An audio journey through the 5000 year history of one of the world's oldest continuous civilizations.


  • #200 - Special: Di Er Bai Ji!

    #200 - Special: Di Er Bai Ji!

    20/09/2020 Duração: 01h14min

    It's our 200th(ish) episode!And so we take to the listeners to answer some of their burning questions about... Daoist gods... Islam in China... The Mandate of Heaven... sacrifices! ... the political expedience of murdering Mongol ambassadors... The Duke ... the names of emperors... technology transfers ... Korean empresses... and more!  See for privacy and opt-out information.

  • #199 - Yuan 15: On the Waterfront

    #199 - Yuan 15: On the Waterfront

    30/08/2020 Duração: 52min

    You don't understand! Chen Youliang coulda had class! He coulda been a contender! He coulda been somebody... instead of a bum, which is what he is after the fiasco on the waters of Lake Poyang. Let's face it.Time Period Covered:1360-1363 CEMajor Historical Figures:State of Ming:Zhu YuanzhangCommander Hua Yun [d. 1360]Han Lin'er, "Emperor of Song"General Kang MaocaiGeneral Xu DaGeneral Hu Dahai [d. 1361]General Shao Rong [d. 1361]State of Han:Emperor Chen Youliang [r. 1360-1363]General Chen YurenXu Shouhui, "Emperor" of Tianwan [d. 1360]State of Wu:Zhang ShichengYuan Dynasty:Emperor Toghon TemurPrince Chaghan Temur [d. 1361]Köke Temur (Wang Baobao)  See for privacy and opt-out information.

  • #198 - Mongol 15.1: The Toluid Revolution

    #198 - Mongol 15.1: The Toluid Revolution

    12/08/2020 Duração: 29min

    When Ögedei dies in late 1241, the empire must choose a successor before it can move forward. In spite of the late Khan determining in advance that it should be his grandson, his empress has other ideas - namely, installing her own irascible son, Güyük, instead. This raises more than a few eyebrows, especially from the Lord of the Golden Horde (and Güyük's personal nemesis) Batu Khan. He'll spend then next 5 years doing absolutely everything in his power to prevent Güyüks' enthronement. And so, when Güyük is finally installed... is it any surprise that he'll seek to get even on his hated cousin? Their looking showdown on the fields of Dzungaria will set the stage for a truly unpredictable series of events, that will leave the Mongol Empire altered forever...(NOTE: This is Part 1 of a Bonus Episode! Get the rest, and all other bonus content by subscribing via Period Covered:1242-1254 CEMajor Historical Figures:Mongol Empire:Temuge Otchigin, Genghis Khan's youngest brother, Pri

  • #197 - Yuan 14: Battle Royale

    #197 - Yuan 14: Battle Royale

    29/07/2020 Duração: 33min

    As Guard-Captain of the Red Turbans, Zhu Yuanzhang sets his sights on the jewel of the southlands: Nanjing. Once that's in his grasp, he'll truly join the ranks of the top-tier warlords of the era... but when you've elbowed you way up to the head table, don't be surprised if those you bump up against take exception to you shoving them aside...Time Period Covered:1355-1360 CEMajor Historical Figures:Yuan Dynasty:Emperor Toghon Temur (Huizong/Shundi) [r. 1333-1368, 1368-1370]General Shimo Yisun [d. 1360]Red Turban:Emperor of Song, Han Lin'er, the Little Lord of Light [r. 1351-1367]Guo Zixing [d. 1355]Ming:Guard-Captain Zhu Yuanzhang, "Outstanding Hero" [1328-1398]General Xu Da [1332-1385]General Chang YüchenGeneral Hu Dahai [d. 1362]Minister Song Lian [1310-1381]Han:King Chen Youliang [1320-1363]Wu:Zhang Shicheng, the "Heaven Blessed" King, Salt-Smuggler Extraordinaire [1321-1367]  See for privacy and opt-out information.

  • #196 - Special: ReConsidering China with Xander Snyder  Eric Fogg

    #196 - Special: ReConsidering China with Xander Snyder & Eric Fogg

    20/07/2020 Duração: 01h08min

    My long-lost conversation with the hosts of the excellent ReConsider Podcast, Xander and Eric... now *finally* delivered to you!  See for privacy and opt-out information.

  • #195 - Yuan 13: The Lords of Light

    #195 - Yuan 13: The Lords of Light

    11/07/2020 Duração: 34min

    As the cataclysmic decade of the 1340s rolls in to the 1350s a planned rerouting of the Yellow River will trigger a massive uprising by what the Yuan authorities call the Red Turban Rebels. But who are they really? What do they believe? Why are they fighting? And how do they tie in with the eventual overthrow of the Mongols from their hegemony over China?Major Historical Figures:Maitreya Buddha, Successor to Gautama Buddha [???]Mani the Last, Prophet of Manichaeism [ca. 216-277 CE]Red Turbans:Peng Yingyu, Buddhist Monk, "Father" of the Red Turbans [d. ca. 1348-1358]Northern:Han Shantong, Lord of Light [d. 1351]Han Lin'er, the Young Lord of Light [1340-1367]General Liu Futong (AKA "Liu Fangshi") [1321-1363]Guo Zixing, Leader of Red Turban Army, Lord of Haozhou [d. 1355]Zhu Yuanzhang, Buddhist mendicant monk, Guard Commander of the Red Turbans [1328-1398]Southern:Xu Shouhui, cloth-merchant, Emperor of Tianwan Kingdom, Maitreya Incarnate [1320-1360]Qing Dynasty:Huang Yupian, Qing Dynasty Magistrate and White Lot

  • #194 - Intelligent Speech: Hidden Narratives from the Middle Kingdom

    #194 - Intelligent Speech: Hidden Narratives from the Middle Kingdom

    01/07/2020 Duração: 35min

    My presentation to the 2020 Intelligent Speech Convention, on Women, Minorities, and reading between the bamboo scrolls of history to find the hidden stories. Also with a Q&A session after.  See for privacy and opt-out information.

  • #193 - Yuan 12:Blue Sky, Red Turban, White Lotus, Black Death

    #193 - Yuan 12:Blue Sky, Red Turban, White Lotus, Black Death

    15/06/2020 Duração: 40min

    As Toghon Temur - the eleventh and final Great Khan of the Yuan, takes the throne - the dam holding back the near century of bad decisions back begins to buckle. Things are not helps by a dramatic climate shift, or the outbreak of one of the worst pandemics in human history, either... can we really blame the apocalyptic cults that spring up for thinking it's the end of the world?Time Period Covered:1333~1344 CEMajor Historical Figures:Toghon Temur Khaghan [r. 1333-1368, 1370]Grand Chancellor Bayan Ba'atur of the Merkid [1280-1340]Zhu Yuanzhang [1328-1398]  See for privacy and opt-out information.

  • Rebroadcast: 6/4 - UK Cable on the Tiananmen Square Massacre

    Rebroadcast: 6/4 - UK Cable on the Tiananmen Square Massacre

    04/06/2020 Duração: 11min

    31 years later,To forget is to risk it all happening anew...  See for privacy and opt-out information.

  • #192 - Mongol 14.1: There  Back Again

    #192 - Mongol 14.1: There & Back Again

    20/05/2020 Duração: 42min

    In the aftermath of the Golden Horde's devastating strike into Eastern Europe, Christendom reels. As apocalyptic as the assaults were, the great enemy's sudden and inexplicable evaporation offers no comfort, and only more questions.In order to get some answers, the Holy See will dispatch an unlikely candidate to make his way across the whole of Eurasia in an attempt to first find, and then meet with, the King of the Tartars - whoever, and wherever he may be...Time Period Covered:1245-1247 CEMajor Historical Figures:European Christendom:Pope Innocent IV [r. 1243-1254]Friar Giovanni da Pian del Carpine (John of Plano Carpini) [ca. 1185-1252]Friar Benedict of Poland [ca. 1200-ca. 1280]Friar Stephen of BohemiaKonrad I, High Duke of Krakow [ca. 1187-1247]Prince Daniel Romanovich of Galacia [1201-1264]Grand Prince Vasilko (Basil) Romanovich of Kiev [1203-1269]Grand Prince Yaroslav II Vsevolodovich of Vladimir [1191-1246]Mongol Empire:Guyük Khaghan [r. 1246-1248]Toregene Khatun [r. 1241-1246]Batu Khan of the Golden

  • #191 - Special: Superpower Interrupted, an Interview with Author Michael Schuman

    #191 - Special: "Superpower Interrupted," an Interview with Author Michael Schuman

    11/05/2020 Duração: 50min

    My interview with Beijing-based author and journalist Michael Schuman about China's history, present, future, and food... and of course about his upcoming book, "Superpower Interrupted: The Chinese History of the World," available on June 9th, 2020.Find Michael on Twitter under the handle @michaelschuman  See for privacy and opt-out information.

  • #190 - Yuan 11: The War of the Two Capitals

    #190 - Yuan 11: The War of the Two Capitals

    26/04/2020 Duração: 40min

    We start today in the aftermath of the murder of the 9th Great Mongol Khan and the 5th Emperor of Yuan. We end a decade later, at the beginning of the 15th Great Khan and 11th Yuan Emperor... coincidentally (or not) the last of both. The treachery, assassinations, wars, and power-plays that get us from that start to that end will threaten to split the very soul of the empire in two. Also, there's a lot of Temürs along the way... like, a *lot,* a lot!Time Period Covered:1323-1333 CEMajor Events:* Coup at Nanpo [Sept. 4, 1323] - Outcome: assassination of Shidebala Khaghan, accession of Yesün Temür Khaghan* War of the Two Capitals [Aug. 1328-Nov. 14, 1328 (sporadic resistance thru 1332)] - Outcome: Khaishan Restorationist victory/ Shangdu Loyalist defeat, overthrow of Aragibagh & enthronement of Jayaatu Khaghan* Incident at Ongghochatu [Aug. 26-30, 1329] - Outcome: assassination of Khoshila, restoration of Togh Temur Khaghan to the throneRelevant Historical Figures:Great Yuan:Shidebala (Gegeen Khaghan/Yuan Y

  • #189 - Yuan 10: The Third Rail

    #189 - Yuan 10: The Third Rail

    08/04/2020 Duração: 46min

    Temur Khan's death without an heir sparks a power vacuum within the Yuan court - two brothers will come to power together, but only one will be able to sit the throne at a time, who will succeed? Meanwhile, as money issues continue to plague the empire, the Mongol nobility get more and more fed-up with the Yuan Borjigins' continual shift toward Chinese-style reforms.Time Period Covered:1307-1323 CEMajor Historical Figures:Khaishan (Külüg Khaghan/Emperor Wuzong) [r. 1307-1311]Ayurbarwada (Buyantu Khaghan/Emperor Renzong) [r. 1311-1320]Shidebala (Gegeen Khaghan/Emperor Yingzong) [r.1320-1323]Grand Empress Dowager Targi [d. 1322]Empress Bulukhan [d. 1307]Khosila, Prince of ZhouPrince Ananda [d. 1307]Grand Councilor of the Right, Harghasun [d. 1307]Grand Councilor of the Right, Temüder [d. 1322]Grand Councilor of the Left/Right, Baiju [d.1323】  See for privacy and opt-out information.

  • #188 - Mongol 13: O Lord, Why Are Thy Judgements So Deep?

    #188 - Mongol 13: O Lord, Why Are Thy Judgements So Deep?

    23/03/2020 Duração: 01h13min

    King Bela IV of Hungary has a bit of a barbarian problem. You see, he let in some Cumans, but now some different barbarians are demanding that he give them back. So Bela does the sensible thing: he kills the Mongol emissaries. Batu Khan and General Subotai are less than pleased...Time Period Covered:c. 1239-1242 CEMajor Historical Figures:Mongol Empire:Batu Khan [c. 1205-1255]General Subotai Ba'atur ("the Valiant") [c. 1175-1248]General Khadan [d. 125?]General Shiban [d. 1266]Kingdom of Greater Hungary:King Bela III [r. 1172-1196]King Andrew II [r. 1205-1235]King Bela IV [r. 1235-1265]Duke Coloman of Slavonia [d. 1241]Archbishop Ugolin of Kaolocsa [d. 1241]Duke Palatine of Hungary [d. 1241]Bishop Benedict of Oradea [d. 1241]Templar Master Rembald de Voczon [d. 1241]Archdeacon Thomas of Spalato [1200-1268]Master Roger of Torre Maggiore, Archdeacon of Varad [1205-1266]Cuman Tribes:Chieftain Khotan [d. 1140]Austria:Duke Frederick of Austria "the Quarrelsome" [d. 1245]Holy Roman Empire:Emperor Frederick II [r. 12

  • #187 - Yuan 9: Blessed Iron Khan

    #187 - Yuan 9: Blessed Iron Khan

    08/03/2020 Duração: 30min

    Olziyet Temur - the Blessed Iron Khan - takes the throne as the Yuan Dynasty's second emperor, Changzong "The Preserver." He has taken it upon himself to uphold and protect his grandfather Khubilai's glorious legacy... but granddad sure left a bit of a mess for him to try to clear up.Time Period Covered:1294-1307 CEMajor Historical Figures:Olziyet Temur Khan (Emperor Changzong of Yuan) [r. 1294-1307 CE]Empress BulukhanCrown Prince Deshou [d. 1306]Empress-Dowager KököchinGammala, Prince of JinÖljei, Grand Councilor of the Right [d. 1303]Sayyid Boyan al-Dīn, Finance MinisterKhaidu Khan of House Ögedei [d. 1301]Du'a Khan of House Chagatai Öljeitu, Ilkhan of House HülegüGeneral Bayan of the Barin, "Hundred Eyes"  See for privacy and opt-out information.

  • #186 - Yuan 8: Khan With the Wind

    #186 - Yuan 8: Khan With the Wind

    20/02/2020 Duração: 36min

    Khubilai is ancient, pained, and sick... but he still has more Mongol justice to mete out before he joins the Eternal Sky. Still, some campaigns will go better than others.Period Covered:ca. 1287-1294 CEMajor Historical Figures:Yuan Dynasty:Khubilai (Emperor Shizu) [r. 1260-1294]Crown Prince Olziit Temur (Emperor Chengzong) [r. 1294-1307]Prince Esen TemurPrince Temur BukhaGeneral ShibiGeneral Gao XingAdmiral Yike MusiAmbassador Meng QiPhagspa Lama, Imperial Preceptor of Tibet [1235-1280]Imperial Preceptor DharmapalarasitaKingdom of Pagan (Burma):King Narathihapate [r. 1256-1287]Kingdom of Singhasari (Java):King Kertanagara [d. 1292]Prince Raden Vijaya [r. 1293-1309]Duke Jayakatwang of Kediri [d. 1293]Mongol Khanates:Du'a Khan of the ChagatidsKhaidu Khan of the Ögedeids [d. 1301]Prince Nayan [d. 1287]  See for privacy and opt-out information.

  • #185 - Special: De Materia Medica

    #185 - Special: De Materia Medica

    14/02/2020 Duração: 32min

    Traditional Chinese Medicine - as its name duly implies - has been a part of China for at least 2,500 years. But what does it mean? Where does it come from? How does it work? And does it have a place it modern society?  See for privacy and opt-out information.

  • #184 - Yuan 7: Mark It Zero

    #184 - Yuan 7: Mark It Zero

    06/02/2020 Duração: 38min

    Khubilai Khan has led a pretty blessed existence as of the year 1279. But fate has a way of balancing things out in starkly brutal fashion...Time Period Covered:~1279-1287 CEMajor Historical Figures:Yuan Dynasty:Emperor KhubilaiEmpress Chabi (d. 1281)Crown Prince Zhenjin (1242-1285)Prince Toghon, Prince of Suppression of the SouthFinance Minister Ahmad Fanakati (d. 1282)Finance Minister Lu Shijing (d. 1285)Admiral Hong TauGeneral Fan WenhuGeneral XinduGeneral Nasir al-DinCommander Sodu (d. 1285)Commander Arigh KhayaJapanese Shogunate:Hojo Tokimune, Regent of the ShogunKingdom of Pagan:King NarathihapateKingdom of Champa:King Jaya Indravarman VIKingdom of Dai-Viet:Emperor Tran Than-Tong  See for privacy and opt-out information.

  • #183 - Yuan 6: Cultural Hot-Pot for the Soul

    #183 - Yuan 6: Cultural Hot-Pot for the Soul

    21/01/2020 Duração: 37min

    Khubilai Khan is a man astride multiple worlds - trying to be both the Khan of the Great Mongol Nation, and the Emperor of the Yuan Dynasty. This will take quite a bit of accommodation, and between Mongolian shamanism, Chinese Confucianism, Buddhism, Daoism, Islam, and Christianity... more than a little behaving like a cultural chameleon to square those civilizational circles.  See for privacy and opt-out information.

  • #182 - Mongol 12.1: The Golden Horde

    #182 - Mongol 12.1: The Golden Horde

    03/01/2020 Duração: 48min

    Jochi was tasked with subduing the Cuman tribes of the western steppes. Jochi failed. Now, under the second Great Khan Ögedei, it will fall to his successor, Batu, Khan of the Golden Horde, to finish what his father could not. He won't be going alone, though. In addition to his invincible tumens, he'll bring with him a host of imperial princes, as well as the greatest commander to ever mount a steed - Subotai the Valiant, now returns to the Western expanses to finish what he began 15 years ago...Note: this is part 1 of an extended bonus episode! Find the full episode and all other Bonus Episodes by become a patron at Period Covered:ca. 1235-1240 CEMajor Historical Figures:Mongol Khanate:Ögedei Khaghan (1186-1241)Subotai Ba'atuur, The Last Orlok (ca. 1176-1248)General Uriyangkhadai (1201-1272)House Ogedeid:Guyuk (1206-1248)Khadan (?)Khaidu (c. 1230-1301)House Jochi (Golden Horde):Batu Khan (ca. 1205-1255)House Tolui:Möngke (1209-1259)Bujek (?)House Chagatai:Baidar(?)Buri (d. 1

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