Volume 48 Issue 5 May 1998

Pamela Tudor-Craig recounts a tale of two Emerald Portraits of Christ - one carved on an altarpiece commissioned by James II, the other on a plum stone of Charles I.

The Battle of Marathon has long been presented as the decisive moment at which Greeks led by the newly democratic Athenians gained the upper hand over the despotic Persians. Barry Baldwin reappraises the battle, and explains why it is still a byword for endurance.

Gavan McCormack analyses the attempts by the Japanese nation to deal with its uncomfortable past.

Trevor Fischer takes a second look at the Victorian prime minister's fascination with street-walkers.

Jackie Guy journeys down the revolutionary roads of North and South Carolina.

Richard Cavendish describes the formation of the state of Israel, proclaimed by David Ben-Gurion, on May 14th, 1948.

Ian Fitzgerald looks forward to the restoration of Augustus' tomb in Rome.

Richard Cavendish remembers the death of a prizefighter, on May 11th 1848

John Breuilly looks at the attempt to create a German nation-state and how it foundered on the questions of national minorities, border disputes, shared sovereignty in a federal state and the intersection of power politics with idealism.

The monastery was the focus of the local community in many medieval towns. Emma Mason describes the way of life of the monks and the young people in their care in the 11th and 12th centuries.

As Britain prepares to receive the Emperor Akihito on his first state visit, we look at two aspects of the relationship between Japan’s past and its present. In this first article, John Breen examines the Japanese paradox of a constitutional monarch.

Richard Cavendish describes the events leading up to the execution of the Florentine friar Savonarola, on May 23rd, 1498.

Extracts from the remarkable diary of an English-born bank clerk, stranded in the Afrikaner stronghold of the Orange Free State during the Boer War. Edited by Franzjohan Pretorius and Iain R. Smith.

Poland is the only country in the world to invoke Napoleon in its national anthem. Andrzej Nieuwazny explains how Bonaparte has retained a hold over Polish imagination throughout the last two centuries.