#TBT: ‘The History Extra Podcast’ travels back to ancient civilizations, investigates the dancing plague, and more

History January 20, 2022
Listen to ‘The History Extra Podcast’

“The History Extra Podcast” is a daily series diving into stories from BBC History Magazine. Hear about ancient times, historical figures, sailing, globalization, wars, the history of the piano, and even pop culture with episode topics like The Beatles in the 1960s. This series has offered a nice variety of educational throwback episodes since 2007.

Stream “The History Extra Podcast” episode archive in any order, with over 1,240 episodes to choose from. Each episode focuses on a topic with experts and special guests in uploads under 45 minutes long on average.

Tune into a recent episode to hear about the idea of “Gothic,” exploring the history, influence on architecture, 19th century vampire fiction, and horror movies. In this episode, author Roger Luckhurst of Gothic: An Illustrated History shares how the Gothic genre reveals societal info on sex, gender, race, and colonialism. Luckhurst also explained how film tropes like haunted houses and themes like folk horror have evolved over time.

Historians Richard J. Aldrich and Rory Cormac stopped by “The History Extra Podcast” to discuss Queen Victoria’s clandestine spy network and the British monarchy’s greater connection to espionage.

What on earth is a “dancing plague?” Medieval historian Helen Carr talked about the perplexing, documented phenomenon in the 14th to 16th centuries where people uncontrollably moved their bodies for days on end and shared theories on this strange behavior.

Other episodes covered ideas of Hell, Heaven, and the afterworld from ancient civilizations. Hear about Medieval Europe, the Middle Ages, and New England witchcraft cases. An episode shared the history of sending animals to space – from jellyfish to monkeys and Laika the Soviet space dog – experiments that sometimes ended painfully. There are episodes on samurais, piracy on the high seas, vikings, knights, dragons, and UFOs.

Last year, there were several mystery-themed episodes. Why did Mao’s chosen successor flee China? Was the Trojan War, one of the most famous events from Greek mythology, fact or fiction? Crime writer Agatha Christie left home in 1926 and vanished. What happened when she was discovered 11 days later with no recollection of her disappearance or the lapsed timeframe? When the Ninth Legion of the Roman army was in York around AD 107, that was the last time any record of them existed, and although we still do not know what happened, an episode explored possible explanations.

There are science-based episodes on topics like the history of transplant surgery, covering lambs’ blood transfusions, tooth surgeries, noses made from humans’ arm skin, and more. Hear about women and medicine in history and healthcare before the National Health Service.

If you’re looking for episodes on historical figures, check out topics like Napoleon looting art, Cleopatra’s legacy, the Medicis, the Borgias, Martin Luther King Jr. in the civil rights movement, and poet/painter William Blake, just to name a few.

For new episodes and a daily dose of history, stream “The History Extra Podcast” on your favorite podcast platform.

Listen to ‘The History Extra Podcast’

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