Early Modern

Early Modern

A dichotomy of old and new, the Early Modern era was a fascinating period in history. Feudalism was on the decline, the old and established religious institutions that had once exercised enormous power of populations were now being challenged and European colonists began to settle in the Americas. This time also saw a rebirth of interest in the writings of scholars from antiquity and a new emphasis on the use of observation as the basis of knowledge - the Renaissance. Enjoy our host of documentaries, interviews and podcasts, with leading historians such as Suzannah Lipscomb, ranging from Henry VIII and the scandals of the Tudor Court, to the sailing of the Mayflower in 1620.

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Early Modern
  • Atahualpa: Death of the Last Inca Emperor

    On 26 July 1533, a rope was tightened around the neck of Inca Emperor Atahualpa in the central plaza in Cajamarca in what is now Peru. The general who ordered his execution, Pizarro, is said to have shed a tear as the life drained from the condemned's body. On paper, the man died a Catholic by th...

  • Rebellion in the North

    1 season

    Since the Roman occupation, England has mostly been dominated by a power-base ruling from the South of the country, principally centred on the great City of London. Yet the northern regions of England, remote and culturally disinct from the South, were, for much of recorded history, staunchly ind...

  • Shakespeare

    Emma Smith, Professor of Shakespeare Studies at the University of Oxford and the author of 'This is Shakespeare', tackles the big questions about William Shakespeare.

  • The Uniform of the British Army

    The British Army is one of the world’s most experienced fighting forces. From Blenheim to Waterloo, from Balaclava to the Somme, it has played its part in the history’s most bloody conflicts. But as these troops executed Herculean tasks in the worlds harshest terrains, what were they wearing? How...

  • Margaret Beaufort: Mother of the Tudors

    Nicola Tallis comes on the show to talk about the extraordinary Margaret Beaufort: 'Mother of the Tudors' and the ancestor of all subsequent royals.

  • Ottoman Empire with Kate Fleet

    The region stretching from eastern Europe and sweeping right across into Arabia and the north coast of Africa, was home to one of the most extraordinary empires in history: the Ottoman Empire. Along its routes flowed ideas, goods, disease and death. In existence for 600 years, it also saw the swe...

  • West Africa Before the Europeans

    Toby Green has been fascinated by the history of West Africa for decades after he visited as a student and heard whispers of history that didn’t appear in text books. Years later he wrote ‘Fistful of Shells,’ a survey of West Africa and West-Central Africa before the slave trade, and the effect t...

  • Henry VIII

    In today's episode, Dan is joined by fellow history presenter Suzannah Lipscomb to discuss the history of Henry VIII and the impact he had on Britain over the years.

  • Inside Blenheim Palace

    One of the grandest private houses in the world, the site of Blenheim Palace has been host to the murder of a royal mistress, the downfall of a quarrelling Duchess and the birth of Sir Winston Churchill. Dan Snow takes a tour of one of Britain's most famous attractions.

  • 🎧 Brexit and the Reformation with Professor Diarmaid MacCulloch

    Dan talks to one of the foremost experts on the Reformation and discusses whether Iain Duncan Smith was right to draw parallels between Brexit and the 16th century split with Rome. Producer: Peter Curry

  • 🎧 God's Traitors: Terror and Faith in Elizabethan England with Jessie Childs

    Jessie Childs is an award-winning author and historian. In this fascinating interview, she explores the Catholic predicament in Elizabethan England - an age in which their faith was criminalised, and almost two hundred Catholics were executed. In exposing the tensions masked by the cult of Gloria...

  • 🎧 British Ship Building

    In this episode, Dan chats to British naval historian and maritime artist, Richard Endsor, about seventeenth century ship building. It was the developments of this period that would enable Britain to extend it's maritime reach across the oceans, eventually encompassing territory on every continent.

  • 🎧 Castillo de San Marcos

    Allen Arnold is an Interpretive Ranger for the National Park Service. The Castillo de San Marcos is the oldest masonry fort in the continental United States. Located on the western shore of Matanzas Bay in the city of St. Augustine, Florida, the fort was designed by the Spanish engineer Ignacio D...

  • 🎧 Charles I Reconsidered with Leanda de Lisle

    Dan Snow meets Leanda de Lisle, whose new biography of Charles I attempts to re-evaluate the reign of Charles I.

  • 🎧 Charles II's Great Escape

    Charles Spencer @cspencer1508, 9th Earl Spencer, is a British nobleman, peer, historian, journalist, and broadcaster. His new book is entitled To Catch A King: Charles II's Great Escape.

  • 🎧 Coronavirus is NOT the Plague

    It came from Asia via the Middle East and Italy. But, says 17th Century historian, Rebecca Rideal, the parallels with the Black Death, The Plague, are not helpful. It was great to catch up with Rebecca again on the podcast. She tells me what effect plague had on British people and society when it...

  • 🎧 Death by Shakespeare

    Poison, swordplay and bloodshed. Shakespeare’s characters met their ends in a plethora of gruesome ways. But how realistic were they? And did they even shock audiences who lived in a time of plague, pestilence and public executions, a time when seeing a dead or dying body on the way home from the...

  • 🎧 Islam and the Tudors with Jerry Brotton

    Jerry Brotton is Senior Lecturer in Renaissance Studies at Queen Mary, University of London and director of the college's MA in Renaissance Studies. This Orient Isle: Elizabethan England and the Islamic World is out now.

  • 🎧 Jessie Childs on The Tudors

    Jessie Childs is an award-winning author and historian. Her books are 'Henry VIII's Last Victim' and 'God's Traitors'.

  • 🎧 Elizabeth I and Europe with Estelle Paranque

    Estelle Paranque launches into a passioned explanation of Elizabeth I and how she masterfully handled the European powers of her day. She talks about French attempts to win her hand, her defence of the Huguenots, and handling the problem of the Spanish. Producer: Peter Curry

  • 🎧 Elizabeth I with Helen Castor

    Dan talks to Helen Castor about her book on Elizabeth I and the way she governed.

  • 🎧 Emigrants: Why the English Sailed to the New World

    James Evans @jamesevansuk is a historian and television producer and Emigrants is his second book. He has worked since producing historical documentaries for Niall Ferguson, David Starkey and Michael Wood, as well as helping to write some of the accompanying books. He wrote an acclaimed account o...

  • 🎧 Knebworth House with Henry Lytton-Cobbold

    Dan talks to Henry Lytton-Cobbold about his family, Knebworth House, and its connection with rock and roll.

  • 🎧 Leonardo Da Vinci and the Leicester Codex with Martin Kemp

    Martin Kemp, an emeritus professor at the University of Oxford, is one of the foremost experts on Leonardo Da Vinci. He has recently worked on a translation and collation of the Codex Leicester and he talks Dan through Leonardo's most interesting and prescient ideas. Producer: Peter Curry