Notes: Episode 2, The Birth Of Russia (Part 2)

As with every show, I’ll list any corrections or clarifications here. If there’s anything I’ve overlooked, please contact me by email or in the comments and I’ll edit the notes to reflect the new information.


5:52 – Phil asks for an approximate population of the world, which after much protestation I guess at 100 million. It’s incredibly difficult to estimate historical population, but for the year 1200 I’ve found between 360 and 400 million. Swing and a miss there.


10:30 – The Mongols didn’t bring siege engines with them unassembled, as I stated. While this was common practice in Europe, the Mongols would instead bring engineers with them and build catapults and ladders on site.


17:46 – Batu was not Ogedai’s son, but rather his nephew.


31:41 – The continent of Asia is not, in fact, officially known as “Super Mongolia”, no matter what Phil insists. I double checked.


37:50 – Boy, did I muck up this succession. Ivan III’s eldest son, also called Ivan the Young, had a son called Dmitry the Grandson, continuing the family tradition of helpful cognomens. Ivan the Young died before Ivan III, leaving a question of whether succession would go to Dmitry the Grandson or to Ivan III’s second eldest son, Vasili III. Ivan IV (the Terrible) was Vasili’s son. Factions grew up around the two options, with Vasili III coming out ahead and Dmitry living out the rest of his life in prison. Fortunately, this still had the effect that I explained in the show: crowned at three, Ivan IV had to deal with boyars still harboring some loyalty to Dmitry, fostering a lifelong mistrust of the Russian nobility. It’s worth noting that Ivan the Young was a child from Ivan III’s first marriage, while Vasili was a child of his second marriage to Sofia Paleolgeous, cementing the continuity between Rome and Russia.


42:58 – As stated above, Sofia was Ivan IV’s grandmother, not his mother.


46:39 – Nicholas II was executed in 1917, not 1918 as I stated. This doesn’t even have any bearing on the show, but it bothered me that I messed up that date.

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