Johann and Georg Forster in Tahiti (detail), by John Francis Rigaud, c.1780 © akg-images.

Botany became an unlikely battlefield in the Age of Revolutions.

View inside an English Cotton Mill, 1936 © Hulton Getty Images.

The British government’s universal credit scheme seeks solutions to problems that have frustrated politicians for centuries.

Black figure kylix attributed to the Boreads Painter, Sparta, sixth century BC © Getty Images.

Warriors in red cloaks battling against the odds at Thermopylae is the image usually associated with Sparta. But a richer and more contentious tale lies in the ancient city’s stones.

Oedipus and the Sphinx by Jean Auguste Dominique Ingres, 1808 © Bridgeman Images.

The city of Thebes was central to the ancient Greeks’ achievements in politics and culture. For many centuries it has been largely – and often deliberately – forgotten.

Portrait of Toussaint Louverture, chromolithograph by George DeBaptiste, c.1870 © Getty Images.

The hero of the Haitian Revolution’s lonely death in a French prison cell was not an unfortunate tragedy but a cruel story of deliberate destruction.

Chinese medical staff prepare facilities during an outbreak of pneumonic plague, Shenyang, 1910 © Corbis/Getty Images.

The Chinese government’s reaction to the Covid-19 pandemic reveals much about its memory of the humiliations of the 19th century.

Silhouette of Beethoven, by Schlipmann, 1903 © Getty Images.

As music became an art for all the people of Europe, Ludwig van Beethoven, born 250 years ago this year, became the hero and the symbol of an aspiring German nation.

Eric Hobsbawm, 1976 © Wesley/Hulton/Getty Images.

The historian Eric Hobsbawm kept faith with the Marxist orthodoxies of his youth even after the Soviet invasions of Hungary in 1956, of Czechoslovakia in 1968 and the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989. Why?

The Arrival of the Pilgrim Fathers, by Antonio Gisbert Pérez, c.1864 © Bridgeman Images.

With every major anniversary, our perspective on the voyage of the Mayflower changes. This year’s 400th will address the legacy of colonialism.

Zhou at Huairou Reservoir, Beijing, 1960 © Bridgeman Images.

How important was China’s senior diplomat to his nation’s rise to global power, or is it too early to say?