How Did Amy Robsart Die?
Five centuries later, we’re still not sure whether Robsart, wife of Robert Dudley, fell accidentally, was pushed, or threw herself down the stairs to her death.
Climate activist attacks on works by van Gogh, Vermeer, and other art world titans are the latest in a tradition of destruction that hearkens to the early Christian zealots.
Making Sense of the Divine Right of Kings
The United States threw off the yoke of a king more than two centuries ago. Funny how we can't get enough of our erstwhile sovereigns today.
Socially Sanctioned Love Triangles of Romantic-Era Italy
Eighteenth-century Italian noblewomen had one indispensable accessory: an extramarital lover.
Martin Luther’s Monsters
Prodigies, or monsters, were opaque and flexible symbols that signaled that God was sending some message.
How the Paris Catacombs Solved a Cemetery Crisis
One of the most popular tourist destinations in Paris—the Catacombs—was started as a solution to the intrusion of death upon daily life.
The Cadaver Synod: Putting a Dead Pope on Trial
Why did Pope Stephen VI go to such great lengths to destroy an enemy who was already dead?
Some Books Can Kill
Poisonous green pigments laced with arsenic were once a common ingredient in book bindings, paints, wallpapers, and fabrics. Yikes.
The Real First Written Constitution
American often gets credit for having the first written constitution. But the constitution of the short-lived republic of Corsica preceded it by 30+ years.
The Divine Power of Kings to Heal by Touch
Healing ceremonies showed that monarchs ruled by God’s will, as divine power worked through anointed hands.