History Matters

Thoughts, opinions and commentary on all things historical.

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Meeting of cultures: Amelia Jackman in a cart, 19th century.

The diaries of a young teacher reveal the complexities of racial tensions in the Gold Coast.

Aeneas Introducing Cupid Dressed as Ascanius to Dido, by Giambattista Tiepolo, 1757.

A translator alters more than a text’s language, turning the process into a political statement.

From the heart of Europe to the world: Philip Roth (and Franz Kafka), 1968.

The late, great American novelist performed an important, but little-known, cultural role during the Cold War.  

These walls have ears: telephone exchange, Holborn, London, 1968.

As technology changes, so do ideas about the borders of the self and the nature of privacy. 

Here be monsters: a centaur, or homodubius, from Wonders of the East in the Nowell Codex, c.1000.

The worst monsters to the Anglo-Saxon mind were those who thought like humans but chose to act differently.

President Nixon and Chinese Premier Zhou Enlai toast during Nixon's 1972 visit to China.

President Trump’s recent foreign adventures are unlikely to match Nixon’s actions of July and August 1971 in historic significance.

Celebrated memory: The Defence of Rorke’s Drift, by Alphonse Marie de Neuville, 1880.

Why is the siege such a popular and controversial imperial episode?

Strange beasts: centaurs from the Triumph of Centaurs, AD 120-130.

In their quest to collect all the knowledge of the known world, Roman authors also recorded the strange and the fabulous.

The joys of adulthood: haymaking in June, from the Trés Riches Heures du Duc de Berry, 15th century.

When does a boy become a man? Medieval millennials were just as hard to define as those of today.