The baby who provoked a revolution

The birth of a male heir to James II of England made possible a permanent Catholic dynasty. Several Protestants echoed Mary and Anne’s doubts that the baby had been smuggled into the More »

Red Indians and how to tame them

The Elizabethans’ colonial voyages brought them into contact with a people very different level of civilisation from their own—the ‘Indians’ of the New World, as is illustrated by the account written in More »

Mormons in search of Promised Land, 1846-69

The Mormons have been described as the most systematic, organised, disciplined and successful pioneers in American history. For over 20 years they were one of the main forces driving the settlement of More »

‘Alien’ citizens in the Medieval England

Thousands of foreigners poured into England in the Middle Ages. Similar like today, they have been attracted to England by job opportunities or possibility to study. Finding these everyday immigrants is no easy task. More »

Napoleon Bonaparte’s relatives after he lost power in France

What happened to Napoleon Bonaparte‘s relatives after he lost power in France? They could not stay in France but, perhaps surprisingly, they came to little harm – with the exception of Napoleon’s More »

 

The ancient city of Petra

The ancient city of Petra

Now a World Heritage Site in the kingdom of Jordan and one of the most compelling archaeological sites in existence, ‘the rose-red city half as old as time’ was by the fourth century bc the capital of the Nabataean people, who controlled the trade routes from oasis to oasis in Arabia and later allied themselves with the Romans. It was found by a 27-year-old Swiss explorer called Johann Ludwig (or Jean Louis) Burckhardt.

The historical background of Bayeux Tapestry

The historical background of Bayeux Tapestry

The Tapestry relates, through the minds and eyes of contemporaries, the events leading up to the Norman invasion of England and culminates in a major depiction of the Battle of Hastings. Events in both England and Normandy are recounted, save for an occasional apparent solecism, in chronological order. Most scenes are easily explicable in relation to the contemporary written sources, and those which are not are mere caesuras in a running story.

Punishment of women

Punishment of women

For women there were punishments designed to humiliate as well as to hurt. The scold’s bridle took many appearances but in essence each was the same – a metal cage to clamp around the head with a built-in gag. Included  in the design of some was a bell which rang when the ‘scold’ was paraded around the town. Of course, in the streets she was subjected to the jeers of the crowd.

James II of Scotland and the fall of the Black Douglases

James II of Scotland and the fall of the Black Douglases

In 1449 James II of Scotland was nineteen and he began to assert himself and moved against his erstwhile Guardian, Alexander Livingston, and his family. In January 1450, two members of the Livingston family were beheaded for treason and the family estates were forfeited to the crown. Gradually, however, the Crichtons now glided back into the king’s favour and William Crichton regained the role of Chancellor.

The Lost Prince: The colourful life of Henry Stuart in National Portrait Gallery/London

The Lost Prince: The colourful life of Henry Stuart in National Portrait Gallery/London

Today, few people have heard of Henry Stuart (1594-1612) – eldest son of King James VI and I, older brother to the future Charles I. But back in 1612 things were very different. In fact, when, in November of that year, Henry’s life was ended by typhoid fever (he was just 18), the entire nation was plunged into grief. At Henry’s lavish funeral procession, 2,000 official mourners were joined by thousands lining the streets “whose streaming eyes made knowen howe much inwardly their harts did bleed”.