Empress Theodora (497-548 AD) was the most powerful woman in Byzantine history. Here are 5 reasons why she totally kicked butt. 1. Her dad was a bear keeper: That’s right. Although little is known about the Empress’ early life, we do know that her father was a bear keeper at the circus in Constantin Read more
We’ve all heard the famous adage “you can’t go home again.” Thomas Wolfe even wrote a book about it. Now that we’ve read Richard Yeselson’s most recent article in The Atlantic, we’re beginning to think he was wrong. Yeselson argues that our political rhetoric is eerily reminiscent of the 1920s. Spoi Read more
A new book by historian Lisa McGirr, reviewed recently in The New York Times, asks readers to reconsider everything they think they know about Prohibition. While many Americans have a picture of the period as “puritans winning a ban on liquor” against popular sentiment, Prohibition actually had a wi Read more
Yesterday, Japanese and South Korean officials came to a landmark agreement concerning Japan’s abuses of Korean “comfort women” during the Second World War. Over at Vox, Max Fisher explains who the “comfort women” were, and why they were denied justice—and even just official acknowledgement—for so m Read more
Over at the Library of Congress, check out this digital exhibition of presidential campaign songs from bygone days, long before campaign managers could just borrow a Tom Petty or Bruce Springsteen song and call it a day—until the inevitable cease-and-desist, at least. Our favorites? William Howard T Read more
Still in the throes of post-Christmas gout? We’ve been fine-tuning our (chokingly unrealistic) 2016 fitness resolutions all morning. We fully condone making lofty self-promises—but no amount of preemptive kale juice is going to stop you from looking like a hungover owl on New Year’s Day. Which is wh Read more
Are you feeling down in the dumps about the 2016 election? Did you spend Christmas hiding from your relatives’ political arguments? Take heart: as depressing as American politics can get before a presidential election, we’re still way more civil about the whole process than the ancient Romans were. Read more
1. Jean, Count of Dunois, waged war while his brother wrote Valentines in prisons. Best known by the charming epithet “the Bastard of Orléans,” Jean helped win the Hundred Years’ War for France.  His father, Louis, Duke of Orléans, younger brother of the insane Charles VI, was most famous for his br Read more
Marine Le Pen, the leader of the far-right Front National (FN) party in France, has been getting a lot of press lately. On Thursday, she made headlines when she deleted a tweet that “contained a photo of the decapitated body of James Foley, the American journalist who was killed by the Islamic State Read more
HistoryBuff is closing in on its second month in operation. Overall we’ve been thrilled at the response we’ve gotten from folks who care about history. Being able to share these stories has been a joy so far, and a privilege we take seriously. Occasionally one of our Facebook fans will question our Read more
One of the many shocking tactics adopted by the ISIS is the intentional destruction of cultural heritage. Like many of their executions of Western hostages and more local captives, the terrorist organization publicizes these destructions through social media by filming and sharing videos of the acts Read more
The pillars of fascism are clear to any student of history: populism, ultranationalism, anti-liberal and anti-democratic rhetoric. Media, with some exception, has abandoned all discretion with the word. Trump doesn’t meet the requirements, but he comes closer than any U.S. politician in recent memor Read more
When we recently covered the debate surrounding calls for the removal of Woodrow Wilson’s name from public spaces at Princeton University, comments on our Facebook page were pretty unanimous: even in light of Wilson’s shockingly racist views, the consensus was firm: erasing history is never a smart Read more