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How will history change your future?

History isn’t dead. It’s living, present-day events that just happened to occur at a different time. Studying ancient civilizations is one of the most fascinating insights into our own times, because at one point these were current events, with the same human motivations behind them. Ancient history is almost like a roll call of the seven deadly sins: greed, lust, gluttony, sloth, avarice, envy and wrath. These tendencies are, for better or worse (mostly worse), hard-wired into the human brain and are just as prevalent today as ever.

Crowns and gowns: British royal fashion

Imagine a time when only certain people were allowed to wear purple. That time was the Elizabethan period, when your clothes defined who you were infinitely more than today. If you were a peasant or commoner then earth tones were your bag, and a penchant for purple could get your neck stretched. This was decreed by English laws known as the Sumptuary Laws. Only royalty were allowed to wear purple, for a variety of reasons including an association with Roman Emperors’ purple togas and the fact that the dye of that colour was incredibly expensive.

A fresh take on ancient civilizations

A new video lecture course has emerged which brings a fresh angle on the ancient and classical worlds, delivered by a lecturer whose enthusiasm for her subject shines through and brings ‘dead’ history to life. If you are looking for a deep dive into the civilizations which preceded the Middle Ages – how they lived, what they believed, how they rose and fell, what they left behind and their influence on successive civilizations right up to the present day – then this video lecture series is for you.

The real Game of Thrones: mediaeval mythology

Higher ed institutions are always looking out for ways to lure students into studying the humanities with courses based on popular culture. It seems like an easy enough recipe: take a wildly popular cultural phenomenon, find an academic angle on it, and watch the student number grow like bacteria in a petri dish. We’ve seen courses on The Walking Dead and The Simpsons, among many others.

Alchemy

Before science really got going, curious minds tried to convert substances into other substances by trial and error and a whole lot of wishful thinking.