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Volume 61 Issue 8 August 2011

History tells us that the West’s embrace of liberal values was not inevitable and is unlikely to last, says Tim Stanley.

Queen Anne ordered a racecourse to be built on Ascot Heath in 1711. It was officially opened on August 11th.

The theft of the most famous painting in the world on 21 August 1911 created a media sensation.

Mary Queen of Scots left Calais for Scotland on August 14th, 1561, aged 18 years old.

Syria was among the most unstable states in the Middle East until Hafez al-Assad came to power in 1970. But, asks James Gelvin, can his son, Bashar, maintain the regime’s iron rule in the face of growing dissent?

Robin Waterfield looks at the influence of the mother of Alexander the Great in the years following her son’s death.

A sea voyage in the 12th century was a perilous undertaking, as a Spanish Muslim courtier’s account of his crossing of the Mediterranean demonstrates. Yet, explains David Abulafia, it was also a test of one’s religious devotion, whether Muslim or Christian.

Thomas Ruys Smith looks at the impact of Hurricane Katrina in the light of the city’s historic troubles.

Courtly love, celebrated in numerous songs and poems, was the romantic ideal of western Europe in the Middle Ages. Yet, human nature being what it is, the realities of sexual desire and the complications it brings were never far away, says Julie Peakman.

James Whitfield on why the theft of a Spanish master’s portrait of a British military hero led to a change in the law.

David Kynaston seeks answers to questions about the fragile future of an institution beloved by historical researchers.

The story of a country that has long punched above its weight is told in Scotland’s refurbished National Museum, says David Forsyth.

The fools of the early Tudor court were likely to have been people with learning disabilities as a new project demonstrates, says Suzannah Lipscomb.

Robin Waterfield looks at the influence of the mother of Alexander the Great in the years following her son’s death.

Robin Bayley tells how his great grandfather, a Mancunian businessman, became caught up in the tumultuous period of worker unrest that paved the way for the Mexican Revolution.

Gordon Marsden revisits Henry Fairlie's prescient obituary of Aneurin Bevan, first published in History Today in October 1960.

A series of archaeological discoveries off the coast of Sicily reveal how Rome turned a piece of lethal naval technology pioneered by its enemy, Carthage, to its own advantage, explains Ann Natanson.

The poor economic record of Greece goes back a very long way, says Matthew Lynn.