O Brother When Art Thou History Podcast

Brothers Neil and David White explore some of the quirky, fun and downright strange people, places and events from history

As a mob of mercenaries loots the Holy See, 42 Swiss Guardsmen, all that remains of the 500 who started in the fight, fortify themselves on the steps of the Vatican, to make one desperate last stand to fulfill their holy mission and defend the Pope at all costs.

160 years ago on May 12th 1862, in the midst of the American Civil War, a small Confederate boat, captained by a mysterious man in a straw hat, runs up the white flag and surrenders to the US Navy. Is it all too good to be true or could it be some true good news?

After gaining his personal freedom, a former slave faces an even greater challenge when a powerful empire threatens to take away the freedom of his entire country if he cannot find a way to win a complicated war and the game of politics. 

After failing a very difficult exam, a young man in China falls into a fever dream. He soon realizes the meaning of his dream, that he is the younger brother of Jesus Christ, destined to create a heavenly kingdom on Earth. His gospel will soon change forever the course of Chinese history, and cause ripple effects around the world.

In 1506, a child is born pre-maturely to the Queen of Hungary. Miraculously, Louis II survives, and grows up to ascend to the throne at just 10 years old. By his teens however, the two empires on Hungary’s doorstep are looking to seize his kingdom, and it will take another miracle if the young king wants to hold onto his birthright.

In the late 1800s, a young man calling himself Lord Gordon Gordon arrives in New York City, and sets out to make his fortune. Claiming connections to wealthy Scottish railroad investors, he gets his hands on millions of dollars from a powerful American stock market speculator. But when politics come into play, things get complicated. Plus we have a new pop culture history quiz about Disney princesses!

No, not that kind of filibuster! In the mid-1800s journalist William Walker makes a habit of invading Latin American countries to try and make his fortune, a strategy known as a “filibustering”. But can this undoubtedly illegal enterprise pay off for the American adventurer?

In 1950 an obscure American Senator announces that he knows the names of 205 Soviet spies in the US State Department. Over the next five years, Senator Joe McCarthy would gain the fame he sought as he investigated “un-American activities” but at what cost?

In 89 BCE, 1-year-old Publius Ventidius Bassus is marched through the streets of Rome, a slave captured by the victorious Roman army. 31 years later, he is recruited into that same Roman army, and begins a precipitous rise to the very top of the Roman political order.

An oddball group of soldiers and rebels are assembled on a small island in the Adriatic Sea to bolster the brave Yugoslavian resistance in their fight against Axis Germany.

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