History Matters

Photograph: Historic England

By Richard Sugg

There is a long and international history of unusual burials. But should they be interpreted as fear of vampires, the supernatural and the living dead?

William Hogarth's A Rake’s Progress (Plate VIII), 1734-5

By Anna Jamieson

Bedlam was a constant in art and literature throughout the 18th century. In it, madness was otherworldly, bestial, pitiable and female – a mirror for concerns about society. 

Woodcut of Henry IV from the Nuremberg Chronicle, 1493. Copyright aka-images

By Levi Roach

Looking beyond the usual rogues’ gallery of historical figures can help us to better understand the past.

Portrait of Walther Rathenau at Rathenauplatz station, Nuremberg (c) Patrik M. Loeff

By Neil Gregor

No historians are seriously suggesting that the Third Reich and the Trump administration are similar phenomena, but that does not mean comparative study of the two cannot shed light on two contrasting periods.

By White House photographer. - Ronald Reagan Presidential Library., Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=48622633

By Charlie Laderman

The 45th US President is caught in a constant rerun of the debates of the 1980s, argues Charlie Laderman.

The Royal Society in Crane Court, London, 17th century

By David Wootton

The rise of ‘the fact’ during the 17th century came at the expense of the power of authority. Could the digital age reverse how we decide what is true and what is not? 

Illustration by Warwick Goble from the Complete Poetical Works of Geoffrey Chaucer, 1912. © Alamy;

By Eleanor Parker

If you believe the neologism 'post-truth' describes a new phenomenon, think again. Geoffrey Chaucer diagnosed the problem at the end of the 14th century, as Eleanor Parker points out.

Wine cellars at Cantine Florio, Marsala, Sicily (c) Gian Luigi Perrella

By Henry Jeffreys

Beyond a few ruins, there is very little to see from Britain's brief occupation of Sicily – but you can taste its legacy in marsala wine.

Hotel Dracula. © Walter Bibikow/Getty Images

By Rhys Griffiths

Communist Romania's biggest concession to the west's Dracula obsession. 

Madingley American Cemetery, Cambridge MA (c) Amanda Slater

By James Whitfield

The much-vaunted 'special relationship' between Britain and the United States obscures another history of rivalry and suspicion between the two allies.