52 episodes

Where history and epic collide--"History on Fire" is a podcast by author and university professor Daniele Bolelli. For more, go to LuminaryPodcasts.com

History on Fire Dark Myths

    • History

Where history and epic collide--"History on Fire" is a podcast by author and university professor Daniele Bolelli. For more, go to LuminaryPodcasts.com

    BONUS: Dan Carlin’s “The End Is Always Near”

    BONUS: Dan Carlin’s “The End Is Always Near”

    “That is the nicest guilt trip anybody has ever given me in my entire life.” Dan Carlin 

    Dan Carlin is one of my all time favorite human beings, and on top of that an incredible podcaster. He’s now a published author as well. In this episode we chat about his new book, The End is Always Near. The conversation covers more than should theoretically be possible to cover in little over an hour—from Dan’s understanding for Thanos’ plight to the collapse of civilizations, the concept of Gross National Happiness, the delusion of infinite growth in a finite system, Jared Diamond, The Walking Dead, Game of Thrones, meteors, nuclear weapons, James Burke, the need for nuance, the future of Common Sense, what to do when people can’t agree on basic evidence, social media, incredibly fast historical changes, and the nicest guilt trip in Dan’s life. 

    • 1 hr 11 min
    EPISODE 52 The Lady and Her Gun

    EPISODE 52 The Lady and Her Gun

    “It's just incredible that this little hand has killed Nazis, has scythed them down by the hundreds, without missing…” Charlie Chaplin 
    “Miss Pavlichenko's well known to fame, 
    Russia's your country, fighting is your game, 
    Your smile shines as bright as any new morning sun, 
    But more than three hundred Nazi dogs fell by your gun.” Woody Guthrie 
    “Charging together, we would dash into battle and forget about everything else in the world.” Lyudmila Pavlichenko
    “Gentlemen, I am 25 years old and I have already managed to kill 309 of the fascist invaders. Do you not think, gentlemen, that you have now been hiding behind my back for rather too long?” Lyudmila Pavlichenko
    During WW II, women in the Soviet Union had many reasons to fear German soldiers. But in some cases it was the German soldiers’ turn to be the targets of Soviet ladies. Among the many women who would fight tooth and nail and send quite a few Axis soldiers to a premature death, one stood out among the rest. Germans would know her by name, and would grow to fear her. And they had good reasons to fear her since it was by killing 309 of them that she would become the most deadly female sniper in history. Legends about her would grow both among her own comrades and among the terrified Nazi soldiers who heard rumors about this vengeful female demon who seemed to have made it her personal mission to make them pay for any outrage committed by anyone wearing their same uniform had ever. Some told stories about how a witch in some village near Odessa had cast a spell deflecting enemy bullets away from her. Others swore that she was followed by the lord of the forest himself—a wood sprite with a huge tree-like body who protected her, made her invisible and gave her the supernatural ability to move through the forest without making a sound, to know what was happening a mile away, and to see in complete darkness as well as normal people see in daylight. She was Lyudmila Pavlichenko aka Lady Death.  
    Among other things, in this episode: Operation Barbarossa, caught between vicious dictators, Stalin (even better than Nazis at killing his own people), Nazi guns in front of you and Soviet guns pointed at your back, a song by Woody Guthrie, Charlie Chaplin kissing her hand, Lyudmila disappoints Yoda, bringing Belgian chocolates as a gift for your girlfriend (after looting them from a corpse), love found & love lost, bloody revenge, hanging out with the American First Lady. 

    • 1 hr 46 min
    A Special Announcement from History on Fire

    A Special Announcement from History on Fire

    • 14 min
    EPISODE 47 Give Me Back My Legions! (Part 1)

    EPISODE 47 Give Me Back My Legions! (Part 1)

    “Bits of weapons and horses' limbs lay about, and human heads fixed to tree-trunks. In groves nearby were barbaric altars, where the Germans had laid the tribunes and senior centurions and sacrificed them.” Tacitus 
    “It stands on record that armies already wavering and on the point of collapse have been rallied by the women, pleading heroically with their men, thrusting forward their bared breasts…” Tacitus
    “They are not so easily convinced to plough the land and wait patiently for harvest as to challenge an enemy and run the risk to be wounded. They think it is weak and spiritless to earn by sweat what they might purchase with blood.” Tacitus 
    A little over 2,000 years ago, Rome was a well-oiled war machine crushing everything in its path. At that time, the Roman legions were the most deadly military force in the Western world, and possibly in the whole world. Every year, they conquered new peoples and pushed the boundaries of their empire. Rape and pillage was the name of the game, and they were masters at it. But in the year 9 CE, something happened in the forests of Germany that was going to have a profound impact on the destiny of the world. Some historians go so far as to suggest that both the German and English languages may not exist as we know them, had things gone differently. News arriving from Germany, along with a severed head delivered by courier, threw Emperor Augustus in a deep depression. 
    In this first of two parts about the clash between Rome’s power with Germanic tribesmen, we’ll look at what we know about Germanic tribal cultures from those days, walk among the grisly remnants of a battlefield with Roman general Germanicus, and consider how Tacitus’ work was fuel to the fire of Nazi ideology 2,000 years later. Also, in this episode: Europe’s pre-Christian religions, naked tribesmen snowboarding on their shields, the dramatic encounter between Gaius Marius with Cimbri & Teutones, Gaius Julius Caesar making a larger-than-life entrance into Germany, Drusus’ campaign beyond the Rhine, racing on horseback for 200 miles to see one’s brother, slavery with golden chains, and much more as we set the stage for part 2, when the big showdown will take place. 

    • 1 hr 27 min
    EPISODE 46 Enjoying Hell: The Life of Ikkyu Sojun (Part 2)

    EPISODE 46 Enjoying Hell: The Life of Ikkyu Sojun (Part 2)

    So many History on Fire episodes feature incredibly violent pages from humanity’s past. This is not one of those episodes. The hero of our tale was too busy enjoying life in 15th century Japan to join the civil wars raging around him or to go around killing people. As the illegitimate son of the Emperor of Japan, Ikkyu Sojun experienced the harsh side of life from the moment he was born, but always looked for a way not to let it spoil his good mood. His main passions (in no particular order) were Zen Buddhism, sex and drinking. And in the midst of the endless party that was in life, he managed to have a tremendously powerful impact on Japanese culture. In this episode, we see Ikkyu’s wanderings taking him through torrid love affairs, friendships with pirate-merchants, and clashes with the Zen establishment. Living in an age of shoguns being assassinated, peasant uprisings, and the fury of the Onin War, Ikkyu found the time to save very Zen temple he had criticized throughout his life, and to launch an artistic renaissance that would have a lasting impact on Japanese history. In the course of our journey, we’ll find out how Ikkyu affected the creation of tea ceremony, how he and Lady Mori shared the greatest love story in Japanese history, and Ikkyu can teach about finding joy in the midst of suffering

    • 1 hr 39 min
    EPISODE 45 Sex, Sake and Zen: The Life of Ikkyu Sojun (Part 1)

    EPISODE 45 Sex, Sake and Zen: The Life of Ikkyu Sojun (Part 1)

    So many History on Fire episodes feature incredibly violent pages from humanity’s past. This is not one of those episodes. The hero of our tale was too busy enjoying life in 15th century Japan to join the civil wars raging around him or to go around killing people. As the illegitimate son of the Emperor of Japan, Ikkyu Sojun experienced the harsh side of life from the moment he was born, but always looked for a way not to let it spoil his good mood. His main passions (in no particular order) were Zen Buddhism, sex and drinking. And in the midst of the endless party that was in life, he managed to have a tremendously powerful impact on Japanese culture. In this episode, we will tackle the odd phenomenon of people being more comfortable with warfare and violence than sex, how Tom Robbins introduced me to Ikkyu, Sovannahry’s Ikkyu painting (the first thing I see every morning), the odd circumstances of Ikkyu’s birth, a history of Zen, Ikkyu’s training and attempted suicide, Ikkyu’s burning of his ‘certificate of enlightenment’, his clashes with the Zen establishment, Jack London’s Call of the Wild, becoming ‘the Crazy Cloud’, Drukpa Kunley and his… ehm… ‘flaming thunderbolt of wisdom’…

    • 1 hr 52 min

Customer Reviews

Jiji K. ,

Gnarly Dude

Realized quite a few things before finding this podcast...

1) Bolelli was one of the BEST college professors I ever had (for multiple semesters)
2) He was a guest on Joe Rogan (I was pleasantly surprised to stumble upon his episode & hear his distinct voice/accent once again)
3) He’s THE REAL DEAL

MyGuy65 ,

This used to be my favorite podcast

Corporate podcasting is against the spirit of the thing, and the selling out of this podcast is severely depressing

Niko Biba ,

Giorgio Castriota

Ciao!
Mi piece tanto il tuo podcast. Racconti le storie vafolosamente. Sarebbe be se facesti un episodio su Skanderbeg, il mio paesano ;).

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