EVENT! Pregnancy, False Pregnancy, and Questionable Heirs: Mary I and her Echoes

Pregnancy, False Pregnancy, and Questionable Heirs: Mary I and her Echoes 16 April 2015 Wednesday May 20 5-7pm Lecture Roberts G08, Sir David Davies Lecture Theatre, Roberts Building This illustrated lecture examines beliefs – medical and cultural – about phantom pregnancies in early modern England with specific connections to the political implications of Mary I’s false pregnancies. While historians have …

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THE BONES OF POCAHONTAS by Jane Dismore

The discovery of Richard III’s skeleton may not in itself be sufficient to disprove the dark stories about him but it has revived interest; perhaps one day man and myth will be separated for good. The process was respectful, from the first cut into the concrete, to the last handful of earth crumbled onto his coffin, giving him the dignity …

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Henry VII and Elizabeth of York’s Marriage Bed Rediscovered

This ancient, much-repaired but beautifully crafted bed frame discovered at auction in Chester in 2010 is an exceptional national treasure that will revolutionize the way we understand later medieval monarchs and their environment. When the owner invited me to inspect it, I had assumed like many others reasonably would, that this varnished, pre-Renaissance styled object must be a late Victorian …

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Animals of War

Ever since man realised that riding a horse into battle was much more effective than running on their own two feet, animals have become an effective and potent game changer in war. For Alexander the Great, the horse proved vital in carving out his empire in the ancient world. Alexander’s ‘Companian’ cavalry would charge forward in a wedge formation, their …

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Richard III – from zero to hero? By Tony Boullemier

THEY say the sun shines on the righteous. If so, the controversial reputation of King Richard lll was vindicated on Sunday, March 22. It was a glorious day for a funeral as the remains of our last Plantagenet king were taken back to Bosworth Field, the scene of his final fateful battle. There were so many of us at the …

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Murder, Mayhem and Music Hall: The Dark Side of Victorian London by Barry Anthony

During the first half of the nineteenth century the Strand’s reputation as a place of recreation was reinforced by new and expanded forms of entertainment. Where amateurs had previously ‘obliged’ at ‘Free and Easy’ concerts, professional performers started to appear in the singing rooms of taverns. Venues such as the Coal Hole, Strand, and the Cyder Cellars,  Maiden Lane, offered …

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Witchcraft in Early Modern Poland 1500-1800 by Wanda Wyporska

Here follows an extract from Wanda Wyporska’s new book Witchcraft in Early Modern Poland 1500-1800: In 1613 the good gentlemen of Kalisz’s municipal court arrived in the village of Kucharki to try Dorota of Siedlików and Gierusza Klimerzyna. Listening to a wide range of testimonies, they heard tell of sex with the Devil, ruined beer, stolen milk, a visit to …

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Five minutes with… Hallie Rubenhold

Hallie Rubenhold is an author, social historian and broadcaster. Her second book, Lady Worsley’s Whim, about a notorious 18th century Criminal Conversation (or adultery) trial has been adapted for screen by the BBC. Starring Natalie Dormer (Hunger Games, Game of Thrones), it will be broadcast in August. What is an historian? An historian is someone who is dedicated to an …

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David Tiedemann reviews ‘Clinton’s Grand Strategy’ by James D. Boys

What separates grand foreign policy strategy from simple opportunism?  This is the question that Clinton’s Grand Strategy, US Foreign Policy in a Post-Cold War World, by James D. Boys, struggles with.  The book attempts to defend the Clinton Administration from charges by critics that the president’s foreign policy was ad-hoc, and without an ideological grounding.  While the author is willing to explain Bill Clinton’s policy …

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Simon de Montfort and all this Parliament business

In this first biography of Simon de Montfort in nearly twenty years, Darren Baker reveals a revolutionary figure who did in fact play a major role in the development of the English parliament. As part of a virtual tour he is undertaking for the book, he explains in this guest article below how that came to pass. Imagine you are about …

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The response to Charlie Hebdo and the Imperial Hangover in France

As economic underperformance, loss of sovereignty and German domination of the EU grind away at French self-esteem, contemporary France is also divided by chronic and deep-rooted anti-Semitism and Islamophobia. French Jews were leaving the country for Israel, the UK, Canada and the United States in their thousands long before the latest atrocities in Paris. Many Muslims in France continue to …

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The Nazi “super weapon” so dangerous the Nazis never used it

New chemical compounds are discovered or created regularly, some are created where the properties can already be guessed at, others are complete surprises, in 1930 a new compound was discovered by Ruff and Krug in Germany. It was very volatile so was ignored until a few years later interest was rekindled by Nazi scientists at the Kaiser Wilhelm Institute. It …

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Rebecca Rideal reviews “A Million Years in a Day” by Greg Jenner

A Million Years in a Day By Greg Jenner Weidenfeld & Nicolson RRP £12.99 Like many of the best ideas, the premise behind Greg Jenner’s debut book is extraordinarily simple – to trace the history of everyday life through the prism of a modern Saturday. Opening with ‘9.30 a.m. Rise and Shine’, each chapter deals with a different part of …

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The Radium Craze – America’s Lethal Love Affair by Matthew Moss

At the beginning of the 20th century America became gripped by a dangerous phenomenon. Radium had been discovered in 1898 and was quickly hailed as a miracle element. The radioactive metal’s unusual and unique properties captured the imaginations of both the scientific community and the public. Within forty years radium had permeated American society to the point where it was …

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Taking Back Tyburn by Jessica Cale

Tyburn. Once enough to send a shiver down the spine of anyone in London or greater Middlesex, these infamous gallows have at last begun to fade from collective memory. Eight times a year, Tyburn served as the place of execution for the condemned from the courts of Westminster, the Guildhall, Middlesex, and the Old Bailey Sessions. Between 1196 and 1783, …

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