Russia 75 Years after the Battle of Stalingrad

Wikimedia Commons Stalingrad was hailed in February 3’s Pravda (Truth) newspaper as “the greatest battle in history” and “a catastrophe of titanic proportions” for the German invaders. By Dr. Ian Garner / 02.22.2018 Scholar of Russian Literature and History Queen’s University, Ontario February 3, 2018 marked 75 years since the conclusion of the Battle of Stalingrad. After almost[…]

What Is Yellow Fever? Disease and Causation in Environmental History

Aedes aegypti Diseases are entangled with the human-made world, and to reduce diseases to their nonhuman aspects is to risk naturalizing them in distorting ways. By Dr. Paul S. Sutter Professor of Environmental History University of Colorado Boulder In many environmental histories, diseases serve to make one of the field’s foundational claims: that nonhuman forces matter[…]

History of the Flu

The Plague at Ashdod, by Nicolas Poussin / Louvre Museum, Wikimedia Commons The word influenza is derived from the medieval Italian word for “influence” (influentia) and referred to the perceived causes of the disease. By Jim Davis / 03.15.2017 PhD Candidate in History The Ohio State University You may not like getting your flu shot, but you[…]

Bronze Age Mycenaean Art and Architecture

The Lion Gate at Mycenae / Photo by Andreas Trepte, Wikimedia Commons The art and architecture of Mycenaean citadel sites reflects the society’s war-like culture and its constant need for protection and fortification. Edited by Matthew A. McIntosh / 07.14.2018 Historian Brewminate Editor-in-Chief Mycenaean Architecture Introduction Mycenaean culture can be summarized by its architecture, whose remains[…]

Bronze Age Minoan Art and Architecture

The North Portico in Knossos, Crete, Greece / Photo by Bernard Gagnon, Wikimedia Commons The Protopalatial period of Minoan civilization (1900 to 1700 BCE) and the Neopalatial Period (1700 to 1450 BCE) saw the establishment of administrative centers on Crete and the apex of Minoan civilization, respectively. Edited by Matthew A. McIntosh / 07.14.2018 Historian[…]

Who Was Emmett Till?

A 1950s photograph of Emmett Till and his mother Mamie Till Mobley, during a visit to Jackson, Miss. AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis Most Mississippi civil rights history leads back to the widespread outrage over the Till case in the summer of 1955. By Dr. Davis W. Houck / 07.13.2018 Professor of Communications Florida State University The U.S.[…]

Government Reopens Case of Emmett Till

This undated photo shows Emmett Louis Till, a 14-year-old Black Chicago boy, who was kidnapped, tortured, and murdered in 1955 in Mississippi. The federal government has reopened its investigation into his slaying. | AP The federal government has reopened its investigation into the slaying of Emmett Till. By Jay Reeves / 07.12.2018 The federal government[…]

An Introduction to Fauvism

Henri Matisse, The Green Line, 1905, oil on canvas, 40.5 x 32.5 cm (Statens Museum for Kunst, Copenhagen) Fauvism developed in France to become the first new artistic style of the 20th century. By Dr. Virginia B. Spivey / 08.09.2015 Art Historian Distinctive brushwork Fauvism developed in France to become the first new artistic style of the 20th century. In[…]

The Aesthetic Movement in 19th-Century England

Dante Gabriel Rossetti, Monna Vanna, 1866, oil on canvas, 88.9 x 86.4 cm (Tate) (photo: Tate, CC-BY-NC-ND (3.0 Unported) “Art for art’s sake.” By Dr. Rebecca Jeffrey Easby / 06.03.2016 Associate Professor of Art History Trinity Washington University Art for the sake of art The Aesthetic Movement, also known as “art for art’s sake,” permeated British culture during the[…]

Banking in the Roman World

Roman bronze balance weights. Probably used by a goldsmith or chemist. Imperial period. (Archaeological Museum, Como, Italy) / Photo by Mark Cartwright, Creative Commons Just as in other ancient civilizations, the first banks in Rome began in the temples consecrated to the ancient Gods. By Victor Labate / 11.17.2016 Ancient Roman Historian Romae Vitam Just as in other ancient[…]

Roman Emperor Claudius: Low Expectations, High Performance

Large grain marble head believed to be a local (Mediolanum) copy of an official portrait of Roman emperor Claudius (41-54 CE). (Archaeological Museum, Milan) / Photo by Mark Cartwright, Creative Commons Claudius was found quivering behind a set of curtains, fearing for his own life, and named emperor after Caligula’s death. By Donald L. Wasson / 10.18.2011 Professor of[…]

Ignosticism and Referential Justification

By Tristan D. Vick / 10.11.2017 A Short Recap of the Ignostic Position Ignosticism is the philosophical position that most descriptions and definitions of God are incoherent, incomplete, discrepant, or contradictory (if not all of the above) and so cannot be discussed meaningfully. What this means is that asking questions about God, or ruminating on[…]

The Strange, Short Career of Judeo-Christianity

FDR / Library of Congress By Dr. Gene Zubovich / 03.22.2016 Visiting Lecturer in History University of California, Berkeley President Barack Obama insists that the United States defines itself by civic principles rather than by religious affiliation. In an otherwise unremarkable press conference in Turkey in 2009, he said: ‘[A]lthough… we have a very large Christian population,[…]

Politics and Power in the Creation of the Louvre Museum in Paris

Aerial view of the Louvre Museum (2010), photo: Matthias Kabel (CC BY-SA 3.0) “The origin of the modern museum…is linked to the development of the guillotine.” By Dr. Elizabeth Rodini / 07.09.2018 Professor of Art History Johns Hopkins University “The origin of the modern museum…is linked to the development of the guillotine.” —Georges Bataille, October, 1986 This statement by[…]

A Brief History of the Art Museum

Gallery in the Alte Pinakothek, Munich (photo: Dr. Steven Zucker, CC BY-NC-SA 2.0) When people think of museums, art museums most often come to mind—solemn places where visitors stand in silence contemplating neat rows of paintings. By Dr. Elizabeth Rodini / 07.10.2018 Professor of Art History Johns Hopkins University When people think of museums, art museums[…]

The Fall and Rise and Fall of Pompeii

The view inside Pompeii’s old granary (Francesco Lastrucci) The famous archaeological treasure is falling into scandalous decline, even as its sister city Herculaneum is rising from the ashes. By Joshua Hammer / 07.2015 On a sweltering summer afternoon, Antonio Irlando leads me down the Via dell’Abbondanza, the main thoroughfare in first-century Pompeii. The architect and conservation[…]

The Roman Republic: Its Rise, Growth, and Transition to Empire

Ruins of the Roman Forum / Wikimedia Commons The early history of the Roman Republic was one of fierce external pressure accompanied by sharp internal tensions. The Romans’ triumph over both these challenges laid the foundations for their future. Edited by Matthew A. McIntosh / 07.12.2018 Historian Brewminate Editor-in-Chief Introduction Latins, Greeks and Etruscans In[…]

Evolution of Moral Outrage: I’ll Punish Your Bad Behavior to Make Me Look Good

Standing up for what’s right can come with a cost to the individual – but also a benefit. Michael Fleshman, CC BY-NC It helps society function when people punish selfish acts, even at a personal cost. A new theory suggests third-party punishment also confers some benefits on the punisher. By Jillian Jordan / 02.24.2016 PhD Candidate in Psychology Yale University What makes[…]

Say Goodbye to the Information Age: It’s All about Reputation Now

Not faking it. From the Apollo 15 mission. / NASA By Dr. Gloria Origgi / 03.14.2018 Philosopher, Tenured Senior Researcher CNRS (French National Centre for Scientific Research) There is an underappreciated paradox of knowledge that plays a pivotal role in our advanced hyper-connected liberal democracies: the greater the amount of information that circulates, the more we[…]

The Dancing Plague of 1518

Detail from a 1642 engraving by Hendrik Hondius, based on Peter Breughel’s 1564 drawing depicting sufferers of a dance epidemic occurring in Molenbeek that year — Wikimedia Commons 500 years ago this month, a strange mania seized the city of Strasbourg. Citizens by the hundreds became compelled to dance, seemingly for no reason — jigging trance-like[…]

The Amarna Letters: Diplomacy in the Ancient World

These clay tablets (letters) were found in the ruins of Akhenaten’s capital, Tell el-Amarna, Egypt. They were inscribed with Babylonian cuneiform inscriptions, not hieroglyphs. The letters represent the diplomatic correspondence sent by various vassal princes of the Egyptian Empire to the pharaoh Amenhotep III, Akhenaten, and Tutankhamun. They document a turbulent period when Egypt’s preoccupation with domestic policy led to insurrection and instability throughout[…]

The Late Medieval Art of Domenico Ghirlandaio at the Church of Santa Maria Novella

Santa Maria Novella (Leon Battista Alberti was responsible for the façade, completed in 1470) By Dr. Sally Hickson / 08.09.2015 Associate Professor of Art History University of Guelph A treasure house of Renaissance art The Church of Santa Maria Novella, adjacent to the train station of the same name, is a treasure-house of Florentine art of[…]

Virgin (Theotokos) and Child between Saints Theodore and George in Byzantine Art

Virgin (Theotokos) and Child between Saints Theodore and George, sixth or early seventh century, encaustic on wood, 2′ 3″ x 1′ 7 3/8″ (St. Catherine’s Monastery, Sinai, Egypt) By Dr. William Allen Professor of Art History Arkansas State University At Mount Sinai Monastery One of thousands of important Byzantine images, books, and documents preserved at[…]

Hammurabi and the Babylonian Empire

Hammurabi (standing), depicted as receiving his royal insignia from Shamash. Hammurabi holds his hands over his mouth as a sign of prayer (relief on the upper part of the stele of Hammurabi’s code of laws). / Photo by MBZT, Louvre Museum, Paris, Wikimedia Commons According to his own inscriptions, letters and administrative documents from his reign, he sought[…]