Religious History

Alicia Vikander portrays Henry VIII's sixth wife, Catherine Parr, in the new film Firebrand.

The Real Story Behind 'Firebrand' and Henry VIII's Tumultuous Relationship With His Sixth Wife, Catherine Parr

A new film dramatizes how the Tudor queen narrowly avoided execution on charges of heresy

That Mary consigned some 280 Protestants to the flames is both indisputable and indefensible. But as historians have increasingly argued, this number is just one element of a much larger story that warrants contextualization.

The Myth of 'Bloody Mary,' England's First Queen

History remembers Mary I as a murderous monster who burned hundreds of her subjects at the stake, but the real story of the Tudor monarch is far more nuanced

Lali (played by Jonah Hauer-King) and Gita (Anna Próchniak) in "The Tattooist of Auschwitz," a new mini-series based on Heather Morris' 2018 novel of the same name

'The Tattooist of Auschwitz' Demonstrates the Limits of Holocaust Fiction

A new mini-series dramatizes the best-selling 2018 novel that sparked debate over the line between history and memory

The cathedral's collection of Mays paintings includes Aubin Vouet's Le Centurion Corneille aux pieds de Saint Pierre, completed in 1639.

Oil Paintings Rescued From Notre-Dame Cathedral Fire Go on Display

Known as the "Mays," the artworks were created for an annual competition in the 17th century

In 1866, Joseph A. Joel, a Jewish private in the 23rd Ohio Volunteer Infantry Regiment, wrote a detailed account of an 1862 Passover Seder.

How Jewish Soldiers Celebrated Passover in the Midst of the Civil War

A group of Union men from Ohio held a makeshift Seder in the western Virginia woods in 1862

An aerial view of the excavation site in Crowland, a town in Lincolnshire, England

Archaeologists Were Looking for a Medieval Hermitage. They Found a 'Monumental' Prehistoric Henge

The site in eastern England may have served as a sacred space for groups across thousands of years

The Crosby-Schøyen Codex is part of the Schøyen collection, one of the largest private manuscript collections in the world.

One of the World's Oldest Surviving Books Is for Sale

The rare early Christian text was written in a monastery in Egypt between 250 and 350 C.E.

“For me, [Hanuman] was also a hero that lost faith in himself,” says director and star Dev Patel. “He didn’t have courage at one point and needed to be reminded of who he was.” 

How the Hindu Deity Hanuman Inspired Dev Patel's 'Monkey Man'

The story of the half-human, half-monkey god mirrors the journey of the protagonist in Patel's directorial debut

The six inmates who filed the lawsuit come from different religious backgrounds but agree that the total solar eclipse is significant to their beliefs.

Six New York Inmates Successfully Sue to Watch the Total Solar Eclipse

The state's prison agency settled a lawsuit with the incarcerated men, allowing them to watch the eclipse on religious grounds. But for now, the rest of New York's correctional facilities will remain locked down on April 8

Approaching a total eclipse in Queensland, Australia, November 2012

What Indigenous Cultures From Around the World Believe About Eclipses

A Smithsonian folklorist looks back and finds stories that explain how a darkening of daytime skies provokes a foreboding of evil

The marble statue likely depicts the Greek god Apollo and decorated a fountain in Philippi.

Archaeologists Find Ancient Statue of Apollo That Probably Adorned a Magnificent Fountain

The marble bust sheds new light on the layered history of a 2,000-year-old Greek city

In recent years, three papal bulls have been found near the Polish village of Wysoka Kamieńska.

The Broken Seal of a Pope's 14th-Century Decree Has Been Found in Poland

The metal fragment was once part of a papal bull, an official communication distributed by the Catholic Church

Discovered by a metal detectorist in the village of Wólka Nieliska, the badge is about an inch wide.

A Medieval Pilgrim May Have Carried This Basilisk Pendant to Guard Against Evil

Found in Poland, the "pilgrim's badge" was likely worn by a Christian traveler hundreds of years ago

Religious lore suggests that God showed Patrick the entrance to purgatory, where the Irish could witness the consequences of not embracing Christianity with their own eyes.

St. Patrick Opened a Portal to Purgatory on This Little-Known Irish Island

Medieval pilgrims flocked to the site for spiritual purification

Completed in 1709, the library has more than 22,000 books.

You Can Spend the Night in the Secret Library Tucked Inside St. Paul's Cathedral

Airbnb is offering two guests the chance to sleep amongst 22,000 books in an area normally off-limits to visitors

Mohammed (seated at left) with Franklin D. Roosevelt (center) and Winston Churchill (right) at a 1943 war conference near Casablanca

The Moroccan Sultan Who Protected His Country's Jews During World War II

Mohammed V defied the collaborationist Vichy regime, saving Morocco's 250,000 Jews from deportation to Nazi death camps

In 18th-century Venice, Carnival masks created a temporary feeling of equality between the ruling class and the lower classes.

A Brief History of How Carnival Is Celebrated Around the World

Here’s how Venice, Rio de Janeiro, Trinidad and Tobago, New Orleans, and Quebec City mark the pre-Lenten season

Long before it was imbued with symbolic meaning in the zodiac and beyond, the dragon was an ambiguous silhouette adorning art forms.

Why Is the Year of the Dragon Considered So Lucky?

The only mythical creature in the Chinese zodiac, the dragon has long been associated with prosperity and imperial power

Orly Weintraub Gilad has her grandfather's Auschwitz number, A-12599, tattooed on her arm.

Why Descendants of Holocaust Survivors Are Replicating Auschwitz Tattoos

Those who choose to put the numbers on their bodies hope the act will spark conversation about the Holocaust and pay tribute to loved ones who survived

A more than four-foot-long medieval sword was found just to the left of the Swedish man's skeleton.

This Medieval Man Was Buried With a Four-Foot-Long Sword in Sweden

Researchers in Halmstad think he was a high-ranking member of the nobility before his death some 600 years ago

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