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Miscellanies

Miscellanies is History Today's free weekly long read. Every Thursday, we publish a specially commissioned essay or long read from our archive. The subject? History. As the name suggests, we can’t be more specific…

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A Man seated reading at a Table in a Lofty Room, Follower of Rembrandt, c.1628-30.

Loneliness as an emotion was absent in English writing before 1800. What does the diary of a Georgian widower reveal about its connection with the loss of faith?

Members of the Musgrove family, Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania, 1935.

Tough, lawless and often violent, the outlook of the Anglo-Scottish borderlands profoundly shaped the culture of the southern United States.

Saint James the Great, Guido Reni, c.1636.

Spain’s patron saint has been depicted as apostle, pilgrim and slayer. His various guises reflect the deep divisions that have dominated Spanish history.

Leonidas at Thermopylae, by Jacques-Louis David, 1812.

The story of 300 Greeks withstanding the might of Persia at the Thermopylae pass is well known. But how accurate is it? And, with few sources, how can we know?

The people of medieval Europe were devoted to their dogs; one great French dog-lover declared that the greatest defect of the species was that they ‘lived not long enough’.

ConcentrationCamp

‘Concentration camps’ are difficult to define. Even the survivors of the most notorious and universally recognised camps in history discovered this problem in the aftermath of the Second World War.

Gabriele D'Annunzio and supporters in Fiume. 1919.

The poet’s conquest of the Adriatic city of Fiume in 1919 was flamboyant, comedic and never likely to last – but it ushered in a new era of showman politics across Europe.

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?

Napoleon’s birthday fell on 15 August. How better to celebrate than by creating a new saint – one ‘Neopolus’ – and using the theatre to emphasise his links to historical kings and emperors?

Ancient Egypt’s bureaucratic society depended on an army of scribes. To get ahead, you had to be able to write – but that didn’t necessarily mean mastering hieroglyphs.