Camera Obscura: Accuracy and Elegance in Cheselden’s Osteographia (1733)

With its novel vignettes and its use of a camera obscura in the production of the plates, William Cheselden’s Osteographia, is recognized as a landmark in the history of anatomical illustration. Monique Kornell looks at its unique blend of accuracy and elegance. By Dr. Monique KornellIndependent Scholar of Anatomical Illustration A lavishly illustrated and particularly[…]

Medieval Judgment Art and Architecture at the Church of Saint Trophime

Saint Trophime, Arles, 12th – 15th century (photo: Elliot Brown, CC BY 2.0) By Christine M. Bolli / 08.08.2015 PhD Candidate in Art History University of California, Santa Barbara The Provençal city of Arles in the south of France, is home to the medieval church, Saint Trophime. First impressions When I first saw the church, somewhat inconspicuously wedged[…]

The Church and Reliquary of Sainte-Foy, a Symbol of Medieval Pilgrimage and Ritual

Church of Sainte‐Foy, Conques, France, c. 1050–1130 (photo: jean françois bonachera, CC BY-NC-ND 2.0) By Dr. Elisa Foster / 08.08.2015 Lecturer John V. Roach Honors College Texas Christian University On the road Imagine you pack up your belongings in a sack, tie on your cloak, and start off on a months-long journey through treacherous mountains, unpredictable[…]

The Bar-Kochba Revolt: A Final Confrontation with Rome

This followed a long period of tension and violence, marked by the first Jewish uprising which ended with the destruction of the Second Temple. By Benjamin Kerstein Introduction The Bar Kochba Revolt (132–136 CE) was the third and final war between the Jewish people and the Roman Empire. It followed a long period of tension and violence, marked[…]

The Maccabean Revolt: The Seleucid Fall and Rise of the Hasmonean Dynasty

The outcome was the formation of the Hasmonean Dynasty, an autonomous Jewish rule over Palestine that would last a generation. By Harry Oates Introduction After the death of Alexander the Great, his Kingdom was divided into four; Egypt, the Seleucid Empire, the Kingdom of Pergamon and Macedon (including Greece). Egypt, governed by Ptolemy I Soter[…]

Hitler and France’s Maginot Line

The humiliating failure of the vaunted Maginot Line thrilled the vast majority of Germans, who adored their Führer and supported his ruthless agenda. “Monsieur Maginot built a fortified line,” noted the German justice inspector Friedrich Kellner in his diary in June 1940, just after Hitler’s army burst through the French fortifications. If France really expected[…]

The Phasing-Out of 18th-Century Patterns of German Migration to the United States after 1817

The years 1816 to 1819 saw the last wave of immigration into the United States that basically followed patterns of travel, finance, and trade established in the 1700s. Introduction The years 1816 to 1819, at the beginning of the 19th century, saw the last wave of immigration into the United States that basically followed patterns of[…]

Farmland Blues: The Legacy of USDA Discrimination

The history of discrimination by the United States Department of Agriculture and the class action lawsuits by black farmers. The Disopossession What happened in rural America during the quarter century after 1950 has been eclipsed by the Cold War, the civil rights movement, the war in Vietnam, and growing concern over pesticides, nuclear testing, and[…]

Enslaved Labor and Building the Smithsonian: Reading the Stones

Examining evidence that enslaved persons were involved in the construction of the original Smithsonian Building in Washington, D.C. Many enslaved workers who labored at the Maryland quarry from which all the building’s “freestone” or sandstone blocks were obtained had roots in enslaved families owned by Martha Custis Washington at Mt. Vernon. And what erudition. He[…]

Why the Myth of the “Savage Indian” Persists

Iconic children’s books and popular media that Gen Xers grew up with are riddled with damaging Native stereotypes—but things may finally be shifting. Peter Pan, the beloved children’s classic, is sure to stun modern readers with its descriptions of “redskins” carrying “tomahawks and knives,” their naked bodies glistening with oil. “Strung around them are scalps,[…]

Andrew Jackson and the Indian Removal Act of 1830

The 1830 Indian Removal Act led to the displacement of the Creek, Choctaw, Chickasaw, Seminole, and Cherokee tribes of the Southeast. By Dr. P. Scott CorbettProfessor of HistoryVentura College Introduction Pro-Jackson newspapers touted the president as a champion of opening land for white settlement and moving native inhabitants beyond the boundaries of “American civilization.” In this[…]

A Brief History of the United States Senate

The U.S. Senate was designed to be a more deliberative body than the U.S. House. Introduction The United States Senate is the upper chamber of the United States Congress, which along with the United States House of Representatives—the lower chamber—comprises the legislative branch of the federal government of the United States. Like its counterpart, the[…]

Dealing with ‘the Devil’ in Medieval and Early Modern European Medicine

During the devil’s last apogee in early modern Europe, demonic afflictions were taken seriously by both priests and physicians. Thirty children in Amsterdam began to show signs of a disturbing affliction in the winter of 1566. The symptoms would strike without warning: the children would at first be seized by a violent frenzy, then fall[…]

Indelible Ink: The Deep History of Tattoo Removal

While contemporary laser removal techniques are only around forty years old, efforts to erase or rewrite tattoos are much, much older. In 1681, after several months of raids on Spanish settlements, a group of English pirates traipsed across Panama on their way to the Atlantic. An accident involving gunpowder had left the buccaneers’ surgeon, Lionel Wafer,[…]

Ancient Tonga Tattoo Tools May Illustrate Birth of Polynesian Body Art

The tools, called “bone combs,” resemble hair combs with their grooved edges. By Amy Held Tattooing goes back millennia and spans cultures, as evidenced by mummified remains, yet many details of the body modification’s origins have been shrouded in mystery. Now an ancient bone tattoo kit from the Pacific island nation of Tonga is providing researchers[…]

A History of Evolving Meaning in the Statue of Liberty

It has meant different things to different people at different times, which is part of its genius. Abolition In 1886, The Statue of Liberty was a symbol of democratic government and Enlightenment ideals as well as a celebration of the Union’s victory in the American Civil War and the abolition of slavery. Edouard de Laboulaye,[…]

The Design, Transport, and Construction of the Statue of Liberty, 1865-1886

French artisans and craftsmen began constructing the Statue in France under Auguste Bartholdi’s direction. The Early Stages In 1865, a French political intellectual and anti-slavery activist named Edouard de Laboulaye proposed that a statue representing liberty be built for the United States. This monument would honor the United States’ centennial of independence and the friendship[…]

Child’s Portrait Sheds Light on a Violent Episode in Renaissance History

New research demonstrates that a sculpture is associated with a harrowing episode of anti-Semitic violence in late-1400s Italy. March 21 marks the anniversary of the horrific murder of a two-year-old toddler that took place in 1475 in Trent, a city in North Italy—an event that led to one of the most brutal and infamous anti-Semitic[…]

The Timeline of Renaissance Inventions – c.1300-1600 CE

The Renaissance period (c. 1300-1600 CE) in European countries is renowned for path-breaking and rapid developments and inventions. The Renaissance period (c. 1300-1600 CE) in European countries is renowned for path-breaking and rapid developments and inventions that took place in fields like arts, philosophy, and science. It’s deemed that Florencia, Italy, was its epicenter. A[…]

Power and Pomp at Versailles

Versailles was the location of two seismic shifts in political culture. Ten million tourists flock to Versailles annually to imagine courtly life in such sumptuous surroundings. Versailles was about awesome royal power, intense rivalries, brilliant craftsmanship and engineering, and – for those who did the manual labour – drudgery and deference. Above all, Versailles embodied[…]

The King’s Touch: A History of ‘Magical Royalty’

By sanctifying the royal body, the act of anointing has often been believed to confer healing powers. The climax of the royal coronation ceremony at Westminster Abbey in London is the act of anointing: the monarch is consecrated with holy oil applied to the hands, breast and head, while the Archbishop of Canterbury declares: ‘As[…]

The Fall of Mussolini

By Dr. Christopher DugganHistorian The announcement on the radio later that evening that the ‘Duce’ had fallen brought crowds pouring into the streets and piazzas. Joy was mixed with anger. Photographs of Mussolini were tossed from windows; symbols of the fascist party were hacked off buildings; and pavements everywhere were littered with party insignia torn[…]

The Politics of Aesthetics: Mussolini and Fascist Italy

Power has forever been entwined with a symbolic apparatus in charge of representing it. Power has forever been entwined with a symbolic apparatus in charge of representing it.  From Louis the XIV in France to Queen Victoria in England, images and rituals have served to strengthen people’s connections to governing institutions; symbols and rites make[…]

After the Carolingians: The Ottonian (or Saxon) Dynasty

The Ottonian dynasty (German: Ottonen) was a Saxon dynasty of German monarchs (919–1024), named after three of its kings and Holy Roman Emperors named Otto, especially its first Emperor Otto I. It is also known as the Saxon dynasty after the family’s origin in the German stem duchy of Saxony. The family itself is also sometimes known as the Liudolfings (Liudolfinger), after its earliest known member Count Liudolf (d. 866)[…]

The Carolingian Dynasty and the Kingdom of West Francia

West Francia prospered under succeeding kings up through the rise of the Capetian Dynasty. Introduction The Kingdom of West Francia (843-987 CE, also known as The Kingdom of the West Franks) was the region of Central Europe that formed the western part of the Carolingian Empire of Charlemagne (Holy Roman Emperor 800-814 CE) known as Francia[…]

The Art and Architecture of New Kingdom Egypt, c.1570-1069 BCE

Pillars of the Great Hypostyle Hall from the Precinct of Amun-Re / Photo by Kurohito, Wikimedia Commons The New Kingdom is known as the golden age of ancient Egyptian history. Edited by Matthew A. McIntosh / 11.29.2018 Public Historian Brewminate Editor-in-Chief Architecture Overview The golden age of the New Kingdom created huge prosperity for Egypt and allowed for[…]

The Art and Architecture of Middle Kingdom Egypt, c.2055-1650 BCE

The Temple of Isis at Philae, with pylonsand an enclosed court on the left and the inner building at right / Photo by Marc Ryckaert, Wikimedia Commons The Middle Kingdom (c. 2000-1650 BCE) was marked by the reunification of Egypt following a period of weak pharaonic power and civil war called the First Intermediate. Edited by Matthew A. McIntosh /[…]