Yes, the topic this week is the number 40. Yes, it's episode 41. What can we say. We're historians, not mathematicians. 

Obvious stupidity and working ourselves into a corner aside (genuinely, we - specifically Sam - are absolute idiots) we've got a cracker this week. Tom's started from the beginning, that is, 40AD. Which just happens to be when Agricola, Roman Governor of Britain and subject of the book with the imaginative title 'Agriocola' was born. We take a whirlwind trip through Tacitus' history of the apparently quite nice (but still quite murderous) Roman leader.

Next, Sam given an honourable mention to ancient Egypt and the Tessarakonteres (which means 40), the largest human-powered ship ever built. Just a shade smaller than Noah's Ark, it had 4,000 rowers and a total crew of nearly 10,000. And was utterly useless as anything except a fancy garden ornament.

After that, we head to Britain in the 1840s and railway mania, with some of the ridiculous stories of madness, rioting, stealing trains and literal locotmotive tugs of war that characterised Britain's Victorian transport fever.

Subscribe and listen to us! Apple Music // Podbean // Overcast // Stitcher // TuneIn // Spotify

Welcome to That Was Genius: Two blokes. A 12-hour time difference. An immature sense of humour. And 10,000 years of human civilisation. A weekly podcast looking at the weirder side of history.

Join Sam Datta-Paulin (he likes history and lives in Britain) and Tom Berry (he also likes history but lives in New Zealand), for a weekly reflection on the bold, the brilliant... And the downright strange.

From bizarre events and stories to equally odd inventions, barely a day goes by without something incredible (or incredibly stupid) happening around the world.

Share | Download