The story of 300 Greeks withstanding the might of Persia at the Thermopylae pass is well known. But how accurate is it? And, with few sources, how can we know?
History TodayTold that when the Persian archers fired their volleys the arrows blocked out the sun, Dieneces remarked ironically: ‘That’s good news; we’ll be fighting in the shade.’
This week's Miscellanies
What happened when a historian took the ‘Life in the UK’ test for British citizenship?
History Today'Of the named individuals, only eight are women. There are also four questions about the suffragettes, the extent of women’s history. Henry VIII takes the crown as the most mentioned individual.'
History in the 'Life in the UK' test
There has been no shortage of historical events put forward to explain Britain’s current political crisis, but do any of them seriously inform debate?
History Today‘A Tory who evangelised Whig ideas; accused of acting in pursuit of power, never on principle; and whose private life produced much fare for the gutter press.’
The man who last held office three centuries ago: Henry St John, Viscount Bolingbroke.
As a frontline soldier in the First World War, the German artist Otto Dix fell under the spell of the writings of Friedrich Nietzsche and his assault on Christian morality.
History Today‘Humanity’, Dix wrote, ‘changes in demonic fashion.’
Feature from our forthcoming October issue (free to read)
History TodayBy night, as Dix huddled beside a carbide lamp with his oils or his pens, flares over no-man’s land would light up corpses grotesquely twisted on barbed-wire entanglements.
From the October issue
Richard Cavendish explains how, on September 12th, 1959, the Soviet Union launched Luna 2, the first spacecraft to successfully reach the Moon.
History Today#OnThisDay in 1959, the Soviet Union launched Luna 2, the first space craft to reach the moon.
At just past midnight Moscow time on 14th September, it crashed on the Moon not far from the Sea of Tranquillity.
Divisive political debate is nothing new. In the popular new alehouses of the 17th century, it could end in fisticuffs – even death.
History TodayIn alehouses across Tudor and Stuart England, the common people huddled around the fire to debate politics. Civility and mutual understanding were then, too, in short supply.
This week's pick from the archive (free to read)
Eynon Smart describes how, during the second half of the nineteenth century, few politicians had a wider range of personal accomplishments than John Lubbock, the author of the Bank Holidays Bill.
History TodayBank holidays were known, for many years, as St Lubbock’s Days, in honour of their inventor.
The 1871 Bank Holiday Act was John Lubbock's first success in his sustained efforts to improve the lot of the working classes, in particular shop assistants.
History Today#OnThisDay in 1812, the 'lost' city of Petra was found by a 27-year-old Swiss explorer called Johann Ludwig Burckhardt.
Before travelling about in Syria, Lebanon and Palestine, he studied the Koran and Muslim law, and took lessons in Arabic in Aleppo.