295 episodes

What happened on this day in history? Curious moments curated each weekday by Olly Mann, Rebecca Messina and Arion McNicoll. It's history, but not as you know it.
See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.

The Retrospectors - Today In History The Retrospectors

    • History
    • 4.9 • 38 Ratings

Listen on Apple Podcasts
Requires subscription and macOS 11.4 or higher

What happened on this day in history? Curious moments curated each weekday by Olly Mann, Rebecca Messina and Arion McNicoll. It's history, but not as you know it.
See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.

Listen on Apple Podcasts
Requires subscription and macOS 11.4 or higher

    Marie Antoinette's Wedding

    Marie Antoinette's Wedding

    The future Queen of France was accompanied by 57 carriages, 117 footmen and 376 horses on her journey from Austria to Versailles - but remarkably took only three hours to do her hair and makeup when she tied the knot with Louis-Auguste on 16th May, 1770.
    Only 15 at the time, Louis was perceived - even by his closest friends and family - to be timid, unforthcoming and bookish. In a further bad omen, their wedding firework display was postponed due to a storm - and when it finally happened, there was a massive riot that resulted in the crowds being trampled to death. 
    In this episode, Arion, Rebecca and Arion replay the ‘bedding ceremony’ in excruciating detail; explain exactly what went wrong between the sheets; and consider whether the roots of MArie Antoinette’s legendary profligacy can be traced back to her wedding day… 
    CONTENT WARNING: Graphic description of sexual intercourse. (Albeit one written in the 1770s, by a Roman Emperor. But, still: you *probably* won’t want to listen along with the kids.)
    Further Reading:
    • ‘Marriage of the Dauphin Louis and Marie-Antoinette’ (Palace of Versailles): https://en.chateauversailles.fr/discover/history/key-dates/marriage-dauphin-louis-and-marie-antoinette
    • ‘French dauphin, Louis, marries Marie Antoinette’ (HISTORY, 2010):
    https://www.history.com/this-day-in-history/louis-marries-marie-antoinette
    • ‘“Marie Antoinette”: Wedding scene’ (Sony Pictures, 2006):
     https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ftWA5LLAyoo

    For bonus material and to support the show, visit Patreon.com/Retrospectors
    We'll be back tomorrow! Follow us wherever you get your podcasts: podfollow.com/Retrospectors
    The Retrospectors are Olly Mann, Rebecca Messina & Arion McNicoll, with Matt Hill.
    Theme Music: Pass The Peas. Announcer: Bob Ravelli. Graphic Design: Terry Saunders. Edit Producer: Alexa Weissman.
    Copyright: Rethink Audio / Olly Mann 2022.

    See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.

    • 10 min
    What Mary Told Me

    What Mary Told Me

    When three young kids in Fatima, Portugal reported that the Virgin Mary had appeared to them on 13th May, 1917, the incident sparked hysteria across their rural, intensely Catholic community.
    The ‘three secrets’ supposedly revealed that day - and the much-attended ‘Miracle of the Sun’ event prophesied that Autumn - gave a long-lasting boost to Fatima’s visitor numbers. It still plays host to six million pilgrims a year. 
    In this episode, Arion, Rebecca and Olly explain why, for decades, only the Pope was allowed to know all the events Mary had predicted; unpick exactly what the witnesses to the sun-miracle may have actually seen; and consider whether, for the Vatican, Sister Lucia’s visions were a blessing or a curse…
    Further Reading:
    • ‘A saga of spirituality, secrecy and scepticism’ (Irish Times, 2005): https://www.irishtimes.com/news/a-saga-of-spirituality-secrecy-and-scepticism-1.416714
    • ‘Our Lady of Fatima and the Miracle of the Sun: The Virgin Mary appeared to three children in Portugal’ (The Washington Post, 2017): https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/retropolis/wp/2017/10/13/our-lady-of-fatima-the-virgin-mary-promised-three-kids-a-miracle-that-70000-gathered-to-see/
    • ‘SISTER LUCIA OF FATIMA’S LAST PUBLIC INTERVIEW (1957)’ (Catholic 365, 2021):
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jc6k7lf5xL8
    For bonus material and to support the show, visit Patreon.com/Retrospectors
    We'll be back on Monday! Follow us wherever you get your podcasts: podfollow.com/Retrospectors
    The Retrospectors are Olly Mann, Rebecca Messina & Arion McNicoll, with Matt Hill.
    Theme Music: Pass The Peas. Announcer: Bob Ravelli. Graphic Design: Terry Saunders. Edit Producer: Sophie King.
    Copyright: Rethink Audio / Olly Mann 2022. 

    See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.

    • 10 min
    Russell Crowe vs. the Romans

    Russell Crowe vs. the Romans

    Ridley Scott’s ‘Gladiator’ opened in the UK on 12th May, 2000 - and was widely credited with resurrecting the ‘swords-and-sandals’ genre, sparking an interest in Roman history, and achieving that rare combination of critical praise and humongous box office success.
    But the epic production was problematic - not least because supporting star Ollie Reed died during filming, leading to SFX house The Mill filling in the remainder of his scenes with CGI, at a cost of $3 million.
    In this episode, Arion, Rebecca and Olly explain how Russell Crowe came to be cast as Maximus; consider the alternative screenplays, featuring fighting hippopotamuses and man-on-man bath wrestling; and uncover songwriter Nick Cave’s bizarre attempts at penning the sequel… 
    Further Reading:
    • ‘Ridley Scott says Oliver Reed ‘dropped down dead’ after challenging sailors to drinking match while filming Gladiator’ (The Independent, 2020): https://www.independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/films/news/oliver-reed-gladiator-death-drinking-ridley-scott-20th-anniversary-russell-crowe-joaquin-phoenix-a9499331.html
    • ‘Gladiator 2: The strangest sequel never made?’ (BBC Culture, 2018): https://www.bbc.com/culture/article/20180810-gladiator-2-was-written-and-its-mad
    • ‘Strength and Honor: Creating the World of 'Gladiator'’ (DreamWorks / Universal, 2005): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rueOOMBcE3Y
    For bonus material and to support the show, visit Patreon.com/Retrospectors
    We'll be back tomorrow! Follow us wherever you get your podcasts: podfollow.com/Retrospectors
    The Retrospectors are Olly Mann, Rebecca Messina & Arion McNicoll, with Matt Hill.
    Theme Music: Pass The Peas. Announcer: Bob Ravelli. Graphic Design: Terry Saunders. Edit Producer: Alexa Weissman.
    Copyright: Rethink Audio / Olly Mann 2022.

    See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.

    • 10 min
    The Computer That Defeated Kasparov

    The Computer That Defeated Kasparov

    IBM's Deep Blue conquered Russian chess grandmaster Garry Kasparov on 11th May, 1997 - in a man v machine clash Newsweek brazenly baptised ‘The Brain’s Last Stand’.
    Despite the incredible achievement of having created a program able to calculate 200 billion positions in three minutes, the IBM engineers were advised by their PR team not to look too happy at the press conference afterwards, so as to avoid Kasparov - who had initially hinted at foul play behind the scenes - from gaining sympathy. 
    In this episode, Arion, Olly and Rebecca explore whether American viewers felt more affinity with the Russian player or the American corporation; question whether machine learning ruined competitive chess forever; and reveal how even this computerised contest came down to psychological tactics…
    Further Reading:
    • ‘Deep Blue computer beats world chess champion’ (The Guardian, 1996): https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2021/feb/12/deep-blue-computer-beats-kasparov-chess-1996
    • ‘Twenty years on from Deep Blue vs Kasparov: how a chess match started the big data revolution’ (The Conversation, 2017): https://theconversation.com/twenty-years-on-from-deep-blue-vs-kasparov-how-a-chess-match-started-the-big-data-revolution-76882
    • ‘Deep Blue vs Kasparov: How a computer beat best chess player in the world’ (BBC News, 2017): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KF6sLCeBj0s
    For bonus material and to support the show, visit Patreon.com/Retrospectors
    We'll be back tomorrow! Follow us wherever you get your podcasts: podfollow.com/Retrospectors
    The Retrospectors are Olly Mann, Rebecca Messina & Arion McNicoll, with Matt Hill.
    Theme Music: Pass The Peas. Announcer: Bob Ravelli. Graphic Design: Terry Saunders. Edit Producer: Alexa Weissman.
    Copyright: Rethink Audio / Olly Mann 2022.

    See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.

    • 10 min
    Go, A.I!

    Go, A.I!

    The man-versus-machine question wasn't entirely settled by Kasparov's defeat against Deep Blue - it has since re-emerged in the form of Google's GO-playing A.I. alter-ego. Join Arion, Rebecca and Olly as they discover more, in this bonus bit of content, cut for time from today's episode. Thanks for supporting the show!

    How To Paint the Sistine Chapel

    How To Paint the Sistine Chapel

    Michelangelo was a sculptor, not a painter, when on 10th May, 1508, he embarked upon the biggest gig of his career: painting the roof of the Sistine chapel in the Vatican. 
    Outwardly reluctant, and doubtful he could complete the project, he nonetheless took the opportunity to suggest that rather than portraying the twelve apostles requested by the Pope, he should instead depict 300 different characters. 
    In this episode, Arion, Rebecca and Olly explain how he set about this Herculean task (no, he didn’t paint lying down); reveal how he channeled his frustrations into black humour; and discover the artful way in which he treated his harshest critics… 
    Further Reading:
    • ‘Book Extract: Michelangelo And The Sistine Chapel by Andrew Graham-Dixon’ (Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 2008): https://www.andrewgrahamdixon.com/extract/michelangelo-and-the-sistine-chapel.html#
    • ‘​​"The Last Judgement" Michelangelo - The Sistine Chapel Masterpiece’ (Art In Context, 2021): https://artincontext.org/the-last-judgement-michelangelo/
    • ‘Art, Explained: Deconstructing Michelangelo's process from a Sistine Chapel study’ (The Met, 2013): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ICQCUTiC0mI
    For bonus material and to support the show, visit Patreon.com/Retrospectors
    We'll be back tomorrow! Follow us wherever you get your podcasts: podfollow.com/Retrospectors
    The Retrospectors are Olly Mann, Rebecca Messina & Arion McNicoll, with Matt Hill.
    Theme Music: Pass The Peas. Announcer: Bob Ravelli. Graphic Design: Terry Saunders. Edit Producer: Alexa Weissman.
    Copyright: Rethink Audio / Olly Mann 2022.

    See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.

    • 10 min

Customer Reviews

4.9 out of 5
38 Ratings

38 Ratings

lexiloolove ,

Funny, fast & informative!

Great podcast to start the day with, highly recommend!

KateMutch ,

Love this show!

The trio create a show full of historical facts that are often obscure and always interesting. They have great chemistry. I always look forward to this and five days a week start my day with it. Am an American listener. Highly recommend it.

jim from Guam ,

Olly Mann keeping us informed!

As a devoted lister of Answer Me This (which will always be missed!) and The Modern Mann (of which I am an official Mannbassidor!), I was definitely going to try Olly’s latest endeavor; but after not having it in my daily pod-feed for a week now at the end of the year, I realize just how much I enjoy the show and look forward to hearing it!
With interesting topics chosen to discuss “on this day in history” and witty banter of the hosts, this is a daily dose of fun!

Top Podcasts In History

Wondery
Jake Brennan | Amazon Music
Wondery
Dan Carlin
Audioboom Studios
Sarah Marshall

You Might Also Like

Olly Mann / Auddy
Helen and Olly
The Week
Helen Zaltzman
No Such Thing As A Fish
The Bugle