Re-Animating a Murderer: The Corpse Experiment that Inspired Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein

Cartoon of a galvanized corpse from the Library of Congress’s Prints and Photographs division. 10.15.2016 George Forster was hanged at Newgate Prison on January 18, 1803 for murdering his wife and daughter.  After the execution, Forster’s (also spelled Foster in The Newgate Calendar) body was carried to a nearby house so that Giovanni Aldini (April[…]

The Twisting Paths of Recall: Khipu (Andean Cord Notation) as Artifact

Figure 1: Khipu demonstrates repeating colour sequence. 64-19-1-1-6-2 of the Musée de l’Homme (now in Musée du Quai Branly). By Dr. Frank Salomon / 12.18.2013 Professor Emeritus, Anthropology University of Wisconsin-Madison Introduction The most complex system of writing (using the word in a broad sense) that Andean peoples possessed before the Spanish invasion of 1532[…]

Central Asia: Mongol Empire to the Timurid Dynasty

Mount Nemrut, built by the Armenian Antiochus I Theos of Commagene, is notable for its summit where a number of large statues are erected around what is assumed to be a royal tomb from the 1st century BC. / Photo by Klearchos Kapoutsis, Wikimedia Commons By Dr. Brian Parkinson Professor of History Georgia Southwestern State[…]

The ‘Akbarnama’: Painting under Mughal Emperor Akbar the Great

“Emperor Akbar on an elephant hunt,” Basawan and Chetar, illustrations from the Akbarnama, c. 1586-89, Mughal Empire, opaque watercolor and gold on paper, each page 33 x 30 cm (Victoria and Albert Museum, London) By Katrina Klaasmeyer / 03.02.2017 Lecturer in Art History California State University, Northbridge In these small, brilliantly-colored paintings from the Akbarnama[…]

Why the Archaeology of Death and Burial?

Excavation of the burial site of Richard III / Wikimedia Commons By Dr. Sarah Tarlow / 09.14.2015 Professor of Archaeology University of Leicester Introduction What does the below-ground archaeology of death and burial teach us about people in the post-medieval past? How much did practices vary across Europe? Do mortuary practices in this period reflect[…]

Spreading the Royal Word: The (Im)Materiality of Communication in Early Mesopotamia

By Dr. Christina Tsouparopoulou / 08.28.2015 Professor of Archaeology University of Heidelberg Introduction This article discusses the communicative processes employed by rulers in Mesopotamia, especially in the third millennium BCE, to reach both their literate and illiterate audiences and transfer their ‘knowledge’. It is during the third millennium that citystates and empires emerged in the[…]

An Introduction to Prehistoric Textiles

Clay with textile impressions from Dolni Vestonice, 29,000 to 22,000 years ago. / Wikimedia Commons By Dr. Karina Grömer / 03.01.2016 Staff Scientist, Textile Archaeology Natural History Museum, Vienna The history of textile crafts and clothing can only be understood correctly in the framework of prehistoric research. A brief overview of the technical and cultural[…]

The Middle East through a Victorian Woman’s Pen

Monumental Arch, Nicholas Hanhart after Emily Anne Beaufort Smythe, Viscountess Strangford. Color lithograph. 3.9 x 6.4 in. (10 x 16.5 cm). From Emily Anne Beaufort Smythe, Viscountess Strangford, Egyptian Sepulchres and Syrian Shrines (London, 1862), facing page 359. The Getty Research Institute, 3026-718 A Victorian travelogue encouraged women to undertake an adventurous tour of the[…]

That Greece Might Still Be Free: The Battle of the Philhellenes

Portraits of French Philhellenes: Jean de Jargow and batallion Captain Dania. / Wikimedia Commons By William St. Clair / 05.10.2013 Senior Research Fellow, Institute of English Studies University of London The eight shiploads of volunteers from Marseilles reached Greece at roughly monthly intervals beginning in November 1821. Other volunteers continued to arrive independently. They landed[…]

The Many Faces of Hadrian

By Carole Raddato / 04.29.2014 Historian Art has always been an important part of human existence. Over time, individuals have taken great pleasure from beautiful things and sought to acquire lavish personal collections. The first known cases of individuals seeking to accumulate art collections were in Hellenistic Greece more than 2,000 years ago. The Attalids[…]

The Americas: 18,000 BCE (First Migrations) to 1500 (European Conquest)

  Drawing of what part of Tenochtitlan may have looked like / By Diego Rivera, Wikimedia Commons By Dr. Eugene Berger / Fall 2016 Associate Professor of History Georgia Gwinnett College 18,000 – 15,000 BCE ——————————— First humans migrate to the Americas c. 13,000 BCE ——————————— Big game hunters inhabit the Great Plains c. 10,000[…]

Planting for Power in Ancient Rome

Reconstruction of the inner peristyle of the House of the Vettii in Pompeii. The original garden would have been decorated with brightly colored frescoes. Photo: Sailko, Wikimedia Commons Plants and trees were employed as symbols of power and learning in both public and private. By Dr. Annalisa Marzano / 03.14.2017 Professor of Ancient History University of[…]

Boxing: The Brief History of a ‘Science’

Boxing will still be filled with will they, won’t they questions / Image by Jeffrey Pott (Flickr Creative Commons) By Adam Park / 08.17.2015 PhD Candidate in American Religious History Dissertation: Sports and Religion Florida State University I recently tried to explain to a four-year-old why I whimpered in pain when she “honked” my nose.[…]

Thomas Annan and ‘The Old Closes and Streets of Glasgow’ in Early Photography

By Dr. Lionel Gossman / 05.28.2015 M. Taylore Pyne Professor of Romance Languages Princeton University The best-known, most widely-admired, and most problematical of Annan’s architectural photographs make up the collection known as The Old Closes and Streets of Glasgow. These photographs were commissioned by the City of Glasgow Improvement Trust, an agency set up to[…]

The Greek War of Independence: The Massacre at Chios (Scio)

The Massacre at Chios, by Eugène Delacroix (1824) / Louvre Museum, Paris By William St. Clair / 05.10.2013 Senior Research Fellow, Institute of English Studies University of London During the early months of 1822, although the news reaching Western Europe from Greece remained overwhelmingly slanted in the Greek favour, a few disturbing reports could also[…]

Islam: Its Emergence to the Mamluk Sultanate

  By Dr. Brian Parkinson Professor of History Georgia Southwestern State University Introduction An inveterate adventurer and renowned intellectual, Ibn Khaldun was born into a family of ascendant Andalusian Arabs who had immigrated to North Africa. There, present day Tunisia, he received a traditional Islamic education until his parents died from the plague. At the[…]

1295: The Year of the Galleys

Lecture by Dr. Ian Friel at Barnard’s Inn Hall / 10.31.2013 Historian, Museum Consultant Introduction In November 1294, King Edward I of England issued orders to various ports and cities for the construction of 20 large war galleys.  The vessels are known to historians as the ‘1295 galleys’, from the year in which most of[…]

Building Legal Order in Ancient Athens

A facsimile of the papyrus with the text “Constitution of the Athenians” by Aristotle / British Library, London     Dr. Federica Carugati (left), Visiting Assistant Professor of Politial Science, Indiana University, Bloomington Dr. Gillian K. Hadfield (center), Richard L. and Antoinette Schamoi Kirtland Professor of Law, University of Chicago Law School Dr. Barry R.[…]

Allan Sekula’s Papers Reveal His Art, Writing, and Thought Process

Dear Bill Gates, 1999, Allan Sekula. Photograph. The Getty Research Institute, 2016.M.22. © Allan Sekula Studio LLC. A partial gift from Sally Stein, in memory of her husband Allan Sekula Allan Sekula’s papers, newly acquired by the Getty Research Institute, document the visionary artist and critic’s meticulous process and socially engaged practice. By Sarah Zabrodski[…]