Some of them won’t let you stop laughing

Photo by Mohammad Metri on Unsplash

Do you want to learn more about history and culture but in a fun way? Then you need to discover the amazing world of podcasts! Here, I present my favourite nine podcasts about history and culture (I will admit, many are about mythology) so you can get inspired and start having fun while learning something new.

#1. Sweetbitter

A pact with the devil, love, and intrigue from the Medieval Iberian world

Dama Pé de Cabra. Source: Fronteiras do Desconhecido

In a mythical past of the land of Biscaia (a province in present-day Basque Country, Spain), there was a lord who fell in love with a beautiful lady… But she wasn’t just a lady. She was either a magical being or a demon, depending on who you ask. This is their story.

The basic and the Lady’s backstory that I describe are taken from Alexandre Herculano’s version of the tale and not from the medieval manuscripts, presenting some variations. Herculano based his tale, A Dama Pé de Cabra: Rimance de um Jogral (Século XI) (The Lady Goat’s Foot: A Minstrel…

We are more than our qualifications

Photo by CoWomen on Unsplash

As a student at the final leg of her master’s degree (a.k.a. dissertation station) and with no relevant job experience, I find myself at a crossroads: How on Earth am I going to get a job? This made me reflect on what people think of me when they see my CV. What is going through all of those recruiters’ heads when a random Ana appears on their candidate list?

Well, unfortunately, your guess is as good as mine! However, there is one thing that is certain: that one-page document will never be an accurate portrayal of me. Why? …

Fealty rings from the Middle Ages

A fede gimmel ring from the British Museum’s collection from the 16th/17th century. Source: The British Museum

We are all familiar with the tradition of the wedding ring, even if it’s not directly part of our culture. This symbol has permeated society for centuries and has some very interesting origins. Today, I would like to focus on the concept of fealty rings.

You can find wedding rings in ancient traditions like those of the Egyptians, the Romans, and the Greeks. The circle shape of the ring goes back to the meaning of the ouroboros (the serpent that eats its own tail), no beginning and no end, eternity. …

How the refusal to accept religious freedom led to the loss of thousands of innocent lives

“A Expulsão dos Judeus” (The Expulsion of the Jews), by Roque Gameiro (Quadros da História de Portugal, 1917). Source: Wikimedia

In 1492, the Reyes Católicos (Catholic Kings) of Spain, Fernando II of Aragon and Isabel I of Castile — you may know them as the famous parents of Catalina de Aragón y Castilla, or Catherine of Aragon, first wife to King Henry VIII of England — broke away from a tradition of religious tolerance in the kingdoms of León and Castile. In an edit of 31st March of the same year, the Jews in their kingdoms were forced to either convert to Catholicism or being forced to leave their homes. They had four months to do so.

The Iberian Kingdoms and the Jews

When talking about…

Big Data, Privacy, and Surveillance Capitalism

Photo by Christin Hume on Unsplash

We currently find ourselves in a time in which we have witnessed a deep change in the way people communicate, work and relate with the world. In the midst of a worldwide pandemic, many people have to blend their professional lives with their personal lives, bringing their work home. …

The haunting tale of the Cadaver Synod

The Cadaver Synod as portrayed by Jean-Paul Laurens in 1870. Public Domain. Source: Wikipedia

Have you ever wanted to put a dead person you hate on trial? Well, one pope in the 9th century actually managed to hold a trial for an already dead pope! Yes, pope against pope, one living, one dead. This is what happened in the Synod Horrenda, commonly known as the Cadaver Synod.

Today, we see the pope as a friendly figure, a man who stands for principles of liberty, justice, and humanity. However, this wasn’t the case with the popes of about 1100 years ago. At that time, the papacy as marred by corruption and greed, being dominated by…

A small introduction to the first stages of the expansion of Islam

Early 19th-century manuscript showing the Muslim army marching into Mecca and the subsequent smashing of its idols. Public Domain: Wikipedia

In the first centuries since its inception, Islam was able to conquer and dominate a vast amount of territory. Its rapid spread was mainly due to the fact that its main antagonistic forces were weakened by wars amongst themselves, as well as civil unrest while Islam maintained a united front. The Sassanid Persian Empire and the Byzantine Roman Empire had been not only constantly at war with each other for the previous four centuries, with short periods of peace, as well as been fighting other foreign invaders. That continuous state of war affected not only the resources of both empires…

The extermination of one of the most prominent Portuguese noble families of the 18th century

The attempted regicide of King Joseph I of Portugal, in 1758. Francisco Vieira de Matos
1759–1760. Source: Museu de Lisboa (Public Domain)

The Távora Affair, known in Portuguese as the Processo dos Távoras is one of the most shocking episodes in the Portuguese history of recent centuries. This 18th-century extermination of one of the most prominent families in the Portuguese Kingdom was a shocking, horrid event, even in today’s point of view.

It all started after the assassination attempt of King José I in 1758…

The Beginning

After the devastating earthquake and seaquake of 1755, in Lisbon, the Portuguese king, D. José I, settled his court in an elaborate complex of tents located in the Ajuda region of the capital — don’t be fooled…

When John of Gaunt called on twelve Portuguese knights to defend the honour of twelve Lancastrian ladies

Jaime Martins Barata, “Torneio dos Doze de Inglaterra” in the wall of the Palácio de Justiça de Seia (1966), Portugal. Source:

In one of the most iconic pieces of Portuguese literature, Lusíadas (1572), the poet Luís de Camões mentions in passing an episode that occurred between the English and the Portuguese kingdom. With one of the oldest alliances in the world, both nations have held trade and diplomatic relations for a very long time (as is proven by the love the British hold for Port, known — and produced only — in Portugal as Vinho do Porto).

Today, I will discuss the tale of the Os Doze de Inglaterra (“The Twelve of England”), a medieval Anglo-Portuguese story of the late fourteenth…

Ana Esteves

Passionate reader and writer with a profound interest in history and literature. B.A. in Languages, Literature and Culture; current M.A. Communication student.

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