Podcast

History on Fire

Where history and epic collide--"History on Fire" is a podcast by author and university professor Daniele Bolelli.

Episodes

  • EPISODE 44 Dan Carlin

    Feb 18 2019

    Dan Carlin is the undisputed king of historical podcasting, and one of my favorite human beings. Today we sit down to chat about the differences between Nazism and Socialism, the right-wing vs. left-wing paradigm, our favorite past U.S. presidents, the feeling you have when witnessing slow moving historical catastrophes, and much more.

  • EPISODE 43 The Melian Dialogue (The Peloponnesian War and Morality in History)

    Jan 21 2019

    In the midst of The Peloponnesian War (431-401 BCE), the Athenians paid a visit to the inhabitants of the island of Melos and tried to make them an offer they couldn’t refuse. The dialogue that emerged from their negotiations is a classic in political philosophy, and raises fascinating questions about the nature of morality in history. In this episode, Darryl Cooper (from “The Martyrmade Podcast”) and I tackle them all, and leave no stones unturned.

  • EPISODE 42 Joan of Arc (Part 4)

    Dec 13 2018

    By 1429, the heir to the French throne was about to give up and flee in exile. The English and their Burgundian allies controlled huge parts of the country. With Orleans likely to fall in a not too distant future, the path was open for the English to conquer the rest of France. It looked like the game was up for him. As much as he tried, he couldn’t see any logical path to victory. But little did he know that help was on its way—a kind of help that didn’t seem to be logical, reasonable or likely...more

  • EPISODE 41 Joan of Arc (Part 3)

    Nov 15 2018

    By 1429, the heir to the French throne was about to give up and flee in exile. The English and their Burgundian allies controlled huge parts of the country. With Orleans likely to fall in a not too distant future, the path was open for the English to conquer the rest of France. It looked like the game was up for him. As much as he tried, he couldn’t see any logical path to victory. But little did he know that help was on its way—a kind of help that didn’t seem to be logical, reasonable or likely...more

  • EPISODE 40 Joan of Arc (Part 2)

    Oct 16 2018

    By 1429, the heir to the French throne was about to give up and flee in exile. The English and their Burgundian allies controlled huge parts of the country. With Orleans likely to fall in a not too distant future, the path was open for the English to conquer the rest of France. It looked like the game was up for him. As much as he tried, he couldn’t see any logical path to victory. But little did he know that help was on its way—a kind of help that didn’t seem to be logical, reasonable or likely...more

  • EPISODE 39 Joan of Arc (Part 1)

    Sep 18 2018

    By 1429, the heir to the French throne was about to give up and flee in exile. The English and their Burgundian allies controlled huge parts of the country. With Orleans likely to fall in a not too distant future, the path was open for the English to conquer the rest of France. It looked like the game was up for him. As much as he tried, he couldn’t see any logical path to victory. But little did he know that help was on its way—a kind of help that didn’t seem to be logical, reasonable or likely...more

  • EPISODE 38 Monster in the Darkness

    Aug 23 2018

    What I am going to tell you is one of the craziest serial killer stories that you have never heard of. And there are very good reason why most people have never heard of this. In 1942, Death stalked London. Death came from the sky in the form of German bombs. And on the ground it came in the form of the blackout ripper—this is the name by which the monster came to be known. But publicizing the infamous activities of the Blackout Ripper is not something that was in the best interest of the nation...more

  • EPISODE 37 The 47 Ronin (Part 2)

    Jul 26 2018

    The tale of the 47 Ronin is one of the most renowned revenge tales to ever come out of Japan. It is the subject of countless books, plays, and movies. It is also a story that has ignited never-ending debates. Some people argue that the 47 Ronin were paragons of virtue—perfect embodiments of the loyalty and honor that should be expected from the samurai. They offered the answer to the riddle that was plaguing the samurai at the beginning of the 1700s: what does being a member of a warrior class a...more

  • EPISODE 36 The 47 Ronin (Part 1)

    Jun 28 2018

    The tale of the 47 Ronin is one of the most renowned revenge tales to ever come out of Japan. It is the subject of countless books, plays, and movies. It is also a story that has ignited never-ending debates. Some people argue that the 47 Ronin were paragons of virtue—perfect embodiments of the loyalty and honor that should be expected from the samurai. They offered the answer to the riddle that was plaguing the samurai at the beginning of the 1700s: what does being a member of a warrior class a...more

  • EPISODE 35 The Magliana Gang (Part 2)

    May 30 2018

    This series is about the rise of a street gang that took over Rome in the 1970s and 1980s. The Magliana gang was not just one of many criminal organizations who operated in Italy. Among their business partners, they counted Italy’s most important politicians, bankers, secret services, and possibly the Vatican itself. The gang left an indelible mark on Italian history. The story of their rise to power and of the heyday of their rule truly is stranger than fiction. It’s the kind of story that make...more

  • EPISODE 34 The Magliana Gang (Part 1)

    May 03 2018

    This series is about the rise of a street gang that took over Rome in the 1970s and 1980s. The Magliana gang was not just one of many criminal organizations who operated in Italy.

  • EPISODE 33 On Good and Evil: From My Lai to Sand Creek

    Apr 04 2018

    What makes seemingly normal men commit horrific acts against civilians during war? What allows some people to act heroically in the darkest circumstances and what makes others turn into monsters? How does training and leadership play into this? After discussing the stories of Sand Creek and My Lai in Episodes 32A and 32B, in this episode Darryl Cooper (The Martyrmade Podcast) and I sit down with retired Navy Seal, author and podcaster Jocko Willink (The Jocko Podcast) to tackle these questions.

  • EPISODE 32B Anything That Moves (Part 2): The Parallel Stories of Sand Creek and My Lai

    Mar 08 2018

    In part B, I hand the microphone to my friend and master podcaster Darryl Cooper (from The Martyrmade Podcast.) Darryl explores the context of the Cold War in order to come to terms with what happened at My Lai, in Vietnam, in 1968. Horror abounds, but if you are looking for heroes in the midst of the horror, you can do a lot worse than hear about the story of Hugh Thompson.

  • EPISODE 32A Anything That Moves (Part 1): The Parallel Stories of Sand Creek and My Lai

    Mar 07 2018

    I’m not going to lie. This is one of the darkest episodes of History on Fire. But there are reasons for this journey into the heart of darkness. The stories of Sand Creek and My Lai offer an opportunity to explore human agency, the choices separating good and evil, and how some individuals can choose to become sources of light even in the most horrible circumstances. In this first part, we will explore the events that in Colorado in the late 1850s and early 1860s led to a dramatic clash between ...more

  • EPISODE 31 Gladiators in Ancient Rome (Part 2): The Spirit of the Gladiator

    Feb 14 2018

    In this episode: how gladiators were both superstars and despised outcasts at the same time, gladiators’ groupies, Marcus Aurelius’ wife taking a bath in gladiator’s blood, Commodus and his 620-0 record in the arena, the clash between Christianity and gladiators, the evolution of MMA in the early 1990s, having your violent cake and eating it too, gladiatorial video games, Titus Pullo’s badassery, Conan’s prayer

  • EPISODE 30 Gladiators in Ancient Rome (Part 1): Are You Not Entertained?

    Feb 01 2018

    Ancient Romans were obsessed with gladiatorial combat. In this two-part series, we time-travel back to get a sense of what the Games (of which gladiatorial combat was the main attraction) were like. In this episode: the origins of gladiators, human sacrifice, Achilles and the Iliad, feeding the dead with blood, who were the gladiators, female gladiators, the ludus, the different types of gladiators, the battles among the damnati, the naumachia, executions and ‘snuff plays’, the venatio, crushed ...more

  • EPISODE 29 I Drink and I Know Things (Where History and Game of Thrones Intersect)

    Jan 18 2018

    In this episode, I am joined by Aziz Al-Doory from The History of Westeros Podcast, and together we discuss some (definitely not all) of the ways in which history has influenced Game of Thrones. In this episode we’ll tackle: The Wall & Hadrian’s Wall, flaying, human sacrifice, feeding enemies to dogs, Agamemnon and Stannis Baratheon, parallels with the Bible, the Dothraki and nomadic steppe peoples, execution by molten gold, the real life examples of the High Sparrow, the walk of shame, the inqu...more

  • EPISODE 28 Jack Johnson (Part 3): Nobody’s Slave

    Jan 04 2018

    By 1900, the federal government had long abandoned Reconstruction, and white supremacy was returning to the South with a vengeance. Jim Crow was in full swing. Segregation was the law of the land. And Fifty years before Jackie Robinson challenged segregation in baseball, there was Jack Johnson. Lynching was a weekly event. Any black man in the South not acting subservient could find himself dangling from a tree. Even African American leaders like Booker T. Washington preached that accepting se...more

  • EPISODE 27 Jack Johnson (Part 2): The Fight

    Dec 07 2017

    In this episode: -Public Enemy Number One -At home in the integrated criminal underworld -Ladies and fast cars -Jack Johnson’s intellectual side -The Great White Hope -Knocking out and befriending Stanley “The Assassin” Ketchel -“I am going into this fight for the sole purpose of proving that a white man is better than a negro.” Jim Jeffries -Why the Governor of California prohibited the fight -Death threats and attempted poisonings -Jack Johnson’s eerie calm under pressure -A ...more

  • EPISODE 26 Jack Johnson (Part 1): Bad To The Bone

    Nov 09 2017

    Back in the day when you could still pay your ticket on the spot in cash, a cop pulled over Jack Johnson for speeding. “Hey boy—said the cop—This is going to cost you $50!”Johnson handed him $100. The cop tried to protest he didn’t have change, but Johnson waved him off. “I will be coming back this same way, and I’ll be driving at the same speed, so I’m just paying you in advance.” “His story is ...more

  • EPISODE 25 Roman History with Mike Duncan

    Oct 12 2017

    Mike Duncan is one of the pioneers of historical podcasting. His “History of Rome” is iconic. And his current “Revolutions” is equally compelling. In this episode, we sit down to chat about Roman history, Rome in cinema, the inevitable comparisons between Ancient Rome and the United States, the factionalism and corruption that brought down the Republic, the connection between ‘The Walking Dead’ + ‘Game of Thron...more

  • EPISODE 24 The Pirate Queen

    Sep 14 2017

    “I never planted wheat and never will, so long as there are other harvests to be reaped with the sword.” —Robert E. Howard (from ‘Beyond the Black River’) “In the rough and violent world of seafaring, mariners could not afford to always abide by the niceties of the law or proper etiquette.” —Robert J Anthony“There is no greater calamity than not knowing what is enough”. —Tao Te Ching At the ...more

  • EPISODE 23 The Conquest of Mexico (Part 4): Tenochtitlan Or Bust

    Aug 17 2017

    “After getting this information, he had the arms, feet, and heads of our unfortunate companions cut off, and sent them round to various towns of our allies and those who had made peace with us, with the message that he did not think one of us would be left alive to return to Texcoco. Then he offered their hearts and blood to his idols.” — Bernal Diaz“Eat the flesh of your brothers, for we are full. You can...more

  • EPISODE 22 The Conquest of Mexico (Part 3): Tenochtitlan Syndrome

    Jul 21 2017

    “And when we saw all those cities and villages built in the water, and other great towns on dry land, and that straight and level causeway leading to Mexico, we were astounded. These great towns and cues and buildings rising from the water, all made of stone, seemed like an enchanted vision from the tale of Amadis. Indeed, some of our soldiers asked whether it was not all a dream. It is not surprising therefore...more

  • EPISODE 21 The Conquest of Mexico (Part 2): The Dogs of War

    Jun 22 2017

    “My advice is not to allow into your house someone who will put you out of it.” —Cuitlahuac“He added that we could look for no help or assistance except from God, for now we had no ships in which to return to Cuba. Therefore we must rely on our own good swords and stout hearts.” — Bernal Diaz “We knew that they had come determined to leave none of us alive except those who were to be sacrificed to the...more

  • EPISODE 20 The Conquest of Mexico (Part 1): People Of The Sun

    May 25 2017

    “We came to serve God and get rich” — Bernal Diaz “Behold this torch which we will light and place between our armies. If you do not make haste and retreat before the torch is burned, you will die. We do not want you as guests.” — Maya warning to the Spaniards in 1518 “Do not lose your soul for the sake of an Indian woman” — Geronimo de Aguilar to Gonzalo GuerreroIn the 1500s, two highly militaristic ...more

  • EPISODE 19 Featuring Dan Carlin

    Apr 28 2017

    "If I can add some nuance and complexity and some context and compassion. If I can get people to think about walking a mile in the other guy's moccasins, or pretend like you want to, I can feel like I'm adding something that is unusual. And it's a little bit shocking and upsetting to me that it is unusual. When people say it's so refreshing, you wonder why it's refreshing to try to see the other person's viewpo...more

  • EPISODE 18 The War for the Black Hills (Part 3): Last Stand

    Mar 31 2017

    "It made my heart bad. After that, I killed my enemies with the hatchet.”— Lakota leader Gall, upon finding out his family had been killed“If we’ve got to die, let’s die here like men."— Lieutenant Luther Hare"We were terribly alone on that dangerous hilltop. We were a million miles from nowhere. And death was all around us.”— Charles Windolph“Only Earth and the Heavens last long, Uncle. If we four can sto...more

  • EPISODE 17 The War for the Black Hills (Part 2): The Long Defeat

    Mar 02 2017

    “…And together through ages of the world we have fought the long defeat.” — J.R.R. Tolkien “I shall have glory by this losing day.” — William Shakespeare“Oyate kin ninpi kta ca lecamu yelo” (“I do this so that the people may live.”) — Lakota song“My mind was occupied mostly by such thoughts as are regularly uppermost in the minds of young men. I was eighteen years old, and I liked girls.” — Wooden Leg...more

  • EPISODE 16 The War for the Black Hills (Part 1): The Heart of Everything That Is

    Jan 19 2017

    “The Black Hills is my land and I love it.And whoever interferes will hear this gun.”— Lakota song“Came to the Hills in 1833… got our gold in 1834. Got all the gold we could carry. Our ponys got by Indians. I have lost my gun and nothing to eat and Indians hunting me.”— Ezra KindTo the Lakota people, the Black Hills of South Dakota were — and still are — "the heart of everything that is." To the Uni...more

  • EPISODE 15 Ted Roosevelt (Part 3): The Man In The Arena

    Dec 18 2016

    “Ladies and gentlemen, I don't know whether you fully understand that I have just been shot, but it takes more than that to kill a Bull Moose.” — Theodore Roosevelt He was the first American to receive a brown belt in Judo. He won the largest percentage of the vote ever by a third-party candidate.He once took a bullet to the chest shot at point blank range, and rather than going to the hospi...more

  • EPISODE 14 Ted Roosevelt (Part 2): The Strenuous Life

    Nov 29 2016

    “The poorest way to face life is to face it with a sneer,” he said. “A cynical habit of thought and speech, a readiness to criticize work which the critic himself never tries to perform, an intellectual aloofness which will not accept contact with life's realities—all these are marks, not ... of superiority but of weakness.” — Theodore Roosevelt He was the first American to receive a brown belt i...more

  • EPISODE 13 Ted Roosevelt (Part 1): The Rough Rider and His Demons

    Oct 19 2016

     “You must still have chaos in yourself to be able to give birth to a dancing star” — Friedrich Nietzsche“History as well as life itself is complicated—neither life nor history is an enterprise for those who seek simplicity and consistency.” — Jared DiamondHe was the first American to receive a brown belt in Judo. He won the largest percentage of the vote ever by a third-party candidate.He once took a bull...more

  • EPISODE 11 Caravaggio (Part 1): Light and Darkness

    Aug 18 2016

    During a visit to a church in Sicily, a priest offered Caravaggio holy water. Caravaggio asked the old priest what it was for. “It will cancel your venial sins, my son,” replied the priest. “Then it’s no use—Caravaggio commented—My sins are all mortal.”Gilles Lambert about Caravaggio and his friends: “They provoked the Papal police, hung around with the many Roman women of easy virtue, drank excessively and frightened the bourgeoi...more

  • EPISODE 10 Crazy Horse (Part 4)

    Jul 10 2016

    “In your presence they feel small, and their baseness glimmers and glows against you with hidden vengeance.”— Friedrich Nietzsche“Let me go, my friend—you have hurt me enough.”— Crazy Horse In this last chapter of the Crazy Horse series, we’ll see Crazy Horse hunting miners in the Black Hills, a Lakota leader shaking hands with one hand while holding his guts in with the other, fighting at Slim Buttes, cutting horse...more

  • EPISODE 9 Crazy Horse (Part 3)

    Jun 15 2016

    “Hold on, my friends! Be strong! Remember the helpless! This is a good day to die!”— Crazy Horse Everything we have seen so far in Crazy Horse’s life was a warm-up. In Episode 9, things really heat up: leadership, a legend in intertribal warfare, a bison apocalypse, Black Buffalo Woman, a bullet in the face, heartbreak sets up home in Crazy Horse’s tepee, drowning pain into an ocean of blood, taking on the Northern Pacific Ra...more

  • EPISODE 8 Crazy Horse (Part 2)

    May 23 2016

    “There were many bullets, but there were more arrows—so many that it was like a cloud of grasshoppers all above and around the soldiers”— Fire ThunderIn Episode 8, we pause the blow by blow narration of Crazy Horse’s life to focus on the larger context: the war between Lakota & Cheyenne and the United States in the mid-1860s. In this episode: things heat up with battles at Platte River Station and Red Buttes, “the yellow metal...more

  • EPISODE 7 Crazy Horse (Part 1)

    May 03 2016

    You Don’t Get to Be a Legend by Being Normal"What good is power if you cannot protect the ones you love?" muses Cersei Lannister in Game of Thrones. I can’t think of a more appropriate question to discuss the life of 19th century Lakota hero Crazy Horse. His undeniable power as a warrior, in fact, didn’t spare him from having tragedy visit him time and time again. Taking place against the backdrop of the Lakota...more

  • EPISODE 6 The Duel

    Mar 14 2016

    On July 11, 1804, the vice-president of the United States (Aaron Burr) and the first Secretary of the Treasury (Alexander Hamilton) decided to settle their grievances by drawing their pistols and trying to shoot each other dead. This is the story of the events leading Burr and Hamilton to stop exchanging words and begin exchanging lead. Also in this episode: the good old days when killing people in a duel was n...more

  • EPISODE 5 The 10,000 (Part 2)

    Jan 25 2016

    In this second and last part of this two-part series, we find out why it is a very bad idea to get on the wrong side of Parysatis, one of the most ruthless queens of the ancient world. We will also run into betrayal, prophetic dreams, epic battles, Xenophon’s rise to leadership, heartbreaking moments, tribal guerrillas in the mountains, poisoned honey, athletic competitions, sweet revenge, and the planting of t...more

  • EPISODE 4 The 10,000 (Part 1)

    Jan 09 2016

    Legendary historian Will Durant has described the subject of this episode as “One of the great adventures in human history”. In the first part of this two-part series, we meet the main characters of our tale, when a band of over 10,000 Greek mercenaries agree to serve under the Persian prince Cyrus the Younger in a fratricidal civil war against Cyrus’ brother, King Artaxerxes II.This episode will also include a...more

  • EPISODE 3 The Iceman

    Nov 30 2015

    This episode focuses on one of the greatest archaeological discoveries of the late 20th century: the oldest, fully preserved human body ever found. The man emerged from the ice in the Alps over 5,000 years after his death. The more archaeologists discovered about him, the more haunting the mystery of his fate became. This is a tale of murder, Neolithic battles, the possibly European origins of acupuncture, the best mountain climbe...more

  • EPISODE 2 The Slave Wars (Part 2: Spartacus)

    Oct 16 2015

    One of the most legendary characters in history comes to visit us in this episode: Spartacus was an auxiliary soldier in the Roman army, a deserter, an outlaw, a gladiator, and the leader of one of the greatest slave rebellions in history. Under his leadership, over 70,000 people defeated the Roman legions multiple times. This episode features mass crucifixions, Dionysian orgies, a master course in guerrilla warfare, walls built w...more

  • Episode 1 The Slave Wars (part 1)

    Sep 10 2015

    In the space of a few decades, three major slave wars threatened the Roman Republic. In this episode, we see how the greed of land speculators, tax collectors and slave owners unleashed an orgy of bloodshed as tens of thousands of escaped slaves went to battle against Rome’s armies. Part I of this story covers the first two of the servile wars, and features political intrigues, fire-breathing Syrian prophets, cannibalism, love struck aristocrats arming their slaves, and heroic mass suicides.Plea...more

  • Episode 0 Introduction to History on Fire Podcast

    Sep 10 2015

    In this quick intro, we explore the guiding philosophy of the podcast, Dan Carlin’s influence, and future plans.Please support our sponsors by shopping for supplements, special foods, clothing, and exercise equipment at www.onnit.com/history and receive a 10% discount. Also, if you are in the market for coffee, please consider doing business at Kimera Koffee and use the code “history” at checkout for a 10% discount.Discounts exclusive to our listeners are also available on hemp gear using t...more