The Maritime History Podcast (history)

Welcome, crew. This is a temporarily unlocked member episode, open to everyone for the remainder of March since I was unable to record a regular episode this month. It will revert to subscriber-only access on April 1.

Today we depart slightly from a focused look at ships, and branch out to consider mythology that has some loose ties to ships. The Greek mythological king and hero Theseus of course slew the Minotaur, but today we explore the ties of that story, and others, to Athenian naval ambition. Later politicians like Pisistratus and Cimon used the myths of Theseus to help promote the spread of the Delian League, and today we consider this evolution. We also consider the myths, and ties they might have to sacred ships in Athenian history. We also discuss a philosophical question that is known as 'The Ship of Theseus,' although we really don't find any answers. But it's fun to think about.

Direct download: crew_015.mp3
Category:history -- posted at: 10:41am CDT

Today we continue following the evolution and exploits of the Delian League. In the 450s BCE, they become embroiled in two theaters of conflict. The first saw them begin to more squarely meet Sparta and many other allied cities of the Peloponnesian League in what is called the First Peloponnesian War. At the same time, Athens and the Delian League answered the call of a rebel leader in Egypt and there the League got tangled up fighting Persia yet again. A siege at the White Castle (no, not that one) ensues, and in the end the Delian League suffers some pretty heavy losses in a foreign land.

Direct download: 043_-_The_Delian_League-_High_and_Dry_in_Egypt.mp3
Category:history -- posted at: 9:37pm CDT

Now that we have witnessed the birth of the Delian League, in today's episode we trace their exploits in the 470s BCE. The league does a good job landing more blows against the Persian Empire, but at the same time they begin to more strongly resemble an empire, and some league members are not amused. A new military leader named Cimon emerges to lead the Delian League. He suppresses some piracy, and his trireme fleet is overhauled to more better suit their campaign objectives. We consider all of this, and more, as the Delian League's navy expands and then defeats a Persian fleet at the Battle of Eurymedon River.

Direct download: 042_-_The_Delian_League_v._Persia__Eurymedon.mp3
Category:history -- posted at: 5:30am CDT

As we kick off Series 3, it's now time to examine one of the most recognizable institutions that existed in Ancient Greece: The Delian League. To make sense of things, we'll compare the Peloponnesian League and Sparta's motivations there, against the Hellenic League that was formed to stand against Persia's incursion. Then, against these two we will finally compare the Delian League, which emerges as a naval-centric league which formally kicks off the time when Athenian empire becomes possible.

Direct download: 041_-_A_League_of_Our_Own_-_The_Delian_League_.mp3
Category:history -- posted at: 5:22pm CDT

Today we bring our time with the Athenian leader Themistocles to a close. The character qualities we've seen throughout his career continue to pop up even in the later stages of his life. And although the Greek world continued on in his absence, today we'll try to follow him to his death in exile and see how his supporters and his detractors begin to use his legacy as a battleground for policies that will continue to influence Greece even after his death.

Direct download: 040.mp3
Category:history -- posted at: 8:12pm CDT

The Greek victory at Salamis was monumental. But in the aftermath of that victory, Greece and her leaders still had many decisions to make. It is here that we begin to see a divergence between the naval-minded leaders and their vision, and the land-centered leaders with a different vision. We begin to discuss these divergent views, how they were debated in Greece, and how the leaders of each view tried to outmaneuver their opponents. Amidst the politics and debate, Greece still had to finish their war with Persia. We witness the conclusion, as battle comes to both Plataea and then to Mycale, where an unexpected final blow decimates the remainder of the Persian naval force.

Direct download: 039.mp3
Category:history -- posted at: 6:29pm CDT

We have finally arrived at the Battle of Salamis. There's a lot of buildup before the battle, and surprisingly, this phase is where a lot of the important pieces were moved into place by the wily Themistocles. We witness scenes in both the Greek and Persian camps the day and night prior to the battle, but once the fleets have moved into position, we then witness the clashing ships and the mayhem of close-quarters battle. Queen Artemisia of Halicarnassus makes several appearances throughout, and we conclude with a picture of the battle's aftermath and the resultant carnage.

Direct download: 038.mp3
Category:history -- posted at: 9:28am CDT

In this first of what will be ongoing mini-episodes, we examine the discovery and study of Ship 17 at the ancient Egyptian city of Thonis-Heracleion. After running through the history of this city and it's significance to maritime history, we then read a passage from Herodotus where he describes a baris ship that he saw during his tour of ancient Egypt. We conclude by looking at the archaeological work being done in Thonis-Heracleion by Franck Goddio and Alexandar Belov. Ship 17 in particular has been largely excavated, measured, and thoroughly studied. This rather large ancient Egyptian cargo vessel seems to almost entirely line up with the 'baris' passage from Herodotus, so Ship 17 appears to be the first baris ship to have been discovered in ancient Egypt.

An artistic treatment of the discovered shipwreck. The upper half of the model illustrates the wreck as excavated. Below this, unexcavated areas are mirrored to pro­duce a complete vessel outline. Photograph: Christoph Gerigk/Franck Goddio/Hilti Foundation

Show Notes


Direct download: Baris_Mini-sode.mp3
Category:history -- posted at: 8:37pm CDT

In Part II of our look at the naval Battle of Artemisium, we finally get into the heat of battle. The episode is bookended by some trickery and psychological warfare courtesy of the inimitable Themistocles. In the middle, though, we discuss the 3 separate days and 3 separate engagements that made up the battle as a whole. Tactics, planning, chaos: we've got it all today. We've got yet another storm that makes an appearance, and this time it takes 200 Persian ships with it, making them victims of the infamous Hollows of Euboea.

Direct download: 037.mp3
Category:history -- posted at: 6:07pm CDT

Today we open a chapter onto the naval Battle of Artemisium. We begin by considering a prophecy which illustrates the plight that Greece found herself in as the Persian army and navy entered Europe. We discuss the state of preparation in each relative camp as they made their respective preparations for the battle to come. We then discuss the regions in and around Artemisium and the island of Euboea, where the first naval battle of the war would take place. We consider the strategic advantages inherent in certain sites in the region, the theories about how large each navy would have been at this stage in history, and then we get into the opening moves of the chess game that would set up the conflict at Artemisium. A 'Hellesponter' makes an dramatic appearance, and we witness some mishaps at sea in Part One of our look at the naval Battle of Artemisium.

Direct download: 036.mp3
Category:history -- posted at: 2:26pm CDT

In today's episode we take a look at the final moves that both Greece and Persia made on the eve of their war. Themistocles and Aristides take center stage as they maneuver through the political scene of Athens, but with the success of the Themistoclean naval policy, we discuss how the Greeks may have rapidly built up their navy. We consider the Greek congress of city-states, their relative lack of support, and the final measures they took to try and recruit allies. We also consider a canal project and pontoon bridges that Xerxes had built to aid his army and navy as they both marched and sailed west to Greece. We conclude with a rather bizarre scene where the Persians try to beat the Hellespont into subjection and, ultimately, they all make it over into Europe. The stage is set for the final Greco-Persian War.

Direct download: 035_-_The_Eve_of_War.mp3
Category:history -- posted at: 8:20pm CDT

A substantial portion of the Persian fleet was wrecked in a storm in 492 BCE, but after Darius ordered it to be rebuilt, they set sail for Greece in the summer of 490. Today's episode examines the state of the Persian navy at this point, after which we discuss the fleet's route to Eritrea and Marathon, the site of one of Greece's most famous military victories. It was a land battle though, so after a brief look at some naval elements connected to it, we paint a picture of Athens after Marathon, where political leaders like Themistocles had to fear the newly popular use of ostracism. We conclude by setting the stage for the third and final Persian invasion of Greece.

Direct download: 034_-_Marathon_and_Persian_Naval_Power.mp3
Category:history -- posted at: 5:57pm CDT

In today's episode the curtain rises on a young man named Themistocles. He's always recognized for the role that he played at Salamis and in the Greek navy's stand against Persia, but today we go back to the earliest we know about his life. We ended last episode in 493 BCE when the Ionian Revolt was effectively ended at Lade, but in that same year Themistocles was made eponymous archon of Athens. Today we look at the early stages of the naval reforms he tried to institute in Athens, with a particular focus on the Athenian port of Phaleron. It was a weak port despite being the only port Athens had used in her history, so after looking at why it was weak, we then look at the location Themistocles proposed as an alternative, the Piraeus. A story that runs through the episode and probably shaped the views of a young Themistocles is one that involves an island rival of Athens, the mercantile power of Aegina. She'd become a naval power before Athens had, so today we look at an undeclared war that simmered between them, the naval focus of their conflicts, and why Aegina actually played an interesting role in the shaping up of the greater conflict with Persia. There's also a bit in there somewhere about Persia's first attempt to invade Greece and the storm that caused one of the biggest naval disasters to that point in ancient history. A meandering but interesting episode, I hope.

Direct download: 033_-_The_Heraldless_War_and_a_Man_Named_Themistocles.mp3
Category:history -- posted at: 9:11pm CDT

Welcome to our third annual Halloween special here at the Maritime History Podcast. Rather than choose a grim, frightening, or eery tale, this year I felt that a more lighthearted fare was in order. This story was written by an Englishman named Richard Middleton. It tells of a quiet countryside village named Fairfield where the townsfolk are as comfortable with the ghosts that populate the village as they are with their neighbors. After a storm one night, a villager finds a ghostly ship at anchor in his turnip garden, and the story continues to elaborate the rather humorous consequences of having a ghost ship in temporary residence in "the ghostliest place in all England."

Backing music for this story comes courtesy of Danish pianist Peter Bille Larsen. This specific song is Piano Nocturne No. 2 (A Loving Venus Brought You Stars).

Direct download: The_Ghost_Ship_-_by_Richard_Middleton.mp3
Category:history -- posted at: 8:34pm CDT

If Episode 031 covered the heady, opening stages of the Ionian Revolt, then today's episode covers the denouement and rather anticlimactic conclusion of the revolt. At the start of the episode we follow Aristagoras as he goes on a recruiting trip to Sparta and Athens, using a world map to try and sway the Spartan king into joining the revolt. Athenian ships join the revolt, but after some early success in Ionia, Athens quickly withdraws. She has gained the attention of the Persian king by briefly aiding Ionia, but before Darius repays Athenian meddling he resubjugates Ionia and the surrounding regions. The end of the Ionian Revolt and Darius' campaign to retake Ionia centers on Miletus, naturally. The conclusion of our episode focuses on the naval battle that brought an end to the revolt, a letdown of a naval encounter off the island of Lade. Herodotus gives us some great detail about the training of the Ionian navy and the events of the battle itself, so today's episode takes us all over the ancient Greek world.

Direct download: 032_-_The_Letdown_at_Lade.mp3
Category:history -- posted at: 8:37pm CDT

In today's episode we begin our look at the events that directly contributed to the beginnings of the Greco-Persian War. After a brief summation of the events that brought the early Persian Empire into contact with the Ionian Greeks, we take a look at the evidence and theories about what the naval situation was like in the Aegean during the late 6th century BCE. We then consider how and why Persia went about building up its navy, including how Ionian Greek cities fit into the Persian system once they were subjugated. We then meet a tyrant of Miletus, Aristagoras, who's ambition and cunning spurred an Ionian/Persian invasion of Naxos, where a fleet of 200 ships besieged the island. Following this attempted invasion, we conclude by seeing how Miletus and an Ionian confederation decided to instead seize part of the Persian navy and start revolt against the empire from the east. Somewhere in there we also consider a unique form of punishment aboard a trireme.

Direct download: 031.mp3
Category:history -- posted at: 8:23pm CDT

Today we have a lengthy primer focused only on the trireme. After a jaunt through some of the evidence related to when the trireme first came into use on the seas of ancient Greece and the Near East we then take a deep dive into the numerous aspects of the ship itself. We discuss the materials used by ancient shipwrights, the process of building and outfitting a trireme, and the design of this ship that set it apart from the oared galleys of archaic Greece. The trireme was essentially an oar-powered maritime missile, so we then outline the various sailors who made up the typical 200-man contingent of each trireme. The trierarch functioned as a ship captain, and from there we meet the other 199 men, 170 of whom were oarsmen. Much of what we know about the trireme has been confirmed via the reconstruction of Olympias and the ensuing sea trials that she underwent. After a bit about Olympias, we conclude with a look at the naval tactics that developed in the wake of the trireme taking over the naval scene in ancient Greece. All in all, what we've got is a 105-minute ode to the most important ship of the ancient world: the trireme.

Direct download: 030_-_Trireme_101-_How_to_Build_Sail_and_Ram_an_Ancient_Greek_Warship.mp3
Category:history -- posted at: 4:51pm CDT

In this installment, we continue to follow the Greeks as they expand yet further. Our first destination is Egypt, where the Greek emporion at Naukratis was set up by a diverse group of mercenaries and traders. The recently discovered port of Thonis-Heraklion also makes an appearance, and we see that mercenary sailors worked for the pharaoh at various times. Greece also like Egyptian prostitutes, apparently. The second part of the episode focuses on the extent of Greek meddling in the far western Mediterranean. There the Phocaeans founded Massalia, and tried to get on friendly terms with the locals. But, Cyrus the Great sacked Phocaea in 546 BCE and the Greeks fled to the colony of Alalia on the island of Corsica. Feeling hard done, the Greeks turned to piracy and thereby united Carthage and the Etruscans against them, which resulted in the Battle of the Sardinian Sea. We cover a lot of ground in today's episode!

Direct download: 029_-_Trade_with_Egypt_Conflict_with_Carthage.mp3
Category:history -- posted at: 8:23pm CDT

In today's installment, we'll tell a tale of two cities in one sense. The age of colonization in Greece had an early leader in the island of Euboea, but as the Euboeans were stretched thin, Corinth and Miletus rose to become the leaders of Greek colonization. We'll look at the wealth that Corinth controlled thanks partially to her location, but also to the diolkos and other maritime innovations that she instituted. Our second city of focus is Miletus, the 'jewel of Ionia'. She was at the forefront of the Greek push into the Euxine Sea, or, the Black Sea. So after laying out the geography of the 'Pontus Euxinus' and her approaches, we'll look at the colonies, resources, and importance of the Greek effort to unlock the Black Sea. We also consider the aeinautae, a group of magistrates who ruled Miletus by sailing out to sea and weighing anchor until they'd made whatever decision was at hand. An interesting method of governing, to be sure.

Direct download: 028_-_Unlocking_the_Pontus_Euxinus.mp3
Category:history -- posted at: 9:07pm CDT

Welcome to our second annual Halloween special here at the Maritime History Podcast. This year I opted for a nautical tale by the ever-popular American author of the macabre, Edgar Allan Poe. Some people love this tale, some hate it, but no matter your side, this is a proper sea-tale of weirdness, "ghosts" and an underlying current of horror, so, without any further rambling, I bring you my reading of Manuscript Found in a Bottle by Edgar Allan Poe.

Direct download: Manuscript_Found_in_a_Bottle.mp3
Category:history -- posted at: 12:12am CDT

Today we fill in some gaps concerning Greek colonization, looking first at the founding of colonies along the eastern coast of Sicily. The Greeks colonized by force more so than did the Phoenicians, so we'll draw some distinctions there and see how the two cultures began to come into more conflict in and around the central Mediterranean. Then, we learn a bit more about the process of Greek colonization, including a small bit about the role that religion played. The Homeric epics then inform us about the state of shipbuilding in the 8th century BCE, with the famous passage where Odysseus builds a boat taking central stage. We wrap up by trying to flesh out why exactly the Greeks and Phoenicians developed animosity toward each other, with tales from Odysseus and Eumaeus from the Odyssey giving us a window into Greek perceptions. The Greeks continue the push west!

Direct download: 027_-_Odysseus_Builds_a_Boat.mp3
Category:history -- posted at: 10:39pm CDT

At long last we make first contact with the Greeks! Today we try to cover the earliest periods of Greek colonization and expansion into the central Mediterranean. Hesiod's writings can give us some insight into the socio-economic conditions in Greece proper, the conditions that spurred the colonization of the 9th and 8th centuries BCE. Early Greek colonies in the Levant connected them with the goods and ideas of the east, flowing west as far is Pithecusae, the oldest Greek settlement west of Greece. From there the colonization really picked up, with settlements being established along the sea-road back toward Greece. We finish our episode by looking at multiple ship depictions on Attic pottery found around the Mediterranean. We try to suss out whether some of these depict galleys or biremes, but the bottom line is the transition to biremes and triremes happened during the colonization phase. By the end today we will have set the stage for the conflicts between trade powers in the central Med, conflicts that will be our focus in coming episodes.

Direct download: 026_-_Sailing_Advice_from_Hesiod_the_Farmer-Poet.mp3
Category:history -- posted at: 5:04pm CDT

This week we follow the fleeing Elissa, princess of Tyre, to Qart-ḥadašt, the "New City" that would come into wider fame as Carthage. We start with some talk of the mythical founding of Carthage, some conjecture about when the city was really founded, and an overview of the city's early growth. Then, we look at two Phoenician shipwrecks discovered over 33 nautical miles off Asheklon, Israel. The Tanit and Elissa are two of the oldest Phoenician shipwrecks discovered to date, and then can tell us a fair amount about Phoenician shipping practices, also about their religious practices in relation to maritime travel. Another long episode with the Phoenicians it is!

Direct download: 025_-_Carthage_-_A_New_City-Hope.mp3
Category:history -- posted at: 5:50pm CDT

This week we follow the Phoenicians to the western extremity of their trade network and colonization. While it is difficult to paint a chronological picture of when each colony was established, the city of Cadiz, or Gadir, quickly became the hub of western trade. Ancient historians confirm that the rich source of silver in Andalusia was the main attraction for Tyrian merchants, and the wealth that eventually began to flow back east from Tartessos had an influence on Assyria's relationship with Phoenicia. We also discuss a few depictions of Phoenician warships, an evacuation of Tyre, and the role of religion in controlling colonial government and trade, so today's episode is a long one!

Direct download: 024_-_Go_West_O_Tyre_Go_West.mp3
Category:history -- posted at: 10:56pm CDT

The Phoenicians are now on the move, pushing the scope of our podcast to the west. While they were mainly concerned with expanding their access to natural resources like copper, iron, and silver, they weren't entering a vacuum. The Nuragic people of Sardinia were active in a regional trade centered on the Tyrrhenian Sea, and soon after the Phoenicians reconnected the Euboeans with the Mediterranean trade networks, both of them had set up colonies on Sardinia and in western Italy. We look at archaeological evidence for all the activity there, but in the end, this episode is a stepping stone to the Phoenician presence in the far west of the Mediterranean, just as Sardinia was for the Iron Age mariners.

Direct download: 023_-_Setting_Up_Shop_in_the_Central_Med.mp3
Category:history -- posted at: 9:48pm CDT

The Phoenicians have finally arrived on the historical stage, at least as our humble podcast is concerned. In today's episode, we look at their place in the post-Bronze Age world, along with the rise of the island city of Tyre. The Phoenicians would create a widespread maritime network, leading to their recognition as the preeminent ancient maritime navigators and sailors. This all fell into place after King Hiram I helped Tyre rise to power through an alliance with Israel, after which they founded the first Phoenician colony at Kition on the island of Cyprus. Join us for the first focused look at the Phoenicians.

Direct download: 022_-_Rise_of_the_Phoenicians.mp3
Category:history -- posted at: 10:57pm CDT

This supplemental episode is a reading of the Report of Wenamun, also called the Misadventures of Wenamun.

Direct download: Wenamun_Supp.mp3
Category:history -- posted at: 10:52am CDT

Today's episode is a transition, of sorts. As Season 1 concluded, the Sea Peoples had attempted an invasion of Egypt and the Late Bronze Age Collapse had wreaked havoc on many cultures of the ancient world. Now, we look at how things had settled over the 100 years that followed 1177 BCE. We look at the "Balkanization" of the areas that had once been controlled by powerful empires. In looking at this change, the journey of an Egyptian priest named Wenamun serves as the perfect picture of just how the world had changed by 1050 BCE, and how that change operated to open the door for a new trading power to rise.

Direct download: 021_-_Wenamuns_Journey__Early_Iron_Age_22Balkanization22.mp3
Category:history -- posted at: 10:44am CDT

This episode is a recapitulation of the 20 episodes that make up Series 1. The season as a whole examined the high points of maritime history during the Bronze Age, with a specific focus on Mesopotamia, Egypt, the Indus Valley, and the Aegean/Eastern Mediterranean. Hopefully this recap can serve as a good summary as we now look to Series 2 and maritime history during the Early Iron Age.

Direct download: Season_1_Recap.mp3
Category:history -- posted at: 10:25pm CDT

This 'interlude' episode sits in the gap between Seasons 1 and 2 of the podcast. While Season 1 began with ancient Mesopotamia, Egypt, India, and the Mediterranean, we didn't really go back further than written history allows. Today we'll take a whirlwind look at the basic types of boats and watercraft that were probably used by prehistoric man in different parts of the globe. From the dugout canoe to the bundle raft, hide boat, and bark canoe, these were the boats that allowed man to occupy the furthest reaches of the globe long before European explorers 'discovered' those islands in the scientific sense.

Direct download: Interlude_-_Boats_of_Prehistory.mp3
Category:history -- posted at: 1:04pm CDT

Today we wrap up our look at the Late Bronze Age Collapse. We focus heavily on Egypt's naval clash with the Sea Peoples in 1177 BCE. Our main sources are the inscriptions and relief at the Mortuary Temple of Ramesses III at Medinet Habu. The relief in particular is very enlightening, revealing for the first time the use of a new sail type by both the Sea Peoples and the Egyptians. We talk about this technological development and finish up by looking a bit at where the Sea Peoples ended up and how the stage was set for the dawn of the Iron Age.

Direct download: 020_-_The_Sea_Peoples_Sail_South_-_Vol._II.mp3
Category:history -- posted at: 1:30pm CDT

This episode will conclude with the city of Ugarit in flames. Before we get there, we'll look at two Hittite invasions of Cyprus using borrowed ships, Egypt's first battle with the Sea Peoples, and the practice of using human hands as accounting units. After that, we'll delve into the causes of the Late Bronze Age Collapse: earthquake, climate change, drought, famine, and invasion. With each of these causes we'll look at the evidence as it comes. Finally, we have recovered letters from many cities like Ugarit, cities that were ultimately destroyed. These letters open a window on to the actions and fears of kings and merchants as the Bronze Age World collapsed underneath them. Heady stuff!

Direct download: 019_-_Ugarit_in_Flames.mp3
Category:history -- posted at: 9:58pm CDT

In today's episode we take a look at just what the title suggests, the beginning of the end for the cultures and powers of the Bronze Age world. We'll make our first visit to the Levantine trade center of Ugarit, a city that will factor heavily in our look at the Late Bronze Age Collapse. Then, after a look at the broad roadmap of occurrences during the period, we'll see the first mention of the Sherden, a group that became part of the Sea Peoples. The Hittites and Egyptians clash at Qadesh, the Aegean begins to unravel, and the Assyrians deal a death blow to the Hittite Empire. We finish by looking at a treaty that sought to cut off Assyrian access to the Mediterranean trade routes. Thanks for tuning in!

Direct download: 018_-_The_Beginning_of_the_End.mp3
Category:history -- posted at: 11:24am CDT

Today we delve into a grey area between myth and history: the Trojan War. The Homeric epic poem The Iliad is now one of the most well known Greek myths. Before the discoveries of Mycenae and Troy around the turn of the century, almost no one believed that the Trojan War had actually happened. Now, archaeological evidence from Troy and other Anatolian coastal cities, combined with letters and treaties found in Hittite archives give us a glimpse at a what may be the historical basis of the Trojan War. Homer tells us of black ships on Trojan shores and of epic clashes between heroes who were aided by the gods. The Hittite archives tell us of Mycenaean raiders on the Anatolian coast and of a Hittite king who moved in to quell a Mycenaean backed rebellion. Listen to today's episode to see what we now know about the state of the Bronze Age world at the time Herodotus thought the Trojan War had been fought.

Direct download: 017_-_Black_Ships_on_Trojan_Shores.mp3
Category:history -- posted at: 1:21pm CDT

Hi crew. Yes, this is the Maritime History Podcast, but as this week is the week of Halloween, I figured a somewhat creepy ship tale would be fitting. Credit where credit is due, Jamie at the British History Podcast was my inspiration, so thanks to him for the idea, and be sure to go listen to his reading of The Music of Erich Zann, another Lovecraft tale. I had another poem up for possible inclusion here, but the Facebook page seemed mostly on board with Lovecraft, so, without any further rambling, I bring you my reading of The White Ship by H.P. Lovecraft.

Direct download: The_White_Ship.mp3
Category:history -- posted at: 3:59pm CDT

Our dual focus in today's episode are shipwrecks from the same region of southern Turkey. The Cape Gelidonya wreck was discovered first, making it the first ancient shipwreck to have ever been fully recovered from the sea floor. The Uluburun wreck was found later, but it is the oldest shipwreck to have yielded a substantial portion of her cargo along with a portion of the ship hull. Dr. George Bass was the head of both wreck excavations, and the theory he ultimately proposed to explain the ship's and their cargo was one that revolutionized the academic community's view of trade in the Late Bronze Age Mediterranean. Were the Uluburun and Cape Gelidonya wrecks both the ill-fated remains of voyages conducted by 'proto-Phoenecian' sailors from the Levant? Listen to today's episode to hear the evidence for yourself!

Direct download: 016_-_Old_Money_-_The_Uluburun_and_Gelidonya_Wrecks.mp3
Category:history -- posted at: 10:16am CDT

Today we discuss the rise of the Mycenaean galley, a style of ship characterized by oared propulsion and  a long, narrow hull built for speed and power rather than for transport. Depictions are numerous, so we focus on a few main items from around the Mycenaean world. We also discuss the 'Aegean List' of Amenhotep III, a list of foreign cities in the Aegean, cities which one professor believes were visited by the New Kingdom Egyptians. Finally, we also discuss a Mycenaean galley model found in a tomb in Gurob Egypt, making connections between the style in which it was decorated and the Homeric references to Achaean galleys during the Trojan War. This episode is filled to the brim with great info, so don't miss out!

Direct download: 015_-_The_Advent_of_the_Mycenaean_Galley.mp3
Category:history -- posted at: 11:43am CDT

This time around we take a look at a few select cuneiform tablets from a collection known as the Amarna Letters. Discovered in Amarna, Egypt, these letters are a rare insight into the communication between the pharaoh and the rulers of many cities around the Bronze Age world. First, the king of Alasiya is forced to defend himself against accusations of piracy. This letter mentions the Lukkan pirates, perhaps the oldest reference to a pirate group in history. Our second letters come from Rib-Addi, the ruler of Byblos, a man under siege from both land and sea. Ultimately, the Amarna Letters help us better understand the Bronze Age Mediterranean around 1350 BCE.

Direct download: 014_-_The_Amarna_Letters_and_Some_Lukkan_Pirates.mp3
Category:history -- posted at: 1:46pm CDT

Today's episode will focus on three main topics, all related to the Minoan Civilization in the Aegean. First, we'll talk in detail about the exquisite Fleet Fresco fount in the West House at Akrotiri. Then we'll consider the volcanic eruption that buried Akrotiri, destroyed much of Thera, and effected large swaths of the Bronze Age Aegean. We’ll finish up by looking at the arguments of those who claim that the Minoan Civilization was Plato's basis for Atlantis when he discussed Atlantis in Timaeus and Critias. Hop aboard for this fact filled episode about the Bronze Age Minoans!

Direct download: 013_-_Akrotiri_Atlantis_Thera_Eruption.mp3
Category:history -- posted at: 2:53pm CDT

In today's episode, we'll take a look at the evidence from early Minoan history, beginning with pre-history and working up to the Neo-Palatial period. While the items we'll discuss are beautiful and tell us a lot about the artistic focus of Minoan culture, we'll also try to discern the line between fact and fiction when it comes to theories of a Minoan thalassocracy, or, the so-called Minoan 'empire of the sea.'

Direct download: 012_-_Minoan_Thalassocracy_-_52915_10.42_PM.mp3
Category:history -- posted at: 9:22am CDT

This episode originally aired on David Crowther's wonderful History of England podcast. Please check it out here if you haven't yet. His episodes regarding Henry V may help put this specific episode in context, as well.

This episode covers the military aspirations of King Henry V, with a particular focus on his use of naval power. The story of his flagship, the Grace Dieu, serves as a fitting indicator of the dynamics at play during the period and the decline of naval power following Henry V's death.

Direct download: Grace_Dieu_and_Henry_Vs_Proto-Royal_Navy.mp3
Category:history -- posted at: 11:25am CDT

This supplemental episode is a reading of the 'Periplus of the Erythraean Sea' in its entirety. Be sure to check out the show notes for maps and links to more info about the text, if you're curious.

Direct download: 011.5_-_The_Periplus_of_the_Erythraean_Sea.mp3
Category:history -- posted at: 3:32pm CDT

In today's episode we shift our focus east and look at the earliest identifiable civilization on the Indian subcontinent. The Harappan people were known to have had contacts with Egypt and Mesopotamia thanks to Harappan artifacts that have been discovered in those places. Sadly, there is very little evidence of maritime activity on the part of the Harappans, even though we know they were active to some extent.

We'll also look at the characteristics of the Erythraean Sea (Arabian Sea) and see how the monsoons helped connect the civilizations of the near east in antiquity. Other items include the so-called 'dockyard' at Lothal and a few boat depictions from the ancient Harappans.

Direct download: 011_-_Harappa_and_the_Erythraean_Sea.mp3
Category:history -- posted at: 12:12pm CDT

In today's episode we're going to look at the evidence of heavy-transport shipping throughout Egypt's history. Their many monumental building projects required the transportation of staggering amounts of material, and there is evidence from Pliny the Elder and Herodotus that much of this transport was accomplished by shipping up and down the Nile. We'll look at the various theories for how objects weighing hundreds of tons were loaded and shipped on the Nile, and we'll see a few depictions of such ships from the pyramid of Unas and the temple of Hatshepsut.

Direct download: 010_-_Taking_Care_of_Business_on_the_Nile.mp3
Category:history -- posted at: 9:26am CDT

The 'war' part refers to the first several pharaohs of the New Kingdom, kings who retook Egypt from the Hyksos. Specifically, we'll look at the pharaoh Kamose' retaking of the city of Avaris, partially accomplished by amphibious assault from the Nile. We'll also see the exploits of Thutmose III, but the 'peace' part refers to Queen Hatshepsut, a woman pharaoh who ruled concurrently with Thutmose III. Hatshepsut focused on reestablishing foreign trade, and one of Egypt's most well-known temple reliefs gives us a marvelous look at a voyage to Punt that was organized by Egypt's greatest female pharaoh. Other items from today's episode include a look at Min of the Desert, a full-scale reconstruction based on the Hatshepsut 'Punt' ship depictions, along with boat models from the tomb of Tutankhamun.

Direct download: 009_-_The_New_Kingdom.mp3
Category:history -- posted at: 8:16am CDT

A supplementary episode covering the entire 'Tale of the Shipwrecked Sailor.'

Direct download: 008.5_-_The_Tale_of_the_Shipwrecked_Sailor.mp3
Category:history -- posted at: 3:06pm CDT

This episode covers the maritime exploits of the Middle Kingdom. From the reopening of trade routes by Hannu, to the Tale of the Shipwrecked Sailor, to the Dashur boats found in pits near a pyramid, we'll cover the brief revival of maritime trade during the Middle Kingdom.

Direct download: 008_-_The_Middle_Kingdom_Mariners.mp3
Category:history -- posted at: 2:17pm CDT

Today's episode will focus on the scope of Egypt's maritime reach during the Old Kingdom's fifth and sixth dynasties. Topics include the development and refinement of maritime technology like the sail and the hogging truss, the discovery of an ancient harbor at Wadi el-Jarf, and the mysterious land of Punt as it relates to the story of Harkhuf, the boy pharaoh Pepi II, and a pygmy from Nubia.

Direct download: 007_-_Old_Kingdom_Egypt_Expands_Its_Reach.mp3
Category:history -- posted at: 11:03am CDT

In this episode we meet the Fourth Dynasty pharaohs, their pyramids, and a magnificent ship buried next to Khufu's Great Pyramid at Giza. From the story of its discovery and restoration, to the intricate construction methods used on the ship, down to the theories about the ship's original purpose, this episode looks at what may be the world's finest surviving example of ancient maritime technology.

Direct download: 006__Khufus_Solar_Ship_or_Sailing_Into_the_Afterlife.mp3
Category:history -- posted at: 10:22pm CDT

In this episode we'll focus mainly on the predynastic depictions of papyrus boats, wooden boats, the earliest depictions of the sail, and one important petroglyph. Then, we'll consider the validity of a theory that has connected ancient Egypt with ancient Mesopotamia. We'll conclude by looking at a magnificent discovery at Abydos where some of the oldest wooden planked boats to have ever been found were buried in their own graves in the Egyptian desert.

Direct download: 005_-_Meanwhile_In_Egypt....mp3
Category:history -- posted at: 11:41pm CDT

In this episode we'll get to meet two of the more well known merchants from Mesopotamia: Ea-nāşir who lived during the time of the first Babylonian king, Hammurabi, and Lu-Enlilla from the Third Dynasty of Ur. We'll also look at some of the economic factors at play in the world of the Mesopotamian merchants, and we'll see how the earliest law codes had an effect on the trade of the shipping merchants.

Direct download: 004_-_Mesopotamian_Merchants.mp3
Category:history -- posted at: 3:21pm CDT

Although this episode will cover a greater span of time than the first two episodes covered, we'll still slow down and see how a Sumerian moon-god named Nanna-Suen and a Mesopotamian Royal Hymn called “Shulgi and Ninlil’s Boat” can help us better understand maritime history; how Sargon of Akkad forged one of the world's first large empires and used that power to influence trade; and eventually how transition and turmoil within Mesopotamia led to a decline of trade that began with Hammurabi and lasted for centuries.

Direct download: 003_-_Sargon_to_Hammurabi.mp3
Category:history -- posted at: 9:58pm CDT

We'll witness the expansion of Sumer from a scattered farming society into the world’s first true civilization and see how society became less egalitarian with the emergence of a ruling class. Then, surplus grain and the ambitions of the rulers combined to spur on long distance trade that reached south into the Persian Gulf and beyond.

Direct download: 002_-_Surplus_Food_Big_Buildings_and_Power_Hungry_Lugals.mp3
Category:history -- posted at: 8:28am CDT

In which we meet the Ubaid people and see how they became the first inhabitants of southern Mesopotamia and used their natural resources to construct basic reed boats.

Direct download: 001_-_Boating_with_the_Ubaid_People.mp3
Category:history -- posted at: 10:41pm CDT

Thanks for dipping your toes in the figurative waters here with the Maritime History Podcast! I'm Brandon Huebner and I'll briefly introduce the podcast and explain why I think maritime history is an integral and overlooked facet of world history. It makes for many a fascinating story, and the podcast here will cover as many of those as we can, so hop aboard and join us for the voyage!

Direct download: 2019_Intro.mp3
Category:history -- posted at: 9:43pm CDT