Rank #1: 002 - Surplus Food, Big Buildings, and Power Hungry Lugals
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.
Aug 16 2014
Rank #2: 030 - Trireme 101: How to Build, Sail, and Ram and Ancient Greek Warship
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.Show Notes - http://maritimehistorypodcast.com/ep-030-trireme-101-how-to-build-sail-and-ram-and-ancient-greek-warship
Jun 03 2017
Rank #3: 022 - Rise of the Phoenicians
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.Show Notes - http://maritimehistorypodcast.com/ep-022-rise-phoenicians
Apr 02 2016
Rank #4: 003 - Sargon to Hammurabi: Trade and Turmoil in Ancient Mesopotamia
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.
Aug 26 2014
Rank #5: 029 - Trade with Egypt, Conflict with Carthage
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!
Show Notes - http://maritimehistorypodcast.com/ep-029-trade-with-egypt-conflict-with-carthage
Mar 28 2017
Rank #6: 017 - Black Ships on Trojan Shores
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.Show Notes - http://maritimehistorypodcast.com/ep-017-black-ships-on-trojan-shores Our Fake History - http://ourfakehistory.com & on iTunes - https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/our-fake-history/id1021703062?mt=2
Nov 17 2015
Rank #7: 025 - Carthage: A New (City) Hope
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!Show Notes: http://maritimehistorypodcast.com/ep-025-carthage-new-city-hope
Jul 15 2016
Rank #8: 004 - Mesopotamian Merchants
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.
Sep 14 2014
Rank #9: 027 - Odysseus Builds a Boat
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!
Show Notes - http://maritimehistorypodcast.com/ep-027-odysseus-builds-boat
Boat Radio - http://boatradio.tv
Oct 30 2016
Rank #10: 023 - Setting Up Shop in the Central Med
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.Show Notes - http://maritimehistorypodcast.com/ep-023-setting-shop-central-med History of Exploration Podcast - https://historyofexploration.net & on iTunes - https://itunes.apple.com/au/podcast/the-history-of-exploration/id1092666716?mt=2
May 04 2016
Rank #11: 031 - A Persian Navy, an Ionian Revolt
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.
Show Notes - http://maritimehistorypodcast.com/ep-031-a-persian-navy-an-ionian-revolt
Aug 14 2017
Rank #12: 020 - The Sea Peoples Sail South: Vol. II
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.Show Notes - http://maritimehistorypodcast.com/ep-020-the-sea-peoples-sail-south-vol-ii
Jan 13 2016
Rank #13: 013 - Akrotiri, Atlantis, and the Thera Eruption
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!Show Notes - http://maritimehistorypodcast.com/ep-013-akrotiri-atlantis-and-the-thera-eruption
Jun 28 2015
Rank #14: 024 - Go West, O Tyre, Go West
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!
Jun 17 2016
Rank #15: 005 - Meanwhile, In Egypt...
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.
Sep 28 2014
Rank #16: 015 - The Advent of the Mycenaean Galley
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!Show Notes - http://maritimehistorypodcast.com/ep-015-the-advent-of-the-mycenaean-galley
Sep 29 2015
Rank #17: Halloween Ep. - The Ghost Ship by Richard Middleton
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).
Oct 29 2017
Rank #18: 026 - Sailing Advice from Hesiod, the Farmer-Poet
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.Show Notes - http://maritimehistorypodcast.com/ep-026-sailing-advice-from-hesiod-the-farmer-poet
Sep 18 2016
Rank #19: 012 - Minoan Thalassocracy
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.'
Book Giveaway Rules - http://maritimehistorypodcast.com/book-giveaway-contest-wreck-of-the-whale-ship-essex/
May 30 2015
Rank #20: 018 - The Beginning of the End
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!Show Notes - http://maritimehistorypodcast.com/ep-018-the-beging-of-the-end
Dec 01 2015