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In Our Time: History
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In Our Time: History

Author: BBC Radio 4

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Historical themes, events and key individuals from Akhenaten to Xenophon.
286 Episodes
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Doggerland

Doggerland

2019-06-2700:54:2010

Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss the people, plants and animals once living on land now under the North Sea, now called Doggerland after Dogger Bank, inhabited up to c7000BC or roughly 3000 years before the beginnings of Stonehenge. There are traces of this landscape at low tide, such as the tree stumps at Redcar (above); yet more is being learned from diving and seismic surveys which are building a picture of an ideal environment for humans to hunt and gather, with rivers and wooded hills. Rising seas submerged this land as glaciers melted, and the people and animals who lived there moved to higher ground, with the coasts of modern-day Britain on one side and Denmark, Germany, The Netherlands, Belgium and France on the other.With Vince GaffneyAnniversary Professor of Landscape Archaeology at the University of BradfordCarol CotterillMarine Geoscientist at the British Geological SurveyAndRachel BynoeLecturer in Archaeology at the University of SouthamptonProducer: Simon Tillotson
The Mytilenaean Debate

The Mytilenaean Debate

2019-06-2000:54:125

Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss why Athenians decided to send a fast ship to Lesbos in 427BC, rowing through the night to catch one they sent the day before. That earlier ship had instructions to kill all adult men in Mytilene, after their unsuccessul revolt against Athens, as a warning to others. The later ship had orders to save them, as news of their killing would make others fight to the death rather than surrender. Thucydides retells this in his History of the Peloponnesian War as an example of Athenian democracy in action, emphasising the right of Athenians to change their minds in their own interests, even when a demagogue argued they were bound by their first decision. WithAngela HobbsProfessor of the Public Understanding of Philosophy at the University of SheffieldLisa Irene HauSenior Lecturer in Classics at the University of GlasgowAndPaul CartledgeEmeritus AG Leventis Professor of Greek Culture, University of Cambridge and Senior Research Fellow of Clare CollegeProducer: Simon Tillotson
The Inca

The Inca

2019-06-1300:53:019

Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss how the people of Cusco, in modern Peru, established an empire along the Andes down to the Pacific under their supreme leader Pachacuti. Before him, their control grew slowly from C13th and was at its peak after him when Pizarro arrived with his Conquistadors and captured their empire for Spain in 1533. The image, above, is of Machu Picchu which was built for emperor Pachacuti as an estate in C15th. With Frank MeddensVisiting Scholar at the University of ReadingHelen CowieSenior Lecturer in History at the University of YorkAndBill SillarSenior Lecturer at the Institute of Archaeology at University College LondonProducer: Simon Tillotson
President Ulysses S Grant

President Ulysses S Grant

2019-05-3000:55:2212

Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss the impact of Grant's presidency on Americans in the years after the Civil War in which he, with Lincoln, had led the Union Army to victory. His predecessor, Andrew Johnson, was prepared to let the Southern States decide for themselves which rights to allow freed slaves; Grant supported equal rights, and he used troops and Enforcement Acts to defeat the Ku klux Klan which was violently suppressing African Americans. In later years Grant was remembered mainly for the corruption scandals under his terms of office, and for his failure to support or protect Native Americans, but in more recent decades his support for reconstruction has prompted a reassessement.WithErik MathisenLecturer in US History at the University of KentSusan-Mary GrantProfessor of American History at Newcastle UniversityandRobert CookProfessor of American History at the University of SussexProducer: Simon Tillotson
The Gordon Riots

The Gordon Riots

2019-05-0200:50:251

Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss the most destructive riots in London's history, which reached their peak on 7th June 1780 as troops fired on the crowd outside the Bank of England. The leader was Lord George Gordon, head of the Protestant Association, who objected to the relaxing of laws against Catholics. At first the protest outside Parliament was peaceful but, when Gordon's petition failed to persuade the Commons, rioting continued for days until the military started to shoot suspects in the street. It came as Britain was losing the war to hold on to colonies in North America.The image above shows a crowd setting fire to Newgate Prison and freeing prisoners by the authority of 'His Majesty, King Mob.'WithIan HaywoodProfessor of English at the University of RoehamptonCatriona KennedySenior Lecturer in Modern British and Irish History and Director of the Centre for Eighteenth Century Studies at the University of Yorkand Mark KnightsProfessor of History at the University of WarwickProducer: Simon Tillotson
Nero

Nero

2019-04-2500:51:307

Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss the life of Nero (37-68 AD) who became Emperor at the age of 16. At first he was largely praised for his generosity yet became known for his debauched lifestyle, with allegations he started the Fire of Rome, watching the flames as he played the lyre. Christians saw him as their persecutor, an anti-Christ, and the number of the Beast in the Book of Revelation was thought to indicate Nero. He had confidence in his own artistry, took up acting (which then had a very low status) and, as revolts in the empire grew, killed himself after the Senate condemned him to die as a slave, on a cross. With Maria WykeProfessor of Latin at University College LondonMatthew NichollsFellow and Senior Tutor at St John’s College, University of OxfordAnd Shushma MalikLecturer in Classics at the University of RoehamptonProducer: Simon Tillotson
The Great Irish Famine

The Great Irish Famine

2019-04-0400:57:4011

Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss why the potato crop failures in the 1840s had such a catastrophic impact in Ireland. It is estimated that one million people died from disease or starvation after the blight and another two million left the country within the decade. There had been famines before, but not on this scale. What was it about the laws, attitudes and responses that made this one so devastating?The image above is from The Illustrated London News, Dec. 29, 1849, showing a scalp or shelter, "a hole, surrounded by pools, and three sides of the scalp were dripping with water, which ran in small streams over the floor and out by the entrance. The poor inhabitants said they would be thankful if the landlord would leave them there, and the Almighty would spare their lives. Its principal tenant is Margaret Vaughan."With Cormac O'GradaProfessor Emeritus in the School of Economics at University College DublinNiamh GallagherUniversity Lecturer in Modern British and Irish History at the University of CambridgeAnd Enda DelaneyProfessor of Modern History and School Director of Research at the University of EdinburghProducer: Simon Tillotson
The Danelaw

The Danelaw

2019-03-2800:50:2611

Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss the effective partition of England in the 880s after a century of Viking raids, invasions and settlements. Alfred of Wessex, the surviving Anglo-Saxon king and Guthrum, a Danish ruler, had fought each other to a stalemate and came to terms, with Guthrum controlling the land to the east (once he had agreed to convert to Christianity). The key strategic advantage the invaders had was the Viking ships which were far superior and enabled them to raid from the sea and up rivers very rapidly. Their Great Army had arrived in the 870s, conquering the kingdom of Northumbria and occupying York. They defeated the king of Mercia and seized part of his land. They killed the Anglo-Saxon king of East Anglia and gained control of his territory. It was only when a smaller force failed to defeat Wessex that the Danelaw came into being, leaving a lasting impact on the people and customs of that area.With Judith JeschProfessor of Viking Studies at the University of NottinghamJohn HinesProfessor of Archaeology at Cardiff UniversityAndJane KershawERC Principal Investigator in Archaeology at the University of OxfordProducer: Simon Tillotson
William Cecil

William Cecil

2019-03-0700:51:382

Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss the impact on the British Isles of William Cecil, 1st Baron Burghley, the most poweful man in the court of Elizabeth I. He was both praised and attacked for his flexibility, adapting to the reigns of Protestant and Catholic monarchs and, under Elizabeth, his goal was to make England strong, stable and secure from attack from its neighbours. He sought control over Ireland and persuaded Elizabeth that Mary Queen of Scots must die, yet often counselled peace rather than war in the interests of prosperity. With Diarmaid MacCullochProfessor of the History of the Church at the University of OxfordSusan DoranProfessor of Early Modern British History at the University of Oxfordand John GuyFellow of Clare College, University of CambridgeProducer: Simon Tillotson
Antarah ibn Shaddad

Antarah ibn Shaddad

2019-02-2800:50:147

Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss the life, works, context and legacy of Antarah (525-608AD), the great poet and warrior. According to legend, he was born a slave; his mother was an Ethiopian slave, his father an elite Arab cavalryman. Antarah won his freedom in battle and loved a woman called Abla who refused him, and they were later celebrated in the saga of Antar and Abla. One of Antarah's poems was so esteemed in pre-Islamic Arabia that it is believed it was hung up on the wall of the Kaaba in Mecca. With James MontgomerySir Thomas Adams's Professor of Arabic at the University of CambridgeMarlé HammondSenior Lecturer in Arabic Popular Literature and Culture at SOAS, University of LondonAnd Harry MuntLecturer in Medieval History at the University of YorkProducer: Simon Tillotson
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Comments (14)

Shah

hujhh my

Aug 7th
Reply

Benjamin Craft-Rendon

the dancing around the presented evidence of ethnic cleansing, even if you want to avoid outright genocide charges, was ridiculous

Jun 24th
Reply

Benjamin Craft-Rendon

Good overview, but understanding the difference between revolutionary violence and supporting imperial wars doesn't make Luxembourg a non-pacifist

Apr 29th
Reply

JH Matt

That um woman uh is um very uhm annoying

Mar 1st
Reply

Benjamín Joel Quispe Pino

Go

Jan 4th
Reply

Modus Pwnens

lol more like revisionist history. love how there were only brits talking about the empire and used euphemisms over their colonization and brutality over the world...

Nov 30th
Reply

bezal benny

Modus Pwnens I wouldn't hold today's Brits accountable for the actions of their ancestors and past colonial tyranny. "Love how there were only Brits talking" what's wrong in that? Judge them by their words. Not their colour or background. - Coloured Person

Jan 1st
Reply

RAMI -

I loved this episode

Nov 16th
Reply

Hamid Golyani

good discussion on such a great subject. thanks

Jul 26th
Reply

Meursault

I dont know what I was expecting from a british show about Lenin, a historicaly accurate unbiased analysis of the subject, like all the other episodes, perhaps? But no, in this episode they trash and shit all over the man they're talking about like the "monster" he is. I can't even complain, 'cause the this thing is from almost 20 years ago and its broadcasted by the larger broadcasting company of the UK, so, a western, capitalist, cold-war winner point of view, the only thing I can do is warn those who are expecting a serious historical analysis of Lenin. I just hope I won't be seeing an episode about Gandhi in which they would say he's a savage that should've surrendered to british imperialism.

Jul 19th
Reply

bezal benny

Meursault Lenin was a so called monster. There is no defense for his actions. He's just like Hitler

Jan 1st
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Modus Pwnens

Meursault lol nice

Nov 30th
Reply

Esther Lo

Does anyone else have problems playing episodes from this channel? Every time, I get a message saying that I don't have wifi connection even when I do have wifi connection. Its only BBC related channels that have this problem for me.

Jun 24th
Reply

Robert Liretoi

So interesting!

May 8th
Reply
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