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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David Ker’s Khivan Fictions

As the Russian Empire expanded into Central Asia, a British correspondent filed reports on the fall of the Khanate of Khiva. Unfortunately, he did so despite being hundreds of miles from the events he described and months before they occurred.

100 Years of Greater Lebanon

The disastrous explosion in Beirut has prompted calls for French intervention in Lebanon. But the history of France’s involvement in the region has been driven by the creation of proxy elites and the pursuit of its own interests.

Belarus Begins Again

Belarus’ history has been a series of false starts, but the recent uprisings against Alexander Lukashenko suggest a new chapter is imminent.

Looking Radiant

Before the harmful effects of radiation were acknowledged, the beauty industry sold radium as ‘liquid sunshine’. Marie Skłodowska Curie’s death would change that. 

The Many Faces of the Enlightened Man

In the 18th century, new scientific ideas meant new thinking about what it meant to be male and female. As everything became gendered, anxieties proliferated.

The Creatures That Devoured Leningrad

The Siege of Leningrad imposed horrific conditions on its residents, severe food shortages among them. Remarkably, many of the animals in the city’s zoo survived.

The Rise of the Valkyries

Life and death in a Viking battle depended not on military prowess, but on the favour of the valkyries. Why were these mythical figures, who decided a warrior’s fate, female?

From Russia (to Ireland) with Love

In 1805, a lady’s maid from Cork visited the palace of a Russian princess and inadvertently became one of the first published Irish writers on Russia.