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By becoming a supporter you’ll have immediate access to all the patron-only episodes listed below, as well as access to the new installments of the three main playlists that are patron-only (Myths of the Month, History of the US in 100 Objects, and Doorways in Time) – with alternating episodes remaining locked for patrons-only for 1 year before they become available to the public.

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Current List of Patron-Only Episodes

Doorways in Time: The Great Archaeological Discoveries — 4: The Library of Ashurbanipal

Doorways in Time: The Great Archaeological Discoveries — 4: The Library of Ashurbanipal
Currently available to Patrons only, on the Patreon App and website:
Quick Sample:

One moonlit night in 1853, an Iraqi excavator named Hormuzd Rassam and his team snuck into the hills outside of Mosul and began to uncover the massive palace of the last ancient Assyrian emperor, Ashurbanipal. Inside the palace was the largest trove of surviving documents from the ancient world that has ever been found. The massive library of over 30,000 tablets illuminated what had been the most mysterious empire of the Iron Age, brought to light the ancient masterpiece of the Epic of Gilgamesh, and provided the first window into the lost Near Eastern mythology that influenced the Biblical book of Genesis. While the discovery provided the greatest triumph of British imperial antiquarianism, in recent times Saddam Hussein and other Arab nationalists have attempted to reclaim its legacy by building a modern Library of Ashurbanipal.

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History of the United States in 100 Objects # 18: Jesuit Brass Medallion with Image of Ignatius Loyola

History of the United States in 100 Objects # 18: Jesuit Brass Medallion with Image of Ignatius Loyola
Currently available to Patrons only, on the Patreon App and website:

–Made of brass, most likely in France, ca. 1720-1750
–1 inch long, with depictions of St. Ignatius Loyola & Saint Mary with Latin inscriptions
–Found in ruins of Fort Michilimackinac; in collection of Mackinac State Historic Parks, Michigan

A small brass religious medallion found in the house of a French fur trader inside a fortress on the remote Straits of Mackinac shows the immense power of small numbers of merchants and missionaries to control sprawling networks of diplomacy and trade, stretching from Europe all the way into the deep interior of North America, and to sway the course of wars and imperial power struggles.

Special thanks to Mackinac State Historic Parks and Dr. Lynn Evans for their help in producing this lecture.

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Myth of the Month 18: Robin Hood — pt. 2: Capturing the Fugitive

Myth of the Month 18: Robin Hood — pt. 2: Capturing the Fugitive
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What is the signifcance of Robin Hood as an outlaw — a person declared legally dead — who lives in the greenwood, where life is constantly renewed? Why does Shakespeare heavily allude to Robin in his Henry IV plays? And most significantly, was there a real Robin Hood, or is he a pure creation of myth and folklore? We consider the possibilities and scrutinize the evidence.

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Doorways in Time: The Great Archaeological Finds — 2: The Nag Hammadi Library and the Gnostic Gospels

Doorways in Time: The Great Archaeological Finds — 2: The Nag Hammadi Library and the Gnostic Gospels
Currently available to Patrons only, on the Patreon App and website:

The secretive Gnostic stream of Christianity, which taught a radically different metaphysics and spiritual cosmology from “orthodox” doctrine in the first four hundred years of the church, was largely lost to history, until 1945, when a camel-herder in a remote part of Egypt stumbled upon an old ceremic jar with 13 massive books containing 52 ancient Gnostic texts. We consider what the so-called “Nag Hammadi LIbrary,” which may have been hidden in the desert to protect it from destruction, reveals about the origins and importance of the Gnostics’ secret teachings. Image: A Nag Hammadi codex open to the beginning of the Apocryphon of John. Suggested Further reading: Jean Doresse, “The Discovery of the Nag Hammadi Texts”; Elaine Pagels, “The Gnostic Gospels.”

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From the Cotswolds to Cool Britannia – observations on a trip through England

From the Cotswolds to Cool Britannia – observations on a trip through England
Currently available to Patrons only, on the Patreon App and website:

I recently returned from a family trip through Great Britain, and want to share with my patrons the sights that we saw in England, arranged chronologically, from Stonehenge to the “Crystal Phallus.” The layered remains of Britain’s past ages – Roman, Gothic, Georgian, Victorian – encode their builders’ vastly different hopes and visions for the island kingdom. The country is full of extraordinary scenery, but the attempt to “see England,” even in such a simple act as boarding a train, entangles us in the unending struggles over who defines such a complicated nation. Next installment: Scotland.

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Middle Ages 10: Sex and Sexuality in the Middle Ages

Middle Ages 10: Sex and Sexuality in the Middle Ages
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We examine the ways that medieval people described, displayed, and generally failed to control their sexual appetites. While theologians sermonized on the dangers of carnal lust, parishioners surreptitiously met in churches and stables, kept themselves amused with dildoes, or luxuriated in brothels all over Europe. We also trace how medievals categorized one another’s sexual “orientations” using the complex concept of sodomy, and briefly consider the intense scholarly debate over the nature of same-sex bonding ceremonies in the Middle Ages.

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Middle Ages 8: The Knights Templar

Middle Ages 8: The Knights Templar
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We examine the true history of the first brotherhood of warrior-monks, who rose to extraordinary power in the High Middle Ages, functioned as a shadow empire reaching from Jerusalem to the far corners of Europe, and then fell to their ruin amidst lurid accusations of religious and sexual crimes. Apart from the endless myths and conspiracy theories, the Templars left a lasting mark on Western society through their militarization of Christianity.

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Middle Ages 6: The First Crusade

Middle Ages 6: The First Crusade
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We follow the bloody deeds and improbable victories of the first crusading army, as it slogs its way through Syria toward the ultimate prize.

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Middle Ages 4: The Late Middle Ages

Middle Ages 4: The Late Middle Ages
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We discuss how the civilization of the High Middle Ages broke down under the onslaught of the Black Death, peasant uprisings, and the gunpowder revolution.

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Middle Ages 2: The Dark Age — The Beginning of the Medieval World

Middle Ages 2: The Dark Age — The Beginning of the Medieval World
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How Europeans picked up the pieces in the wake of the breakup of the Roman Empire, created a new society that briefly flourished in the spectacular reign of Charlemagne, and then were plunged back into chaos at the hands of the Vikings.

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Things You Don’t Know

Did Columbus really think that he was going to reach Asia?
What little do we actually know about Shakespeare, the person?
Why is it misleading to apply the word “religion” to Judaism and Hinduism?
Are people really becoming less religious than they used to be?
How did Tisquantum (popularly known as Squanto) already know how to speak English before the Pilgrims had ever arrived?
What did Netflix’s “The Dig” miss about the most dramatic part of the whole Sutton Hoo discovery?
What does the English Civil War of the 1640s tell us about the American Civil War, and about the present?
What can we know about enslaved Africans who were held in a specific New England house, even without written records?
Who were the Freemasons of the 1700s? How did they grow from a local Scottish fraternity to a global network?
Could all of British history have turned out differently if the winds on the English channel had shifted direction on just one day in 1066?
What did followers of the ancient and secretive branch of Christianity, Gnosticism, actually believe?
Why can no one agree on what “capitalism” actually is? And why does a lack of clear definition call into question so many other myths of the modern world?
How – and why – did universities begin in the Middle Ages, long before the scientific revolution and the “Enlightenment”?
Was there really an Exodus from Egypt like the one described in the Bible?
How did changes in the climate in the 1600s lead people to think they were living in the Apocalypse? How did this help spur the creation of institutions and forces that still shape the world today?
How did accusing people of witchcraft further several political agendas of the time?
Why did every Renaissance-era ruler in Europe have a court astrologer?
Does a single coin prove that Vikings came all the way to what’s now the United States?
Why is the dramatic 2019 fire at Paris’ Notre Dame actually a common occurrence for cathedrals around Europe?
Why don’t US citizens directly elect their President? Or have a more proportional Senate?