Volume 61 Issue 1 January 2011

In 1538, believing his kingdom to be under threat, Henry VIII brutally settled scores dating back to the dynastic conflicts of the 15th century, as Desmond Seward explains.

The linguistic legacy of the King James Bible is immense. But, David Crystal discovers, it is not quite the fount of common expressions that many of its admirers believe it to be.

Strauss's 'musical comedy' was first performed in Dresden on January 26th, 1911. It was a sensation.

Richard Cavendish remembers the assassination of Caliph Ali, on January 24th, 661.

Richard Cavendish describes Edward the Confessor's canonisation, on January 5th, 1161.

David Mattingly revisits an article by Graham Webster, first published in History Today in 1980, offering a surprisingly sympathetic account of Roman imperialism.

Taylor Downing, one of the review judges of the recent History Today Grierson Trust award for best historical documentary, discusses this year’s entries and the current state of history on the small screen.

Paul Lay introduces the Janaury issue of our 61st volume, which marks the 60th anniversary of History Today.

The death of Cabinet government has been a near constant theme of British politics in the 20th century. But it came closer to reality under the premiership of Tony Blair, argues Archie Brown.

Asa Briggs has been associated with History Today from its beginning. In an interview to celebrate our 60th anniversary, he tells Paul Lay about his involvement with it, his new book on his days as a cryptographer and his passion for Blackpool.

In writing a young person’s history of Britain Patrick Dillon found himself wondering where myth ends and history begins.

As the TV series Ancient Worlds reaches its conclusion, its writer and presenter Richard Miles looks at the challenges of making a historical documentary.

Ian Bradley on the precarious past of a pure Worcestershire water.

Outremer, the crusader kingdom, and its capital Jerusalem entered a golden age during the 1130s. Simon Sebag Montefiore portrays its extraordinary cast of kings, queens, conquerors and criminals.

Few English monarchs have such a poor reputation as Henry VI. Yet he was held in high regard by the Tudors, says Michael Hicks, despite losing the Wars of the Roses.

Four hundred years after it was first published, the Authorised Version of the Bible remains hugely influential, especially in the US. Derek Wilson examines its origins and its legacy.

At what point did it begin to matter what you wore? Ulinka Rublack looks at why the Renaissance was a turning point in people’s attitudes to clothes and their appearance.

Between 1954 and 1958 Ann Moyal was a research assistant to the press baron Max Aitken, Lord Beaverbrook. Here she offers a personal recollection of the political mover and shaker as he embarked on a new phase of his career as a historian of his times.

Duane Roller is Professor Emeritus of Greek and Latin at Ohio State University. It therefore comes as no surprise that his Cleopatra is primarily set against a non-Egyptian background, as the final Greek ruler of Egypt. His biography is relatively short – almost 100 pages are taken up by detailed appendices, copious notes, a bibliography and index – but is written with a deft touch and is extremely accessible. This is Cleopatra laid bare without any distractions: a good beginning for readers who know little about her and want to learn more.

Books about Cleopatra (69–30 BC) – both scholarly histories and historical novels – tend to arrive like the apocryphal London buses: none for absolutely ages, then two or three slightly different versions at the same time. Given that there has been no substantial new evidence about Cleopatra for many years, it is a tribute to our ongoing fascination with Egypt’s last queen that publishers are prepared to keep printing, and readers are prepared to keep buying, these books.