Feature

Skinheads, Piccadilly Circus, 1969.

Teenagers were agents of change in 1960s Britain, but the birth of youth movements such as the Mods was heavily indebted to the multicultural society from which they grew.

Ayatollah Khomeini greets the crowd at Tehran University after his return from exile in 1979.

Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini became a lightning rod for the mass protests which overthrew the Shah of Iran in 1979, but the causes of the Iranian Revolution lay elsewhere.

Chabi, consort of Qubilai Khan, from the Album of Yuan Empress Portraits, Chinese, 13th century.Chabi, consort of Qubilai Khan, from the Album of Yuan Empress Portraits, Chinese, 13th century.z

Women may be largely absent from traditional accounts of the Mongol conquests, but they played a crucial role in creating the largest of all land empires.

Interior of the passenger car used in Alfred Beach’s subway, 1870.

Problems with public transport are almost as old as New York itself. One proposed solution was nothing but hot air.

Giant’s Causeway, Antrim. According to the Fenian Cycle, Fionn mac Cumhaill, an Irish giant, was challenged to a fight by his Scottish rival Benandonner. Accepting the challenge, he built the causeway so that they could meet.

Mythical tales of giants are rooted in geological realities.

Boniface VIII presiding over the college of cardinals, Italian manuscript, 14th century.

The late-medieval papal chapel was a powerful jewel in the papal tiara.

Henry VI, c.1535  (detail), English.

Faced with extreme pressures, the ruler of England suffered a complete breakdown. But beware modern diagnoses of medieval mental health.

Illustration by Darrel Rees.

How can we work out the true value of money in the past? It depends how you do the sums.

Man Reading, attributed to Rembrandt, c.1648.

We remember the Dutch Golden Age for its paintings – which may be why so few realise that it was Europe’s publishing powerhouse. 

Occupying British troops march past the Nusretiye mosque in Istanbul in 1920, as the Ottoman Empire collapses.

Across the Balkans, relics of Ottoman glory and decline, such as mosques, bridges and hamams, exist in various states of disrepair. Can they be brought back to life?