360 – The Long Game

In 1040, while England was dealing with the chaos of Harthacnut’s reign and the threat of yet another succession mess, Scotland was dealing with its own set of problems. The northern Kingdom just lost its king. And that wasn’t anything new for Scotland… their Kings rarely lasted long. But it got trickier because the King’s [...]

358 – King Harthacnut

Today’s story starts in 1039. It’s a big year, and a lot has happened to get us here. So let’s recap very quickly. The death of Cnut caused a cascade of consequences that reached up to the tip of Scotland and even into the continent. It was an empire crumbling just as it had been [...]

357 – Walter Map’s Courtly Trifles

The early 11th century was an unlikely time of heroes. By heroes I unfortunately don’t mean people of good character and brave deeds, but just people who perform extraordinary feats for their time. One of these was the very first King of Wales, Gruffudd ap Llewelyn. He pulled off what no other Welsh ruler had [...]

356 – Macbeth

Here is the story of Macbeth. If you have just tuned into this episode because of the title, know that it is the second episode in a two-part series. You will want to go to the previous episode, Double Double Toil and Trouble, and listen to that first. There you will learn about the peculiar region that spawned this shadowy highland King.

355 – Double, Double Toil and Trouble

As we have been covering the Dark Ages, we have been at the mercy of the scribes. If they don’t write something down, there is almost no way for us to know about it. One of the biggest casualties in this dynamic has been Scotland. The business North of the Wall has been going on [...]

354 – The West, after Cnut

The death of Cnut and the fall of his near-Empire would obviously have impacts on his own dynasty. But while Harold was trying to secure England, Emma was trying to regain power, and poor Edward was trying to stay out of the whole mess, the political tsunami was roaring over the shores of the Irish [...]

353 – Mother of the Year

The Medieval chronicler, Adam of Bremen, was writing at around this point in history and among the many things he tells us he also includes how Cnut planned his almost empire. And Adam tells us that Cnut intended Sweyn to rule Norway, Harthacnut to rule Denmark, and Harold Harefoot to rule England. And that might [...]

352 – Chaos

It was November 11 of 1035 and King Cnut was dead. He was buried at Winchester Cathedral. Cnut, and likely the Court, seemed to anticipate his death. Possibly because he had been ill for some time. But the ruling classes of Europe were still completely unprepared for the chaos that followed. Consolidating multiple kingdoms under [...]