16th Century

Charles IX of France

Much like many of the other mad royals that have been discussed on the podcast through the years, Charles IX of France was prone to fits of rage so intense that people at court feared for their lives.

Artemisia Gentileschi

She's often called the greatest female painter of the Baroque period, though there were only a few to compare her to. Her work is extraordinary, and reflects the influences of her father Orazio Gentileschi and Caravaggio.

Henry Hudson, Part 2

This episode picks up in the middle of Hudson's third voyage, as the Half Moon is making its way down North America's east coast. As Hudson doggedly pursues the idea of a northern sea route from Europe to Asia, he makes a number of poor decisions.

Henry Hudson, Part 1

Henry Hudson's voyages have all the makings of a juicy story: maritime exploration, horrible treatment of indigenous peoples, treacherous waters, treacherous shipmen, a mercenary switch in loyalties to countries, mutiny -- even a mermaid sighting.

Suleiman the Magnificent and the Siege of Vienna

The Ottoman Empire's Suleiman the Magnificent was a head of state, a poet, a reformer of the military and a goldsmith. His reign had a significant impact on the law, literature and art of the Ottoman Empire.

King Eric XIV of Sweden

A handsome playboy who once courted Queen Elizabeth I, Eric started his time as king with focus and ambition. But his paranoia led him to alienate the aristocracy, fall into violent rages and stab a captive noble to death. Read the show notes here.

Emperor Rudolf II of Austria

He was an art patron. He loved science. He spoke many languages. He was also known for a dark temper and instability, and his poor decisions as a ruler are credited with leading to the Thirty years War.

India's Karni Mata Rat Temple

Though it's most famous for its rats, the story of this temple starts with Hindu goddess Durga and Karni Mata, a 15th-century mystic believed to be her incarnation. The reason for the rats in Karni Mata's temple is a combination of legend and devotion.

Why was Juana called "la Loca"? Part 2

In this second part of our series, Juana has become her mother's unlikely heir. Just a few years after inheriting Castile, she is declared insane and imprisoned. But was she actually mad? And why didn't her son free her when he came to power?

Why was Juana called "la Loca"? Part 1

Juana of Castile has gone down in history as "Juana la Loca." But Juana's mental state was likely not as bad as it seemed. Was she instead the victim of conniving relatives? In this episode, we discuss Juana's youth, her marriage and more.