Scottish Highlanders

What Does It Mean To Be Celtic?

How various nationalist groups have come to use "Celtic" as a coded way of saying "white."
Colourful sunset over famous shipwreck beach. Zakynthos, Greek Islands, Greece

The Romanticization of the Mediterranean

The idea that the disparate nations bordering the Mediterranean Sea represent a single region is the product of the nineteenth century.
Iris Origo La Foce

Iris Origo’s Italian War Diary

The marchese's 1939-1940 diary, detailing the months before Italy's armed alliance with Nazi Germany, is now available as A Chill in the Air.
Pasquino statue

The Talking Statues of Rome

Since the 16th century, anonymous authors have been posting provocative political messages on or near these Roman statues.
Parco di Monstri

The Park of Monsters

Constructed in the mid-16th century by Pier Francesco "Vicino" Orsini, this bizarre pleasure garden features twelve strange, disturbing statues--and no one knows why.
Pompeii boulder skeleton

The Secrets of Pompeii

In 79 C.E., Mt. Vesuvius covered Pompeii with ash and pumice, preserving the remains of people trying to escape. Researchers have made a haunting new find.
Benedetta Carlini

Lesbianism (!) at the Convent

Mother Superior Benedetta Carlini, a visionary nun of Renaissance Italy, was accused of heresy and “female sodomy.”
Cricket cage

Keeping Crickets for Luck, Song, and Bloodsport

Design can facilitate the worst of human instincts, including forcing animals into servitude and violence. Cricket cages tell stories about how people have treated the insects throughout time.
Astrolabe

The San Zeno Astrolabe Tracked Time by the Stars

The astrolabe was a revolutionary tool for calculating celestial positions and local time. The device's design dates back to Islamic antiquity.
Michalangelo Last Judgement

How Did Michelangelo Get So Good?

Michelangelo, perhaps the greatest artist the world has produced, wasn't a child prodigy like Mozart. He learned on the job. So maybe there's still hope for the rest of us.