Miscellanies

Miscellanies is History Today's free weekly long read. Every Wednesday, 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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Faced with a crisis in her personal life and an uncertain future, Sarah Stoddart Hazlitt found respite in long, arduous and often dangerous walks. Countless women have followed in her footsteps.

Portraits of Leo X, Cardinal Luigi de Rossi and Giulio de’ Medici by Raphael, 1518. © Bridgeman Images.

An unsolved Renaissance mystery casts light on the dark world of extortion, revenge and power politics at the heart of the Catholic Church.

The ‘First Television War’ was also documented in over 5,000 songs. From protest to patriotism, popular music reveals the complexity of America’s two-decade long experience struggling against communism in Vietnam.

A pagan queen, an unruly woman and a valiant warrior: Boudica has lived a varied afterlife in British history. Why is the ancient queen of the Iceni such an enduring figure?

In late 1945, a small self-styled fascist church established itself in southern England, where its members worshipped Adolf Hitler. For the war-weary locals, it was too much: vigilante action was required.

The slave-warriors of medieval Islam overthrew their masters, defeated the Mongols and the Crusaders and established a dynasty that lasted 300 years.

Despite the modern obsession with a good night’s rest, more of us are sleeping less. Perhaps we should pay attention to the advice of early modern doctors.

Said to have ‘the face that launched a thousand ships’, Helen of Troy has been remembered, judged – and hated – by every age since she entered the written record 2,700 years ago. With great beauty comes great resentment. 

Marching through the Atacama during the War of the Pacific, one Chilean general opined that his troops had fought ‘more against the desert than against men’. For those soldiers, the desert became a hell on earth.

In Nazi Germany, a number of female doctors and nurses worked at Ravensbrück concentration camp, where medical treatment was replaced by negligence, experimentation and violence. What led these women to take jobs there?