14th Century

Christine de Pizan and the Book of the City of Ladies

Christine de Pizan is often described as a late-Medieval writer. But just “writer” does not really sum up everything she did. She wrote  verse, military manuals, and treatises on war, peace and the just governance of a nation. She was the official biographer of King Charles V of France and wrote the only popular piece in praise of Joan of Arc that was penned during her lifetime. 



Charles VI of France: The Mad King

France’s mad king Charles VI reigned in the middle of the Hundred Years War between England and France. While his early reign hinted at greatness, things soon spiraled downward.

Ibn Battuta, the Traveler of Islam

Ibn Battuta's 14th-century travels were extensive. He was away from home for roughly 24 years and during that time traveled through virtually every Muslim nation and territory, becoming the traveler of the age.

Inês de Castro and Pedro I of Portugal

When Prince Pedro of Portugal was married off in the 1300s, he only had eyes for his new wife's lady in waiting. The story of Inês and Pedro's love has everything: romance, deception, murder, and a corpse crowned as queen.

Great Zimbabwe

Great Zimbabwe was a massive stone city in southeastern Africa that was a thriving trade center from the 11th to 15th centuries. But when Europeans first learned of it in the 16th century, they were certain it wasn't African at all.

Zheng He and the Treasure Ships

Zheng He led expeditionary voyages from China in the 15th century. While there are many tall tales about his accomplishments, his actual life was pretty spectacular without them.

Battle of Poitiers

On Sept. 19, 1356, one of the decisive battles of the Hundred Years War took place in France. It was the first major battle after almost a decade of relative quiet, and it stacked a small English army against a French military three times its size.

Tamerlane and the Battle of Ankara

Timur the Lame (that's Tamerlane to the Westerners) conquered areas from Persia to Russia throughout the late 1300s. His last great battle was in Ankara against Sultan Bayezid I. But how exactly did he gain the upper hand? Tune in to find out.

Talk about making an impression: When emperor Mansa Musa went on a pilgramage from Timbuktu to Mecca, he gave away so much gold that he crashed the gold market in Cairo. Tune in and learn more about Musa and Timbuktu in this podcast.

When Dante wrote The Divine Comedy, he consigned several of his real-life enemies to hell. In this podcast, Katie and Sarah examine Dante's habit of putting his enemies in his fiction, focusing on five people the average Florentine would have known.