Category Archives: HISTORY

The First Crusade: The shock of the new?

The First Crusade: The shock of the new?


When in March of 1095 Pope Urban II made a speech to an assembly of French nobility and clergy at Clermont, in which he explained that the Christians in the east, both Catholic and Orthodox, were facing daily attacks and depredations from the Muslim population and lords, and offered those who would unite against this common foe remission of their sins, few could have expected the huge impact that his words would have on both East and West.

Ukranian ‘Great famine’ of 1933

Ukranian ‘Great famine’ of 1933

Key countries around the world are officially reclassifying one of the 20th century’s greatest tragedies – the Ukranian Great Famine of 1933 – as an act of genocide. Their historical re-assessment means that Stalin’s communist regime may increasingly and controversially be portrayed as a communist equivalent of Hitler’s Third Reich in terms of genocide and mass murder.

Napoleon in caricature

Napoleon in caricature

The turn of the 19th century was a golden age of caricature across much of the northern Europe – from Russia in the east through Prussia and the Rhineland to France and Britain to the west. London, boasting artists like James Gillray and Thomas Rowlandson, soon became the unofficial capital of European caricature.

How to cope with Viking attacks?

How to cope with Viking attacks?

Historians and archeologists increasingly recognize the fact that many fortifications and fortified towns – known in Old English as burhs – existed in the Anglo-Saxon kingdom of Mercia during the Viking age. They may have successfully checked Viking mobility at times but it was in Wessex where such defences were employed to their fullest effect.

Memorializing Edward the Confessor

Memorializing Edward the Confessor

An anonymous author in c. 1067 completed a Life of King Edward, commissioned by his widow Edith. The second part of that work describes events that demonstrate the king’s holiness and his miracle-inducing prowess. It was this section that was then worked up by Osbert de Clare, a Benedictine monk at Westminster Abbey, in his more explicitly hagiographical Life of Edward, which was finished by the late 1130s.