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BBC History Magazine

BBC History Magazine March 2020

BBC History Magazine aims to shed new light on the past to help you make more sense of the world today. Fascinating stories from contributors are the leading experts in their fields, so whether they're exploring Ancient Egypt, Tudor England or the Second World War, you'll be reading the latest, most thought-provoking historical research. BBC History Magazine brings history to life with informative, lively and entertaining features written by the world's leading historians and journalists and is a captivating read for anyone who's interested in the past.

Country:
United Kingdom
Language:
English
Publisher:
Immediate Media Company London Limited
Frequency:
Monthly
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13 Issues

in this issue

1 min.
welcome

“If there’s one thing people know about Henry V, it’s that he was a great warrior king, who crushed the French at Agincourt in 1415. But while his military prowess was certainly formidable, his lesser-known achievements in diplomacy and peacemaking were equally impressive. In this month’s cover feature on page 20, Anne Curry reveals how Henry secured astonishing concessions from the king of France 600 years ago with the Treaty of Troyes. One of the most contested historical terms in recent years has been ‘Dark Ages’, used to describe the centuries following the end of Roman Britain. Many historians seek to avoid using a phrase that they feel unfairly defines the era as one of obscurity or backwardness. Not everyone agrees though, and, on page 47, Thomas Williams seeks to reclaim ‘Dark…

1 min.
this issue’s contributors

Allan Kennedy The late 17th century was a tumultuous time across Britain and Ireland, and I have long been fascinated with the impact of these grand events on the marginalised and much-maligned people of the Scottish Highlands. Allan investigates how the 1692 Glencoe massacre unfolded on page 54 Eloise Moss Cat burglars were seen to be both sexy and sinister: “feline fellows” climbing over rooftops by night. I was intrigued by the way they changed people’s feelings about safety in their homes and policing in interwar London. Eloise examines how cat burglars stole the nation’s hearts on page 61 Andrew Ziminski Everywhere you go, you can see that foreign people have had a role to play in the building of Britain. From the Romans to the Normans, the people who built our most impressive monuments have come…

1 min.
a mystic facelift

The restoration of a prized 15th-century artwork has unexpectedly revealed the face of a lamb with human-like features. Conservationists restoring an altarpiece (known as the Adoration of the Mystic Lamb) from St Bavo’s Cathedral in Ghent, Belgium made the discovery while stripping away layers of subsequent ‘overpainting’ on a central panel. Rather than resembling a real-life sheep as it did prior to the restoration, the face of the animal now possesses close-set eyes, plump lips and flared nostrils. Experts say the altarpiece now more accurately depicts the work of the original artists, brothers Hubert and Jan van Eyck. Have a story? Please email Jon Bauckham at jon.bauckham@immediate.co.uk…

2 min.
hollywood vs history

While Sam Mendes’ latest blockbuster, war epic 1917 , has wowed audiences, won critical plaudits and looks set for Oscar success, some were less convinced. The columnist Peter Hitchens (@ClarkeMicah), for instance, described the film as “unhistorical, lightweight piffle”. Yet it was when the outspoken actor Laurence Fox took issue with the inclusion of a Sikh soldier that Twitter erupted, and many historians stepped up to set the record straight and educate him on the vital role that Sikhs played in the war and the many who fought and died. Others critiqued the film in a rather more informed manner than Fox, discussing its merits and the research underpinning it. In a long and nuanced thread that has been widely commended, Selena Daly (@selenadaly) applauded how well the film “reflected many of…

1 min.
experts recreate mummy’s voice

An ancient Egyptian priest has ‘spoken’ for the first time in 3,000 years thanks to a team of archaeologists and engineers. Researchers from York and Royal Holloway universities managed to synthesise a vowel sound once made by Nesyamun, a mummy preserved at Leeds City Museum, after printing a 3D model of his vocal tract. The breakthrough, described in the journal Scientific Reports, is the result of a seven-year project. After exploring ways in which technology can be used to create vocal sounds for patients who have lost speech function, researchers realised that similar methods could be applied to mummified remains such as those of Nesyamun, who lived during the reign of Ramses XI (c1104–c1075). Leeds City Museum arranged for the mummy to undergo a CT scan, allowing experts to create a replica of…

3 min.
history in the news

Museum buys battle tapestries The National Maritime Museum in the Netherlands has acquired two English tapestries depicting a major sea battle in the Third Anglo-Dutch War. The items, worth a total of €2m (£1.7m), originally formed part of a larger series of works commemorating the battle of Solebay in 1672, when an English and French fleet attacked Dutch ships off the coast of Suffolk. The tapestries were based on drawings made by Willem van de Velde the Elder, who – despite his Dutch origins – was a court painter for Charles II of England. ‘Missing’ sculpture now set to return to Afghanistan A second-century AD sculpture looted from Afghanistan’s National Museum in Kabul is to be repatriated after going astray for more than 20 years. The carved limestone block, depicting a pair of bulls,…