The History of Exploration

A podcast detailing the history of exploration from the early classical explorers to modern times.
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The History of Exploration


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May 5, 2017

In this episode, we look at the life of historian Polybius, a mediocre explorer who nonetheless, by virtue of being in the right place at the right time, stood at a pivotal moment in the history of exploration, becoming responsible for uniting the exploratory traditions of the Eastern and Western Mediterranean, putting both at the service of the expanding Roman state. 


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Feb 25, 2017

In this episode, we take a short step back in time and look at the invention of the academic discipline of geography by Eratosthenes of Cyrene, and the effects which a more ordered understanding of the world had on ancient Mediterranean perceptions of it. 


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Jan 7, 2017

In this episode, we take a look at the fascinating life and adventures of Eudoxus of Cyzicus, one of the most colourful figures of the ancient world, and attempt to disentangle fact from fiction where possible. 


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Nov 21, 2016

In this episode, we look at the first decades of Hellenistic exploration in the North, South and West of the Mediterranean, from the northern Caspian sea to south Sudan. We revisit a few previously-mentioned locations, witness the precursors to the true establishment of the discipline of geography, and begin to envisage the idea that it might actually be possible to circumnavigate Africa (Libya)...

Oct 16, 2016

In this episode, we look at the brief and abortive Greek attempts to explore and circumnavitage the Arabian coast, with a particular focus on the island of Tylos, its wonderful flora, and its mysterious people. 

Sep 12, 2016

In this last part of our 4-part series looking at Nearchus' adventures in India and the Indian Ocean, we follow the navigator and his fleet along the coast of Gedrosia as he meets with near-disaster on more than one occasion, and finally arrives to meet Alexander in Hoermozia, along the strait of Hormuz. 

Aug 1, 2016

In this episode, we follow Nearchus and his fleet as they brave the Southeastern monsoon and cope with dwindling water reserves to make their way through the Indus River delta and into the Indian ocean, where they rendezvous with Leonnatus. We also see the fleet encounter a previously unknown people, who the Greeks  call the "fish eaters."

Jul 3, 2016

In this second part covering Alexander and Nearchus' travels into India, we follow Alexander's army and fleet as it sails down the Indus' tributaries to finally reach the great river itself, sweeping aside all opposition in its path. In addition, we introduce Alexander's idiosyncratic pilot, Onesicritus.

Jun 5, 2016

In this episode, I introduce Nearchus' early life and voyage with Alexander's troops into India, and look at the various exchanges which took place between the Meditteranean world and the Indian subcontinent as a result of Alexander's military forays. The episode ends with Alexander agreeing to his troops' demands to return to Macedon, and his appointment of Nearchus as admiral to lead a fleet down the Indian ocean and back into Mesopotamia. 

May 7, 2016

In this episode, we follow the second half of Pytheas' journey as he travels along the western coast of Britain to the far north, where he reports seeing the midnight sun and the congealed sea. We then conclude with an examination of Pytheas' legacy, and the unfortunate vilification which he experienced at the hands of some historians. 

Apr 17, 2016

In this episode, we follow the first part of Pytheas the Massaliot's travels to the little-known northern regions of Europe, as he reaches first the peninsula of Brittany, and then, the southern coast of Cornwall. 

Mar 30, 2016

In this episode, we explore the thrilling and terrifying journey of the Carthaginian explorer Hanno the Navigator south along the coast of West Africa, and examine the indirect way in which the details about his voyage have come down to us. 

Mar 15, 2016

We begin in 500 BCE in order to set the stage for the coming voyages of the early Mediterranean explorers, as well as take a look at Necho II's reported expedition to circumnavigate Africa. 

Mar 14, 2016

I introduce the podcast and the ways in which I will look at exploration throughout history. I also lay out some of the ways in which you can contact me to share your thoughts on improving the podcast.