In our third session, we begin with the stunning appearance of a new global superpower. The rise of the Mongols in the 12th century was a sharp and hideously brutal episode, in which an eastern empire – with its capital in what is now Beijing – achieved fleeting domination over half the world, at the cost of millions of lives. There were other emerging powers in what is sometimes called the ‘high’ Middle Ages. We meet merchants who invented extraordinary new financial techniques to make themselves and the world richer; scholars who revived the wisdom of the ancients and founded some of today’s greatest universities; and the architects and engineers who built the cities, cathedrals and castles that still stand 500 years on.
Dan Jones is the author of numerous internationally bestselling books about medieval history, including Crusaders, The Plantagenets, The Hollow Crown, The Templars and Magna Carta. He co-authored The Colour of Time with Marina Amaral. Dan has written and presented documentary series including Secrets of Great British Castles and Britain’s Bloodiest Dynasty: The Plantagenets. His new book is Powers and Thrones, out now.
Browse all episodes in our Medieval Masterclass with Dan Jones