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.
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 of Soviet/post-Soviet History and a defender of the performing arts (respectively). They’ll start off by giving the low production value a context, work their way through the mournful Russian folk music, puzzle about the frigid weather in the Shire, and, of course, discuss Tom Bombadil. Nina is on a quest for Soviet propaganda and Doc will also answer the question: is The Lord of the Rings an allegory for WWII? Warning: bad Russian accents and worse Soviet jokes lie within.
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!
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.
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.
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.
Holinshed’s Chronicles of England, Scotland, and Ireland (1587)
Saxo Grammaticus’s Gesta Danorum (Deeds of the Danes)