Saladin Takes Back the Holy City

Season 3

September 20, 1187. It’s daytime outside the walls of Jerusalem. Saladin, the Sultan of Egypt, ponders his next attack. His troops encircle and lay siege to the city. They vastly outnumber the Crusader knights inside, and Saladin’s on the cusp of a victory he never dreamed possible. He can order his men to attack the city. Killing those who stand in their way and enslaving the rest. But, Saladin has a problem. Balian of Ibelin leads the Crusader defenses within the city walls. He threatens to destroy Muslim holy sites if Saladin attacks. The Sultan must make a choice. One that will impact his legacy, the lives of thousands, and the future of Jerusalem. What does Saladin choose?

Special thanks to our guest, Dr. Suleiman Mourad, Professor of Religion at Smith College and author of Ibn Asakir of Damascus: Champion of Sunni Islam at the Time of the Crusades.

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A Meteorite Hits Ann Hodges

Season 4
November 30, 1954. At about 12:45 in the afternoon, a space rock comes plummeting through the roof of a house in Sylacauga, Alabama. It bounces off a standup radio, ricochets around the living room, and collides with the thigh of Mrs. Ann Hodges, who’s been napping on the couch. Newspapers declare: “experts agreed unanimously that Mrs. Hodges was the first person known to have been struck by a meteorite.” What happened to this space rock after it crashed to Earth and thrust itself into volatile human affairs? And what happened to the human beings whose lives were upended by this rarest of rare events?Thanks to our guests: Dr. Julia Cartwright, planetary scientist at the University of Alabama; Billy Field, professor at the University of Alabama and screenwriter; and Julie Love Templeton, attorney in Tuscaloosa, Alabama.Dr. Cartwright is involved in a number of art/science collaborations to engage and educate the public about meteorites and planetary science. You can find out more on her website, JACartwright.people.ua.edu. Keep an eye out for Billy Field’s latest project, TheStoryAcorn.com, which launches in January 2023. The website will feature history from the Civil Rights movement, told by those who lived it. The website teaches students to gather stories from their own communities and share them with the world. Thanks also to Mary Beth Prondzinski, former collections manager at the Alabama Museum of Natural History, and to the Alabama Museum of Natural History.