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BBC History MagazineBBC History Magazine

BBC History Magazine Christmas 2018

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.

United Kingdom
Immediate Media Company London Limited
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“The Celts and Romans were implacable foes. That at least is the impression you get from popular representations of the two peoples. And of course this is not complete fiction as there certainly were spells of brutal warfare, notably during the campaigns of Julius Caesar. Yet this is far from the full story and in this month’s cover feature, beginning on page 20, world-leading Celts expert Barry Cunliffe reveals how the relationship was as much about trading as it was invading. When it comes to British heroes, few are more lionised than Horatio Nelson, the victor at Trafalgar. But he also had a darker side, notably in his support for the continuation of the slave trade, even at a time when popular opinion in Britain was turning against the barbaric practice.…

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this issue’s contributors

Rowena Cockett What most drew me to James I of Aragon’s autobiography was the unique opportunity it offers to access the internal world of a medieval king, including his thoughts, feelings, and personal challenges. • Rowena explores a remarkable medieval document on page 26 Christer Petley I have been interested in Nelson for as long as I can remember. But my recent research on the debate about the slave trade has revealed some disturbing aspects of his story. • Christer considers why the Trafalgar hero stood in opposition to abolition on page 50 Rebecca Probert Investigating the law and customs governing Victorian weddings helps explain the decisions made by couples of the time, and the policy choices that continue to shape the current law. • Rebecca describes the rules and customs of 19th-century nuptials on page 38 UK COVER:…

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rome’s emperor honours the sun god with a gigantic temple

In late December 274, the Roman emperor Aurelian was at the height of his power. After decades of instability, the former general had imposed order on the fractious empire, defeated a series of barbarian incursions and reintegrated the breakaway empire of Palmyra. But Aurelian knew that he was merely the instrument of Sol Invictus, ‘the unconquered Sun’, a god long associated with the Aurelius clan. The cult of the sun god had become increasingly popular in the third century AD, competing with other fashionable faiths such as Mithraism and Christianity. According to legend, the emperor’s mother had been a priestess of the sun god in her home town, in present-day Serbia. And Aurelian was keen to elevate his favoured deity to the very first rank, announcing that priests of Sol Invictus…

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churchill gives a knock-out speech at the us senate

On Christmas Day 1941, Lord Halifax, the British ambassador to Washington, visited the White House to find an extraordinary visitor enjoying the festive season. This was Winston Churchill, in the middle of a three-week stay as President Franklin D Roosevelt’s guest. Characteristically, Churchill had made himself at home: Halifax found him in his dressing gown, working on a big speech and “surrounded by cigars, whiskies and secretaries”. At noon the next day, Churchill arrived at the Capitol to deliver his speech. Only twice before had there been joint meetings of both houses of Congress: this was a signal honour. With the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor occurring barely three weeks before, security was tight. But the cameras had been invited in to mark the occasion; their lights made the usually dim…

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“despite the intensity and reach of the war, many of its stories have been largely forgotten”

What was the aim of the project? Our key aim was to provide more diverse stories about the First World War, beyond the dominant narratives of the western front or naval battles like Jutland. The project explored the war at sea and other no less extraordinary stories of the war: of the ships, their crews, their communities and the vital struggle that took place on a daily basis off the south coast of Britain. In order to do this, we investigated the archaeological remains of that struggle – the shipwrecks, hulks, ports, seaplane stations and jetties, etc. Why is it important to record these remains? Between 1914 and 1918 shipwrecks were ‘everyday’ events. Ships were sunk by mines, torpedoes, shelling, accidents and even scuttling. We studied just under 1,200 known sites in the…

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thousands flock to bbc history magazine history weekends

History enthusiasts headed to the historic cities of York and Winchester in October for the annual BBC History Magazine history weekends. The events featured more than 50 talks from some of the biggest names in popular history, as well as Q&A sessions and a host of book signings. Winchester’s famous 13th-century Great Hall saw talks by historians including Lucy Worsley on Queen Victoria, Alison Weir on Jane Seymour and a Q&A with historical fiction author Bernard Cornwell. Elsewhere, Olivette Otele discussed how Africans changed early-modern Europe, while James Holland explored the biggest air battle of the Second World War (see our feature on page 32) in February 1944. Historians from the University of Winchester also shared their research and knowledge in the History Fringe, a weekend-long programme of free 15-minute talks. In…