Leonardo, Rapunzel, and the Mathematics of Hair

Lecture by Dr. Raymond E. Goldstein at the Museum of London / 11.09.2016 Schlumberger Professor of Complex Physical Systems University of Cambridge Introduction How do physicists and mathematicians think about hair?  Everyone, especially those with their own hair, has surely been fascinated since their youth with the magical properties of bundles of hair: its “body”[…]

Plato’s ‘Republic’ and an Ancient Athenian Immigrant

Wikimedia Commons By Dr. David V. Johnson / 03.20.2017 Writer/Editor Stanford Social Innovation Review When it comes to immigration, not all foreigners are the same. The treatment of non-citizen legal residents, for example, raises very different moral and political questions from the larger debate about who should, and who should not, be allowed to enter.[…]

Archaeological Excavations on Itbayat and Siayan Islands

Siayan Island / Creative Commons     By Dr. Peter Bellwood (left), Dr. Eusebio Z. Dizon (center), and Dr. Armand Mijares (left) Bellwood: Emeritus Professor of Archaeology, Australian National University Dizon: Professorial Lecturer in Archaeology, University of the Philippines Mijares: Associate Professor of Archaeology, University of the Philippines Introduction Here we describe  the layout of[…]

Sleepwalkers: How Europe Went to War in 1914

Lecture by Dr. Christopher Clark at the Museum of London / 09.29.2014 Regius Professor of History University of Cambridge I wanted to begin by taking us back to the 28th of June 1914, which I think is the right place to begin, we should begin at the very beginning, the very best place to start,[…]

The Long, Forgotten Walk of David Ingram

Detail from Jacques Le Moyne de Morgues’ 1591 map of Florida, where David Ingram supposedly began his journey up the Eastern seaboard / Library of Congress If three shipwrecked English sailors really did travel by foot from Florida to Nova Scotia in 1569 then it would certainly count as one of the most remarkable walks[…]

Victorian Occultism and the Art of Synesthesia

“The music of Mendelssohn” / Project Gutenberg, Creative Commons Grounded in the theory that ideas, emotions, and even events, can manifest as visible auras, Annie Besant and Charles Leadbeater’s Thought-Forms (1901) is an odd and intriguing work. Benjamin Breen explores these “synesthetic” abstractions and asks to what extent they, and the Victorian mysticism of which[…]

Venus Felix, Genetrix, and Victrix in the Numismatic Record from Augustus to Hadrian: Stagnation to Innovation

Ruins of the Temple of Venus Genetrix, Rome / Wikimedia Commons By Caitlin Ryan / 08.2016 Historical Interpreter Scarborough Museum Abstract Venus is one of the most famous goddesses of the Roman pantheon, known for her grace and beauty. Her likeness was recreated countless times in a variety of different media. She was depicted in[…]

Joseph Cornell’s Mail Art

Card collaged by Joseph Cornell, enclosed with his letter to Susanna De Maria Wilson dated February 17, 1963. The Getty Research Institute, 2014.M.30 A look inside newly catalogued letters and collages by the American pioneer of collage and assemblage art. By Isabella Zuralski-Yeager / 06.27.2017 Special Collections Cataloger Getty Research Institute Joseph Cornell (1903–1972) is[…]

Hats Off: The Entry of Tarquinius Priscus into Rome?

By Dr. Jocelyn Penny Small Classical Archaeologist and Art Historian Rutgers University Etruscan Studies 8:6 (2001), 130-151 Iconography and divination have much in common.[1] Both are divinely inspired. Their practitioners need years of training and inculcation in the art of interpretation before formal admission into the priesthood. The interpretation invariably depends on details, or should[…]

Royal Propaganda, from Prints to Pixels

Triumphal Entry into Babylon (detail), Gérard Audran (French, 1640–1703) after Charles Le Brun (French, 1619–90), 1675. Etching and engraving, two sheets. Assembled size: 27 15/16 x 36 1/8 in. (71 x 91.8 cm). The Getty Research Institute, 2003.PR.33 By John Hicks / 05.27.2010 Research Assistant, Getty Publications Department Spin control—it’s been around for centuries. Louis[…]

Tages against Jesus: Etruscan Religion in the Late Roman Empire

Sandstone Etruscan relief excavation / Creative Commons By Dr. Dominique Briquel Professor of Archaeology and Latin Université de Paris-Sorbonne Etruscan Studies 10:12 (2007), 153-161 It may seem strange to associate in this way two entities which, at first glance, would seem to have nothing in common. The civilization of the Etruscans, which flourished in Italy[…]

Transnational Ashkenaz: Yiddish Culture after the Holocaust

Monument at the Osipovichi Jewish cemetery / Photo by Alexander Litin, 2009 By Jan Schwarz / 04.11.2016 Associate Professor of Yiddish Studies Lund University 27 (2016) Abstract After the Holocaust’s near complete destruction of European Yiddish cultural centres, the Yiddish language was largely viewed as a remnant of the past, tragically eradicated in its prime.[…]

What Happened to the Vikings of Greenland?

The remnants of a Viking barn still stand at what had been the settlement of Gardar. (Ciril Jazbec) Newly discovered evidence is upending our understanding of how early settlers made a life on the island — and why they suddenly disappeared. By Tim Folger / March 2017 Science and Environment Specialist On the grassy slope[…]

The Eccentric, Democratic Architecture of Hans Scharoun

Philharmonie exterior. Photo by Chris Edwards The German architect created unique designs blending Expressionism and the International Style. By Dr. Kathleen James-Chakraborty / 05.09.2017 Professor of Art History University College Dublin The exhibition Berlin/Los Angeles: Space for Music (April 25–July 30, 2017, at the Getty Research Institute) explores two iconic buildings, Hans Scharoun’s Berlin Philharmonic[…]

History and Architecture of the Basilica of San Clemente in Rome

The Basilica of San Clemente, Rome, church rebuilt 1099-1119 (mosaic 1130s) with eighteenth-century renovations (photo: Michael Foley, CC BY-NC-ND 2.0) By Dr. Diane Reilly / 06.14.2017 Associate Professor of Art History, Department Chair Indiana University A shrunken Rome By the twelfth century, the city of Rome was a shadow of its former, imperial Roman self.[…]

American Slavery: Separating Fact from Myth

Five generations of a slave family / Shutterstock By Dr. Daina Ramey Berry / 06.19.2017 Associate Professor of History and African American Diaspora Studies University of Texas at Austin People think they know everything about slavery in the United States, but they don’t. They think the majority of African slaves came to the American colonies,[…]

Science versus Religion in American Law

Wikimedia Commons By Dr. Steven Goldberg Professor Emeritus of Sociology City College of New York Introduction The power of organized religion has waxed and waned dramatically throughout human history. In many preindustrial societies, the church provided not only answers to what we think of today as scientific questions, but strict guidance to political leaders as[…]

Kumeyaay Native American Oral Literature, Cultural Identity, and Language Revitalisation

Kumeyaay coiled basket, woven by Celestine Lachapa, 19th century / Photo by Durova (Wikimedia Commons), San Diego Museum of Man   By Dr. Margaret Field / 12.19.2013 Professor of American Indian Studies San Diego State University The Kumeyaay Community of Baja California Anthony Pico, PhD, tribal chairman of the Viejas Band of Kumeyaay Indians, speaking at[…]

When – and Why – Did People First Start Using Money?

The advantages of coins as currency were clear. cgb By Dr. Chapurukha Kusimba / 06.19.2017 Professor of Anthropology American University Sometimes you run across a grimy, tattered dollar bill that seems like it’s been around since the beginning of time. Assuredly it hasn’t, but the history of human beings using cash currency does go back[…]

The Christian Renaissance and Reformation in Continental Europe

Eight reformers (Hieronymus Bock, Johann Buchenhagen, Johann Calvin, Johannes Hus, Martin Luther, Philipp M. / Österreichische Nationalbibliothek By Dr. Stephen M. Feldman Jerry H. Housel/Carl F. Arnold Distinguished Professor of Law Adjunct Professor of Political Science University of Wyoming The Renaissance A first century AD bust of Cicero / Capitoline Museums, Rome Toward the end of[…]

Athens in the 19th century: The Neighbourhood of Metaxourgeion

Section of F. Aldenhoven’s map of Athens in 1837; marked are the four abandoned building plots on Millerou street, the road intersection at the Dipylon and the fortification wall of Haseki. By Dr. Christina Agriantoni Professor of Modern History University of Thessaly This is a discussion[1] of the mechanisms that command the evolution of a[…]

Athens in the 19th Century: From Regional Town of the Ottoman Empire to Capital of the Kingdom of Greece

A view of the city of Athens, painted by Richard Temple (1810). By Dr Leonidas Kallivretakis Historian Institute for Neohellenic Research National Hellenic Research Foundation (NHRF) “Athens was a Village” It is common ground in the historiography of the Athens of recent times, the indication of its unimportance, before being chosen to become capital of[…]