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Parliamentary propaganda of Cavalier cruelty, woodcut, 1644 © Bridgeman Images.

Politics, propaganda and censorship during the Civil Wars. 

Allegory of the Siege of Paris, 1870,  by Jean-Louis-Ernest Meissonier © Bridgeman Images.

The conflict that broke out between France and an ambitious new German state 150 years ago can lay claim to be the first modern war.

Barbara Villiers, Duchess of Cleveland with her son, possibly Charles FitzRoy, by Peter Lely, c.1664. Philip Mould & Company/Bridgeman Images.

The French tradition of the royal mistress gave new opportunities for women at the court of Charles II.

Landing of Captain Cook at Botany Bay, 1770, by E. Phillips Fox, 1902. National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne. Gilbee Bequest, 1902.

The concept of terra nullius has long been at the heart of explanations of why the British did not treat with Aboriginal people following Cook’s arrival in Australia. But should it be?

A Metropolitan Police officer, late 19th century © Popperfoto/Getty Images.

Brutality, corruption and abuses of power in the Metropolitan Police at the turn of the 20th century led to an inquiry – but no reform.

Armoured infantry in Athens, April 1967 © Bettmann/Getty Images.

A British public relations company in cahoots with sympathetic MPs was unable to whitewash the military regime that seized power in Greece in 1967.

Detail of a tapestry depicting the Field of Cloth of Gold. Wiki Commons.

When Henry VIII and Francis I met 12 years after the Field of Cloth of Gold – with Henry accompanied by Anne Boleyn – both sought to outdo one another with exquisite items of display.

The Field of the Cloth of Gold, English, c.1545 © Getty Images.

Five hundred years ago, in a spirit of rivalry and cooperation, two young Renaissance monarchs asserted their power and authority at one of the last great demonstrations of the chivalric age.

Birds in a bestiary, 14th-century English manuscript (detail) © Bridgeman Images.

What does it mean to speak gobbledygook, mumbo-jumbo or jargon? Such words are more fraught than the playful games of the Jabberwocky suggest.

Riva degli Schiavoni, Venice,  by Leandro Bassano, late 16th century. Alamy.

Venice developed the most sophisticated intelligence network in Renaissance Europe, securing it from enemies within and without.