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Pop Medieval

Education Podcasts

Your brave hosts Dr. Richard Scott Nokes and his Top Minion, Nina MacNamara, seek knowledge, adventure, and fun as they tackle everyone's least favorite college subject but everyone's favorite period in movies: the dark ages! They'll go on treasure hunts, talk the Black Death, and slay a few monsters (and their mothers) on their way. Get ready to have fun and learn something at the same time!

Your brave hosts Dr. Richard Scott Nokes and his Top Minion, Nina MacNamara, seek knowledge, adventure, and fun as they tackle everyone's least favorite college subject but everyone's favorite period in movies: the dark ages! They'll go on treasure hunts, talk the Black Death, and slay a few monsters (and their mothers) on their way. Get ready to have fun and learn something at the same time!


United States


Your brave hosts Dr. Richard Scott Nokes and his Top Minion, Nina MacNamara, seek knowledge, adventure, and fun as they tackle everyone's least favorite college subject but everyone's favorite period in movies: the dark ages! They'll go on treasure hunts, talk the Black Death, and slay a few monsters (and their mothers) on their way. Get ready to have fun and learn something at the same time!




Pop Medieval Ep 34: He’s Green with Envy and Murder

Welcome back to Pop Medieval! We're kicking off season 3 with a classic: the poem "Sir Gawain and the Green Knight" in anticipation of the new film, "The Green Knight." Topics of discussion: Morality, games, irony, Gawain's shield, and how this poem leads to fist fights at medieval conferences. Recommendations: "Sir Gawain" translation by Tolkien: (https://www.amazon.com/Gawain-Green-Knight-Pearl-Orfeo/dp/0345277600) "Sir Gawain" translation by Simon Armitage:...


Pop Medieval Ep 33: There’s Always a Prophecy

It's the Pop Medieval second season finale! In the final episode before their summer break, Doc and Nina talk about the Cathars, a 14th century (heretical) off-shoot of the Catholic church, and the prophecy of the last Cathar Perfect. This year marks the predicted 700th year of the Perfect's return, and Doc and Nina dissect that prediction. Skeptical, Nina runs through other predictions that did not come to fruition -- whether the laurel turned green or not. Recommendations Doc's Summer...


Pop Medieval Episode 32: In Mother Russia…They Include Tom Bombadil

We lost our minds earlier this month when Russia's 5TV uploaded a two-part Soviet television adaptation of The Lord of the Rings. This performance, once believed lost to time by scholars who knew of its existence, comes from 1991, at the tail-end of the Soviet Union. Now, both parts are up on YouTube for the world to watch. It's time to pack a thermos of borscht and set forth on an adventure toward Mount Doom on a mission of perestroika! Doc and Nina discuss the performance as both a scholar...


Pop Medieval Minisode 3: Don’t Plagiarize

SPRANG BREAK FOREVER (or at least for this week)! Fresh episodes are coming up in a couple of weeks, so we'll leave you with a Minisode. Today, Nina talks about a dumb memory from her days as Doc's Medieval office minion. Have a recommendation for us? Send Doc and Nina and email at podcast at profawesome dot com!


Pop Medieval Ep 31: Mansa Musa Inflates the Market, Pants

Doc and Nina head to the continent of Africa in this episode to discus the Medieval Malian king, Mansa Musa, known as the richest man who ever existed! Mansa Musa (or Musa I), caused quite a stir during his hajj with his generosity. In his efforts to show off and show out, he wound up inflating the economy of Cairo on his way to Mecca. But don't worry -- all worked out in the end! Recommendations...


Pop Medieval Ep 30: Bardcore and Uncut

Doc and Nina discuss the musical genre known as bardcore - wherein popular songs undergo the "medieval" treatment. Doc will also explain the difference between bardcore and filking and what both have to do with geek culture. Then, they'll discuss the importance of Hildegard von Bingen, one of the most important figures in the Roman Catholic church, and Sacred Monophony. Plus, Nina will give her unfiltered opinion on improv. Recommendations Ordo Virtutum as performed by the Saint John’s...


Pop Medieval Ep 29: Sutton Who?

Inspired by the new Netflix original, "The Dig," Doc and Nina discuss the Sutton Hoo archeological dig, the largest medieval find in England and, arguably, the most important! Then, Doc will give a mini history lesson on the Tomb of Childric I and the case of the stolen bees. Show Notes Be sure to check out our episode on the Staffordshire Hoard (https://www.profawesome.com/podcast/pop-medieval-the-staffordshire-hoard/) National Trust Site:...


Pop Medieval Ep 28: Alas, Poor Ophelia

Doc and Nina answer some listener mail in this episode! Today, they are discussing William Shakespeare's mad Danish Prince, Hamlet. In particular, they look at the repercussions of his hackneyed plot to avenge his father's death on Ophelia, his betrothed. Doc reveals the 12th century source for Hamlet - Saxo Grammaticus’s "Gesta Danorum"(simply, "Deeds of the Danes") in which Amleth tells his lady love his plot to avenge his father's death without the need to gaslight her into insanity. Show...


Pop Medieval Ep 27: Watch Your F*cking Mouth

In an episode that surely not going to get them into trouble, Doc and Nina discuss the Netflix show "History of Swear Words" and what it missed. Doc talks taboos and euphemisms plus the pejoration and amelioration of words over the centuries. In between educational lessons, Nina will reveal her favorite swear word, school Doc on the Wu-Tang Clan, and drop some wise (but foul) parting knowledge on the audience. Warning: because it is impossible to talk about the subject matter without both...


Pop Medieval Ep 26: Seven Medieval Words…A Sick Return!

We're bringing it back, folks! It's time to play Seven Medieval Words and this time, it's pandemic themed! That's right, Doc has seven Old English words and Nina has to guess their modern English translation. Last time they played, her score was a humiliating 1/7. Think she can do better this time? As always, Pop Medievalists are invited to play along too! Can you can get the full seven? The words are: laecehus, adl, onflyge, grima, lacnung, angbreost, hraecca Recommendations Pandemic! the...


Pop Medieval Minisode 2: Sir Orrin is Gross

Doc and Nina are taking a holiday break! So for this Minisode, they're releasing unheard content from episode 23 "Thar Be Dragons" about everyone's favorite stuffy, ridiculous, and historically inaccurate bastion of knightly chivalry, Sir Orrin and his uncomfortable fascination with an underage Melisande. If you need some context, go back and listen to their episode on "The Flight of Dragons" https://www.profawesome.com/podcast/pop-medieval-ep-23-thar-be-dragons/ Have a recommendation for...


Pop Medieval Ep 25: Good King Wences…whatever

In their Christmas episode, Doc explains the bizarre Medieval history of the carol, "Good King Wenceslas," beginning with the pronunciation (which Nina bungles several times during this episode). They'll discuss the confusing difference between the two Wenceslases (Wenceslii?), the real-life martyrdom of the correct Wenceslas, some fratricide, and the legend of Blanik Mountain. Plus, Nina successfully makes a connection between King Wenceslas and "The Lord of the Rings." You can hear the...


Pop Medieval Ep 24: The Dark Lord Rises

Doc and Nina finish up Movember 2020 with a unicorn stinker: 1985's "Legend" with Tom Cruise, Mia Sara, and Tim effing Curry! Sorry folks, they know you loved this as a kid, but this did NOT hold up! They'll talk about innocence and unicorns, the Biblical imagery and the Garden of Eden, Jack's medieval armor, and more about the 1980's Satanic Panic. For an added bonus, Doc and Nina will debate the existence of the Lord of Darkness' father -- was he God? Invisible? A chair?! Are they giving...


Pop Medieval Ep 23: Thar Be Dragons!

Mo-vember continues (but with some more family friendly counter-programing this time)! This episode, Doc and Nina offer up 1982's "The Flight of Dragons," a Rankin/Bass animated medieval-fantasy adventure and one of Nina's childhood favorites. Dragons, magic, celebrity voice acting, and theological debates - this is some heavy stuff for a children's movie, folks, but somehow it still works! Also in this episode, Doc and Nina discuss what dragons represent in medieval history; the movie's...


Pop Medieval Ep 22: Can You Explain the Penis Tree?

Mo-vember is back! This year, we're starting off with two Decameron-themed sex comedies. First, Doc and Nina discuss 2007's Virgin Territory starring Hayden Christensen and Mischa Barton. They'll go over this movie's costume choices, the naked and horned-up nuns, and Tim Roth's decision to play this movie as straight as possible. This one's got Nina fired up and angry folks, so prepare for a rant! Then, they'll finish up with a better movie, 2017's The Little Hours. This movie, while also...


Pop Medieval Ep 21: HOWL-oween!

It's spooky season, folks! In this episode, Doc tells Nina about the medieval origins of werewolves! They'll discuss some different types of werewolf myths, what werewolves represent in pop culture, and why vampires are favored over their hairier counterparts. Then, Nina recommends some movies with truly frightening werewolf transformation scenes. Recommendations: An American Werewolf in London (https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0082010/) The Company of Wolves...


Pop Medieval Ep 20: That Time Doc Had a Questionable Following

In the mid-aughts, director Scott Wegener cast a black actor in the title role of his zero-budget movie, "Beowulf: Prince of the Geats." That attracted the attention of some Unpleasant Sorts. After hearing about the controversy, Doc published a very academic article (he is, after all, an academic) in a very academic journal about the experience. That ALSO attracted the attention of the same Unpleasant Sorts. In fact, they started showing up to his talks... Don't ever assume being Doc's...


Pop Medieval Ep 19: Beowulf Dragon Slayer

Doc takes Nina back to the 1970's with the DC comic book, Beowulf Dragon Slayer. It's a limited series run about the titular Medieval hero who fights Grendel and his mother, but that's where the similarities end. *Stefon voice*: It. Has. Everything! Greek mythology! Alien space craft! Dracula! Satan! All in six issues! This is a weird one, folks. But trust us -- it's interesting! A summary of the series is on Doc's old blog, "Unlocked Wordhoard":...


Pop Medieval Ep 18: Abelard Cuts Ties with Heloise

In this episode, Doc breaches a subject that is so uncomfortable, so provocative that it raises eyebrows and makes his students squirm every year in class: the relationship between philosopher/theologian Abelard and scholar/prioress Heloise. He'll discuss Abelard's life as a travelling, rabble-rousing scholar, his torrid affair and secret marriage to his student Heloise, and the, uh, painful aftermath of their union. Then, Nina asks about the problems of secret marriages, brings up criticism...


Pop Medieval Ep 17: What We Did Over Our Summer Break

Welcome to season 2 of Pop Medieval! Doc and Nina return with a bevy of updates from their summer break. First, Nina stepped into the feudal Middle Eastern future with Frank Herbert's "Dune" before settling down with Netflix's "The Old Guard" and a few episodes of "The Witcher". Then Doc tried to improve his understanding of medieval T'ang Dynasty poetry and resurrected an old favorite tabletop: Dungeons and Dragons! Recommendations TedEd - Why should you read “Dune” by Frank Herbert:...