I hear with my little ear: Podcasts 1-8 April 2023

Emperors of Rome. Interlude – The Singing Colossus of Memnon. Just a little short 10 minute podcast this time about Hadrian’s visit to the Singing Colossum of Memnon, near Luxor in Egypt. Actually, there were two statues there, standing guard over Amenhotep’s memorial temple. The biggest one had a crack in it, probably caused by an earthquake, and it made a noise in the middle of the night or as the sun rose, which was said to be the statue ‘singing’. Memnon was a hero during the Trojan War, which is probably why Hadrian wanted to see it. As was custom of the day, he left his signature and Julia Balbilla, a Roman noble woman and poet who was travelling with Hadrian as part of the court, wrote a . Whilst in Thebes, touring Egypt as part of the imperial court of Hadrian, wrote three epigrams which were inscribed on the leg of one of the statues. Episode LVII – Little Soul, Little Wanderer, Little Charmer It’s probably good advice not to end up a Grumpy Old Man, because that’s how you will be remembered. Hadrian was suffering from degenerative heart disease, and took a long time to die, just as was foretold in a curse uttered against him by an erstwhile successor whom he later put to death that he would “long for death but be unable to die”. He was a testy old bugger in the last few years. He chose his former brother-in-law and his son as possible successors, then executed them; then he chose a young, sickly man who also predeceased him, and then finally chose the future Emperor Antoninus Pius, along with Lucius Ceionius Commodus (not the later Emperor Commodus- he’s a way off yet) and Marcus Annius Verus as a three-way bet. Episode LVIII – Tacitus looks at one of the most important historians of the Julio-Claudian and Flavian dynasties. We don’t know much about Tacitus himself e.g. when he was born, when he died, even his real name. The little that we do know about him came from his biography of his father-in-law Agricola, which probably only came down to us because of the connection with Britain. Tacitus himself was a consul and a senator. He wrote 5 works covering 14CE and 96CE but the most famous ones were his Histories and Annals, which drew on Senate records and oral testimonies, even though we’re missing about half of them. He was dramatic, engaging and a bit sententious. He was on the side of the Senate, and the emperors who respected the Senate.

You’re Dead To Me (BBC) The Colombian Exchange is a modern day term (invented in the 1970s) to describe the interchange of animals, food, plants, people and culture between the New World and Europe. Featuring Dr Caroline Dodds Pennock, author of On Savage Shores: How Indigenous Americans Discovered Europe and comedian Desiree Burch. In relation to animals, the Spanish introduced cattle, sheep, goats and pigs (i.e. big domestic animals) and nearly wiped out llamas. Flowing back to Europe were birds in particular and cochineal from insects (which was used for the colour red). The plants mainly went from South America to Europe, including Brazil wood and rubber tobacco (the act of smoking was described as ‘drinking smoke’), tomatoes, beans, squash, potatoes, pineapple. Instead the Europeans gave them cauliflower, wheat, rice, olives. There was an interchange of diplomats e.g. In 1544 Mayan lords visited Phillip II, bringing gifts of chocolate and feathers and taking back crosses and religious items (they wuz robbed). Pennock reminds us, too, that tens of thousands of South Americans ended up in Europe as slaves and servants.

Take Me To Your Leader (ABC) Rishi Sunak It didn’t surprise me at all that Liz Truss defeated Rishi Sunak in the first ballot after Boris Johnson. I always expected that Tory voters would prefer a woman over a man of colour when push came to shove, but that ended up being a disaster. The prominence of women and people of colour in the Conservative party never ceases to amaze me, particularly considering the dearth of both in the Labour Party, but this is the result of David Cameron’s concerted efforts to increase the representation of both. He is described as ‘Asian’ in the United Kingdom, which has a different meaning than in Australia, but both his parents actually came from Africa. He had an elite education, and his wife is very, very rich. As one of the commentators pointed out, in Britain it is now not a matter of race, but of class. He promised to calm things down, which he has, but he is quite hard-line (e.g. over Brexit) without engaging in culture wars. However, neither Johnson or Truss have gone away, so perhaps this still has some way to run. The guests were Baroness Kishwer Falkner of Margravine, British politician and member of House of Lords; Sir Craig Oliver, former British news editor and former Director of Politics and Communications for British prime minister David Cameron and George Brandis, former High Commissioner to the UK and former Australian Attorney General.

The Latin American History Podcast The Conquest of Peru Part 5 The Spanish sent their first envoy to Atahualpa, who kept him waiting. Both sides thought that they had each other’s measure, and so the vastly-outnumbered Spanish agreed to meet with Atahualpa in Cajamarca, a large square surrounded by mountains. After Pizarro read the Requerimiento, a legal document (“requirement”) drawn up in 1513, to be read before initiation of the conquest of Amerindians offering them Christianity, Atahualpa asked to see the Bible that was being brandished around. Not having ever seen a book before (let alone a Bible), he dropped it on the ground and Pizarro ordered his hidden army to attack. Six thousand Inca were killed, with no reported Spaniard deaths, and Atalhualpa was captured, thus replicating Cortez’ ‘success’ with Montezuma.

A History of the Inca I saved this to my podcast feed ages ago and haven’t really listened to it. I was excited when I found it, because it has episodes in English and in Spanish. The English version was done first, and then the presenter Nick Machinski decided to translate them into Spanish, read very clearly by Alicia Yantas. I’m about Intermediate B1 in Spanish, and I was able to understand her quite easily. Episode 1 is just a five-minute introduction, then Episodio 2 Bienvenidos a los Andes in Spanish (or Episode 2 Welcome to the Andes in English) talks about the terrain and the climate, especially the influence of El Nino and La Nina, and the development of ayllus as a way of spreading the risk of drought or flood amongst loosely linked communes. Actually I saw an ayllu (below) when I was in the Atacama desert, and I didn’t realize what it was.

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