30 episodes

Looking back at 1,500 years of history - from the fall of Rome until the fall of the guillotine - as seen through the eyes of the kings and queens of France...

Every episode of T+M starts with a re-telling of a story pulled from the history books, then we try to figure out what really happened:

1) Did two Queens take charge of Francian kingdoms and use them to attack each other?

2) Was Merovech, the first king of the Merovingians, descended from a minion sent by the god Neptune?

3) Did Clovis really stop in the middle of a battle to make a deal with God to convert to Christianity?

Thugs and Miracles Benjamin Bernier

    • History
    • 5.0, 1 Rating

Looking back at 1,500 years of history - from the fall of Rome until the fall of the guillotine - as seen through the eyes of the kings and queens of France...

Every episode of T+M starts with a re-telling of a story pulled from the history books, then we try to figure out what really happened:

1) Did two Queens take charge of Francian kingdoms and use them to attack each other?

2) Was Merovech, the first king of the Merovingians, descended from a minion sent by the god Neptune?

3) Did Clovis really stop in the middle of a battle to make a deal with God to convert to Christianity?

    Rabbit Hole #4: Vidocq

    Rabbit Hole #4: Vidocq

    Welcome back! I’m Benjamin Bernier… and we’re supposed to be on break, right? Well, yes, we are, but I’ll be honest: this show is never far from my mind. While we’ve been on hiatus and had a short amount of time to catch our breath and pull ourselves away from the overall narrative, we’ve had the chance to talk over some of the things we’d like to do a bit more of, and episodes such as this are a big part of that. So far we’ve done three Bonus Episodes on T+M – a look at Saint Geneviève, a review of Procopius and how he viewed Brittia and Francia from his perch in Constantinople, and an interview with Marco Cappelli of the Storia d’Italia podcast. In each case, the episode had been about something amazingly interesting, yet just far enough removed from our main narrative that I felt they didn’t quite fit within a regular episode. They were all, for lack of a better phrase, a trip down a rabbit hole, a moment in time when I couldn’t keep my curiosity in check and instead, like Alice, ran after the rabbit “never once considering how in the world [I] was to get out again.”

    Staying with that theme, we're looking at a rabbit hole I came across all the way back in Episode 3! On 5 November 1831, thieves broke into the Bibliothèque Nationale de France and stole more than 2,000 pieces, most of which they considered to be little more than simple golden objects; in reality, they had absconded with the irreplaceable and priceless items taken, in 1653, from the burial site of the second king of the Merovingian Dynasty, King Childéric.

    The man called out of retirement to track down Childéric’s treasure was none other than Eugène-François Vidocq, the Parisian detective who, when he wasn't cracking cases, served as the literary muse of Victor Hugo, Honoré de Balzac, Edgar Allen Poe and the elder Alexandre Dumas. Vidoqc served as the inspiration for both Jean Valjean and Javert, and is one of the most intriguing personalities I've learned of yet. More important than any of that, for us anyway, is the fact that this confluence of affairs made it possible for us to discuss the Merovingian King Childéric, dead now for nearly 1,550 years, the French Revolution, Napoleon, Victor Hugo, Edgar Allen Poe, and even one of the most popular Broadway musicals ever produced, all in the same story. It's an intriguing rabbit hole to explore, and I hope you enjoy the story as much as I do!

    Links to social media and the website:

    Site: https://www.thugsandmiracles.com/

    Email: thugsandmiracles@gmail.com

    Twitter at @thugsandmiracle (with no “s” on the end)

    Facebook and Instagram: @ThugsAndMiracles

    • 18 min
    Episode 25: Luck and Timing / Season 1 Finale

    Episode 25: Luck and Timing / Season 1 Finale

    This week we’re going to take a look at Chlothar II and the first part of his reign pre-dating 613. He really was – and this is just my opinion here – the luckiest guy I have ever heard of. I mean, he was basically born a king. His dad died four months into his life, so there was never a moment in time that he would be able to remember where he wasn’t in charge. And then he has this wicked, crazy, intelligent mom stage-mom who does everything she can to get him to the precipice of power. And then, when the time comes, he doesn’t even have to fight to rule the whole lot; his knucklehead cousins kill themselves in an early medieval version of The Benny Hill Show (and if you don’t get that reference kids, stop right now and do a search in YouTube. It’s old, but it’s still funny and the music is worth it). By the age of 30, Chlothar II had gone from being a fifth male son who shouldn’t have even been thinking about the line of succession, to the notional ruler of an almost non-existent kingdom, to the monarch of a small but growing entity, and then to the ruler of all of Francia, all without doing much of the heavy lifting.

    Beyond Chlothar II, we're going to spend a little time this week looking back on Season 1; this is the final episode of our first year/season, and it's interesting to take a moment and think about the things that struck us the most. For me, it was finding out about just ow big Arianism was as a sect of Christianity, seeing how much influence women held in this incredibly patriarchal society, and learning that the Merovingians transferred their kingdom to all of their sons, not just the oldest. This, of course, led to more than a few civil wars...

    When we come back in 48 days (6 September), we’ll be starting where we left off, with the advent of les rois fainéants and the battles that come about when people begin to fill the power vacuum left by leaders who don’t want – or are not up to – their job. Beyond that, next season promises to bring us the rise of invaders who want to take what the Franks have: these include the Muslims coming up from the south and the Vikings coming down from the north. In both cases, the arrival of strong, religiously-alien and conquest-minded attackers will serve to panic the Franks, but also to make them stronger and more cohesive. Finally, if all goes well and we make good time, we’ll see the fall of the Merovingians and the rise of the Carolingians, and we’ll understand what transpired to make this transition a reality. The plan at the moment is to have all of this culminate with us meeting one of the greatest leaders in European and world history, a guy known as Charles the Great, a.k.a. Charles Magnus, a.k.a. Charlemagne.

    Links to social media and the website:

    Site: https://www.thugsandmiracles.com/

    Email: thugsandmiracles@gmail.com

    Twitter at @thugsandmiracle (with no “s” on the end)

    Facebook and Instagram: @ThugsAndMiracles

    • 37 min
    Episode 24: Death of a Legend

    Episode 24: Death of a Legend

    Just a quick warning before you listen to the next episode: there’s going to be quite a bit of discussion about torture and executions which I can’t get around talking about simply because it is the crux of the episode. So, if that type of thing is not your thing, well, now would be a good time to tune out. I just wanted to give you the warning before we get started. Thank you very much, and we hope you enjoy the episode!

    This week our focus is on the late, great Queen Brunhilda. Her execution and death is such a focal point for all of the histories that I felt the need to go into some amount of detail in the opening story. And while the event itself is an absolutely gory, and horrible, and macabre ending to her life, there’s no doubt at all, in my mind, that the focus on this ending really actually detracts from what was otherwise an amazing and complex life. So, let’s take this episode to consider just who Brunhilda was and how we should remember her – besides as the victim of multiple horses running in opposing directions.

    Links to social media and the website:

    Site: https://www.thugsandmiracles.com/

    Email: thugsandmiracles@gmail.com

    Twitter at @thugsandmiracle (with no “s” on the end)

    Facebook and Instagram: @ThugsAndMiracles

    • 44 min
    Episode 23: The End of the Beginning

    Episode 23: The End of the Beginning

    This week our focus is on Theuderic II and the constantly tightening spiral that Brunhilda finds herself in as she grows older. Theuderic himself is an interesting case to look at, insofar as how he dealt with his grandmother vice the way that his brother dealt with her. Remember, Theudebert ultimately kicked Brunhilda out of his Kingdom and tried to make his way in the world without her; this led to her turning against him in a sort of total war that is all that much more incredibly visceral due to the close relationship these people shared. Anyway, Theudebert rejected Brunhilda and Theuderic accepted her; we know how this turned out for Theudebert, so how about his younger brother?

    Also this week, we open with some Show Notes so as to set the tone for the next few months and the eventual start of Season Two. First off, you’ll notice that the name of the episode is “The End of the Beginning.” Throughout the production of the show you may also have noticed that I list the episodes as Season 1, Episode Whatever… Well there’s a reason for this. As far as the show title, I feel confident in saying that we have, in fact, come to the end of the beginning. We covered the formative events in the founding of the Merovingian Dynasty, ranging from the mythical to the exaggerated and everything in between, and we should now have a firm foundation upon which to build the rest of the history. That said, the rest of the history will continue in Season Two, which is scheduled to begin on 6 September 2020. I will finish out this first 25-episode season with this episode and then with the next two, and then everything will wrap up around 19 July. I’ll then take that month-and-a-half window between Seasons 1 and 2 to work on a variety of things, ranging from cleaning up and updating the website, to compiling the episode transcripts into a full manuscript, and most importantly, researching deeper and deeper into our history. The coronavirus has put quite a damper on being able to get to the library and the bookstores to get more source documents, so hopefully we’ll see virus rates stay low and libraries reopen shortly here in the UK so I can make the show as interesting – and, quite honestly, as historically accurate – as possible.

    Links to social media and the website:

    Site: https://www.thugsandmiracles.com/

    Email: thugsandmiracles@gmail.com

    Twitter at @thugsandmiracle (with no “s” on the end)

    Facebook and Instagram: @ThugsAndMiracles

    • 34 min
    Episode 22: My Brother's Keeper

    Episode 22: My Brother's Keeper

    This week we’re looking at the relationship of three people in particular: King Theudebert II, King Theuderic II, and their grandmother, Brunhilda. As we'll see from the opening story, things went south between Theudebert and Brunhilda pretty quickly, and she ended up spending the majority of the rest of her life in Burgundy with her other grandson, Theuderic. So, how did this all go down?

    Beyond looking at this initial split, we'll explore how Theudebert and Theuderic drew together to fight Chlothar, before ultimately splitting up to fight themselves. Of course, Brunhilda is said to be the mastermind of this rift, and that leads us to another important historical question: Was Brunhilda as bad as she was made out to be in the histories? Gregory of Tours would have us believe she was on the road to sainthood, but he died in 594; his historical successor, Fredegar, picks up by making her out to be the second coming of the Devil. So which story is true?

    Finally, we'll end today's episode with a look at the death of Theudebert. His ending is sad, tragic, and ultimately a Pyrrhic victory for his brother. More on that in the next episode! Welcome to the 7th century! 

    Links to social media and the website:

    Site: https://www.thugsandmiracles.com/

    Email: thugsandmiracles@gmail.com

    Twitter at @thugsandmiracle (with no “s” on the end)

    Facebook and Instagram: @ThugsAndMiracles

    • 36 min
    Rabbit Hole #3: An Interview with Marco Cappelli of Storia d'Italia

    Rabbit Hole #3: An Interview with Marco Cappelli of Storia d'Italia

    There are moments in life where, once they’re done, you sit back and reflect on just how it was that you arrived at that moment in the first place. For me, I had one of those moments a few nights back when I had the chance to sit down and talk with Marco Cappelli from the Storia d’Italia podcast.

    You see, I could go way back in my life and talk about how I grew up as a kid in Wisconsin, not too far outside of Milwaukee. My life was possibly as local as any one kid’s life could be at that time; I remember watching Ferris Bueller’s Day Off and watching them run all over Chicago and thinking that felt like a different world to me – in reality, Chicago was less than 100 miles away. I tell you this not to give away my age and let you know that I can remember when Ferris Bueller was in movie theaters, but to give you an idea that if Chicago felt far away to me, then Italy may as well have been the moon. Fast forward a few years and I’ve had the chance to travel around someSd, but I still have a special place in my heart for the connections I make with people who I never, ever would have dreamt of having a reason to intersect with when I was a kid.

    Well, jump forward 30 years and now I’m a real boy, living in England and producing this podcast. And it’s through that production that I ran into Marco; we share a love of medieval history, and we both happen to be talking about the 6th century right now! One key difference between the both of us is that he’s talking about it in Italian, which I think is just showing off really. But seriously, he’s 55 episodes into his show and he’s the number one history podcast in Italy, so it was a tremendous privilege for me to get to steal some of his time and talk about the Goths and the Franks and the Lombards and podcasting and Italy and a whole bunch of other stuff. It was a fun conversation and his perspective literally helped me to see things in a new way during our talk.

    All of Marco’s social media info is below and also on the Recommendations page of ThugsandMiracles.com. Alright, without further ado, here’s a conversation about medieval Europe, Gaul and Italy, as told between an American guy living in England and an Italian guy living in Belgium. What can possibly go wrong?! Enjoy!



    Storia d'Italia Info

    Storia d'Italia - https://italiastoria.com/

    SdI IG - https://www.instagram.com/italiastoria/

    SdI FB - https://www.facebook.com/italiastoria

    SdI YouTube - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6Vrv6OOwLNc&fbclid

    SdI Twitter - https://twitter.com/ItaliaStoria

    SdI Contact - https://italiastoria.com/contatti/



    Thugs and Miracles Info

    Site: https://www.thugsandmiracles.com/

    Email: thugsandmiracles@gmail.com

    Twitter at @thugsandmiracle (with no “s” on the end)

    Facebook and Instagram: @ThugsAndMiracles

    • 50 min

Customer Reviews

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@steph__paige ,

Love this podcast!

I enjoy this show so much. While I’ve been to Paris a few times, there’s SO much that I don’t know it’s history, and this podcast teaches me so much so I feel when I go back I’ll have such a greater appreciation for the city!

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