18th-Century Art Appropriation in France – Exploring the Louvre’s Loot

After the revolution, one of the ways the French government seized assets, property, and art collections. Introduction The Louvre Museum opened its doors on August 10, 1793 as the Muséum Français, allowing the French public unfettered access to the new national art collection. Paintings, bronze sculptures, marble tables and statues, porcelain, and other “curiosities” had[…]

Feasting in Ancient Rome

Ancient Roman cuisine enthusiasts answer your burning questions. If you were to sit down for a meal with ancient Romans, some of the food on your plate might leave you scratching your head. Dormouse and flamingo, anyone? Other dishes may appear surprisingly familiar, like bread, cheese, and wine—still the cornerstones of many a Mediterranean-inspired lunch[…]

The Sanctuary of Fortuna Primigenia in Ancient Roman Palestrina

The presence of wealthy Romans led to the expansion of the temple structure and its continuing decoration. Introduction The Sanctuary of Fortuna Primigenia at Palestrina (ancient Praeneste) in Italy was built in the 2nd century BCE to honor the goddess Isis and the goddess Fortuna. The massive site spans a mountainside, built with Roman cement or[…]

Bronze Age Ambition and Luxury: Marquis Yi of the Zeng State

How early burial customs and practices could not only reflect someone’s ambition, but also elevate their status. Introduction Imagine stumbling upon an undisturbed tomb filled with 15,000 items—from hundreds of jade and golden objects and enormous bronze wine vessels to massive lacquered coffins and a vast assortment of musical instruments. In 1978 in Leigudun, Suizhou,[…]

“Crazy, Noisy, Freaked-Out Dance Music for Weirdos”

The queer legacy of 3909 Sunset Boulevard. “Crazy, noisy, freaked-out dance music for weirdos.” That’s how Carla Bozulich of the band Ethyl Meatplow once described their music. “And don’t forget very sexy.” “Sexy” is a PG euphemism for the early ‘90s crew of former L.A. art-punks whose notorious live performances mixed blistering drum machine alt-disco[…]

A Brief History of LGBTQ+ Social Movements

These movements began as responses to centuries of persecution by church, state, and medical authorities. Social movements, organizing around the acceptance and rights of persons who might today identify as LGBT or queer, began as responses to centuries of persecution by church, state and medical authorities. Where homosexual activity or deviance from established gender roles/dress[…]

A History of Heresy in Ancient and Medieval Christianity

The study of heresy requires an understanding of the development of orthodoxy and the role of creeds in the definition of orthodox beliefs. Introduction, Etymology, Definition Heresy in Christianity denotes the formal denial or doubt of a core doctrine of the Christian faith[1] as defined by one or more of the Christian churches.[2] In Western[…]

Kratos: Brutal Tyrant of Ancient Greek Mythology

Kratos is characterized as brutal and merciless, advocating for the use of unnecessary violence. Introduction In Greek mythology, Kratos (or Cratos) is the divine personification of strength. He is the son of Pallas and Styx. Kratos and his siblings Nike (“Victory”), Bia (“Force”), and Zelus (“Zeal”) are all essentially personifications of a trait.[5] Kratos is[…]

Medieval Science and Mathematics

Examining early medieval approaches to various types of knowledge we might consider today to be ‘scientific’ and early universities. Introduction The idea of science in the early Middle Ages is a broad one that encompasses many subjects. To understand this, we should think of the root of the word ‘science’, which comes from the Latin[…]

European Science in the Middle Ages

Roman and early medieval scientific texts were read and studied, contributing to the understanding of nature in the light of reason. Introduction European science in the Middle Ages comprised the study of nature, mathematics and natural philosophy in medieval Europe. Following the fall of the Western Roman Empire and the decline in knowledge of Greek,[…]

Till Eulenspiegel: Traveling Trickster of Medieval German Literature

There is a suggestion that the name is in fact a veiled pun on a Low German phrase translating to “wipe-arse”. Introduction Till Eulenspiegel is the protagonist of a German chapbook published in 1515 (a first edition of c. 1510/12 is preserved fragmentarily) with a possible background in earlier Middle Low German folklore. Eulenspiegel is[…]

Sisyphus: Deceitful Trickster God of Ancient Greek Mythology

As a punishment for his trickery, Hades made King Sisyphus roll a huge boulder endlessly up a steep hill. Introduction In Greek mythology Sisyphus, or Sisyphos, was the king of Ephyra (now known as Corinth). He was punished for his self-aggrandizing craftiness and deceitfulness by being forced to roll an immense boulder up a hill[…]

A Brief History of Exploration of Antarctica

The timeline of discovering Antarctica and the ‘race’ to the South Pole, from first sighting to Scott, Amundsen, Shackleton and more. January 1773: Captain James Cook becomes the first recorded navigator to cross the Antarctic Circle. Discover more about James Cook’s voyage to the Antarctic Circle January 1820: Antarctica is first sighted. The first person to actually see[…]

To Hold Nature in the Hand in an Early Modern Manuscript

A close look at the flowers, fruits, seedpods, insects, and other small creatures in a 16th-century manuscript. By Nancy Turner and Karen Trentelman Small enough to hold in the hand, the allure of the Mira Calligraphiae Monumenta (Wondrous Monuments of Calligraphy) in the Getty Museum’s collection of manuscripts is undeniable. Hold the book close enough, and the[…]

Ancient Athens in the Hellenistic World

Apart from some futile attempts to recapture their freedom, for well over a century the Greeks remained under Macedonian rule. Introduction When we think about ancient Athens, it is almost always about the classical city. We think of such things as its numerous monuments (the Parthenon on the Acropolis for example), beautifying everywhere, the Agora swarming with people doing business, discussing current affairs,[…]

Minoans and Mycenaeans: Comparing Two Bronze Age Civilizations

These cultures are often examined separately, and thus the ample cross-cultural transmission between them is overlooked. By Kelly MacquireHistorian Introduction The Bronze Age Aegean in the eastern Mediterranean encompassed several powerful entities: the Minoans on Crete; the Mycenaeans on mainland Greece, and the Cypriots on Cyprus. These cultures are often examined separately, and thus the ample cross-cultural transmission between them is overlooked. Focussing on[…]

Jefferson and Hamilton, Political Rivals in Washington’s Cabinet

Washington had to deal with the personal nature of the differences between two of his cabinet members – Jefferson and Hamilton. Differences of opinion didn’t concern President Washington. They could even be useful, until he came to realize (in 1792), the very personal nature of the differences between two of his cabinet members: Alexander Hamilton[…]

The Presidential Cabinet: An Invention of America’s First President

How George Washington shaped the group of advisors as an institution to meet his own needs. The President’s cabinet, the heads of the executive branch departments, is one of the most constant and durable parts of the United States government. From George Washington to Donald Trump, the chief executive has used the institution to collect[…]

Art and Architecture in the Ancient Parthian Empire

The Parthians brought with them cultural influences from their Scythian cousins. By Patrick Scott Smith, M.A.Historian Introduction Parthian art flourished within the Eurasian cultural corridor from the late hundreds BCE to the early 1st and 2nd centuries CE. With the Parthian Empire (247 BCE – 224 CE) stretching from India and China in the east to[…]

Ancient Assyrian Reliefs Tell the Story of an Empire

Exploring tales of military might, myth, and court life as told through stone sculptures. Interview of Dr. Timothy PottsDirectorThe J. Paul Getty Museum “The reliefs show people being impaled on spikes and the enemy being decapitated and sometimes flayed alive. I mean it’s absolutely brutal, and it was intended to intimidate.” With a powerful empire[…]

The Benefits of Learning History Better for Your Everyday Life

Many people associate history with the most boring class (besides math) in their high school experience. Largely due to the way that history is presented in the schooling system, history can often seem uninteresting and unimportant to many people. However, history can actually be an extremely enriching thing to study, and can actually help you[…]

Fungi, Folklore, and Fairyland: Supernatural in Victorian Art and Literature

How mushrooms became established as a stock motif of Victorian fairyland. This article, Fungi, Folklore, and Fairyland, was originally published in The Public Domain Review under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0. If you wish to reuse it please see: https://publicdomainreview.org/legal/ From fairy-rings to Lewis Carroll’s Alice, mushrooms have long been entwined with the supernatural in art and[…]

The Uncertain Heavens: Christiaan Huygens’ Ideas of E.T. Life in the 1680s

During the 17th century, as knowledge of the Universe and its contents increased, so did speculation about life on other planets. This article, The Uncertain Heavens: Christiaan Huygens’ Ideas of Extraterrestrial Life, was originally published in The Public Domain Review under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0. If you wish to reuse it please see: https://publicdomainreview.org/legal/ The author[…]

The Romulean and Servian Tribes of Pre-Republican Ancient Rome

All Roman citizens were enrolled in one of these tribes, through which they were entitled to vote in certain elections. Introduction A tribus, or tribe, was a division of the Roman people, constituting the voting units of a legislative assembly of the Roman Republic.[1][2] The word is probably derived from tribuere, to divide or distribute;[…]

The Dorian Tribal Invasion of Ancient Greece

Intense tribalism in a pre-Hellenic world was deep and civilization itself would collapse in the region. Introduction The Ancient Greeks divided themselves into three tribes; the Aeolians, Ionians, and Dorians. The Mycenaeans (referred to as Argives, Achaeans, and Danaans by Homer in the Iliad) were Aeolians and Ionians. Sometime around 1100 BCE, the Dorians, who[…]

The Rise of Fingerprint Technology in the 19th Century and Resulting Myths

In the 19th-century, society began to grapple with an emerging problem: How do you prove people are who they say they are? By Clive ThompsonScience and Technology Journalist At 9:00 a.m. last December 14 [2018], a man in Orange County, California, discovered he’d been robbed. Someone had swiped his Volkswagen Golf, his MacBook Air and[…]

The Orkney Finnmen Legends: From Early Modern Science to Modern Myth

How early modern science’s fascination with unfamiliar objects helped a new chapter of Scottish folklore. This article, The Orkney Finnmen Legends: From Early Modern Science to Modern Myth, was originally published in The Public Domain Review under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0. If you wish to reuse it please see: https://publicdomainreview.org/legal/ At the end of the 17th[…]

The Column of Trajan: Propaganda of Empire in Ancient Rome

Trajan expanded the Roman Empire to its greatest extent, celebrating his victories with this monumental column. The Triumph The Triumph was a riotous military ritual celebrated by the Romans over the course of centuries—whenever their commander had won a spectacular victory. On the appointed day (or days) the city would be overflowing with crowds, pageantry,[…]

Augustus of Primaporta: Propaganda for Ancient Rome’s First Emperor

Augustus invoked the power of imagery to communicate his ideology. Heading Today, politicians think very carefully about how they will be photographed. Think about all the campaign commercials and print ads we are bombarded with every election season. These images tell us a lot about the candidate, including what they stand for and what agendas[…]

An Introduction to Medieval Safavid Art and Architecture

Safavid art and architecture reflected the adoption of a Shi’a identity. Introduction to the Safavid Dynasty: Rise and Empire Brilliantly painted manuscripts. Exquisitely detailed miniatures. Fine silks. Complex, ornate palaces. The art of the Safavids is simply magnificent. The Safavids were a dynastic family that ruled over modern-day Iran. They sustained one of the longest[…]