In this episode of Travels Through Time, British ancient historian and academic Professor Paul Cartledge, takes us back to the 'Graeco-Persian Wars' to visit a major event in the history of western civilisation and culture. 

The mighty Persian empire - based in Iran, founded by Cyrus II in the mid-6th century BCE - launches a massive amphibious expedition in the spring of 480 led by Persian King-Emperor Xerxes. Their aim is to punish Persia's Greek subjects, who together with Eretria and Athens, have risen up in armed rebellion.   

This forces all the many Greek cities of the mainland to make a choice: cave in without a fight, try to stay neutral, or resist. The latter was the choice of some 30-plus cities, led by the legendary Sparta King, Leonidas. 

Show notes

Scene One: Sparta - King Leonidas chooses 'the 300' for Thermopylae

Scene Two:  Thermopylae - a 1-kilometre long E-W pass in northern Greece, where Thessaly (a region whose rulers were already on the Persian side) gives way to (resisting, loyalist) Phocis.

Scene Three: The morning of the final day of the Battle

Memento: A bronze Persian arrowhead

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People

Presenter: Artemis Irvine

Interview: Violet Moller

Guest: Paul Cartledge

Production: Maria Nolan

Podcast partner: Colorgraph

Follow us on Twitter: @tttpodcast_

In October 1957 the Soviets launched Sputnik 1 and the Space Age began. In this episode of Travels Through Time the astronomer and science writer Stuart Clark takes us back to the dramatic heart of this story.

We look at Sputnik’s brilliant engineer Sergei Korolev, witness the reaction to the launch in the United States, and then we head to the office of the American journalist Alexander Marshack, whose fascination with the night sky was about to propel him into the depths of time.

The scenes and characters mentioned in this episode feature in Stuart Clark’s new book, Beneath the Sky. To win a copy of this book as well as a striking colourised print from Jordan Lloyd of Colorgraph, sign up to our newsletter at tttpodcast.com

Stuart Clark's Beneath the Night: How the stars have shaped the history of humankind (Faber) is out now and available on Amazon.

Show notes

Scene One: 4 October, 1957, with Korolev for the launch of the first satellite Sputnik 1

Scene Two: October 1957, with future NASA engineer Homer Hickam in West Virginia as he looked up into the night sky, saw Sputnik and felt awe-struck inspiration

Scene Three: Late 1957, To be in the office of American journalist Alexander Marshack in the aftermath of the launch, as he tried to put things together and make sense of why humans wanted to ’touch’ the night sky

Memento: Korolev’s radio receiver

People

Presenter: Peter Moore

Guest: Dr Stuart Clark

Production: Maria Nolan

Podcast partner: Colorgraph

Follow us on Twitter: @tttpodcast_

See where 1957 fits on our Timeline

We have a very powerful image of Oscar Wilde today. He is remembered as a master of wit and style, and champion of the beautiful. But how was this identity constructed? How was he viewed by his contemporaries?

In this episode the author and academic Michèle Mendelssohn takes us back to 1882 and Wilde's lecture tour of the United States of America to find out. This year marked, she explains, ‘the beginning of Wilde’s ascent into the great character that we now know.’

The material covered in this episode of Travels Through Time comes from Michèle Mendelssohn’s latest book, Making Oscar Wilde, which was a book of the year in the Sunday Times and the Times Literary Supplement and a semi-finalist for the 2019 PEN America Biography Prize.

For much, much more, head to https://www.tttpodcast.com/

Show notes

Scene One: 9 January 1882, Wilde’s first lecture, The Chickering Hall, New York

Scene Two: 18 January 1882, Camden, New Jersey: Wilde visits the poet Walt Whitman

Scene Three: 27 June, Biloxi, Mississippi. Wilde visits the Confederate leader Jefferson Davis

Memento: Oscar Wilde’s fur coat

People

Presenter: Peter Moore

Guest: Michèle Mendelssohn

Production: Maria Nolan

Podcast partner: Colorgraph

Follow us on Twitter: @tttpodcast_

See where 1882 fits on our Timeline

In this episode Professor Catherine Fletcher takes us back to 1492 and the heart of the Renaissance. She takes us to the deathbed of one of the most powerful figures in Italy; to the Conclave of cardinals that was gathering to elect a new pope; and across the Atlantic to see Christopher Columbus approaching a New World.

Catherine Fletcher is Professor of History at Manchester Metropolitan University.

The discussion in this episode of Travels Through Time is drawn from the events described in Catherine's new book, The Beauty and the Terror recently published in hardback by the Bodley Head in the UK and by Oxford University Press in the USA.

For much, much more, head to https://www.tttpodcast.com/

Show notes

Scene One: In an ornate villa in Careggi on the outskirts of Florence Lorenzo ‘the Magnificent’ de’ Medici lies dying.

Scene Two: The Sistine Chapel in the Vatican. Pope Innocent VIII, whose territories spanned a swathe of the peninsula from Rome to Ravenna on the Adriatic coast, has died so the traditional process of conclave begins in the Sistine Chapel

Scene Three: Friday 12th October, the Bahamas in the West Indies. Christopher Columbus sights land and arrives on the coast of an island called Guanahaní with his crew of explorers.

Memento: A handful of Lorenzo’s extraordinary collection of antique jewellery.

People

Presenter: Peter Moore

Interview: Violet Moller

Guest: Professor Catherine Fletcher

Production: Maria Nolan

Podcast partner: Colorgraph

Follow us on Twitter: @tttpodcast_

See where 1492 fits on our Timeline

Welcome to a different and very special episode of Travels Through Time. Today’s interviewee is the extraordinary Holocaust survivor and resistance fighter Selma van de Perre. At the age of ninety-eight, three quarters of a century after she was liberated from Ravensbrück Concentration Camp, Selma tells us her remarkable story and takes us back to the events of 1945.

This interview took place on the eve of the British publication of Selma's memoir, My Name is Selma. We're very grateful to Selma and to Ariana Neumann, the New York Times Bestselling author of When Time Stopped, who conducted this interview on our behalf.

As ever, much much more about this episode can be found at www.tttpodcast.com

Show notes

Scene One: 23 April 1945. A man from the Swedish Red Cross arrives at Ravensbrück. He offers the imprisoned women chocolate and cigarettes.

Scene Two: Late April 1945, After leaving Ravensbrück for Sweden, the aid convoy is mistakenly attacked by the British.

Scene Three: Late May/early June 1945. At a refugee “holiday”camp in Sweden. Selma is in the dining room and hears someone call her by her real name for the first time in years.

Memento: A dressing gown, specially made by the Swedish family that Selma stayed with after being liberated

People

Presenter: Peter Moore

Interview: Ariana Neumann

Guest: Selma van de Perre

Production: Maria Nolan

Podcast partner: Colorgraph

Follow us on Twitter: @tttpodcast_

See where 1945 fits on our Timeline

In this episode of Travels Through Time the author and journalist Hugh Aldersey-Williams takes us back to 1655 and the vibrant heart of the Dutch Golden Age to meet Christiaan Huygens, a figure oddly forgotten by us today but who was once venerated as the greatest mathematician, astronomer and physicist of his age.

Hugh guides us back to the year 1655 to see Christiaan make his thrilling discovery of one of Saturn's moons; to watch him struggle with the mathematical problem of pendular motion, and to follow him as he enters Paris - the city he would come to love - for the very first time.

Much much more about the scenes, characters and materials discussed in this conversation can be found at www.tttpodcast.com

The discussion in this episode of Travels Through Time arises from the characters and events described by Hugh Aldersey-Williams in his new book, Dutch Light: Christiaan Huygens and the making of science in Europe which is recently published in hardback by Picador

Show notes

Scene One: 25 March 1655. With Christiaan and his telescope in the garden of the Huygens’s house in The Hague. The discovery of Saturn’s moon later to be called Titan.

Scene Two: 4 March 1655, Huygens recommends a Polish inventor’s clock for Dutch patent, demonstrating that he is already thinking about the problem of pendular motion.

Scene Three: 23 July 1655, Huygens arrives in Paris - the city that he would grow to love - for the very first time

Memento: One of Huygens’s magic lanterns

People

Presenter: Peter Moore

Guest: Hugh Aldersey-Williams

Production: Maria Nolan

Podcast partner: Colorgraph

Follow us on Twitter: @tttpodcast_

See where 1655 fits on our Timeline

How close did we come to a world without the USSR? A world with no Stalin, no KGB, or even Putin today? In this episode of Travels Through Time we head back to 1918 and the scene of the audacious, thrilling Lockhart Plot to find out.

Our guide in this episode is the American historian Jonathan Schneer. He takes us back to revolutionary Russia to visit the Smolny Institute in Petrograd, the American Consulate and the scene of the final showdown in Grain Alley.

He explains just who Bruce Lockhart was and what his plot set out to achieve.

The subject matter and scenes that feature in this episode come from Jonathan Schneer's book, The Lockhart Plot: Love, Betrayal, Assassination and Counter-Revolution in Lenin's Russia 

For much much more visit: tttpodcast.com

Show notes

Scene One: February 15, 1918: Bruce Lockhart’s first appointment with Leon Trotsky at the Smolny Institute in Petrograd.

Scene Two: August 25, 1918: secret meeting at the American Consulate in Moscow, hosted by American Consul General, DeWitt Clinton Poole, but presided over by French Consul General Josef Fernand Grenard.

Scene Three: Earliest hours of September 1, 1918: #24 Khlebnyi pereulok (Grain Alley), Cheka agents arrive to arrest Lockhart, George Hicks, and Moura von Benckendorff .

Memento: Sidney Reilly’s full report on the status of the plot for British Intelligence

People

Presenter: Peter Moore

Interview: John Hillman

Guest: Jonathan Schneer

Production: Maria Nolan

Podcast partner: Colorgraph

Follow us on Twitter: @tttpodcast_

Who were the Ottomans? Why have they been so neglected in the traditional Western approach to history? What precisely was their influence on the fabled events of the sixteenth century? In this episode of Travels Through Time, the historian Alan Mikhail takes us back to the monumental events of the year 1517 to find out.

We look at the conquest of Cairo, the start of the Reformation and the arrival of the Europeans in Mexico. Everywhere, the influence of the Ottomans was felt. In particular, Mikhail tells us about the life of Sultan Selim I.

The subject matter and scenes that feature in this episode come from Alan Mikhail's new book, God’s Shadow: The Ottoman Sultan Who Shaped the Modern World.

Alan Mikhail is Professor of History and Chair of the Department of History at Yale University.

For much much more visit: tttpodcast.com

Show notes

Scene One: February 1517, Ottoman Sultan Selim captures Cairo

Scene Two: October 1517, Wittenberg, Germany. Disaffected Professor of Theology Martin Luther writes the 95 Theses

Scene Three: Early 1517, The first Europeans land on the coast of Mexico

Memento: The Map of Piri Reis

People

Presenter: Peter Moore

Interview: Violet Moller

Guest: Professor Alan Mikhail

Production: Maria Nolan

Podcast partner: Colorgraph

Follow us on Twitter: @tttpodcast_

In this fascinating and unusual episode of Travels Through Time the archaeologist and writer Dr Rebecca Wragg Sykes takes us back further than we’ve ever been before, 125,000 years, to meet our extinct kindred: the Neanderthals.

We visit the vibrant wild woodlands of Britain, a hornbeam forest on the European continent and a German lakeshore. Rebecca describes the world as it was in the interglacial age known as the Eemian and tell us how the Neanderthals lived, worked and loved in this warm woodland environment.

The subject matter and scenes that feature in this episode come from Rebecca Wragg Sykes's new book, Kindred: Neanderthal Life, Love, Death and Art.

For much much more visit: tttpodcast.com

Show Notes:

Scene One: Britain, 123,000 years ago. A catastrophic flood breaks the ridge connecting Britain to the rest of Europe. The island becomes a wasteland for many thousands of years.

Scene Two: A hornbeam forest in Germany, during the Eemian. We meet the weird and wonderful animals that populated the continent at the time.

Scene Three: Neumark lakeshore, also during the Eemian. Tiny remains of organic material provide insight into the kinds of tools the Neanderthals were making and using.

Memento: One of the spears used to kill deer at the Neumark lakeshore.

People/Social

Presenter: Artemis Irvine

Guest: Dr Rebecca Wragg Sykes

Producers: Maria Nolan

Titles: Jon O

Follow us on Twitter: @tttpodcast_

Podcast Partner: ColorGraph

In this politically-charged episode of Travels Through Time, Professor Simon Hall takes us on a fascinating tour of the United States in 1960.

We watch on as 'the Greensboro Four’ ignite a nation-wide series of sit-ins. We take a visit to see Fidel Castro and his swashbuckling entourage at the Hotel Theresa in Harlem. And we watch as Nixon and Kennedy go head to head in the most famous presidential debate of them all.

The subject matter, the scenes and characters that feature in this episode come from Simon Hall's new book, Ten Days in Harlem: Fidel Castro and the Making of the 1960sTo be in with a chance of winning a hardback copy of this book and a superb colourised image of Fidel Castro, visit: tttpodcast.com

Simon Hall is Professor of Modern History at the University of Leeds.

Show notes

Scene One: 1 February 1960; the lunch counter at the F. W. Woolworth store in Greensboro, North Carolina.

Scene Two: Evening of Thursday 22 September; the Skyline Lounge, Hotel Theresa, Harlem.

Scene Three: 26 September, CBS’s McClurg Court studios, Chicago.

Memento: One of Fidel Castro’s cigars

People/Social

Presenter: Peter Moore

Guest: Simon Hall

Producers: Maria Nolan

Titles: Jon O

Follow us on Twitter: @tttpodcast_

Podcast Partner: ColorGraph

So much more at: tttpodcast.com

In this episode of Travels Through Time, the writer Thomas Levenson guides us back to the scene of one the first and most devastating of all stock market crashes, an event that traumatised Georgian Britain: the South Sea Bubble.

The subject matter, the scenes and characters that feature in this episode come from Levenson's new book, Money for NothingMuch more information is to be found at tttpodcast.com

Thomas Levenson is Professor of Science Writing at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Show notes

Scene One: 22 January, 1720: John Aislabie, Chancellor of the Exchequer, rises in the House of Commons to present the South Sea deal to the members.

Scene Two: A Sunday in May, 1720. Daniel Defoe goes to church and witnesses the ‘South Sea’ hysteria.

Scene Three: 20 December, 1720, the House of Commons. Robert Walpole decides the fate of the speculators.

Memento: A pocket watch made in the year 1720

People/Social

Presenter: Peter Moore

Guest: Thomas Levenson

Editorial: Artemis Irvine

Producers: Maria Nolan

Titles: Jon O

Follow us on Twitter: @tttpodcast_

Podcast Partner: ColorGraph

So much more at: tttpodcast.com

In this fascinating episode of Travels Through Time, Ken Follett, one of the world’s best loved historical novelists, guides us back to the beginning of the last millennium. The year we visit, 1002, comes at a time of change when, after centuries of stagnation, English society was beginning to emerge from that gloomy period we call ‘The Dark Ages.’

The subject matter, the scenes and the characters that feature in this episode come from the world depicted by Follett in his hugely-anticipated new novel The Evening and the Morning, the prequel to his bestselling masterpiece, The Pillars of the Earth.

For a chance to win a first edition hardback copy of The Evening and the Morning, to read more about the scenes discussed in this episode and to see images and show notes, please head to our website: tttpodcast.com

Show notes

Scene One: 1002, The Slave Market, Bristol

Scene Two: 1002, The Viking seige of Exeter

Scene Three: 1002, The wedding of King Æthelred II & Emma of Normandy

Memento: A four-legged chair

People/Social

Presenter: Peter Moore

Guest: Ken Follett

Editorial: Artemis Irvine

Producers: Maria Nolan

Titles: Jon O

Follow us on Twitter: @tttpodcast_

Podcast Partner: ColorGraph

So much more at: tttpodcast.com

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