Lord Thomas of Marle, the Wickedest Man of His Generation

Thomas of Marle (1073-1130 A.D.), the Lord of Coucy, was a Medieval French nobleman so evil that the King of France, the Catholic Church, and his own father all tried to destroy him. The era’s chaotic politics gave Thomas the opportunity to rampage across the landscape – and sometimes threw him a lifeline when the consequences […]

The Fall of Caliph Uthman

Uthman was the third caliph: the third religious and political successor to the Prophet Muhammad. Uthman’s rule was contentious, his downfall ugly. It’s a fascinating case study and a terrible tragedy. The last months of his reign saw at least three factions battling for control of his empire, but all the politics was done on […]

Ibn Battuta’s Maldivian Coup Plot

We’ve talked twice before about Ibn Battuta, the medieval Moroccan traveler. This time, we’re going to talk about his adventures in the Maldives, a paradisiacal tropical archipelago south of India. In the Maldives, Ibn Battuta got pressed into service as an Islamic judge, let his bad attitude get him into political trouble, and plotted a […]

The Heretic Vendetta

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Montaillou: The Spy-Infested Anthill Village

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Xuanzang and the Five Border Towers

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The Glass Delusion

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The Court of the Khan

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Emissary to the Mongols

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The Ruins of Ungwana

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Weird Japanese Monsters

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The Heretic and the Pilgrimage of the Dead

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The Hungarian Crown Heist

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The Bishop-Rumors of Notker the Stammerer

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The Holy Crown of Hungary

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