Author: felicehowden

In praise of Captain Corelli’s Mandolin

Considering the habitual British distaste for foreigners and learning musical instruments, Captain Corelli’s Mandolin was a brave title for a novel. But Louis de Bernieres clearly knew what he was doing: four years after its original publication, his story of love and war on the island of Cephalonia remains so firmly cemented in the best-seller […]

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The resurrection of the Caliphate

Read the full article on the Financial Times website [paywall]

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What Scotland and England share

The Tarbat Peninsula, a spit of land sticking out from the northernmost Scottish Highlands, seems an unlikely spot for a revolution. At its tip stands a lighthouse, built by Robert Louis Stevenson’s uncle back in 1830 after a deadly storm in the adjacent Moray Firth; a few miles south lies the tiny fishing village of […]

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The Christian roots of secularism

As the first decade of the third Christian millennium draws to an increasingly troubled close, the verdict of historians on its significance can already be anticipated. Two themes will predominate. The first, exemplified by the present carnage in the financial markets, will be the quickening of the west’s decline relative to China and India; the […]

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The World of the Vikings

To the Byzantines, the lands of the distant north were self-evidently hellish. So terrible were the winters that even wolves, when they crossed the frozen seas, were reported to go blind with the cold. Unsurprisingly, then, there was nothing much for its inhabitants to do all winter except rut and procreate. In the sixth century, […]

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Roman Britain: Victories and/or Beneficiaries

‘Roman Britain,’ I asked a friend of mine, a committed pacifist and the veteran of endless marches against the war in Iraq, ‘a Good or Bad Thing?’ ‘Oh, good,’ my friend answered, not even deigning to ponder the question. Startled by the knee-jerk speed of her response, I asked her to explain. ‘Well, the roads, […]

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Where did Islam come from?

It is a curious feature of the Qur’an that it should give a notably starry role to an episode fundamental, not to Muslim, but to Christian faith: the visitation by an angel to Mary, the mother of Jesus Christ. Indeed, the Annunciation is retold in the Holy Book of Islam not once, but twice. Mary […]

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The Roman and American republics

Over the past few years, the image of George Bush as a Roman emperor, dressed in toga and laurel wreath, has been a hard one for his opponents to resist. But even after the bombing of the UN building in Baghdad, things have not gone as badly for him in Iraq as they did for […]

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The Egyptian Book of the Dead

“Placed next to a mummy, like a tourist guide in a suitcase, Books of the Dead were intended to help people on their journey through the afterlife. The British Museum’s new exhibition relishes the horrors of ancient Egypt, discovers Tom Holland” Read the full article on the Guardian website

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Review: The Parthenon by Mary Beard

In the aftermath of 11 September, the Cambridge don Mary Beard became notorious for comments published in the London Review of Books. “When the shock had faded,” she wrote, “more hard-headed reaction set in. This wasn’t just the feeling that, however tactfully you dress it up, the United States had it coming . . . […]

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