Dan Carlin's Hardcore History: Show 41 - Thor's Angels
December 29, 2014 5:29 PM - Subscribe

What started as a standard podcast episode morphed into an audio book on what used to be called "The Dark Ages" in Europe. Dan gets into many areas he should probably avoid...Gods, Germans, bikers, Jesus...

Episode Link. Also,the release thread on Carlin's forums.
posted by the man of twists and turns (7 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
This one is 4:06:00!
posted by the man of twists and turns at 5:30 PM on December 29, 2014

I enjoyed this one, albeit not as much as his eastern front series. It lead me, through my Audible subscription, to Philip Daileader's excellent Teaching Company module The Early Middle Ages - which I thought was just terrific. I find Carlin interesting; on historical subjects I know nothing about he blows me away, however when he touches things I'm more familiar with, I do notice a tendency to elide things, or place an emphasis on dramatic elements that's not necessarily deserved.

For example, the the great series about the fall of the republic, he references stories about Mithridates relying heavily on Mayor's book, The Poison King. The thing is, as a piece of scholarship it's almost unethically bad; she repeats what's clearly fictional story as if it were established and agreed-upon fact - her sources and the referencing of them is pretty damned shoddy to make an entertaining read. Carlin leverages it because from a narrative perspective it's dynamite.

I think that's why the Eastern Front series worked so well - the hyperbole was basically real; everything happened at that dramatic level Carlin excels in.
posted by smoke at 12:41 AM on January 1, 2015 [1 favorite]

Just want to say this is the HH ep that I've listened to most often, probably 8 times or so. I love it! It contextualizes so much that I didn't know about the fall of Rome and early Medieval Europe. For me (with very little European history background), i had to listen to it a couple times to just understand what the pieces were, then a couple times more to fully get how they fit together. Luckily, I enjoy Dan's style quite a bit.
posted by So You're Saying These Are Pants? at 1:40 AM on January 9, 2015

I'm listening to The History Of Rome podcast too. I'm not quite up to the fall of Rome, but it informs a lot of this one, especially how the Empire 'delegated itself away.' The Romano-Britons and Romano-Gauls and Romano-Germans were an interesting lot, trying to maintain their civilizational standard. And I found the part about the Carolingians - the Franks et al. very interesting.

It's easier to imagine the end of the world than it is to imagine the end of our society. Will our ancestors look back and say "201X was the year the West fell"?

Who can say?
posted by the man of twists and turns at 12:22 AM on January 16, 2015 [1 favorite]

I loved the history of Rome podcast. I'm also listening to Goldsworthy's Caesar at the moment. It's so funny, when I didn't know much about Roman history I always viewed Cato as an honourable man - Cicero especially so - and the fall of the Republic as a great tragedy (I'm not gonna lie: I think absorbtion of Star Wars at a younger age played a role in this).

Now I'm older, I've done a complete 180. Cato was an arrogant bastard perpetuating a terrible system. Caesar, whatever his flaws (which are many), at least evinced giving a shit about the state and its citizens. A brilliant, contradictory man, hero one second, villain in the next.
posted by smoke at 12:44 AM on January 16, 2015

smoke - I've been devouring Philip Daileader's series this month. Thanks for the mention; I don't think I would have stumbled on it on my own. And it's been brilliant for filling in some major gaps in my understanding of history: how the transition between the Roman Empire and the Medieval world.
posted by kanewai at 11:20 AM on March 5, 2015 [1 favorite]

He's been my favourite of the teaching company courses. Kenneth Harl (or Earl, can't remember) on the crusades is pretty good too. There's also a lithuanian/American professor who did some really good ones, and the one about the everyday lives of those in history was really good, too.
posted by smoke at 2:33 PM on March 5, 2015

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