Episode 58: Codes

Tuesday, November 7th, 2017

“Language is legislation, speech is its code. We do not see the power which is in speech because we forget that all speech is a classification, and that all classifications are oppressive.”   (Roland Barthes)

Welcome to Histories of the Unexpected where you will discover the history of things that you did not know had a history; like the history of the scar, or the history of zombies.

Let us take part in a spot of espionage with the agent of the archaic, Dr Sam Willis, and the spy of centuries, Professor James Daybell, as they uncover the secrets of the unexpected history of codes.

Join Sam and James as they break the enigma from Mary Queen of Scot’s conspiracies and spy master Sir Francis Wallisingham’s battle to catch her out to the American Revolution. Listen out as our cryptic duo decipher how the Atlantic soundscape is part of the history of code while discovering how codes became a significant part of the English Civil War.

Our two spy masters crack the historical cipher as they reveal that this unexpected history is actually all about: diplomacy and crisis, communication and interception, development and technology, romance, sarcasm, and laughter. Unveil the mysteries of code with this episode!


“Public morals are natural complements of all laws: they are by themselves an entire code.” (Napoleon Bonaparte)

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