In Our Time
In Our Time: Josephus05/21/15
Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss Flavius Josephus, author of The Jewish War.
IOT: Josephus 21 May 15
Josephus was a 1st-century AD Jewish historian who was born in Roman Judea. It is said that, in Britain from the 18th century, copies of Josephus' works were as well read as The Bible. Christians valued "The Antiquities of the Jews" in particular, for...
IOT: The Lancashire Cotton Famine 14 May 15
The Cotton Famine in Lancashire from 1861-65 followed the blockade of Confederate Southern ports during the American Civil War which stopped the flow of cotton into mills in Britain. Reports at the time told of starvation, mass unemployment and...
IOT: Tagore 07 May 15
Rabindranath Tagore was the first non-European to win a Nobel Prize for Literature. He has been called one of the outstanding thinkers of the 20th century and the greatest poet India has ever produced. A key figure in Indian nationalism, Tagore became...
IOT: The Earth's Core 30 Apr 15
The Earth's inner core is an extremely dense, solid ball of iron and nickel, while the outer core is a flowing liquid. Life on Earth is possible thanks to the magnetic fields produced by the core which protect the Earth from dangerous cosmic rays from...
IOT: Fanny Burney 23 Apr 15
Fanny Burney, who was also known as Madame D'Arblay and Frances Burney, was one of the leading novelists, playwrights and diarists of the 18th-century. Her first novel, Evelina, was published anonymously and caused a sensation, attracting the...
IOT: Matteo Ricci and the Ming Dynasty 16 Apr 15
Matteo Ricci was a Jesuit priest who led a Christian mission to China in the 16th century. An accomplished scholar, Ricci travelled extensively and came into contact with senior officials of the Ming Dynasty administration. His story is one of the...
IOT: Sappho 09 Apr 15
The Greek poet Sappho was born in the late 7th century BC and spent much of her life on the island of Lesbos. In antiquity she was famed as one of the greatest lyric poets, but the bulk of her work was lost to posterity. The fragments that do survive,...
IOT: The California Gold Rush 02 Apr 15
The California Gold Rush began after the discovery of gold in 1848 at Coloma, near Sacramento. The following year there was a massive influx of prospectors seeking to make their fortunes. By 1851 the tiny settlement of San Francisco had become a major...
IOT: The Curies 26 Mar 15
The scientific achievements of the Curie family were numerous. In 1903 Marie and Pierre Curie shared a Nobel Prize in Physics with Henri Becquerel for their work on radioactivity, a term which Marie coined. Marie went on to win a Nobel in Chemistry...
IOT: Al-Ghazali 19 Mar 15
Al-Ghazali was a major philosopher and theologian of the late 11th century. Born in Persia, he was one of the most prominent intellectuals of his age, working in such centres of learning as Baghdad, Damascus and Jerusalem. He is now seen as a key...
IOT: Dark Matter 12 Mar 15
Dark matter is the mysterious and invisible substance which is believed to make up most of the Universe. In the 1930s scientists noticed that the speed at which galaxies moved was at odds with the amount of material they appeared to contain. They...
IOT: Beowulf 05 Mar 15
Beowulf is one of the masterpieces of Anglo-Saxon literature. Composed in the early Middle Ages by an anonymous poet, the work tells the story of a Scandinavian hero whose feats include battles with the fearsome monster Grendel and a fire-breathing...
IOT: The Eunuch 26 Feb 15
Eunuchs, castrated men, were a common feature of many civilisations for at least three thousand years, often employed as servants in royal households in the ancient Middle East, China and classical antiquity. In some civilisations they were used as...
IOT: The Wealth of Nations 19 Feb 15
Adam Smith was one of Scotland's greatest thinkers, a moral philosopher and pioneer of economic theory whose 1776 masterpiece The Wealth of Nations has come to define classical economics. With Richard Whatmore, Professor of Modern History and Director...
IOT: The Photon 12 Feb 15
The photon is one of the most enigmatic objects in the Universe. In the late nineteenth century it seemed clear that light was an electromagnetic wave. But today scientists accept that light can behave both as a wave and a particle, the latter known...
IOT: Ashoka the Great 05 Feb 15
Melvyn Bragg and his guests discuss the Indian Emperor Ashoka. Active in the 3rd century BC, Ashoka conquered almost all of the landmass covered by modern-day India, creating the largest empire South Asia had ever known. With Jessica Frazier, Naomi...
IOT: Thucydides 29 Jan 15
Melvyn Bragg and his guests discuss the ancient Greek historian Thucydides, author of The History of the Peloponnesian War. With Paul Cartledge, Emeritus Professor of Greek Culture and AG Leventis Senior Research Fellow at Clare College, Cambridge;...
IOT: Phenomenology 22 Jan 15
Phenomenology is a style of philosophy developed by the German thinker Edmund Husserl in the first decades of the 20th century. Husserl's initial insights underwent a radical transformation in the work of Martin Heidegger, and played a key role in the...
IOT: Bruegel 15 Jan 15
Pieter Bruegel the Elder's painting of 1559, 'The Fight Between Carnival and Lent', was created in Antwerp at a time of religious tension between Catholics and Protestants. It is rich in detail but Bruegel is notoriously difficult to interpret. His...
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