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Everywhere around us are echoes of the past. Those echoes define the boundaries of states and countries, how we pray and how we fight. They determine what money we spend and how we earn it at work, what language we speak and how we raise our children. From Wondery, host Patrick Wyman, PhD (“Fall Of Rome”) helps us understand our world and how it got to be the way it is.
 
Barbarians, political breakdown, economic collapse, mass migration, pillaging and plunder. The fall of the Roman Empire has been studied for years, but genetics, climate science, forensic science, network models, and globalization studies have reshaped our understanding of one of the most important events in human history. PhD historian and specialist Patrick Wyman brings the cutting edge of history to listeners in plain, relatable English.
 
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Lady Bird Johnson’s audio diaries reveal how one vastly underestimated woman navigated the power, politics and polarization of her time to become arguably one of the most influential first ladies in history. From ABC News, makers of the hit series “The Dropout” and the award-winning daily news podcast “Start Here,” comes “In Plain Sight: Lady Bird …
 
Kings are practically synonymous with ancient Egypt, and it's not just because their monuments - like the pyramids - still tower above the desert and the Nile. Egyptian society was organized around the pharaohs in many different ways, but how did they come into being? What turned Egypt into one of the world's longest-lived kingdoms? Listen to new e…
 
What can we learn about the deep human past by studying present-day hunter-gatherers? I asked that question to Professor Robert Kelly of the University of Wyoming, who's both one of the world's experts on hunter-gatherers and an accomplished archaeologist. Today's hunter-gatherers aren't living fossils who provide a direct window onto the distant p…
 
In July 2018, 12 youth soccer players and their coach found themselves trapped 6 miles deep in a cave with no food or water and depleting oxygen. The rock formed maze became almost completely submerged as the water rose to levels nearly impossible for survival. There was no light and no way to communicate with the outside world. The first season of…
 
More than 5,000 years ago, the city of Uruk in what's now Iraq was the heart of a new civilization. Cities, kings, armies, monumental temples, and writing were all new developments. But why here? Why then? And who suffered so that civilization could rise? Listen to new episodes 1 week early, to exclusive seasons 1 and 2, and to all episodes ad free…
 
Pyramids, mummies, and pharaohs define our understanding of ancient Egypt, a timeless and eternal land. But the Nile wasn't always ruled by god-like kings, and long before they emerged, Egypt was home to other peoples and other ways of life. As Egyptian civilization emerged, these older traditions didn't disappear, but remained, shaping thousands o…
 
Boxing has a long past, one deeply connected to race, labor, and broader developments in American history. Professor Louis Moore joins me to talk about those topics and about his outstanding book, I Fight For a Living: Boxing and the Battle for Black Manhood, 1880-1915. Find Professor Moore's book here: https://www.amazon.com/Fight-Living-Manhood-1…
 
Civilization first emerged in the fertile floodplains of Mesopotamia - present-day Iraq - with priest-kings and cities full of temples and ziggurats, pictographs and cuneiform writing. But what were the conditions and processes that led up to this complex of developments? How and why did it happen, and why there? Listen to new episodes 1 week early…
 
I'm not just talking about the wonderful Sid Meier game series, which I've spent far too many hours playing; how do we define "civilization," how does it come into being, and why does it matter? Listen to new episodes 1 week early, to exclusive seasons 1 and 2, and to all episodes ad free with Wondery+. Join Wondery+ for exclusives, binges, early a…
 
Stanford University's Professor Li Liu is one of the world's leading experts on prehistoric East Asia and one of the world's primary inventions of farming. I ask her about that, the deep continuities of Chinese civilization, and her recent research on the origins of brewing and alcohol. Listen to new episodes 1 week early, to exclusive seasons 1 an…
 
Agriculture was invented in no fewer than three, and probably four, places in the Americas. It went along with sedentary living and complex societies, but in complicated ways: fishing villages along the Andean coast grew into the cities of Norte Chico, but hunter-gatherers produced the first great mound complexes of the American southeast. How did …
 
The initial migrations to the Americas get most of the attention, but people didn't stop living there in the aftermath of those first movements of peoples; they spread out over the Great Plains and the forests of the eastern United States, south into the deserts and jungles of Mesoamerica, and into every corner of South America. In the process, the…
 
The relationship between agriculture, migration, and the distribution of today's most prominent language families is direct but complex. Professor Peter Bellwood, one of the world's leading experts on prehistory, explains how farming led to population growth and movements of people that still shape our world today. Listen to new episodes 1 week ear…
 
Plague, war, and a worsening climate drastically changed Europe in the years and decades after 1350. This new state of affairs laid the groundwork for the explosion around 1500 that gave rise to the modern world. This episode originally aired on June 28, 2018. Listen to all episodes ad free and to exclusive seasons 1 and 2 with Wondery+. Join Wonde…
 
East Asia was one of the world's primary centers of agricultural innovation. Farming was invented there, rice and millet domesticated, and the people who did so grew in numbers and sophistication. Some of the world's most-spoken language families grew out of Neolithic China, and so did the roots of Chinese civilization. If you'd like to see some pi…
 
Hominins have lived in East Asia - what's now China, Korea, and Japan - for millions of years, at least as far back as Homo erectus if not further. And as the glaciers began to recede for the last time after 20,000 years ago, people in this part of the world developed humanity's first pottery, rice-farming, and complex societies of incredible diver…
 
Professor Stephen Shennan is one of the world's leading experts on the early farmers of the Fertile Crescent and Europe. In this interview, I pick his brain about why early farmers were so, uh, fertile, and produced so many descendants; how those farmers spread outward from their regions of origin; and how we can understand their Neolithic world. P…
 
Peasants and common folk were oppressed by their social superiors, but they didn't accept that as a natural state of affairs: They resisted in small, everyday ways, and they rebelled, sometimes spectacularly. This episode originally aired on September 20, 2018. Listen to new episodes 1 week early, to exclusive seasons 1 and 2, and to all episodes a…
 
What were Neanderthals really like? Our closest relatives shared an incredible amount in common with us, argues Dr. Rebecca Wragg Sykes, author of the wonderful new book Kindred: Neanderthal Life, Love, Death, and Art. But we shouldn't pigeonhole them; Neanderthals persisted for hundreds of thousands of years across time and space, living diverse a…
 
Five thousand years ago, a man died more than 10,000 feet high in the Alps of northern Italy. He had been shot in the back with an arrow, the corpse left behind, where he was frozen into a glacier along with all of his belongings. He stayed there until two hikers found him - still half covered in ice - in 1991. What was Ötzi's life like? And what c…
 
Today, everywhere from Bengal to British Columbia, some 3.2 billion people speak an Indo-European language. All of these diverse languages are descended from a common ancestor spoken long before the advent of writing. But where and when was that, and who were the speakers of Proto-Indo-European? Follow us more than 5,000 years back in time to a sto…
 
The first farmers of Europe and their descendants persisted for thousands of years. In the Neolithic heartland of eastern Europe, along the Danube River and through the northern Balkan Mountains, they built a unique civilization: Old Europe, with its artificial mounds, gorgeous pottery, and for the first time, the use of metal. The first cities in …
 
When we think of the medieval world, our minds usually turn to knights, royalty, and clergy. But the backbone of the medieval economic and social order was the humble peasant. In this rebroadcast from 2018, we explore the world and lives of the vast bulk of the people who actually lived in the Middle Ages, and why they matter.…
 
How do we know what we know about the deep past? What languages did people speak in prehistory? And why, if the life of an early farmer seemed to be so miserable, did farmers have so many children? I answer all of these questions and more in our first prehistory mailbag episode. Support us by supporting our sponsors! PlushCare - Make your appointme…
 
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