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 [...]

351 – Collapse

I wonder if Cnut could see what was coming. All the signs were in front of him. Everything was starting to line up. But was he actually putting it together? Anger in Norway was reaching a boiling point over the austerity policies and heavy enforcement imposedbyAElfgifu and Cnut’s son (Swein). Armed rebellion was just around [...]

350 – A Tough Cnut to Crack

We have another mystery on our hands. We have a missing year. And I don’t think it was because nothing was happening. As we know from the previous episodes, in 1031 things in Norway were getting a bit ropey. Cnut’s son and ex-wife, having just been handed the reins of the region, made some particularly [...]

349 – AElfgifu’s Tale

Successful Kings don’t rule alone. This is especially true for Kings with as much going on as Cnut. And one of Cnut’s most influential right-hand men was actually his Queen. And Emma was more than just an advisor. She was wielding considerable power in her own right, power that likely expanded every time Cnut journeyed [...]

348 – Ruling Hard or Hardly Ruling

Europe was in chaos in the 1020s. Crises just kept coming, and the powerful were trying to capitalize on disorder. And in times like these, actions can have outsized impact, even the smaller ones. For example, if you sat in Leicester during the 1020s, the last thing you would have been paying attention to would [...]

347 – Aggressive Diplomacy

What we call history was, at one point, just current events. And world affairs never happen in a vacuum. It’s never just one thing happening after another… it’s a whole mesh of events that, while they might happen in their own sequences that look very much like just one thing happening after another, they’re actually [...]