Miscellanies

Point of No Return? Britain and the Elgin Marbles

Britain’s ownership of the Parthenon Sculptures has caused controversy since they were first brought to London in the early 1800s. Keen to keep the Greeks onside, the debate became highly charged during the Second World War.

The President's New Stadiums

Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s ruling Justice and Development Party has consolidated its power with relentless construction projects, pursued at the expense of Turkey’s cosmopolitan heritage. The country’s historic football stadiums are among the collateral.

Ireland, Back to the Future

In medieval Ireland divorce, contraception and abortions were readily available. The country’s recent political and cultural changes take it much closer to its pre-modern past.

War Among The Ruins

During the First World War, the deliberate destruction of western Europe's medieval heritage changed how people thought about their nations' pasts. Heritage tourism is one of the war's lesser-known legacies. 

Lily of Liberty: Amelia Bloomer at 200

With her newspaper, The Lily, Amelia Bloomer changed how American women thought about themselves; with her popularisation of the bloomer, she changed how they dressed. Her progressive thinking remains relevant in her bicentenary year. 

Cleopatra's Daughter

While Antony and Cleopatra have been immortalised in history and in popular culture, their offspring have been all but forgotten. Their daughter, Cleopatra Selene, became an important ruler in her own right. 

God Gave Rock and Roll to You

Fiery, energetic and preached by charismatic frontmen, Pentecostal Christianity had a big influence on rock and roll in its formative years. Many early stars had religious upbringings, inspiring their personas, music – and fears of eternal damnation.

Who Lost Czechoslovakia?

After its liberation in 1945, Czechoslovakia soon fell behind the ‘Iron Curtain’. That it would do so was not a formality: the US could have brought the country into the Western Bloc – had it been so inclined.

Name of Thrones

If you want to know what really mattered to a medieval king or queen, look at what they called their children. The names given to royal offspring reveal rebellious, pious and pretentious parents.

The Life and Death of North Africa's First Superstar

The career of Tunisian singer Habiba Messika was cut tragically short in 1930. Her murder devastated her fans, but in its aftermath her records spread across the French-occupied Maghreb, fanning the flames of insurgent nationalism.