“Well Known as Miss Betty Cooper”: Gender Expression in 18th-Century Boston

Miss Betty Cooper may not be “well known” to modern historians, but the ad claims that she was “well known” in Revolutionary-era Boston. In the years before the American Revolution, Boston newspapers routinely advertised the sale and recapture of enslaved people alongside news of Massachusetts’ resistance to British rule. In these ads, enslavers provided descriptions[…]

Sex Education with Andreas Vesalius in the Early Modern World

Looking beyond an initial impression to dissect what is happening beyond the surface in particular historical contexts. On the first day of my class, ‘Witches, Workers, & Wives,’ I showed students an image from Book 5 of Andreas Vesalius’ De humani corporis fabrica libri septem (On the fabric of the human body in seven books).At first glance, my students[…]

A 500-Year-Old History of the Orthodox Dispute between Constantinople and Moscow

Ukraine’s Orthodox Church recently broke off from Russia. This dispute has a history that goes back to medieval Christianity, and continues to shape modern-day politics. A new Orthodox Church was recently established in Ukraine. Shortly after, Bartholomew I, the Patriarch of Constantinople and the spiritual head of global Orthodox Christianity, granted independence to the new Orthodox[…]

How the Medieval Latin East Contributed to a Unique Cultural World

The Kingdom of Jerusalem did, in fact, make its own important cultural contributions. On 15 July 1099, the armies of the First Crusade, which departed from their European homelands about three years earlier, broke into Jerusalem and conquered it. This marked the beginning of an almost 200-year period in which the Holy Land was ruled[…]

Sacred to Secular: Religion in Ancient and Medieval China

Modern Taoists in China (and elsewhere) worship many gods at private altars and in public ceremonies which originated in the country’s ancient past. By Emily MarkHistorian Introduction Religious practices in ancient China go back over 7,000 years. Long before the philosophical and spiritual teachings of Confucius and Lao-Tzu developed or before the teachings of the Buddha came to China, the people worshipped personifications[…]

The Relationship between Church and State since the Ancient World

The relationship between church and state is the institutional form of the relationship between the religious and political spheres. This relationship has taken a variety of forms historically and in the modern world from the state dominating religion to religion dominating the state and recent attempts to separate them. In most ancient civilizations this relationship was not clearly[…]