History, anatomy and physiology, philosophy, psychology, anthropology. The podcast that attempts to resurrect sense and meaning from the dust of a billion factoids.
HBH 42: Alexander the Great's Amazing Life and Mysterious Death
Alexander was a prodigy in all things military and administrative, as unaccountably great in his own field as Mozart was in music or Michelangelo in art. By age 32, he had conquered the mightiest empire ever known and extended the boundaries of his kingdom to the edges of the known world.
Against men, beasts, and entire armies, Alexander never lost a battle.
But in the prime of his life and the apex of his power, he became ill and soon died. What, exactly, conquered the greatest conqueror the world had ever known? Infectious disease? Battle wounds? Prodigious drinking? Neurological or hereditary illnesses, or murder most foul and insidious?
On this episode we speak with Professor Philip Freeman, author of the acclaimed biographgy of Alexander, about the death (and life) of one of the most influential figures in the history of being human.
Please see Dr. Freeman's bio and bibliography here: philipfreemanbooks.com.
Buy his book on Alexander, Hannibal, St. Patrick -- they are all highly readable and accessible but represent the best scholarship you would expect from a chaired professor of classical philology.
Art Work by Ian Armstrong
HBH 41: Friedrich Nietzsche's Mysterious Descent into Madness and Death
At the age of 44, Friedrich Nietzsche, one of the most influential philosophers and writers of his age, suffered a psychotic breakdown. For the next 11 years until his death from pneumonia, he evidenced profound dementia and was totally dependent on the care of others.
For many years Nietzsche's decline was blamed on syphilis, but lately that diagnosis has come under increasing scrutiny or outright attack. In its place researchers have posited tumors, hereditary illnesses, rare metabolic disorders, and rapidly progressive forms of dementia.
What is the truth? Can we ever know?
Fear not, intrepid listener, this episode of The History of Being Human will deign to [attempt to] answer all mysteries around the death of Friedrich Nietzsche.
HBH 40: King Tut's Mysterious Mother and her Mysterious Death
Even King Tut had a mother. Once. And not for very long, it seems.
This episode is actually several mysteries in one. Who was King Tut's mother? Why did she die, esecially so young? Was it sickness, childbirth, accident, or murder most foul?
A story of 18th Dynasty Egypt, tomb robbers, trauma before and after death, sneaky priests and vile heretics, sprinkled with rather dry medical research.
Links: Tour of KV 35, where Younger Lady was found (down to the exact chamber): https://youtu.be/AzhDlLrwEZ0
Photos of the Younger Lady including facial reconstruction: https://melissaindenile.com/2021/06/07/mummy-monday-the-younger-lady/
HBH 39: The Death of King Tut
Tutankhamen died at 19 years old. No one is sure why or how. His tomb, his mummy, and his DNA offer some tantalizing clues, but no definitive answer.
Here is the life and death of one of the best known mummies, from one of the least known Pharohs, in ancient history; a dive deeper than any other podcast is capable or willing to take.
It is a tale of sorrows and pains, of bizarre family dynamics, of deformities and deat, and of intrigue and possible murder.
In the end, we answer what can be answered about the life and mysterious death of the most famous of all Pharaohs, King Tut.
HBH 38: Anaximenes and His Air Get Their Due
The third and final member of the Milesian school, once considered the weak little sister of the philosphers, now appreciated in all his Air-udite glory.
This is his story, as we have it, which may or may not correlate roughly to some things he actually said or did.
As a synthesizer of the works of Thales and Anaximander, he held onto the best and abandoned the worst of their ideas, and in so doing became a father of empirical science.
HBH 37: Anaximander of Miletus
Today we take a long, hard look at the great Anaximander, the second member of the Milesian School, and possibly one of the most influential thinkers of all time.
The first metaphysician, the greatest astronomer of his age, the teller of time and builder of colonies, the man who dared disagree with his teacher and mentor and ended up transcending his theories, is here presented to you in all his glory.
Such as it is.
I listen religiously!
It’s a great day when Noel puts amour another podcast. Love the delivery of information and the format. Mad respect for the work and detail that goes into these.
Great philosophy-history podcast
This is just a a brilliant podcast. The series on the historical Jesus was utterly fascinating and totally new to me. The stuff on Mao was terrific but really it all is. I don’t like the interview pods as much, but just listening to Armstrong tell stories and speculate and philosophize is healthy entertainment time and again.
The most recent episode on the TX Tower Shooter was particular insightful I thought, and a good example of the HOBH wheelhouse, s story told well and then interrogated for clues of the human condition.
Who couldn’t like this show?
Truly. One of the best podcasts out there. I listen to shows multiple times. Great presentation, narration, humour and choice of topics. Noel is my hero. I turn all my friends onto this podcast.