November 30, 2012

Exciting music news for TPHOOW!

I hope you've all had a chance to download the two latest episodes, and that you've also enjoyed my little roundup of the Ancient Egyptians. We blazed through almost four thousand years of history in six episodes, and as much as I love my Nile friends, it's time for another exciting chapter in our podcast! For those who finished episode 14 this isn't a surprise, but the show will now be looking at those people who are really the most responsible for the roots of Western Civilization. No, it's not the Greeks, I'm talking about the Hebrew people! Israelites! Those of the Jewish faith! Although when our story begins, (hopefully late next week/early the following week) we won't be talking about Israel, or Canaan, or even the Levant but we'll actually be returning to Sumer! Whoa, you might be saying, what do the Sumerians have to do with the origins of Judaism? Well you'll just have to wait and find out! Also, the new picture up top is of Masada, the fortress of the Zealots, who took their own lives rather than submit to the Romans.

In the meantime I have exciting news for the upcoming episodes! In my search to bring you period authentic music for the episodes, (though not so much for the Egypt ones...shush I like Hollywood style Egypt themes!), I struggled with what to do for our journey with the Hebrews. When you think of Jewish music...what comes to your mind? Because I'll be honest - I think clarinets, violins, accordions, klezmer style, you know, music that makes you want to get up and dance! But this style dates back to Eastern Europe around the 1800's...and I'm looking for something a little more like 1800's BC.

Enter the esteemed, Michael Levy.

I admire people like Mr. Levy because history is much more than just the written and spoken word. It's about all of humanity's accomplishments like cooking, technology, and in this case, music. Mr. Levy is keeping history alive as a master of the lyre, one of the oldest stringed instruments. He doesn't play just any kind of music, he has reconstructed the sounds of the ancients: Mesopotamians, Egyptians, Greeks, Romans, and most important for us, Hebrews. His work has been featured on BBC Radio 4, for the BBC documentary The Dark Ages: An Age of Light, on German Radio WDR3, and now on The Podcast History of Our World - a tremendous honor. The music of the Ancient Israelites will come to us through his lyre and each episode will feel as if you've hopped in a time machine. I'm really excited to feature Mr. Levy's work on the show and hope you will enjoy it! In the meantime please check out his albums! I've selected three for you to look over, but each episode will highlight a specific song from his Ancient Israel series. I'll provide links and information on where to purchase the song or album then.

Mr. Levy's website:

These albums are but a few of the many available for sale! If you like it please be sure to give him some stars or a review on iTunes! Do it for the history!

Purchase King David's Lyre from iTunes!
Purchase King David's Lyre from Amazon!
Purchase King David's Lyre from Bandcamp!
Purchase King David's Lyre from CDBaby!

Purchase Ancient Vibrations from iTunes!
Purchase Ancient Vibrations from Amazon!
Purchase Ancient Vibrations from Bandcamp!
Purchase Ancient Vibrations from CDBaby!

Purchase Ode to Ancient Rome from iTunes!
Purchase Ode to Ancient Rome from Amazon!
Purchase Ode to Ancient Rome from Bandcamp!
Purchase Ode to Ancient Rome from CDBaby!

November 27, 2012

14 - The New Kingdom Part 2: This means war

"The Great King, the king of Egypt, son of Re, Ramses beloved of Amen, speaks thus. Speak thus to the queen of the land of Hatti, the great Queen Puduhepa: Behold, I, your brother, am well. My houses, my sons, my armies, my horses, my chariots and everything in my lands, are very well. May you, my sister, be well! May your houses, your sons, your armies, your horses, your chariots, your nobles, and everything in your land be very well! 
Speak thus to my sister: The great King, the king of the land of Hatti, has written to me thus: Let the people come and pour sweet-smelling oil on my daughter's head and let her be taken to the house of the Great King, the king of Egypt, my brother. Behold! My brother has written thus to me. This decision my brother has made known to me is wonderful. The Sun God has approved of him. The Weather God has approved of him. And the gods of Egypt and the gods of Hatti have approved of him for making this excellent decision to unite two great lands forever..."
- From a letter to Queen Puduhepa of the Hittites from Ramesses II of Egypt

source: The Simpsons
I imagine this how Ramesses II used to behave as a child
The New Kingdom wraps up with this episode! This is one for all you military buffs out there, as we take a detailed look into history's oldest recorded battle, the Battle of Kadesh. Get out your armchairs, generals, and prepare for war

Music Credits
Experimental Sample - Middle East


13 - The New Kingdom Part I: Prophets and Pharaohs

"I have started an undertaking, and for this reason I write to my brother (Akhenaten). My brother should send me much gold, that I need for my work. But the gold that my brother sends me, do not leave it to some official. Let the eyes of my brother inspect it, and let my brother seal it and send it! Because as far as the previous gold is concerned, which my brother did not inspect personally, but which was sealed and sent by an official of my brother, of the 40 mines which I put in the furnace, there was barely anything of value left."
- Letter from King Burnaburiash of Babylon to Akhenaten 

source: SNL
King Tut was a wild and crazy guy HOW COULD I NOT INCLUDE THIS PICTURE

The New Kingdom! The newest of kingdoms! It doesn't get any newer than this!
Episode 13 is the first part of our look into this busy time in Egyptian history. If you want a detail dense episode, here you go!

MP3 Direct Link

Music Credits
John Gilliat - Sands of Egypt
Almanac Newsreels

The god Amun
Amenhotep I
Amenhotep I: Sarcophagus and Mummy
Relief of Thutmose I
Map of the Egyptian Empire
Family tree of the Thutmosids (yes it's a word!).
Temple of Hatshepsut
Hatshepsut 1
Hatshepsut 2
Thutmose III and Hatshepsut (note how he's on the left, FOLLOWING her)
Hatshepsut as a sphinx...look at her adorable ears!! Awwww
Hatshepsut's image has been chiseled out...
The head of Thutmose III
Thutmose III at Luxor Museum
Map of the nearby empires. Note the contested are of the Mitanni and Egyptians
Fanciful painting of Thutmose III in chariot
Nice aerial view of Megiddo

You're now going to look at the depictions of Akhenaten and wonder...whoa...why does he look like that? Many have wondered the same thing, and naturally they assume he was an alien emissary from Aten, who is really a space god or something. Or he had some horrible malformed disease.

The truth is that he is shown combining masculine and feminine features as a way to tell Egypt, I am father and mother. The creator is not of one gender but encompasses both. It's not unheard of, just look up Hapi for a reference.
He also has one of the coolest faces in history.

Akhenaten 1
Akhenaten 2
Akhenaten 3
Akhenaten 4
Worshiping the Aten
Akhenaten and the Aten
King Tutankhamun's Mask
Tut's Mummy
Tut and his wife, Anhkesenamun...just gorgeous

November 18, 2012

Computers can do that?

Guys...did you know that there are OTHER history podcasts out there? I know, I know, you're probably muttering to yourself, " that's impossible, yours is the only podcast I deign fit to listen to Rob!"

I understand and commend you for your loyalty. When the podcastocalypse happens that fidelity shall not be ignored - but it's true that there are many shows out there, whose hosts cover many different topics and do a really good job at it! Sure you could hunt them down individually on itunes and stuff...OR, if you have facebook you could subscribe to this feed:

If the show has a facebook page, then this feed keeps track of all the updates in a handy dandy concise format. Perfect for being the first to know when something new is happening for your favorite podcasts. Really useful stuff. Check it out!

*** ALSO ***

There's also a history podcasters group on facebook here

It's where the podcasters and the podcastee's (just roll with it) can talk about history, and events, and other neat stuff. It looks like its a pretty healthy community too. Cool cool cool!

November 15, 2012

12 - The Hyksos OR The REAL Egyptian Aliens

The messenger then told him: "It is King Apepi, life, prosperity and health to him, who has sent me to you in order to say, 'Let there be a withdrawal from the canal of hippopotamuses which lies at the east of the City, because they don't let sleep come to me either in the daytime or at night, for the noise of them is in his citizen' ears."
Then the Prince of the Southern City became stupified for so long a while that he became unable to render a reply to the messenger of King Apepi, life prosperity and health to him.
-The Quarrel of Apepi and Seqenenre
The fearsome Hyksos god...even the children have pointy sticks!

It's really frustrating when you've been taught one set of facts and then the experts come out and say no, no THESE are the new facts! I don't have time to have my engrained belief system challenged! I'm a busy guy with an EXTREMELY busy schedule! I'm talking about the Hyksos of course, and we'll talk about that a bit in this episode.

Also a tremendous THANK YOU to those who have so generously donated moneys to the show. My new car thanks you. Just kidding! I can now afford to keep putting out weekly episodes without breaking my upload limit. But I'll let everyone in on my new goal...
See, finding royalty free music for the show is tough, because I'm sort of limited to the free stuff. Which has been great so far! I mean, I think it's great at least. But it's a lot of work finding era specific music. But here's where my new idea comes in. is, like, the most amazing music site on the internet and the best part is they are not evil! What do I mean by that? Welp, say I purchase a lifetime membership to their website, I think it's about 250. What that means is that I have access to all their music, forever, for the podcast. As much as I want. And they've got a LOT of world music, especially stuff that I'm looking into for the short term. I'm not about to start launching a fundraiser just to meet this goal but I am looking into ways to pay for it.

I don't know, what do you think of the idea? Does everyone like the music being played each episode? Drop me a line!

MP3 Direct Link

Music Credits
Gerald Jay - Egyptian Shaman

Hyksos Map 1
Hyksos Map 2
Hyksos Map 3
Papyrus painting of Egyptian chariot archer (Note: Not in use yet!)
Egyptian chariot
Mummy of Seqenenre Taa the Brave **WARNING** It's pretty gruesome! Don't blame me if you don't like it...
Sarcophagus of Kamose. Ooo spooky!
Kamose Stela
Statue head of Ahmose

November 14, 2012

Mankind: The Story of All of Us

early man ventures out for some D.I.Y sushi (source: History Channel)

Yesterday the History Channel aired the first two episodes of their six part, twelve hour long series called, Mankind: The Story of All of Us. The goal of the show is to weave a history yarn, bridging the time between the creation of the universe, humanity's evolution and development, and finally end in modern times after the foundation of America. Along the way the viewer will be treated to historically accurate scenes of ancient men and women working, fighting, and eking out an existence, while celebrated historians like Dr. Oz and Brian Williams add their wisdom. I'm kidding about them being historians. For those who don't know, Dr. Oz is a celebrity surgeon/medical good guy and Brian Williams is the newsanchor for NBC - one of the last few honest newsmen.

Look, truthfully I'm a big history dork who loves stuff like this. I love good CG battles and Egyptian chariots and Spartan warriors and all that stuff. I love video clips of world sites and I love it when history shows depict Greek temples fully painted - which they most certainly were. I love the big emotional swell of music and narration that makes you feel so damn proud to be a human being! YEAH. But, the show is not without criticism. And no it's not because they're essentially doing The Cable TV History of Our World...lousy, idea stealing, well funded....

For starters the idea of condensing at least 10,000 years of human achievement into twelve hours is a bit extreme. To put things in perspective, I've recorded about five and a half hours and I've only reached the end of the Middle Kingdom. Mike Duncan's venerable The History of Rome podcast took about 75 hours to cover about 1000 years of JUST Roman history. So how can the History Channel manage to accurately tell our shared history in such a short amount of time? Why not do seasons of the show? Like Season 1 is Prehistory to the end of Antiquity, Season 2 is Rome and China to the Dark Ages and so on. It's not like they don't have the money or the viewers. By doing it this way, they could effectively weave a story by including more of the famous characters through history and really bring out the interesting details. Instead they present a whirlwind tour that moves too fast to actually learn anything of any substance. I'm a big fan of the expression "whatever gets people interested in history" , and this show has the potential to do that, but right now it's still really fluffy history...and it doesn't help that The History Channel has lost much of its educational credibility over the last couple of years by promoting shows like Ancient Aliens (which is silly but I love it) and Pawn Stars (which I totally love). These shows are pure entertainment and any learning that occurs is a side effect.

Also as a purely cosmetic criticism, I hated that the Neolithic actors were essentially beautiful people with sparkling perfect white teeth, smeared with strategically placed mud to make them look dirty. Is it too much to hire some average looking actors? I've never heard of the "farming mother" theory before but I can tell you  this: she most certainly did not look like that. Just a little annoying detail.

Mankind is definitely worth watching - I know I'll be. But keep in your head that it should be treated as an amuse-bouche for our history feast. Light and tasty, it's not meant to fill you up, but rather to interest you in staying for the main course: Filet du Podcast History.

Also if anybody works for the History Channel and is reading this you should totally hire me and I'll never criticize you again. Ok thanks.

November 6, 2012

11 - The Middle Kingdom OR Ken "Sekhmet" Burns presents the Egyptian Civil War

"O my son, Sesostris, may your legs walk; you are my own heart, and my eyes watch you. You were born in an hour of happiness in the presence of the sun-folk, and they give you praise...The kingship came into being in my presence, and there are none who could achieve my deeds of valor.
-The teachings of Amenemhat
source: Anakaris of Darkstalkers
I have to say, pharaohs would be much cooler if they were 8 foot tall mummy gods.
By the name of Remi the Weeper, whose fishy tears fertilize the land, it's time for another episode! We'll be taking a look at a rough time in Egyptian history, which segues into an even rougher time! Rough stuff.

Also after I was done making the episode I realized that the Egyptian word nomes, which are the provinces of Egypt, is pronounced exactly like gnomes. Haha..ha...bear with me I've got a cold right now and I'm on a lot of medicine. Wheeeeee.

New Header Pic:
Temples at Abu Simbel

MP3 Direct Link

Music Credits
Celestial Aeon Project - Desert Village

The different nomes of Ancient Egypt (note that some cities are missing and that Alexandria and Cairo, which are presented here, don't exist yet)
Pepi II as a little baby boy king
Mentuhotep II Relief
Mentuhotep II statue
Three statues of Senusret III...notice how gaunt and serious he looks...also notice his big ears. Subtle hint that he hears ALL as king.

November 2, 2012

Updates! (11/4/2012)

Back online! Oh internet, oh cooling glow emanating from my monitor, I've missed you so. Perhaps Thoth, looking favorably at our quest for knowledge, granted us this reprieve?

Nah, it was the linemen working overtime. Thanks guys!

Well everyone we're coming up on day 5 of no power after Hurricane Sandy battered the northeast US. I'm thankful that the storm left without causing too much damage to my area, and my thoughts go out to those who lost so much. Right now I'm at the mercy of the work crews who have been tirelessly putting up lines and cutting down trees. So the bad news is that I'm not sure when a new episode will be posted.
The GOOD news is that all this downtime has given me no excuse to research and write the scripts for episodes 11 and 12. So whenever I'm finally patched back into the matrix you can be sure that there'll be a double dose of Egyptian goodness. Hang tight podcastorians! Keep those affected by Sandy in your thoughts!