History Today

London's Borough Market celebrates 1000 years on site

Medievalists visiting London are often disappointed that little of the medieval city remains, but they may be cheered by a walk through of Borough Market in Southwark which is celebrting its millennium. Stephen Halliday has the story for History Today.

Contemplating Alfred the Great

In a feature-length story for History Today, historian Barbara Yorke looks at the history and reputation of King Alfred the Great, who she names "The Most Perfect Man in History."

Might Roman ring have inspired Tolkien?

The history of a stolen Roman ring and its discovery in the 18th century are the subject of a recent feature article in History Today by Lynn Forest-Hill, fellow of the Centre for Medieval and Renaissance Culture, University of Southampton, theorizing that the ring may have been the inspiration for J.R.R. Tolkien. (photos)

Abu Raihan al-Biruni and the discovery of America

In a feature article for History Today, S. Frederick Starr of the Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies at Johns Hopkins University, looks at the claimants to the discovery of the New World, including Abu Raihan al-Biruni, an Islamic scholar from Central Asia, who "may have discovered the New World centuries before Columbus – without leaving his study."

Galen: Prince of Medicine book reviewed

The online site for History Today recently featured a book review by Andrew Robinson for The Prince of Medicine: Galen in the Roman Empire by Susan P. Mattern.

New sources on the Battle of Crécy

The October 2013 issue of History Today magazine features an article by Richard Barber which looks at recently discovered sources on the Battle of Crécy (1346). An excerpt from Edward III and the Battle of Crécy is available free online. The entire article is reserved for subscribers to the magazine. (photo)

The socio-cultural transformation of the Renaissance

In 1952, Frederick Godfrey wrote an article which transformed forever scholarly consdieration of the Renaissance. The Pictorial Records of the Medicis looked at the work of the period's artists in the "context of the society from which it had sprung and that social attitudes could be recovered from the study of art." Alexander Lee of History Today looks at the impace of the article.

New Battle of Hastings book neglects sources, says History Today reviewer

Marc Morris, author of The Norman Conquest, finds some of the facts in a new history of the subject by John Grehan and Martin Mace "uncomfortable." The Battle of Hastings 1066: The Uncomfortable Truth places the site of the famous battle at a different location, Caldbec Hill. His review is on the History Today website.

No more "getting medieval" on the Middle Ages!

In his film Pulp Fiction, Quentin Tarantino’s anti-heroes "get medieval" on their victims, meaning "to physically torture or injure someone by means of archaic methods," but author Stephen Cooper feels that the modern world should be careful about its use of the word "medieval." His article Positively Medieval appears on the History Today blog.

The history of smoking

“When they travel, have a kind of herb dried, who, with a cane and an earthen cup in the end, with fire and the dried herbs put together, do suck through the cane and the smoke thereof, which smoke satisfieth their hunger, and therewith they live four or five days without meat or drink,” writes John Sparke about native Floridians' use of tobacco, which was introduced to Europeans in 1564.

European debt crisis - past and present

The debt woes of Cyprus and Greece, along with other European countries, have garnered headlines in recent days, but the stories are not new. Renaissance Florence had its own debt crisis, with a solution that looks surprisingly modern.

History Today offers best of 2012 free

In an attempt to lure in potential subscribers, History Today magazine has released a selection of its most popular stories from 2012 on its blog.

The ongoing importance of the Magna Carta

In Great Britain and the United States, the Magna Carta is revered as one of the bases of law. In an article for History Today, Ralph V. Turner, Professor of History Emeritus, Florida State University, and the author of Magna Carta, looks at the document and its importance through history.

"Unscrupulous foxes:" Contemporary views of medieval military orders

In the 12th and 13th centuries, European military orders such as the Knights Templar and the Knights Hospitaller were powerful and rich. Did their contemporaries love them or hate them? Helen Nicholson of History Today does the research.

Khazaria: the third superpower

In the 7th through 10th centuries, two super powers ruled Eastern Europe: Byzantium, "bulwark of Christendom in the east," and the Arab empire, but some historians name a third. Khazaria, a Jewish kingdom, played a crucial a part in the stemming of the Arab advance into Europe. (map)

Today in the Middle Ages: April 7, 1506

Today is the 500th anniversary of the birth of St. Francis Xavier. The Spanish-born missionary studied at the University of Paris and was one of the seven priests who joined Ignatius Loyola to found the Jesuit order.

Chaworth Roll Will Remain in England

A 14th genealogical roll written in Norman French was sold recently to a private collector, assuring that the manuscript will remain in England.

History Book of the Year Nominees Announced

History Today's nominees for History Book of the Year include several relating to the Middle Ages.

"Save the Psalter" Campaign Still Needs Donations

A fund-raising campaign by England's National Art Collections Fund to attempt to keep the 14th-century Macclesfield Psalter in the country has fallen short by UK£100,000.

Portrait of Thomas Howard Added to England's National Portrait Gallery

England's National Portrait Gallery has added a rare porait of Thomas Howard, 4th Duke of Norfolk, to its collection. Howard was a powerful courtier during the reign of Elizabeth I.

William Caxton Document on Display in London

Visitors to London will be able to see Britain's oldest printed document on display at the National Archives.

British Art Fund Offers £500,000 to Help Save Medieval Manuscript

The National Art Collections Fund has offered £500,000 to help save the 14th-century Macclesfield Psalter which was recently sold at auction.

Happy 500th Birthday David!

The city of Florence is celebrating the 500th anniversary of the unveiling of Michelangelo's statue of David.

British Survey Shows Lack of Historical Knowledge

A British survey taken in conjunction with the BBC television series Battlefield Britain shows that a surprising number of Brits have gaps in their knowledge of history.

Genghis Khan as Scholar?

Mongolian historian Tengus Bayaryn believes that conqueror Genghis Khan was not only literate but a scholar of Taoist philosophy.

Roman Floors Re-Discovered

Two rare 4th century Roman floors, unearthed in 1880 and reburied by workmen, have been re-discovered on the Isle of Wight.

Roman Bridge Studied in Northumberland

A second-century bridge crossing the River Tyne in Corbridge, England, forming part of the Roman "Great North Road," is being studied by archaeologists.

Shipwrecked Ming china recovered

A huge haul of Ming porcelain has been recovered from a shipwrecked Portuguese ship in waters off the coast of Malaysia.

Code-Breakers Hunt for the Holy Grail

World War II's famous Bletchley Park code-breakers have become involved in work to decipher a cryptic inscription which might point to the location of the Holy Grail.

Rats Cleared in "Black Death" Case?

A new study claims that rats were not the culprits in spreading the Black Plague throughout 14th century Europe.