That Shakespeare Life

A weekly History, Arts and Books podcast
Good podcast? Give it some love!

Episodes of That Shakespeare Life

This week is Part 2 in our 2 part series on John Harington, the man who invented the first flush toilet in England. Our guest, Bob Cromwell, is back again this week to take us back to 16th century England and explore the exciting life of John H
According to an article on the Victoria and Albert Museum website, puppetry as an art form in Britain can be traced back over 600 years, with the first recorded puppet theater performance in London happening around 1600, when William Shakespear
In Henry IV Part II, Shakespeare writes the earliest known reference to a Galloway Nag when Pistol he says “Know we not Galloway Nags?” That comes from Act II Scene 4. If you are not a 16th century Scotsman, however, the assumption that you kno
Walking across London Bridge seems like a merry trip for many, or perhaps even a dismissable part of the daily commute if you live in London today, and while travel across the bridge was a normal occurrence for William Shakespeare, as well, wha
Surviving archaeological items from the first English settlements at Jamestown include intact chamber pots. One of these chamber pots was part of a 2009 exhibit at the Folger Shakespeare Library in Washington DC, United States. These pots were
There has been a bridge over the river Thames since the time of the Romans and the reign of Aethelred II, when the bridge was designed as a Saxon defense against the Danish. Since then, there have been at least 5 bridges either built, or repair
When medieval cartographers drew maps of the world they included mermaids among the fantastic ocean beasts that they believed roamed the waters of foreign lands. Professional explorers like Henry Hudson in 1608, described sighting a mermaid in
The most memorable illustration of Robert Greene shows him dressed as an ear of corn, sitting at a desk, penning Groatsworth of Wit, his famous deathbed insult that calls William Shakespeare an “upstart crow.” That upstart crow may have gone on
Shakespeare uses the word “beard” in his plays over one hundred times, and almost always as a way to indicate a man’s status, power, or authority. In Anthony and Cleopatra Caesar is referred to as “scarce bearded” as a slight against him by Cle
When telling about the Battle of Hastings, William Malmesbury wrote a description of the English ancestors, the Anglo Saxons, as having “arms covered with golden bracelets, tattooed with coloured patterns.” The trend of tattooing oneself with c
Ale was a popular drink in Shakespeare’s London, due in part to the undrinkable nature of the water from the nearby Thames River. The fear of water and superstitions about drinking it, extended well beyond England’s capital city, and extended e
Many famous people from history have had their lives come to an end by execution. We tell these stories with gusto, reverence, and sometimes even humor, but the person responsible for being the executioner goes largely unnoticed beyond the reco
When Shakespeare was 39 years old, in 1603, King James of Scotland succeeded Queen Elizabeth after her death, and he brought with him a famous repugnancy, and some call it outright fear, of witches during his reign. In Scotland, where James was
Famously, the grave of William Shakespeare is marked with an ominous entreaty carved on his stone that warns against disturbing his bones, declaring a curse on anyone that disturbs the dust enclosed here. Respecting Shakespeare’s wishes has mea
For centuries, theater historians have glossed over noy only the location, but actually argued over the very existence of a theater at Newington Butts. Originally established as an archery range under Henry VIII during a time when learning the
William Shakespeare’s father was a man named John Shakespeare. When you study William’s life you often hear about John Shakespeare, as many references to glove making in Shakespeare’s plays like the glover’s pairing knife in Merry Wives of Wind
In 16th century England, Christmas time was a season of disorder, with many of the holiday celebrations centering around the idea of Misrule, role reversal, and a celebration of general chaos as part of the festivities. Which makes it surprisin
During the century following Shakespeare’s life, the government tried to end playoing, shutting down theaters and passing orders against plays entirely. During this moment in history when it would have been easy for the legacy of William Shakes
History remembers Christopher Marlowe as a contemporary of William Shakespeare that was prone to violence. Arrested multiple times for his association with fights, duels, and even murder, scholars around the world have suggested that Christophe
In William Shakespeare’s Henry VI Part 2, the character Jack Cade declares himself Lord Mortimer of London by striking London Stone and then sitting upon the stone to declare his royalty. While it makes a dramatic scene for a theatrical play, t
When William Shakespeare died, he left on his gravestone a formidable curse, warning anyone who dared steal his bones after death. You can see this curse today on his gravestone inside Holy Trinity Church and it reads   Good friend, for Jesus’
The English playwright Thomas Kyd is one of Shakespeare’s contemporaries who arguably has as much, if not more, influence on the development of Renaissance theater than even the bard himself. Kyd’s The Spanish Tragedy is thought to have introdu
Shakespeare’s play King Lear is based upon the story of the ancient British King who founded Leicester in England, written by Geoffrey Monmouth. Monmouth based his story on real elements of Leicester’s history, including the Jewry Wall and anci
In the late 1590s as William Shakespeare was writing Henry V, and the famous battle scene of Agincourt, there was a cultural battle going on between the older and younger generations of men in England concerning the use of the longbow. As Shake
The 16th century was the first time English history, and the first time in most of European history, that the average person started carrying a weapon as a matter of daily life. The rapier specifically came into fashion in England in the mid 16
Rate Podcast
Do you host or manage this podcast?
Claim and edit this page to your liking.
Are we missing an episode or update?
Use this to check the RSS feed immediately.