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Sunday, January 08, 2012


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Lars Brownworth's excellent Norman Centuries podcast has recently moved to the Sicilian side of the Normans and narrates the issues with William, Tancred, Roger, etc from the Sicilian point of view. http://normancenturies.com/

Although I consider myself an amateur historian I sometimes find that Hollywood influences me a bit too much. While Kingdom of Heaven does a wonderful job of showing the culture of Jerusalem before the Third Crusade, its story is mostly fictional. When I listened to this episode I couldn't quite square the image of Guy de Lusignan with the character in the movie. (He was not very nice in the movie.) When history and Hollywood collide, Hollywood must go.


Thanks for (another) very interesting episode !


The Brownworth podcast is one that I considered when looking for an English History podcast. It was difficult to concentrate on what he was actually reading, due to his voice/accent and intonation. (I have chosen to read his written words) I picked yours because you had a pleasing voice/accent and style. I'm so glad I did, because you have brought me so many hours of pleasure.
This morning, Picture Britain on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/PictureBritain) asked, "what is your favorite website about Britain", I mentioned your excellent blog/podcast.

The History of England

I think the character of Guy is definitely open to interpretation - but there'll be more on him in the next two weeks. The way I've read it is that Guy was basically a rather weak character pulled around by stronger characters; his behaviour at the lead up to Hattin suggests this. But other options are available! From memory, Kingdom of Heaven basically had him as an aggressive fool. Both would explain why he lost the confidence of the barons of Outremer I think.

Rob Shinnick

Ha! Caught up at last! I'm up to date in my listening, now. It's been very enjoyable so far.

Had to have a wee chuckle at your expense this time, though, after hearing you solemnly swear to proceed at a snail's pace, only to then go galloping away at the usual breathless speed. No worries, though- I've become accustomed to it, and there's always the rewind button if I don't catch something. (Like that bit about "lighting the blue touch paper", which I had to look up- apparently that one never made it over to this side of the pond.) Come to think of it, if I myself were recording a podcast, I'd find it terribly difficult to change the pace of my speech for very long, without stumbling or sounding weird. So do go on and continue being yourself- I love the sound and cadence of your voice, actually.

So, about the hundred thousand bezants, and how much a bezant was worth... You'd think I'd have some inkling of that, being the resident coin guy around here, but no. I was clueless, beyond the fact that a bezant was a gold coin, and a hundred thousand gold coins is a bloody great pile o' money in any era. (I guess that's all we need to know.)

This Wikipedia article does shed a little light. (As I'd suspected, the word "bezant" derives from "Byzantine".)


Speaking of coins, it was fun seeing the coin giveaway bring you some comments. We'll do it again, with an older coin next time- something more contemporary to the episode at hand. At some point between Edward I through Elizabeth and the Tudors, I should be able to produce a more historically interesting giveaway. It'll be fun.

The History of England

Hi Rob

Yes, actually I have to admit I myself had a laugh at my own expense also . I keep a record of the number of words and length for each episode (I suffer from a degree of obsessive behaviour), and the normal average is about 2.9 words per second. I entered the data for episode 46 with great confidence and saw....2.87. Rats. BUT you'll be pleased to know that episode 47 is at 2.65 words per second - tell me if it makes a difference.

Somewhere on Wikipedia (to my distress I now forget where) someone had done a calculation about the weight and value of the gold which I thought was quite clever. But whatever way you look at at 100,000 of anything has got to equal a hill of beans!

Jeremiah Thompson

absolutely loving the podcast! Wish I had found it sooner, but better late than never.

Also, I loved how a few episodes back you mentioned Geoffrey Parker. He was one of my guest lecturers in history at the University of Illinois when I was there several years ago. I find it fascinating that you and I on different sides of the Atlantic would have enjoyed the same professor.

Keep up the good work!

john coote

I'm still a long way off catching up, but loving the whole series so far. It's been very noticeable, the switch from the Anglo Saxon period, covering decades per episode to the current period which is far more detailed.
Keep up the good work David.

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