengers to the Ancient Greek of Sparta asking for help. The Spartans has the best army in Ancient Greece. However, the Spartans could not leave for a week because they had a religious ceremony. The Athenians were on their own. The Athenian army was like other Ancient Greek armies. It was a hoplite army. It was made of soldiers wearing bronze armour with long spears. They worked together in a column as a team. The Persians did not have so much armour or spears but they did have lots and lots of archers. The Athenians were also free people whereas the Persians had been forced to fight. Then Athenians then noticed the Persians getting ready to leave. They realised that the Persians might be getting back on their ships to sail directly to Athens. They could get there before the Athenians. The Athenians could not wait any more for the Spartans. They had to attack immediately. They marched towards the Persian army. The Persians archers fired into the sky at the Athenians. Just then the Athenians broke into a run. The arrows missed them. They kept on running and charged straight into the Persians. They defeated the Persians killing thousands of them. The remaining Persians fled to their ship, chased by the Athenians. As the Persians sailed away, the Athenians worried they still might sail to Athens. The Athenians knew they needed to warn the city that the battle had been won and not to give up. They sent their fastest runner to the city. The distance was 26 miles. He ran all the way from Marathon to Athens. He arrived and told the Athenian people that the battle was won. Then he was so tired that he died. The Persian ships did come, but when they saw the Athenians waiting for them, they fled. All Marathons now are named after the journey made by the Greek runner after the battle. They are all the same distance that he ran. PATRONS’ CLUB If you liked this story then do join our Patrons Club. We have exclusive episodes like the history of Chocolate and the Seven Wonders of the World.
Livia, Domina of Rome

Livia, Domina of Rome


Sophie (age 7) and Ellie (age 5) tell the story of Livia, the most powerful woman in the early Roman Empire. ----more---- The Roman Republic is falling. Generals fight to be in charge. Eventually Julius Caesar wins out. Meanwhile, Livia is born to a rich and powerful Roman family. She has a perfect childhood and is married to her older cousin. They have a baby. Then Julius Caesar is murdered to stop him becoming King. Rome is split by civil war. Caesar’s nephew, Octavian, hunts down the murderers of Caesar and anyone supporting them and kills them. Livia’s father is also killed. After more fighting, Livia is forced to flee with her husband. She barely escapes Octavian’s soldiers. Eventually, there is peace and Livia and her husband can go back to Rome. Livia meets Octavian. Astonishingly they fall in love. They agree to get divorced from their partners. They get married. Livia’s old husband even gives Livia away at the wedding. Octavian changes his name to Augustus and becomes Emperor of Rome. They lead a relatively simple life. Livia is the perfect wife for Octavian. She is from an old family and that reassures the people of Rome that they can get back to the good old days. She is portrayed as the perfect wife. However, they have no children. Augustus has children from his previous marriage. He loves them and helps to raise them, but they die. Livia persuades him that her son. Tiberius, from her earlier marriage should become Emperor after him. Augustus is not sure. However, when he realises what a good general Tiberius is, he agrees. Augustus then dies and Tiberius becomes Emperor. People in Rome still love Livia. They call her the mother of the nation. This makes Tiberius jealous. Even though she is his own mother and helped him become Emperor he is still jealous of her. Livia keeps giving Tiberius advice on how to be a good Emperor. This really annoys Tiberius and they have lots of arguments. Eventually he goes to live on a remote island. He is still Emperor but spends most of his time playing silly games. When Livia died of old age she is mourned by Rome as one of the greatest women ever. PATRONS’ CLUB If you liked this episode you might like to join our Patron’s Club. You can listen to exclusive episodes or help choose and episode. You can join at
Sophie (age 7) and Ellie (age 5) tell the history of how the Vikings built kingdoms, explored continents and worshipped their Norse gods. ----more---- In our first episode on the Vikings they had invaded England and England was now divided between a Saxon and a Viking Kingdom. Here we see how the Vikings repeatedly invade France. Eventually, the French give the Viking, Rollo, land to keep Paris safe from other Vikings. The land is called the land of the Northman, or Northmandy, eventually just Normandy. Other Vikings sail to the Mediterannean Sea. They are paid by the nobles of Italy to fight their wars. When the nobles can’t pay they give the Vikings land instead. Eventually the Vikings own so much land and so many castles that they just take over the whole country and make a Viking Kingdom. Other Vikings explore the Russian rivers. They get to a hill called Kiev which they think is a good place for a city. They capture it and build an empire which today we called Kievan Rus. Some Vikings even made it as far as the powerful city of Byzantium. There they become the bodyguards to the Emperor of Byzantium. They are called the Varangian Guard and were loyal to the Emperor. However, other Vikings look West. They take their ships across the sea to Greenland and make a settlement. One day a ship is blown off course thousands of miles and accidentally discovered North America. Other sailors follow until settlements are founded in what the Vikings called Vinland, which is in North America. The settlements do not survive though so when Columbus eventually makes it there, he if the first European to make permanent settlements. We also learn about the Norse gods. We learn of Odin, Frigg and Thor. We also learn how Friday is named after Frigg and Thursday is named after Thor. Finally we return to England. At first the Saxons defeat the Vikings and reconquer their lands. However, the powerful Viking, King Canute, decides to conquer England. The English kings are useless or unready as they were called. Canute becomes King. We tell his story of how he showed that Kings do not have the power by failing to turn back the tide. The Saxons become King again. However, William of Normandy attacked the English at Hastings and makes himself King. Although history records him as a Frenchman. He was actually descended from the Vikings who were given Normandy to live in. PATRONS’ CLUB If you liked this episode you might to join our Patrons’ Club. You can find us at
Sophie (age 7) and Ellie (age 5) tell the story of the start of the Viking Age, from the attack at Lindisfarne to the creation of the Danelaw.----more---- Our story starts with the attack on the Lindisfarne monastery in 793AD. The monastery is famous for its treasures and how it helped Britain become Christian. No one is expecting an attack. So when the first heavily armed Vikings storm ashore it is a complete surprise. Monks are killed and enslaved, their treasures are stolen and altars destroyed. People around England and the world are stunned. The Viking Age has begun. The Vikings are the words given nowadays to the people who lived in Denmark, Sweden and Norway a thousand years ago. However, back then people called them the Danes or the Northmen. They invented new ships called the Longship which had a flat bottom so it could go up rivers or straight onto beaches, but also had a keel so it could make long sea journeys.  No one knows why the Vikings started to expand. Some think it was because of over population, some think it was just because their neighbours were weak, others think it was because of their shipbuilding technology, others think it was just to get richer. However, not all Vikings were raiders. They had inventors, explorers and traders too. At first their raids were just trying to take money and slaves. However, over time they became more ambitious. The Vikings decided to conquer England. The Great Heathen Army full of Vikings marched into England. Kingdoms tried to pay them to go away with gold. This was called Danegeld. The Vikings conquered East Anglia and killed its King horribly. Then they conquered Northumbria and Mercia. Only Wessex stood against them led by its King, Alfred the Great. The Vikings attacked Alfred one Christmas when there was supposed to be a peace. Alfred fled to the marshes. But he regrouped and fought back. A peace was made between the Danes and the Saxons. The Danes took the North and East of England. It was called the Danelaw. Many of the place names today are Viking ones. We pause our episode there. Next week we will talk about the exploration of the Vikings as they sail to the Americas and to Constantinople; how they conquered all of England; and about the Danish Gods. Patrons’ Club If you liked this episode please do join out Patrons’ Club. We have exclusive episodes on the History of Chocolate, the Seven Wonders of the World, the Bayeux Tapestry and The Siege of Bastogne. You can join at:
Sophie (age 7) and Ellie (age 5) tell the story of how England and Scotland became Great Britain in the Act of Union in 1707.----more---- England and Scotland had fought wars for hundreds of years. The Romans had built Hadrian’s Wall to keep the Picts out of Roman Britain. The English had later tried to conquer Scotland in the Wars of Scottish independence but had been stopped by William Wallace and Robert the Bruce. However, the wars between the two continued. Scotland even allied with England’s arch enemy France. Everything changed with the death of the childless Queen Elizabeth. Her cousin, James, became King. He was already King of Scots. Now England and Scotland had the same King. However, that did not mean they became the same country. In fact the English were opposed to the very idea. So for the next hundred years the two countries had the same King or Queen but were ruled separately. However, the fighting did not stop. There was civil war in England and Scotland. Scottish armies crossed the border into England and English armies from England into Scotland. Peace eventually came. It was helped by the fact that both countries were Protestant. However, Queen Anne did not have any children who lived. People in England were very worried that it would mean that her Catholic family would inherit the throne. So England passed a law saying that only Protestants could inherit the throne. That could mean that Scotland got a different King to England. The English were worried that this might mean Scotland would again ally with France and perhaps become Catholic again. The English proposed that England and Scotland become one country called Great Britain. The Scots had a number of problems at this time. Firstly, they had lost lots of money in trying to make a colony in Central America. Secondly, there had been a famine in Scotland which had killed lots of people. People in Scotland were now poor. England also passed a law which would stop Scottish people owning property in England and trading with England without paying taxes. That would make things very difficult for Scotland. People in the Scottish parliament decided that they would be better off if they joined with England. They carried on negotiating though. They got the English to agree that Scotland would have lower taxes than England, that they Scots could trade freely with England and with her colonies and that they could keep their own courts. The English agreed. The Scots then voted to join with England into one country called Great Britain. The English voted the same. People in London celebrated. But there were no celebrations in Edinburgh. The people in the Highlands of the Scotland still wanted to have a Catholic king. They did not feel like they got much from the Union of England and Scotland. They rebelled. But the lowland scots felt that the British Empire benefitted them them and they liked having a Protestant King. Over the next 300 year the Scots and English together defeated Napoleon, created an Empire and won two World Wars. But Scots never forgot that they had had their own country. People still felt Scottish, even if they also felt British. Today some people in Scotland want Scotland to be its own country again. PARENTS' NOTE I am aware that this history topic is quite contested and very relevant for politics today. We have done our very best to be impartial, factual and fair. Happy to receive any feedback either via twitter or facebook. OTHER EPISODES If you liked this episode then you might like our Wars of Scottish Independence series. We have episodes on The Hammer of the Scots Medieval: War of Scottish Independence 1 - The Hammer of the Scots ( On William Wallace Medieval: War of Scottish Independence 1 - The Hammer of the Scots ( And on Robert the Bruce. Medieval: War of Scottish Independence 3 - Robert the Bruce ( PATRONS CLUB If you would like to join our Patron’s Club you can find it at There are extra episodes there.
Sophie (age 7) and Ellie (age 5) tell the history of the toilet.----more---- They start with toilets in the stone age including toilets of hunter gatherers and then those of the early settlements like that of Skara Brae. When cities are first built by the Mesopotamians and later the Greeks toilets become more sophisticated. They have pipes and drains. However, it is the Romans who take toilets to a whole new level. We hear how they built public toilets which were beautiful. Even among all the beauty though, wiping your bum was still a pretty disgusting process. The Romans did not even go to the toilet when they had banquets. Instead slaves would bring them pots to wee in at the table! The Medieval period saw more privacy with curtains put around toilets. But the poo needed to go somewhere. So builders of castles built toilet shutes down the side of castle walls which helped fill the moat with poo. That did not bother the French though who stormed one castle by climbing soldiers up the toilet shute into the castle and capturing it from the English. People living in medieval towns also had to get rid of their poo. They just used to through it out of the window onto the street. People would shout in French “guardez l’eau” which meant “watch out for the water”. But English people would pronounce it “Gardy Loo” and eventually just “loo” which is how English people started called toilets “the loo”. Kings eventually banned this because it made the cities smell and built some drains. Meanwhile in 1596, Sir John Harington invented the first flushing toilet. He even gave one to Queen Elizabeth I as a present. Today when Americans talk about going to the “John” then are remembering Sir John Harington. The Victorians made more flushing toilets and started to build sewers in London after there was a heatwave which caused a massive stink. Then a man called Thomas Crapper makes lots of toilets, including for the King. He even puts his name on his toilets. Eventually in the 20th century toilet paper was invented. Now we have toilet paper to wipe out bum, flushing toilets to take the poo out of the house, and sewers to take the poo out of the street. PARENTS’ NOTE We use the terms “poo” and “wee”. We don’t use any other terminology. PATRONS’ CLUB If you liked this episode you might like to join our Patrons’ Club. You can join at  
Sophie (age 7) and Ellie (age 5) tell how Prince Philip became a decorated war hero in World War 2.----more---- Prince Philip is a young Greek prince. He has been forced to leave Greece so he goes to Britain and joins the Royal Navy. While training he meets the young Princess Elizabeth and they later fall in love. But first World War 2 breaks out. Prince Philip is first sent to the Far East and he helps Australian convoys get their soldiers to Europe. But when Italy declares war on Britain everything changes. Now the Mediterranean is a battleground between Brtain and Italy. Prince Philip is posted to one of the main battleships. The Italians have a powerful battlefleet and it sets sail to fight the British. The British airplanes damage one of the Italian ships and most of the Italian fleets turn for home. But they leave some of their ships to help their damaged ship. In the middle of the night the British fleet find the Italians. They are able to find them because the British have radar which the Italians do not. However, the British still need to see the Italians to be able to fire at them. Prince Philip is in charge of his battleship’s searchlights. He turns the searchlights on and shines them onto one of the Italian ships. Quickly the British ships sink that ship. Then another Italian ship opens fire on the British. All the Italians can see is the British searchlights being held by Prince Philip. It is as if the whole Italian fleet is aiming at him. But he doesn’t flinch. He aims the searchlights at the new Italian ship. The British guns blow the ship out of the water. After the battle the British Admiral ensures that Prince Philip is given an award for bravery. Prince Philip then returns to Britain and helped convoys get to Britain. Then Prince Philip returns to the Mediterranean for the invasion of Sicily. By now he has been promoted. He is the second in command of a small ship. His ship comes under attack by a German bomber. It’s looking bad for the British. But Prince Philip has an idea. He decides to make a raft, set it on fire and throw it overboard. In the dark the German bomber was confused. It started to bomb the burning raft. The British ship slowly slipped away. Prince Philip had saved everyone. Then Prince Philip is sent to fight the Japanese in the Far East. He is present in Tokyo harbour when the Japanese surrender. After the war, Philip marries Princess Elizabeth. When she becomes Queen, he gives up his navy career to support her. We all know him for how he supported her over the next 70 years. But before then he was a decorated war hero. PATRONS CLUB If you liked this episode you might like to join our Patrons’ Club. You can join at
Sophie (age 7) and Ellie (age 5) tell the story of the United States and World War One for the anniversary of America’s entry into the War. ----more---- Britain, France and Russia are at war with Germany and her allies. But a war in Europe seems to have little to do with the United States. However, the British battle fleet is far more powerful than the German fleet. So the Germans start to use submarines to sink British ships. German submarines find it difficult to tell the difference between a warship and a passenger ship. A German submarine sinks the passenger liner, Lusitania. There are over a thousand passengers on board including over a hundred Americans. The United States is furious. The Germans stop their submarine attacks for a while. However, they need to attack the British so they are desperate to continue the attacks. They send a telegram to Mexico. The telegram is called the Zimmerman Telegram after the person who wrote it. The telegram suggests to Mexico that if there is war then the Mexico should attack the United States and recapture Texas and Arizona. However, the British intercept the telegram. They give a copy of it to the American President. The Americans are very, very angry. Just then the German submarines start sinking American ships again. The United States has had enough. They declare war on the Germans. Millions of American join the army. The nickname of American soldiers is the “Doughboys”. The Germans realise they do not have long before the Americans arrive. They launch a final massive attack on the British lines. The British are forced back but keep fighting. However, as American troops start to arrive it frees up the French to help the British. Together the British and French start to push back the Germans. By now the Americans have properly arrived. They launch their own attacks on the Germans and defeat the Germans in a series of battles. The Germans realise that they cannot win the war. They have failed to defeat the British and the French and now the Americans have arrived. The Germans ask for peace. There is an Armistice on 11th November 1918 at 11am in the morning. Finally the fighting is over. We still remember that day as Remembrance Day in the Commonwealth and as Veterans Day in the United States. After the war many families do not have a body of a loved one to remember because so many of the bodies are unidentified. The American bring back one unknown soldier to Washington. He lies in state in the US Capitol. The British award him the Victoria Cross and the Americans award him the Medal of Honor. He is buried in the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier to represent all those who died. His tomb is guarded to this day. OTHER EPISODES: If you liked this episode then we have many other WW1 episodes. You might like our Animals in history episode. It tells the story of the brave pigeon, Cher Ami, who helped save the lives of many American soldiers in World War 1. Animals in History: Dogs, Cats and Pigeons! ( Or you can try our Christmas Truce episode WW1: The Christmas Truce of 1914 ( Or try our Boy Cornwell and the Battle of Jutland episode all about a boy sailor who became a national hero. WW1: Jack Cornwell VC and the Battle of Jutland ( If you want to know why World War 1 happened you might want to try our “Outbreak of World War One” episode WW1: Why did World War 1 start? ( Or our “Sophie and Franz” episode about the doomed love at the start of the war. WW1: Sophie & Franz - The World War 1 Love Story (   You could also try our episode about the Resolute Desk which talks about the friendship between Britain and the United States. The Resolute Desk of US Presidents ( PATRONS’ CLUB You might also like to join our Patrons’ Club which has other exclusive episodes. The details are at  
Sophie (age 7) and Ellie (age 5) tell some of the best loved tales from Herodotus.----more---- They start with the story of Croesus. Herodotus explains how Croesus was very rich. However, his neighbours were the powerful Persians. Croesus wanted to know if he should go to war with the Persians. He decided to ask an Oracle what to do. But he couldn’t be sure if the Oracles would tell the truth. So he asked different Oracles the same question, “What am I doing now?”. Then he arranged to do something very strange. He cooked a tortoise in a pot. Only one Oracle got the right answer. So he asked that Oracle whether he should attack the Persians. Herodotus tells us that the Oracle told him that if he attacked Persia a great empire would be destroyed. Emboldened, Croesus attacked the Persians. And prompted lost. He did not realise that the empire that he would destroy would be his own. Our second story from Herodotus is about the Persian Emperor discussing difference between peoples. He asked the Greeks if they would eat the body of their own dead father. The Greeks and Sophie and Ellie are disgusted at the very idea. The Greeks cremate their dead. Then the Persian Emperor asked some Indians if they would burn the body of their dead father. The Indians are disgusted at the very idea. They eat the bodies of the dead. Our third story from Herodotus is about the naughty Persians visiting the Greeks. The Persians request that the Greek wives join for dinner. But they then keep trying to kiss the wives. The Greek husbands are not happy about this. That night they get all the Greek men without beards to secretly dress up as women. When the Persians try again to kiss them, the Greek men stab the Persians with hidden daggers. Our fourth story from Herodotus sees the Persian invasion of Greece. The Persian Emperor builds a bridge of boats. But a storm comes and destroys the bridge. The Persian Emperor is so angry that he has the sea punished. It is whipped. Ellie observes that this is completely pointless. Our final story from Herodotus is about the Golden Ants. Herodotus tells a story about ants as big as small dogs which go digging in the East for gold. People then wait for them to come out of their burrows and take the gold. The story seems ridiculous. But more recently people have realised that Marmots in the Himalayas come out of their burrow covered in gold dust and local people would take the gold off them. Maybe this is the story that Herodotus was talking about in his tale. PATRONS’ CLUB If you liked this episode then you will love our Seven Wonders of the World episode. You can listen to it by joining our Patrons’ Club at
Helen Keller

Helen Keller


Ellie (age 5) tells her sister Sophie (age 7) the inspirational story of Helen Keller who overcame deafness and blindness.----more---- Helen Keller is born 150 years ago to a family in Alabama. At 18 months she was struck down by an illness and left deaf and blind. Unfortunately, this also means that she could not really talk because she could not hear or see anyone to copy and learn from. As she grew up Helen Keller was increasingly frustrated at not being able to communicate properly. This made her naughty and people did not know what to do with her. But already there were signs of something remarkable happening. She started to communicate with signs to a friend. Then the famous inventor, Alexander Graham Bell, recommended a tutor for her. That tutor was called Anne Sullivan. Anne started using finger spelling to teach her different words. At first Helen Keller did not understand what Anne meant. But when her hands were under a water tap, while Anne was writing the words water, it all suddenly clicked. Helen Keller realised what Anne was trying to teach her. That day it was as if a new world opened up for her. She learned 30 words that day alone. Then she learned braille and learned to read. Then a different tutor came and taught her how to talk from feeling people’s mouths and the vibrations they made. Helen Keller even went to university and was the first deaf and blind person in the world to get a degree. As Helen Keller grew up she became an inspiration to millions. She even helped other people like helping get women the vote and helping soldiers who had been wounded in World War Two. They even made films about Helen Keller’s life. Sadly, she was not able to marry which was one of the great regrets of her life. When Helen Keller died she was buried with her life long friend, Anne, who had taught her finger spelling all those years before. Ellie really wanted to tell this story as she has a book all about Helen Keller and found her story truly amazing. PATRONS’ CLUB If you liked this story then you might like to join our Patrons Club. We have exclusive episodes that you can listen to. These include episodes on the Seven Wonders of the World, The Siege of Bastogne, The Bayeux Tapestry and Napoleon & Josephine. You can join at
The Fall of Napoleon

The Fall of Napoleon


Sophie (age 7) & Ellie (age 5) tell of the fall of Napoleon - Spain, divorce, Russian disaster to Waterloo and St Helena.----more---- In the third of our Napoleonic series our episode starts with Napoleon at the height of his power. Europe lies before him. Only Britain remains still opposing him. Napoleon decides to launch economic war on Britain. He bans European countries from importing British goods. But people in Europe want the goods. So they keep trying to trade with Britain. Everytime they do, Napoleon invades them. But he bites off more than he can chew when he invades Spain and Portugal. Britain’s brilliant general, who later becomes the Duke of Wellington, protects Portugal. The Spanish people rise up in rebellion. The Spanish are not the only country to resent French rule. In an effort to stop attacks on his soldiers Napoleon makes people walk on the other side of the road so it is harder for them to attack his soldiers. So is born the fact that Europe (which Napoleon conquered) drives on the right; but Britain (which he did not) drives on the left. Napoleon is desperate for a son. So he divorces Josephine even though he loves here. He marries an Austrian princess hoping for a son an a friendship with Austria. He gets the son, but Austria still does not like him. Then Napoleon makes a terrible mistake. He invades Russia with a mighty army. But the Russians refuse to fight him. They retreat deep into Russia chased by Napoleon. A huge battle is fought before the gates of Moscow. Napoleon wins the battle but many of his soldiers are killed. However, Napoleon captures Moscow. He marches into the city in triumph, expecting victory. But the Russians have other ideas. Not only do they not surrender, they burn Moscow to the ground. Napoleon is forced to retreat. But the winter comes. The Russian cold and ice destroy his army. All of Europe turns on him. He raises another army but it is not as good as the one he lost in Russia. He is forced out of Germany and into France. He is still the best General in Europe but the numbers are too great. Paris falls and his generals abandon him. He is forced to give up the throne of France. The Tsar and Austrian Emperor take pity of him and give Napoleon the small island of Elba to rule. But the new French King is unpopular. Napoleon escapes and becomes Emperor of the French again. Europe again turns to fight him. This time Napoleon is defeated at the battle of Waterloo. He is exiled to St Helena. There is no escape. But before he dies he tells people his side of the story. He creates a legend which makes people forget the wars and invasions and remember instead the good things he did and the battles he won. NAPOLEONIC EPISODES This is the final part of a three part series. The other two episodes are: Emperor Napoleon Emperor Napoleon ( The Young Napoleon The Young Napoleon Bonaparte ( We also previously did an episode all about the Battle of Waterloo Napoleon and the Battle of Waterloo ( PATRON’S CLUB If you liked this episode please do join our Patrons’ Club. This series was chosen by one of our Patrons. We also have exclusive episodes including an episode all about the love between Napoleon and Josephine. You can join here:
Comments (1)

Sarah Nelson

My son and I enjoy your podcast 😊

Apr 19th
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