Dan Snow's History Hit

Dan Snow's History Hit

History! The most exciting and important things that have ever happened on the planet. Powerful kings, warrior queens, nomads, empires and expeditions. Historian Dan Snow and his expert guests bring all these stories to life and more in a daily dose of history. Join Dan as he digs into the past to make sense of the headlines and get up close to the biggest discoveries being made around the world today, as they happen. If you want to get in touch with the podcast, you can email us at ds.hh@historyhit.com, we'd love to hear from you! Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.


October 2, 2023 23 mins

The Lion House is a riveting new book from journalist and historian Christopher De Bellaigue, written like a novel that tells the dramatic story of Suleyman the Magnificent and his power and influence over 16th-century Europe. In this episode recorded at the Chalke Valley History festival during the summer of 2022, Christopher talks Dan through what was happening at the opposite end of Europe to Henry VIII and the Holy Roman Empero...

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Dan tells the extraordinary tale of Captain James Cook. Born a labourer's son, he would rise to become one of history's greatest explorers. He went about as far as it was possible to go, sailing the Pacific Ocean and arriving on the shores of Australia and New Zealand.

For these voyages, he assembled an A-Team of maritime explorers - marines, scientists, and a Polynesian explorer who had memorised the constellations of the stars...

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September 27, 2023 33 mins

What did it take to become a Roman emperor? Pliny the Elder wrote that a ruler should be generous, victorious in battle and a father to his people. But how many emperors were able to live up to these expectations? And were these really traits that the typical Roman cared about?

Dan is joined by the acclaimed scholar of Ancient Rome, Mary Beard, author of Emperor of Rome: Ruling the Ancient World. Mary explains how the system of ...

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September 26, 2023 57 mins

In March 1582, a number of women from the small Essex village of St Osyth were hanged for the crime of witchcraft. Several others, including one man, died in prison, in what was a shocking and highly localised witch-hunt. 

In this edition of Not Just the Tudors, Professor Suzannah Lipscomb talks to Professor Marion Gibson, who offers revelatory new insights into the personal histories of those who were denied the chance to ...

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September 25, 2023 47 mins

On the 4th of June 1942, the US Navy took on the might of Japan's Imperial Navy in the battle of Midway. It was America's Trafalgar! At the end of the fighting devastating losses had been inflicted on the Japanese and the entire strategic position in the Pacific was upended in favour of the Allies. Never again would Japan be able to project power across the ocean as it had done at Pearl Harbour. In this explainer episode, Dan takes...

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September 24, 2023 27 mins

It's the 13th of December, 1642, and Parliamentarian soldiers have just stormed the city of Winchester. They burst into the city's grand cathedral on horseback, and begin tearing it apart. The soldiers smash windows, burn tables and tapestries and steal anything of value. Stashed away in ornate wooden chests, they stumble across something unique - inside are the sanctified bones of English kings and queens, diligently collected ove...

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September 20, 2023 45 mins

This is the story of Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn as you've never heard it before. From their childhoods and courtship through to their union and Anne's brutal execution, we'll peel back layers of historical myth to find out how this marriage changed England forever.

Dan is joined by the Tudor historians John and Julia guy, authors of Hunting the Falcon: Henry VIII, Anne Boleyn and the Marriage That Shook Europe, to examine one of...

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September 19, 2023 42 mins

Thomas Jefferson was the principal author of the Declaration of Independence, so how did it work out when he became the leader of this nation that he was so instrumental in founding?

For the third episode in American History Hit's special series about the Presidents, we're exploring Jefferson's presidency. What challenges did he face during his time as President, and how did he mould the early years of the nation?

Don is join...

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Dan explores his great-grandfather's part in the First World War. Lieutenant-General Thomas Snow was a senior officer in the British Army who commanded troops on the first day of the Somme. It was a disaster; thousands of men died for almost no strategic gains, and his legacy would be tarnished forever. But Snow's record is more complicated than that, having proved himself a competent defensive commander earlier in the conflict. So...

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September 17, 2023 40 mins

The popes of Rome emerged from the humblest of beginnings. The first was a fisherman, charged with spreading the word of God under the watchful eye of a pagan Roman Empire. But just a few centuries later, the papacy had flourished into one of the wealthiest, most powerful institutions on the planet. Surviving the rise and fall of great empires, including that of Rome, the Vicars of Christ became crucial arbitrators on the world sta...

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It’s one of the most dramatic stories you might never have heard. Featuring a seaborne assassination, a vengeful manhunt and London Bridge in flames, the rebellion of Jack Cade in 1450 shook the English Crown to its very core and lit the spark that began the Wars of the Roses.

In today’s episode of Gone Medieval Matt responds to a listener suggestion from Brett Fancy, unpacking and explaining how Cade went from an ordinary man t...

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September 12, 2023 27 mins

In the spring of 1782, it wasn't the American Revolutionary War that had Londoners worried. The city and nearby countryside had been covered in ominous, mysterious webs, filled with untold numbers of caterpillars and their eggs. The city responded with panic, and rumours of plague and pestilence spread like wildfire. It seems far-fetched that an insect like the brown-tail moth could begin a citywide crisis; so why were Londoners so...

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September 11, 2023 39 mins

Few organisations in history have names as loaded with legend as the Knights Templar. Western culture is infused with the mythology of these pious warrior monks, who wielded magic and went on quests for legendary treasures. In reality, it was an elite fighting force that became a Middle Ages military and financial powerhouse. Its members moved in the same circles as kings and popes, their influence spanning from Portugal to the Riv...

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September 10, 2023 39 mins

What would it be like to discover that your grandfather was a Nazi? For decades, generations of Germans have been grappling with the legacies of relatives who were part of the Third Reich. These legacies inspire feelings of tremendous guilt but also present an opportunity to acknowledge and learn from the past. So why is it so important to address these stories head-on? And how can they be useful for later generations?

On today'...

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September 8, 2023 33 mins

In 1848, Europe was wracked by a series of revolutions that turned the established political order on its head. Across the continent populations erupted in revolt, and the shockwaves of these revolutions rippled across the globe. But these uprisings hold a strange place in European history - did they succeed, or fail? And why are they not better understood in the European consciousness?

On today's episode, Dan is joined by Chris...

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September 6, 2023 50 mins

One of the new Seven Wonders of the World, Chichen Itza is home to monumental pyramids, temples, and is a treasure trove of archaeological findings. Built in the early 5th century by the Maya, it has provided invaluable insight into Maya civilisation; from discoveries of sporting arenas to ancient feathered serpents, it's allowed an image of Mayan daily life to be created. But what specifically does Chichen Itza tell us about Mayan...

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September 5, 2023 27 mins

You may have heard the many myths about the life and exploits of Marco Polo- was he really the one who brought ice cream and spaghetti from his travels on the Silk Road from the court of Kublai Khan, where he served as a diplomat? Almost as soon as he wrote his memoir, people doubted the wild stories of his travels across Europe and Asia.

His life and myth are unravelled on today's podcast with Laurence Bergreen, historian and a...

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September 4, 2023 23 mins

Rome has attracted aspiring conquerors and leaders for millennia, not just as a great metropolis, but as an idea. It has long been a symbol of military might and universal power, defined by political and religious authority as well as great feats of engineering that would leave indelible marks on the regions it conquered, and overshadow empire builders for centuries to come. Dan is joined by Simon Elliott, a historian, archaeologis...

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September 3, 2023 50 mins

Join Dan as he rollicks through the tumultuous life and rise to power of Henry Tudor, the man who would ultimately become King Henry VII of England. Step back to the late 15th century, a period marked by conflict, political manoeuvring and alliances as a young Henry Tudor, having spent much of his early life hiding out in France, honed his political skills and formed alliances, eventually rising from obscurity to challenge the migh...

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August 30, 2023 29 mins

In 1974, a pioneer of the SAS and master of military deception, Dudley Clarke, passed away. His death went almost entirely unnoticed by the British public, despite the fact that he carried out some of the most dramatic deception campaigns of World War Two. He waged a covert war of trickery and misdirection across Europe, which ended up getting him arrested by Spanish authorities while dressed as a woman. He also helped to found one...

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