Feature

Untitled drawing by Nina Jirsikovà, 1941.

Periods are a fact of life, but little talked about. How did women in the concentration camps cope with the private being made public in the most dire and extreme circumstances?

Infantrymen of Japan’s Self-Defence Forces parading in Tokyo, 3 November 1966.

After a disastrous Second World War, Japan abolished its armed forces and embraced pacifism. With renewed tensions in East Asia, can it last?

‘The Bath’, from Valerius Maximus’ Facta et dicta memorabilia, 15th century, French.

In the medieval period you could touch the divine – and smell it, see it, hear it and taste it, sometimes all at once.

The oldest complete copy of Euclid’s The Elements, Greek, by Stephanos the Clerk, AD 888.

The medieval world was incredibly learned, but how did its great bank of knowledge spread – from Classical Greece to the libraries of the East and from there to the bookshelves of England?

Skinheads, Piccadilly Circus, 1969.

Teenagers were agents of change in 1960s Britain, but the birth of youth movements such as the Mods was heavily indebted to the multicultural society from which they grew.

Ayatollah Khomeini greets the crowd at Tehran University after his return from exile in 1979.

Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini became a lightning rod for the mass protests which overthrew the Shah of Iran in 1979, but the causes of the Iranian Revolution lay elsewhere.

Chabi, consort of Qubilai Khan, from the Album of Yuan Empress Portraits, Chinese, 13th century.Chabi, consort of Qubilai Khan, from the Album of Yuan Empress Portraits, Chinese, 13th century.z

Women may be largely absent from traditional accounts of the Mongol conquests, but they played a crucial role in creating the largest of all land empires.

Interior of the passenger car used in Alfred Beach’s subway, 1870.

Problems with public transport are almost as old as New York itself. One proposed solution was nothing but hot air.

Giant’s Causeway, Antrim. According to the Fenian Cycle, Fionn mac Cumhaill, an Irish giant, was challenged to a fight by his Scottish rival Benandonner. Accepting the challenge, he built the causeway so that they could meet.

Mythical tales of giants are rooted in geological realities.

Boniface VIII presiding over the college of cardinals, Italian manuscript, 14th century.

The late-medieval papal chapel was a powerful jewel in the papal tiara.