Look back on key events, trends & people to shed new light on the world we live in today
400 million years after the Big Bang, the Universe was very different from what it appears today. At that time (around 13 billion years ago) the universe was dark and empty. But how can we know that? Is there a way to travel back in time?
When you think of the great artists, who comes to mind? In all likelihood it was a male artist like Picasso, Rembrant or Van Gogh. Why are so few of the most celebrated artists in history female? Where are all the women in art?
Travel, mobility, and migration were instrumental in making Early modern England a multilingual landscape. But when did the English start speaking English and, how confident were early speakers in the scope of this fast-evolving language?
Disney is inseparable from American culture and Hollywood entertainment, and it has become synonymous with global consumer capitalism. But what can we learn about the history of capitalism from Disney?
From the meaning of carnations in Sex and the City to sunflowers in the cleanup of Chernobyl and Henry VIII’s ban on saffron dye, flowers are deeply woven into our culture & our history. How have they inspired us & what do they mean?
The devil is one of the most recognisable figures in the western world, making frequent appearances on screen, in art and literature, and even in political rhetoric. Why, in our comparatively secular age, does the demonic continue to captivate us?
The Easter story of the death and resurrection of Jesus is central to the religion of millions of Christians around the world, and its key events are recognisable to many millions more. Did Early Christians really believe in a literal resurrection?
The 20th and 21st centuries are said to be the age of dictatorship, and this month's invasion of Ukraine is the latest frontline. With our world's leaders in the spotlight, what traits do they share, and when and why do they cross society's boundaries?
The invasion of Ukraine by Russia took the world by surprise. But tension between these two nations has been bubbling for many years. Why is Ukraine so important to Putin? And how did we get from Ukrainian independence to invasion?
There have been nearly 6m victims of Covid-19, but even this enormous death toll represents just a fraction of those lost to the Bubonic Plague in the Middle Ages. What do you need to know about the most fatal event in human history?
A century ago, the world was reeling in the wake of the First World War and the Spanish Flu pandemic. How did these catastrophic global events motivate people to live in new ways?
Witch hunting is, by and large, a thing of the past, yet we remain captivated by the concept. What drives this fascination, and why are we still talking about witch hunts today?
Today, we tend to think about happiness as a right: a natural goal all humans strive towards. How could it be possible that this idea came into being just two hundred years ago?
History remembers the persecution of early Christians as a clash between the Roman state and its traditional gods, and the new Christian cult and its upstart God. But is that really all there is to the story?
Many people know the famous story of the Nativity. But what do we know about where it comes from and what happened next?
Old cookery books can tell us a lot more than just how to cook a meal. What do they reveal about topics as diverse as access to technology and the concept of truth?
History's leading ladies often come with a bad reputation. What can the Black Queen teach us about the misunderstood women of the past?
Territory, food, commerce and conquest: what role have the seas played in the development of the nations we see today?