Support to Keep Commercial Free

Unlock the most content by becoming a supporter through Patreon. You choose the amount you want to contribute, and your support helps keep the podcast commercial free!

Site Logo

What You Receive with Your Support
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.

What Your Support Means
Support through Patreon is the only source of funding for this podcast. By supporting this podcast your making it possible for Dr. Sam to continue to peel back the layers of time and place with this thoroughly researched, deep-dive podcast, discovering the forgotten forces that shaped – and that are still shaping – our world today.

How to Listen to Patron-Only Content
Use the Patreon App or Patron website for the best listening experience of exclusive patron-only content.

Your support makes possible the whole tapestry of Historiansplaining – Thank you!

Current List of Patron-Only Episodes:

Myth of the Month 20: Conspiracy Theories

Myth of the Month 20: Conspiracy Theories
Currently available to Patrons only, on the Patreon App and website:
Quick Sample:

Where do conspiracy theories come from? Why do people believe them? What do they mean? Did the CIA drug people with LSD against their will? Is Queen Elizabeth a reptilian? We consider the merits and pitfalls of conspiracy theories, trace the history and evolution of the conspiratorial tradition from rumors about lepers in the 1300s to Alex Jones and Q-Anon, and examine the biases and double standards built into the very concept of “conspiracy theories.” This is it: the most thorough, fair, and impartial examination of conspiracy theories that you will ever find anywhere.

Listen on Patreon Full Episode Details

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.

Listen on Patreon Full Episode Details

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:
Quick Sample:

–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.

Listen on Patreon Full Episode Details

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

Myth of the Month 18: Robin Hood — pt. 2: Capturing the Fugitive
Currently available to Patrons only, on the Patreon App and website:
Quick Sample:

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.

Listen on Patreon Full Episode Details

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:
Quick Sample:

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.

Listen on Patreon Full Episode Details

The Middle Ages: The Jews of Europe, from the Middle Ages to the French Revolution

The Middle Ages: The Jews of Europe, from the Middle Ages to the French Revolution
Currently available to Patrons only, on the Patreon App and website:

We trace the winding paths by which Jews, after the diaspora, sought out social and economic niches in which they were able to survive within European Christian society. We uncover the origins of the two main Jewish groups in Europe — the Sephardic and Ashkenazi — and consider how they adapted to changing conditions, including the increasing assimilation of German Jews in the 1700s, which led on the one hand to the beginnings of Jewish reform and on the other to the appearance of Hasidism, a mystical renewal movement. Most importantly, we consider the deep and long-denied influence of the messianic fervor that swept over Europe in the 1660s surrounding the mercurial and mischievous Greek rabbi, Sabbatai Zvi.

Listen on Patreon Full Episode Details

Jim Crow’s America, 1880-1960

Jim Crow’s America, 1880-1960
Currently available to Patrons only, on the Patreon App and website:

We examine the three pillars of Jim Crow civilization — segregation, disfranchisement, and terroristic violence — and their roots in the corrupt bargain of 1877 that ended Reconstruction and the climate of racial pseudoscience that pervaded the late 1800s. We consider the different ways that Jim Crow was enforced in different parts of the country — in the South, with state action and paramilitary repression, and in the North, through exclusion from the labor movement. Finally, we consider how World War II and the integration of unions helped to bring about the collapse of Jim Crow society.

Listen on Patreon Full Episode Details

Roots of Religion: Who Wrote the Bible? – New Testament

Roots of Religion: Who Wrote the Bible? – New Testament
Currently available to Patrons only, on the Patreon App and website:

We consider the long ideological struggles in the early church that led to the gradual collection of a canon of Christian writings that we now call the New Testament. We trace when, where, and why the various gospels and letters in the New Testament were written (hint: Matthew was not the first, not even close) and how they present different theological views. All in all, though, the New Testament writings were created to respond to the dilemma that as the years dragged on and Jesus’ disciples died off, the Second Coming that early Christians anticipated simply wasn’t happening.

Listen on Patreon Full Episode Details

Middle Ages 10: Sex and Sexuality in the Middle Ages

Middle Ages 10: Sex and Sexuality in the Middle Ages
Currently available to Patrons only, on the Patreon App and website:
Quick Sample:

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.

Listen on Patreon Full Episode Details

Middle Ages 8: The Knights Templar

Middle Ages 8: The Knights Templar
Currently available to Patrons only, on the Patreon App and website:
Quick Sample:

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.

Listen on Patreon Full Episode Details

Middle Ages 6: The First Crusade

Middle Ages 6: The First Crusade
Currently available to Patrons only, on the Patreon App and website:
Quick Sample:

We follow the bloody deeds and improbable victories of the first crusading army, as it slogs its way through Syria toward the ultimate prize.

Listen on Patreon Full Episode Details

Middle Ages 4: The Late Middle Ages

Middle Ages 4: The Late Middle Ages
Currently available to Patrons only, on the Patreon App and website:
Quick Sample:

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.

Listen on Patreon Full Episode Details

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

Middle Ages 2: The Dark Age — The Beginning of the Medieval World
Currently available to Patrons only, on the Patreon App and website:
Quick Sample:

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.

Listen on Patreon Full Episode Details

Hitting the like button on the episode and podcast on your preferred platform is always appreciated!

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?