The Treatment of Women in Prison in the 19th Century

Woking Convict Invalid Prison: a woman prisoner in solitary confinement / Wellcome Collection, Creative Commons Prison officers tried to regulate women’s minds and bodies, and maintain a new disciplinary routine in the second half of the 1800s. Many female inmates resisted.      By (left-to-right) Dr. Rachel Bennett, Dr. Catherine Cox, and Dr. Hilary Marland /[…]

Thunderbolts and Lightning: A History of Discovery and Research in Electricity

Fire in the sky has always exerted a powerful hold on our imagination, even as early scientists started unlocking the secrets of atmospheric electricity. By Ruth Garde / 03.29.2017 Curator, Creative Producer, Writer It might come as no surprise that Michael Faraday, one of the most influential scientists in the history of electricity, would give[…]

The Redemption of Saint Anthony in Gustave Flaubert

“Anthony: What Is the Point of All This? The Devil: There Is No Point!”, by Odilon Redon from his “The Temptation of Saint Anthony” series – Wikimedia Commons Gustave Flaubert, best known for his masterpiece Madame Bovary, spent nearly thirty years working on a surreal and largely ‘unreadable’ retelling of the temptation of Saint Anthony. Colin Dickey[…]

Plaster Cover-Up and the “Last Judgment” at Autun Cathedral

Tympanum depicting the “Last Judgment” from the Saint-Lazare Cathedral, Autun, France. c. 1120-1130 or c. 1130-1145. Base of tympanum is approximately 21′ in length By Dr. Monica Bowen / 06.28.2017 Professor of Art History Seattle University I was discussing the “Last Judgment” tympanum at the Cathedral of Autun with my students. I pointed out some details of the[…]

The Social Effect of the Law on Prostitutes in Ancient Rome

Roman mosaic / Photo by Alberto Fernandez Fernandez, Kunsthistorisches Museum, Wikimedia Commons Prostitution quickly became a popular source of income and pleasure for the Roman population, but it seemed to be viewed dichotomously. By Lauren Weisner / 12.01.2014 Prostitution quickly became a popular source of income and pleasure for the Roman population, but it seemed[…]

Phalanx Transformation of Ancient Greek Warfare, 431-331 BCE

From simple, organized Greek farmers to a powerful, flexible army. By Ian Joseph BA Cultural Anthropology, The University of Chicago MBA Pepperdine University Mantinea Introduction Three great battles—Mantinea (418 BCE), Leuctra (371 BCE), and Gaugamela (331 BCE)—demonstrate the development of Greek and Macedonian warfare from the simple hoplite phalanx employed by Greek farmers defending their fields, into[…]

Hirschfeld’s Archives: Photographs as Evidence of Gender Identity and Sexuality

Intriguing photographs from sexologists’ archives suggest they could have helped people explore their gender identity and sexuality. Dr Jana Funkereflects on her experiences of discussing sexology and photography with visitors at Wellcome’s Institute of Sexology exhibition. By Dr. Jana Funke / 03.12.2015 Senior Lecturer in Medical Humanities University of Exeter n 1919, German-Jewish sexologist Magnus[…]

Æthelflæd: The Anglo-Saxon Iron Lady

How a widow battled back against the Vikings and became one of the most powerful figures in Britain.        By (left-to-right) Dr. Philip Morgan, Dr. Andrew Sargent, Dr. Charles Insley, and Dr. Morn Capper / 06.21.2017 Morgan: Senior Lecturer, Keele University Sargent: Lecturer in Medieval History, Keele University Insley: Senior Lecturer, University of Manchester Capper: Lecturer in Archaeological Heritage,[…]

Palaces in Ancient Egypt: Cities for Kings and Gods

Illustration of the ancient palace of Malkata The grandeur that early European explorers had come to expect in royal building programs seems to have been reserved for sacred space and funerary complexes. By Dr. Steven Snape Reader in Egyptian Archaeology University of Liverpool Introduction For early European explorers in Egypt, it was inconceivable that the massive monumental[…]

British Soldier Artists in Colonial India

Whether drawing for official purposes or for pleasure, soldier-artists contributed a rich source to the visual imagery of colonial India in the 18th and 19th centuries. By Dr. Margaret Makepeace and Patrician Kattenhorn (not pictured) Makepeace: Fellow, Royal Historical Society Kattenhorn: Artist Britain’s earliest foothold in India came with trading stations, or factories, set up[…]

Royal Recipes in Mid-19th Century India

Some exciting recipes from the first cookbooks printed in Indian languages. The cuisines detailed within these books graced royal courts for nearly two millennia. By Dr. Abhijit Gupta Associate Professor of English Jadavpur University    Which was the first-ever cookbook in India? Candidates for this honour must be many and pretty much impossible to determine, but[…]

Jeffersonians Claimed Washington Was Hamilton’s Dupe. They Were Wrong.

For well over two hundred years, Thomas Jefferson and his admirers have had to choose between two unflattering interpretations of George Washington’s presidency. By Dr. Stephen F. Knott / 01.25.2016 Professor of National Security Affairs U.S. Naval War College For well over two hundred years, Thomas Jefferson and his admirers have had to choose between[…]

Noble Villas in New Kingdom Egypt

There were distinct differences between city and village (country) life, each with its own unique advantages and disadvantages. By Dr. Steven Snape Reader in Egyptian Archaeology University of Liverpool Although, with exceptions at Amarna, there are few surviving traces of noble villas from the New Kingdom, we have some idea of how they must have looked[…]

Fortified Cities in Ancient Egypt

The Lion Temple Walls do seem to be a defining feature of many Egyptian settlements throughout the dynastic period. By Dr. Steven Snape Reader in Egyptian Archaeology University of Liverpool The origin of urbanism in Egypt includes the emergence of heavily defended walled settlements as major political and economic centres. The policy of providing enclosing walls for[…]

George Washington, France, and the Victory at Yorktown

The citizen soldiers may have started the Revolution, but it was the French that finished it—something that would have never happened without George Washington’s realization that victory depended on the intercession of a powerful ally. By Nathaniel Philbrick / 10.01.2018 Author and Historian Q: Your two previous books, Bunker Hill and Valiant Ambition, have given readers a new way[…]

The Persian Wars and the Maritime Supremacy of Ancient Athens

Figure 1: Greek Colonization of western Asia Minor / Image by Alexikoua, Wikimedia Commons The development of naval supremacy and of democracy became interdependent. In the period of about 600–480 BCE, Ionian colonists emigrated from Attica to the Aegean coast of Asia Minor, which is modern Turkey [1]. There they inhabited a narrow coastal strip from[…]

Preserving Ancient Mosaics in the Mediterranean

A restorer removes mortar on a mosaic in Tipasa, Algeria. Image courtesy the Conservation and Restoration Workshop of the Arles Antiquities Museum Flexibility in a funding initiative for mosaics conservators leads to a range of positive outcomes. By Dr. Joan Weinstein / 11.27.2018 Acting Director Getty Foundation Introduction Grant-making is rarely a linear process. It often involves twists and turns along the[…]

Pieter Bruegel’s ‘Tower of Babel’ and the Creation of a Harmonious Community in Antwerp

Analyzing how the theme of the painting, a story of miscommunication and disorder, resonated with the challenges faced by the metropolis. By Dr. Barbara A. Kaminska Assistant Professor of Art History Sam Houston State University Abstract This article discusses Pieter Bruegel’s Tower of Babel (now in Vienna), originally displayed in the suburban villa of Antwerp entrepreneur Niclaes[…]

The People vs. Tyranny: The Secular Martyrdom of John Lilburne

John Lilburne, reading from Coke’s Institutes of the Lawes of England (1628-44) at his trial for high treason in 1649. Photo courtesy The British Library/Public Domain He was a 17th-century champion of legal rights that are important to us all. By Dr. Michael Braddick / 11.26.2018 Professor of History (Early Modern England) University of Sheffield The English[…]

City and Regional Government in Ancient Egypt

Examining  the roles and duties of the court, temple and provincial officials as the backbone of ancient Egyptian administration. By Dr. Steven Snape Reader in Egyptian Archaeology University of Liverpool Introduction The administration of towns and cities in dynastic Egypt was part of a complex pattern of central and regional government whose functions, and officials, often overlapped.[…]

Unsentimental Vistas: Berenice Abbott and 20th-Century Interwar Urban Photography

Berenice Abbott “I am an American, who, after eight years of residence in Europe, came back to view America with new eyes.” By Ayten Tartici PhD Candidate in Comparative Literature Yale University When the American photographer Berenice Abbott returned to New York in 1929 after nearly a decade away in Paris, she came back to[…]

Thomas Scattergood: Forensic Toxicology in Victorian Yorkshire

Saltaire Victorian village – Bradford, Yorkshire, England. UNESCO World Heritage Site As a regional forensic expert, Thomas Scattergood takes his place in the historiography of crime and forensic practice in England. By Dr. Cassie Watson and Dr. Laura Sellers / 12.19.2017 Introduction Dr Thomas Scattergood, First Dean of Medicine at Yorkshire College (1884–1900) Thomas Scattergood,[…]

Diagnosing the Past

The diagnosis: a skeletal doctor measures a patient’s pulse, L. Crusius / Wellcome Collection, Creative commons Texts that are hundreds of years old might yield clues to medical problems of the past. But without a body, a definitive diagnosis is rarely possible. And unless you know the context of what you’re reading, it’s possible to go[…]