History on Fire

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History on Fire is a podcast by author and university history professor Daniele Bolelli.

Episodios

Episode 0 Introduction to History on Fire Podcast

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In this quick intro, we explore the guiding philosophy of the podcast, Dan Carlin’s influence, and future plans.

Episode 1 The Slave Wars (part 1)

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In the space of a few decades, three major slave wars threatened the Roman Republic. In this episode, we see how the greed of land speculators, tax collectors and slave owners unleashed an orgy of bloodshed as tens of thousands of escaped slaves went to battle against Rome’s armies. Part I of this story covers the first two of the servile wars, and features political intrigues, fire-breathing Syrian prophets, cannibalism, love struck aristocrats arming their slaves, and heroic mass suicides.

EPISODE 2 The Slave Wars (Part 2: Spartacus)

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One of the most legendary characters in history comes to visit us in this episode: Spartacus! This episode features mass crucifixions, Dionysian orgies, a master course in guerrilla warfare, walls built with corpses, the most brutal punishment in military history, pirates, and overambitious Romans losing their heads.

EPISODE 3 The Iceman

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This episode focuses on one of the greatest archaeological discoveries of the late 20th century: the oldest, fully preserved human body ever found. The man emerged from the ice in the Alps over 5,000 years ago after his death. The more archaeologists discovered about him, the more haunting the mystery of his fate became. This is a tale of murder, Neolithic battles, the possibly European origins of acupuncture, the best mountain climber who ever lived, Brad Pitt’s tattoo, and one of the oldest cold cases ever. This is what history looks like when you have no written sources.

EPISODE 4 The 10,000 (Part 1)

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EPISODE 4 The 10,000 (Part 1)

EPISODE 5 The 10,000 (Part 2)

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EPISODE 5 The 10,000 (Part 2)

EPISODE 6 The Duel

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EPISODE 6 The Duel

EPISODE 7 Crazy Horse (Part 1)

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EPISODE 7 Crazy Horse (Part 1)

EPISODE 8 Crazy Horse (Part 2)

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EPISODE 8 Crazy Horse (Part 2)

EPISODE 9 Crazy Horse (Part 3)

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EPISODE 9 Crazy Horse (Part 3)

EPISODE 10 Crazy Horse (Part 4)

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EPISODE 10 Crazy Horse (Part 4)

EPISODE 11 Caravaggio (Part 1): Light and Darkness

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EPISODE 11 Caravaggio (Part 1): Light and Darkness

EPISODE 12 Caravaggio (Part 2): Folsom Prison Blues

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EPISODE 12 Caravaggio (Part 2): Folsom Prison Blues

EPISODE 13 Ted Roosevelt (Part 1): The Rough Rider and His Demons

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He was the first American to receive a brown belt in Judo.  He won the largest percentage of the vote ever by a third-party candidate. 
He once took a bullet to the chest shot at point blank range, and rather than going to the hospital went to deliver a 90 minute speech.

EPISODE 14 Ted Roosevelt (Part 2): The Strenuous Life

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He was the first American to receive a brown belt in Judo.  He won the largest percentage of the vote ever by a third-party candidate. 
He once took a bullet to the chest shot at point blank range, and rather than going to the hospital went to deliver a 90 minute speech.

EPISODE 17 The War for the Black Hills (Part 2): The Long Defeat

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To the Lakota people, the Black Hills of South Dakota were—and still are—‘the heart of everything that is.’ To the United States, they were a goldmine, and Manifest Destiny’s next target. It was for the Black Hills that the Lakota went to war against the United States for the last time

EPISODE 18 The War for the Black Hills (Part 3): Last Stand

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To the Lakota people, the Black Hills of South Dakota were—and still are—‘the heart of everything that is.’ To the United States, they were a goldmine, and Manifest Destiny’s next target. It was for the Black Hills that the Lakota went to war against the United States for the last time.

EPISODE 19 Featuring Dan Carlin

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My favorite podcaster and one of my favorite humans joins me for an epic chat ranging across topics

EPISODE 20 The Conquest of Mexico (Part 1): People Of The Sun

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In the 1500s, two highly militaristic peoples fueled by religious ideologies requiring bloodshed clashed with one another. This is the tale of what happened when a band of Spaniards run into the Mexica (Aztec) empire. By the time the dust will settle, out of the 25 million indigenous inhabitants of Mexico, little over a million will be left standing.

EPISODE 21 The Conquest of Mexico (Part 2): The Dogs of War

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In the 1500s, two highly militaristic peoples fueled by religious ideologies requiring bloodshed clashed with one another. This is the tale of what happened when a band of Spaniards run into the Mexica (Aztec) empire. By the time the dust will settle, out of the 25 million indigenous inhabitants of Mexico, little over a million will be left standing.

EPISODE 22 The Conquest of Mexico (Part 3): Tenochtitlan Syndrome

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In the 1500s, two highly militaristic peoples fueled by religious ideologies requiring bloodshed clashed with one another. This is the tale of what happened when a band of Spaniards run into the Mexica (Aztec) empire. By the time the dust will settle, out of the 25 million indigenous inhabitants of Mexico, little over a million will be left standing.

EPISODE 23 The Conquest of Mexico (Part 4): Tenochtitlan Or Bust

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In the 1500s, two highly militaristic peoples fueled by religious ideologies requiring bloodshed clashed with one another. This is the tale of what happened when a band of Spaniards run into the Mexica (Aztec) empire. By the time the dust will settle, out of the 25 million indigenous inhabitants of Mexico, little over a million will be left standing.

EPISODE 24 The Pirate Queen

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At the very beginning of the 1800s, a Chinese woman went from being employed as a prostitute in the floating brothels close to Canton to becoming the leader of the biggest pirate confederacy in modern history. Despite ending up as one of the most successful pirates ever, little is known about her. Today, we dive into the mystery and explore her story.

EPISODE 25 Roman History with Mike Duncan

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Mike Duncan is one of the pioneers of historical podcasting. His “History of Rome” is iconic. And his current “Revolutions” is equally compelling. In this episode, we sit down to chat about Roman history, Rome in cinema, the inevitable comparisons between Ancient Rome and the United States, the factionalism and corruption that brought down the Republic, the connection between ‘The Walking Dead’ + ‘Game of Thrones’ and Roman history, his upcoming book “The Storm Before the Storm,” and the future of his “Revolutions” podcast.

EPISODE 26 Jack Johnson (Part 1): Bad To The Bone

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By 1900, the federal government had long abandoned Reconstruction, and white supremacy was returning to the South with a vengeance. Jim Crow was in full swing. Segregation was the law of the land. And Fifty years before Jackie Robinson challenged segregation in baseball, there was Jack Johnson. Lynching was a weekly event. Any black man in the South not acting subservient could find himself dangling from a tree. Even African American leaders like Booker T. Washington preached that accepting segregation, keeping one’s head down, and working hard were the best options for black people. Jack Johnson clearly didn’t get the memo. At this time when simply looking a white man in the eyes, or talking to a white woman, could get one lynched, Jack Johnson made a living beating the hell out of white men in the ring. Living defiantly as if prejudice didn’t exist—he felt—was the best way to defeat racism. It would be easy to mistake Jack Johnson’s story simply as a tale of standing up to racism. It’s about that—sure. But it’s also about a lot more. Because as much Jack Johnson stared down white supremacy, he also battled those black people who insisted that he behaved like a hard-working, God-fearing role model. But JJ wasn’t about to trade a cage for another. He wouldn’t be anyone’s puppet. He would have no master telling him how to live—not white ones, but no black ones either. His story is the tale of a man who, in spite of a time and place that would not allow it, was on a defiant quest to be free, and live life on his own terms. In this episode: -How a man who would be among the best fighters in the world grew up as a wimp having his sisters protecting him -The color line in boxing -The 1900 Galveston Flood -Joe Choynski: first KOs Jack Johnson and then teaches him how to fight… in jail -JJ’s complicated fascination with white women -The curious story of Saverio Giannone (aka Joe Grim): “I am Joe Grim and I fear no man” -Chasing Tommy Burns around the world -Jack Johnson’s defiant smile -“Jim Jeffries must emerge from his alpha alpha farm, and remove that golden smile from Jack Johnson’s face. Jeff, it’s up to you. The White Man must be rescued.” Jack London

EPISODE 27 Jack Johnson (Part 2): The Fight

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In this episode: -Public Enemy Number One -At home in the integrated criminal underworld -Ladies and fast cars -Jack Johnson’s intellectual side -The Great White Hope -Knocking out and befriending Stanley “The Assassin” Ketchel -“I am going into this fight for the sole purpose of proving that a white man is better than a negro.” Jim Jeffries -Why the Governor of California prohibited the fight -Death threats and attempted poisonings -Jack Johnson’s eerie calm under pressure -A spectator: “He’ll kill you, Jack.” Jack Johnson: “That’s what they all say.” -The verbal fight with Jim Corbett -Triumph and riots in over 50 cities

EPISODE 28 Jack Johnson (Part 3): Nobody’s Slave

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By 1900, the federal government had long abandoned Reconstruction, and white supremacy was returning to the South with a vengeance. Jim Crow was in full swing. Segregation was the law of the land. And Fifty years before Jackie Robinson challenged segregation in baseball, there was Jack Johnson. Lynching was a weekly event. Any black man in the South not acting subservient could find himself dangling from a tree. Even African American leaders like Booker T. Washington preached that accepting segregation, keeping one’s head down, and working hard were the best options for black people. Jack Johnson clearly didn’t get the memo.

EPISODE 29 I Drink and I Know Things (Where History and Game of Thrones Intersect)

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In this episode, I am joined by Aziz Al-Doory from The History of Westeros Podcast, and together we discuss some (definitely not all) of the ways in which history has influenced Game of Thrones. In this episode we’ll tackle: The Wall & Hadrian’s Wall, flaying, human sacrifice, feeding enemies to dogs, Agamemnon and Stannis Baratheon, parallels with the Bible, the Dothraki and nomadic steppe peoples, execution by molten gold, the real life examples of the High Sparrow, the walk of shame, the inquisition, the Red Wedding, the siege of Constantinople & the battle of Blackwater Bay, and much more.

EPISODE 30 Gladiators in Ancient Rome (Part 1): Are You Not Entertained?

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Ancient Romans were obsessed with gladiatorial combat. In this two-part series, we time-travel back to get a sense of what the Games (of which gladiatorial combat was the main attraction) were like. In this episode: the origins of gladiators, human sacrifice, Achilles and the Iliad, feeding the dead with blood, who were the gladiators, female gladiators, the ludus, the different types of gladiators, the battles among the damnati, the naumachia, executions and ‘snuff plays’, the venatio, crushed by elephants or eaten by lions, the collapsing arena that killed over 20,000, the editor of the games, poor Romans eating lion for dinner, thumbs (up and down)...

EPISODE 31 Gladiators in Ancient Rome (Part 2): The Spirit of the Gladiator

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In this episode: how gladiators were both superstars and despised outcasts at the same time, gladiators’ groupies, Marcus Aurelius’ wife taking a bath in gladiator’s blood, Commodus and his 620-0 record in the arena, the clash between Christianity and gladiators, the evolution of MMA in the early 1990s, having your violent cake and eating it too, gladiatorial video games, Titus Pullo’s badassery, Conan’s prayer

EPISODE 32A Anything That Moves (Part 1): The Parallel Stories of Sand Creek and My Lai

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I’m not going to lie. This is one of the darkest episodes of History on Fire. But there are reasons for this journey into the heart of darkness. The stories of Sand Creek and My Lai offer an opportunity to explore human agency, the choices separating good and evil, and how some individuals can choose to become sources of light even in the most horrible circumstances. In this first part, we will explore the events that in Colorado in the late 1850s and early 1860s led to a dramatic clash between the Cheyenne tribe and the United States. Within the context of this painfully ugly story, 26-year-old Captain Silas Soule offers a shining example of heroism.

EPISODE 32B Anything That Moves (Part 2): The Parallel Stories of Sand Creek and My Lai

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In part B, I hand the microphone to my friend and master podcaster Darryl Cooper (from The Martyrmade Podcast.) Darryl explores the context of the Cold War in order to come to terms with what happened at My Lai, in Vietnam, in 1968. Horror abounds, but if you are looking for heroes in the midst of the horror, you can do a lot worse than hear about the story of Hugh Thompson.

EPISODE 33 On Good and Evil: From My Lai to Sand Creek

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What makes seemingly normal men commit horrific acts against civilians during war? What allows some people to act heroically in the darkest circumstances and what makes others turn into monsters? How does training and leadership play into this? After discussing the stories of Sand Creek and My Lai in Episodes 32A and 32B, in this episode Darryl Cooper (The Martyrmade Podcast) and I sit down with retired Navy Seal, author and podcaster Jocko Willink (The Jocko Podcast) to tackle these questions.

EPISODE 34 The Magliana Gang (Part 1)

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This series is about the rise of a street gang that took over Rome in the 1970s and 1980s. The Magliana gang was not just one of many criminal organizations who operated in Italy.

EPISODE 35 The Magliana Gang (Part 2)

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This series is about the rise of a street gang that took over Rome in the 1970s and 1980s. The Magliana gang was not just one of many criminal organizations who operated in Italy. Among their business partners, they counted Italy’s most important politicians, bankers, secret services, and possibly the Vatican itself. The gang left an indelible mark on Italian history. The story of their rise to power and of the heyday of their rule truly is stranger than fiction. It’s the kind of story that makes you think that the Godfather 3 perhaps was a documentary after all. There are lots of books and documentaries about this story but they are nearly all in Italian, so it looks like I’m your man if you wanna hear this story in English—or whatever approximation of English I speak.