Episode 18: Weapons

Thursday, January 12th, 2017

The Major General of Millennia, Dr Sam Willis and the Soldier of the Centuries, Professor James Daybell, cross swords to uncover the unexpected history of weapons. Join the gallant duo as they charge through the revolutionary history of weapons to reveal how unicorn horns, blue armour, dead puppies and Black Beard are linked within the history of weapons. From the Old Bailey records of 1730, to Poland in the 1550s, from representations of female murderers in London and Paris in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries to the stables of Queen Elizabeth I in the 1580s, and from the Royal Navy in the 1800s to a storage case of Cold War weapons, join James and Sam as they discover that weapons are all about diplomacy, reputation, tyranny and bluffing.

When is a weapon not a weapon? When it’s a gift. Unless it’s a walking stick, or a lighter, or a pen, or an inter-continental ballistic missile – I mean no one wants one of those gift-wrapped!


‘Dip the apple in the brew

Let the Sleeping Death seep through …

When she breaks the tender peel,

to taste the apple in my hand,

her breath will still, her blood congeal

then I’ll be fairest in the land!’ (Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, Disney 1937, originally written by Brothers Grimm 1812)


‘Of all the weapons of destruction that man could invent, the most terrible and the most powerful was the word … the word managed to destroy without leaving clues.’ (Paulo Coelho)

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