History

The ancient Greek ship that was too big for any harbour

21 May 2022 9:00 am

The biggest cruise ship yet builthas just been launched, but in like-for-like terms, it comes nowhere near the Syracusia,built c.…

The rise and fall of the Tsarist legal system

16 April 2022 9:00 am

St. Petersburg University in Russia is (desperately?) inviting scholars worldwide to a conference in September celebrating Mikhail Speransky. It was…

The Russians aren’t the first to rewrite history

9 April 2022 9:00 am

Historians in Russia have a long and craven record, now going back centuries, of being economical with the truth about…

Patriarch Kirill, Archbishop Ambrose and a lesson for Putin

26 March 2022 9:00 am

Patriarch Kirill is Patriarch of Moscow and all Rus’ and Primate of the Russian Orthodox Church; and one of his…

A history lesson for those calling Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe 'ungrateful'

23 March 2022 6:40 am

In the latest installment from the idiot age of Twitter, #ungratefulcow has been trending. The reason? Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe had expressed, mildly and politely,…

What Tacitus knew about tyrants

12 March 2022 9:00 am

Last week Aristotle offered a lesson in tyrant theory. This week Tacitus (ad 56-c.120) offers one in tyrant practice. Tacitus…

Graham Robb deserves to be a French national treasure

12 March 2022 9:00 am

Philip Hensher is enthralled by Graham Robb’s evocative new history of France

Does Putin pass Aristotle’s tyrant test?

5 March 2022 9:00 am

Is Putin a tyrant? Aristotle (384-322 bc) might well have thought so. Seeing the turannos as a deviant type of…

The moral courage of P.J. O’Rourke

26 February 2022 9:00 am

Was it Socrates who said that chaos was the natural state of mankind, and tyranny the usual remedy? Actually it…

A toast to Victorian Britain

19 February 2022 9:00 am

Across oceans and continents, less favoured nations produce more history than they can consume. In these islands, the English —…

The ancient problem of unscrupulous ‘doctors’

12 February 2022 9:00 am

Yet again ‘doctors’ with no qualifications have been found advertising dodgy but expensive products and treatments, in this case, injections…

Claudius, Messalina and how not to choose political advisers

5 February 2022 9:00 am

The Prime Minister has been having some trouble with his inner circle of advisers. Tacitus supplies fine examples of how…

The irresistible lure of classified ads

29 January 2022 9:00 am

The seduction of back-page ads

The ancients knew they couldn’t turn back time

29 January 2022 9:00 am

The singer Cher, now 75, has announced that, because she refuses to appear old, she is not going to allow…

Boris wouldn’t be the first to be brought down by a party

22 January 2022 9:00 am

Whatever the result of Sue Gray’s report on ‘gatherings’ in Downing Street, there is a political lesson to be learned:…

Our growing unwillingness to understand the past

18 December 2021 9:00 am

I was recently reading the works of the 17th-century antiquary John Aubrey, who at one point mentions a ghost craze…

Make History Great Again!

11 December 2021 6:00 pm

Why don’t today’s children know more about history? In an age when information has never been easier to access, it’s…

Why has medicine been so slow to improve over the centuries?

27 November 2021 9:00 am

Medicine was founded by Hippocrates in the 5th century BC. Doctors continued to study the Hippocratic texts into the 19th…

Can the fiasco of the Dieppe Raid really be excused?

6 November 2021 9:00 am

In my mother’s final days we had a long conversation about the second world war. I asked if she’d ever…

Use it or lose it: has the public library had its day?

30 October 2021 9:00 am

I write this in a garret a few doors down from the public library in Muswell Hill, north London. It…

The Globe, Plato and the corrupting force of art

30 October 2021 9:00 am

The Globe theatre’s project to ‘decolonise’ Shakespeare, as if that would make plays like The Tempest ‘acceptable’ to them and…

Twitter has taken the place of the ancient curse-tablet

23 October 2021 9:00 am

Twitter and other easily accessible means of online communication have encouraged the public to believe that Their Voice Will Be…

Rhodes, Columbus and the next heritage battle

17 October 2021 5:31 pm

On 12 October this year, Columbus Day, a statue of the Italian in Belgrave Square was vandalised by activists from…

What James Bond and Aristophanes have in common

9 October 2021 9:00 am

So James Bond is back, doing exactly what he always does, inviting the audience into a fantasy world for the…

No, America couldn’t have been Canada

29 September 2021 4:56 am

What if William Howe, the dithering British commander, hadn’t let the American army escape in the Battle of Long Island…