The Ascension


A master of the early Renaissance depicts the moment that Christians regard as the confirmation of Jesus’ divinity Forty days after his resurrection, Christ, shrouded in clouds, ascends to Heaven The climactic event of his time on Earth is witnessed by 11 of his 12 Disciples: Judas Iscariot, who betrayed Christ for 30 pieces of silver, had hanged himself in shame Various accounts claim that St...

Whose Civilising Mission?


It accused him of murdering Europeans: as punishment, he had been ‘blown away from a gun’ Half a century later, the publican’s heirs – who felt queasy about the matter – contacted Kim A Wagner, an academic of British imperial history at Queen Mary, University of London Men condemned to death by ‘cannonade’ were bound hand and foot to cannon wheels with the barrel pressing into their chest; a half...

Monstrous Regiment


Acknowledging that trans histories exist as a principle is different from being able to know for certain that individuals whose behaviour transgressed the extremely fixed gender structures of early modern England ‘were definitely a woman’ or ‘would be called a trans man today’ It does not erase historians’ knowledge about soldiers who did live as women to allow for trans possibilities in other...

On the Streets of New York City


The pushcarts of the Lower East Side epitomised New York’s bustling immigrant community The drive to Americanise brought about their demise and changed the streets forever A quintessential part of that landscape is the pushcart While open markets and street vending date back to New York’s colonial roots, in 1886 four pushcart vendors set up shop on Hester Street and, in the 75 years that the...

Weapons of War in the Crusades


A French royal crusading army was on the point of collapse and a very long way from help By January 1148 it was midway in its journey across Anatolia – a graveyard of armies – and had just suffered a serious defeat while crossing a mountain pass Louis VII of France was almost killed, surviving only by climbing a rock and fending off a multitude of attackers The battle may have been a fiasco, but...

Charles II’s Great Escape


Among the stand-out characters are Charles’ chief protector Lord Wilmot: a ‘dissolute’ member of Queen Henrietta Maria’s entourage who refused to disguise himself – a decision that put the king at risk of exposure – yet who was fiercely loyal and brave The assault on Worcester and its murderous aftermath are especially well told It was often in the priest holes of their country houses that...

The Map: London, 1851


The landmarks of Victorian London, stitched onto a fashionable leather glove Open between 1 May and 11 October 1851, over six million visitors managed to find their way to London’s Great Exhibition in Hyde Park It was hoped that some of its more fashionable female visitors would get there and back using this leather glove, designed by George Shove in 1851 and painted with London landmarks and...

New Light on Old Bones


This examination of history’s various disinterments and inspections shows how far perceptions about them have shifted through the centuries Among the bodies scrutinised are those of King John, Katherine de Valois, Thomas Becket, Henry VIII, Anne Boleyn, Katherine Parr, William Shakespeare and Oliver Cromwell With this new study, Tomaini presents a highly original way of examining culture Hair...

The places that shaped the Tudor world


Books about the Tudors appear with startling frequency, but a new book about their contribution to architectural history should make readers sit up, since it is a woefully under-represented subject Indeed, Simon Thurley has something of a monopoly in the field and this new book synthesises 30 years of research on the palaces and their landscapes – including Greenwich, the Tower of London...

Habsburg Iberia Points West


The 16th century was a time of crisis and change for Portugal’s empire The Aviz dynasty, which ruled Portugal from 1385 until 1580, included a number of remarkable and wise monarchs When Sebastian died in Morocco, the throne was inherited by his great uncle, Cardinal Henrique He unsuccessfully petitioned Pope Gregory XIII for a dispensation to marry, in spite of his advanced age of 66, in a final...

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