Technological Progress from the Middle Ages to the Industrial Revolution

Waterwheel, Darley Mill Centre / Wikimedia Commons Exploring the idea that we must think of technology in much broader terms than just material culture. By Brian Dickens Introduction Everyone has heard the terms “Stone Age,” “Bronze Age”, and “Iron Age”; associated with particular periods of history. For most people, these terms conjure up an entire image[…]

And the Lot Fell On…Sortition in Ancient Greek Theory and Practice

Pnyx hill in Athens by Qwqchris. / Wikimedia Commons In the matter of the dēmokratia (‘People-Power’) that the Greeks invented (the word as well as the thing) ancient Greece was a desperately foreign country – they did democracy very differently. By Dr. Paul Cartledge / 03.31.2016 A.G. Leventis Professor of Greek Culture Emeritus University of Cambridge Some four decades[…]

The Ancient and Early Medieval Germanic Tribes

Arms and armors of a typical noble Frankish warrior, 5th-6th century / Photo by Altaipanther, Germanisches Nationalmuseum, Wikimedia Commons The Germanic tribes, an ancient nomadic civilization, used their superior military strength to lay the foundation for modern Europe. Edited by Matthew A. McIntosh / 08.08.2018 Historian Brewminate Editor-in-Chief Introduction Origins The Germanic peoples (also called[…]

Witchcraft in Shakespeare’s England

Boydell’s Collection of Prints illustrating Shakespeare’s works / British Library, Public Domain Did Shakespeare’s contemporaries believe in witches? Looking at witchcraft trials in the 16th century and considering their relation to the ‘weird sisters’ of Macbeth. By Dr. Carole Levin Willa Cather Professor of History Director of Medieval and Renaissance Studies Program University of Nebraska-Lincoln While king of Scotland,[…]

Early Modern Books and Moving Images

EPB/35960/A: François Mauriceau, The accomplisht midwife, treating of the diseases of women with child, and in child-bed (London: J. Darby for B. Billingsley, 1673), first folding plate. Wellcome Images L0014457. By Rebecca Whiteley / 08.11.2016 PhD Student in History of Art University College London Looking through copies of ‘The diseases of women with child and[…]

Corrupting the Youth: Xenophon and Plato on Socrates and Alcibiades

Alcibades being taught by Socrates, by François-André Vincent, 1776 / Musée Fabre, Wikimedia Commons Socrates’ most famous students before Plato – or rather his most infamous students – were likely those with unpopular, even criminal, political careers, namely, Critias and Alcibiades. By Dr. Gregory A. McBrayer / 12.31.2017 Assistant Professor of Political Science Ashland University Introduction Socrates’ most famous[…]

Cronus and Rhea: The Second Dynasty of Greek Gods and Goddesses

The rise of Zeus. By E.M. Berens / 05.21.2014 Cronus (Saturn) Cronus was the god of time in its sense of eternal duration. He married Rhea, daughter of Uranus and Gaea, a very important divinity. Their children were, three sons: Aïdes (Pluto), Poseidon (Neptune), Zeus (Jupiter), and three daughters: Hestia (Vesta), Demeter (Ceres), and Hera[…]

The Long History of Censorship

This portrays the story of a dispute between Saint Dominic and the Cathars in which the books of both were thrown in a fire and St. Dominic’s books were miraculously preserved from the flames. This was believed to symbolize the wrongness of the Cathars teachings. Painting by Pedro Berruguete / Wikimedia Commons Censorship has followed the[…]

Like a Virgin? The Medieval Origins of a Modern Ritual

The medieval – and modern – Catholic practice of consecrating women as virgins who has lost their virginity. By Dr. Katherine Harvey / 07.20.2018 Wellcome Trust Research Fellow Birkbeck College University of London Although well-behaved women seldom make history, they do sometimes make the news. Over the past few days, numerous news outlets have reported on a[…]

From Brooklyn to Palm Island: The Life of Alphonse Gabriel Capone

Creative Commons He would earn the name Scarface and lead one of the most notorious crime syndicates in history. By C.J. Oakes / 06.24.2017 Al Capone was born at the end of the 19th Century in Brooklyn in New York City to Italian immigrants. Eventually, he would earn the name Scarface and lead one of the most notorious crime syndicates in history[…]

Stalin, Hitler, and Mussolini: A Trifecta of 20th-Century Tyranny

Seduction, propaganda, and ultimate power and control. Edited by Matthew A. McIntosh / 08.05.2018 Historian Brewminate Editor-in-Chief Benito Mussolini and Fascism in Italy (1922-1939) Mussolini in an official portrait / Wikimedia Commons Benito Mussolini, born into a poor blacksmith’s family, was so named by his radically socialist father (his mother was a devout Catholic schoolteacher)[…]

The Medieval English King’s Escheator

Edinburgh Castle / Photo by Becks, Wikimedia Commons The escheator was the local official responsible for upholding the king’s rights as feudal lord. Edited by Matthew A. McIntosh / 07.26.2018 Historian Brewminate Editor-in-Chief The escheator was the local official responsible for ‘escheats’, that is broadly speaking for upholding the king’s rights as feudal lord, and[…]

Conspiracy Theories as Part of History: The Role of Societal Crisis Situations

Nero didn’t really fiddle while Rome burned – he wasn’t even there. Examining the link between societal crisis situations and belief in conspiracy theories.    By Dr. Jan-Willem van Prooijen and Dr. Karen M. Douglas / 07.01.2017 Prooijen: Associate Professor of Psychology, VU Amsterdam Douglas: Professor of Social Psychology, University of Kent Abstract In the present contribution, we examine[…]

Searching for Neurological Diseases in the Julio-Claudian Dynasty of the Roman Empire

The Julio Claudian Ravenna Releie / Creative Commons Descriptions of the diseases of some of these emperors may indicate diagnoses such as epilepsy, dystonia, dementia, encephalitis, neurosyphilis, peripheral neuropathies, dyslexia, migraine and sleep disorders.    By Dr. Carlos Henrique Ferreira Camargo and Dr. Hélio Afonso Ghizoni Teive / 10.17.2017 Camargo: Universidade Estadual de Ponta Grossa, Hospital Universitário, Serviço[…]

The Origins and Outbreak of World War I

Public Domain How did World War One break out? Professor David Stevenson closely examines the three stages that led to war being declared between Austria-Hungary, Serbia, Germany, Russia, France, and Britain. By Dr. David Stevenson / 01.29.2014 Stevenson Professor of International History The London School of Economics and Political Science In July-August 1914 an international[…]

Healing Ways: The Voices of Native Americans

Blessing from the Medicine Man, Howard Terpning®, 2011 / The Greenwich Workshop, Inc. Native American concepts of health and wellness have sustained diverse peoples since ancient times. Edited by Matthew A. McIntosh / 08.04.2018 Historian Brewminate Editor-in-Chief Medicine Ways: Traditional Healers and Healing Introduction Many traditional healers say that most of the healing is done by[…]

Athens: Hellenistic Hegemony

The Erechtheum, western side, Acropolis, Athens, Greece / Photo by Jebulon, Wikimedia Commons Athens attained its Golden Age under Pericles in the 5th century BCE, and flourished culturally as the hegemonic power of the Hellenic world. Edited by Matthew A. McIntosh / 08.04.2018 Historian Brewminate Editor-in-Chief Emergence and Growth The Rise of Athens (508-448 BCE) In 514[…]

Ancient Sparta: Militaristic Culture and Unequaled Women’s Rights

Spartan ruins / Photo by Ronny Siegel, Wikimedia Commons Spartan women enjoyed status, power, and respect that was unequaled in the rest of the classical world. Edited by Matthew A. McIntosh / 08.04.2018 Historian Brewminate Editor-in-Chief Emergence and Growth Introduction Sparta, known for its militaristic culture and unequaled women’s rights, was a dominant military power[…]

Indians in the Family: Adoption and the Politics of Antebellum Expansion

Looking at at a group of white slaveholders who adopted Southeast Indian boys (Choctaw, Creek, and Chickasaw) into their plantation households in the decades following the US Revolution. By Dr. Dawn Peterson / 09.14.2017 Assistant Professor of Early North American and U.S. History Emory University In 1811 a prominent Choctawwoman named Molly McDonald placed her eleven-year-old son[…]

The Character and Function of Ancient Chinese Walls and Fortifications

The Great Wall of China / Photo by Jakub Halun, Wikimedia Commons The concepts and technology of defensive fortifications fitfully but continually evolved. By Dr. Ralph D. Sawyer Senior Research Fellow University of Massachusetts The Fortifications LONG VIRTUALLY DEFINED by the mythic aspects of its Great Wall, China’s tradition of wall building far exceeds the most exaggerated[…]

The Practice of Tattooing in Ancient Egypt and Nubia

Tattoos on Egyptian mummy / Public Domain Tattooing was practised by many ancient societies, including the ancient Egyptians and Nubians. By Dr. Geoffrey Tassie Postdoctoral Research Fellow in Archaeology University of Edinburgh Abstract Tattooing was practised by many ancient societies, including the ancient Egyptians and Nubians. Egypt, for example, boasts iconographic and physical evidence for[…]