Sarah Dunant presents a monthly dive into stories from the past that might help us make sense of today. In this month's episode, Sarah looks at the use of poison in history.
After a year that saw the poisoning of a former Russian spy in Salisbury, When Greeks Flew Kites focuses on how this deadly weapon leaves a trail of confusion, fear and doubt through the centuries. From the courts of Renaissance Europe, where rumours of poison spread like wildfire, to the new science but thorny old problem of proof in 19th and 20th century murder trials, poison has always opened up and exposed the tensions of the society in which it is wielded. Its dark fascination has also spawned legends and myths that endure through history, such as Mithridates, the poison-proof enemy of Rome and geopolitical trouble-maker.
Sarah’s guests are:
Professor Alisha Rankin, Associate Professor of History, Tufts University
Dr John Carter Wood, Leibniz Institute of European History, Mainz, Germany
Dr Carol Atack, postgraduate researcher in Classics at the University of Oxford
Professor Ian Burney, Director of the Centre for the History of Science, Technology and Medicine at the University of Manchester
Presenter: Sarah Dunant
Producers: Natalie Steed and Nathan Gower
Executive Producer: David Prest
Readers: Matt Addis and Karina Fernandez
A Whistledown production for BBC Radio 4