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Past & Present

Women: witnesses and witches

Women: witnesses and witches – witch-prosecutions in early modern England Clive Holmes The role played by women in the legal process against witches, as accusers or witnesses, has been frequently cited in the course of skirmishes about the question, as posed by Christina Larner, “Was witch-hunting women-hunting?”. Keith Thomas has argued that “The idea that […]

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Past & Present

The concept of the household-family in eighteenth-century England

The concept of the household-family in eighteenth-century England Naomi Tadmor In seventeenth- and eighteenth-century England, we are told, the English family was characteristically nuclear. This depiction can be traced from the path-breaking studies of the Cambridge Population Group to the broad interpretative survey of Ralph Houlbrooke; from aggregate analysis of parish registers to the individual […]

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Past & Present

Roman urban society and the game of ‘alea.’

Literate games: Roman urban society and the game of ‘alea.’ Nicholas Purcell INTRODUCTION Clever Palamedes found me as a distraction during the Plague. The game was invented by the ingenious Palamedes to while away the dull and difficult moments of the Trojan War.(1) But its later history was colourful too. The emperor Claudius played it […]

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Past & Present

vengeance and inquisition in fourteenth-century Marseille

Common violence: vengeance and inquisition in fourteenth-century Marseille Daniel Lord Smail I Medieval violence has a bad reputation. In the words of a student essayist, “Mideval [sic] people were violent. Murder during this period was nothing. Everybody killed someone”.(1) Yet however much we might object to this sweeping generalization, the sentiment is not anachronistic. Violence […]

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Past & Present

Women: witnesses and witches

Women: witnesses and witches – witch-prosecutions in early modern England Clive Holmes The role played by women in the legal process against witches, as accusers or witnesses, has been frequently cited in the course of skirmishes about the question, as posed by Christina Larner, “Was witch-hunting women-hunting?”. Keith Thomas has argued that “The idea that […]

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Past & Present

19th century AD

19th century AD H.L. Malchow The Black stripp’d, and appeared of a giant-like strength, Large in bone, large in muscle and with arms a cruel length.(1) It is now commonly accepted that the Gothic literary genre of the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries represents, if remotely and unconsciously, the central tensions of an age […]

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Past & Present

The language of nationality and the nationality of language: Prague 1780-1920

The language of nationality and the nationality of language: Prague 1780-1920 – Czech Republic history Derek Sayer I In April 1920, Franz Kafka wrote to his Czech translator and lover Milena Jesenska asking her to write to him in Czech rather than German. He was then living in Prague, which had eighteen months earlier become […]

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Past & Present

Law, the democratic citizen and the representation of women in classical Athens

Law, the democratic citizen and the representation of women in classical Athens Robin Oborne Do new laws actually bring about social change? Or do they simply reflect changes that have already taken place informally? Greek political analysts were prone to assume that laws do change things. The first half of the account of the Athenian […]

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Past & Present

Tenzing’s two wrist-watches: the conquest of Everest and late imperial culture in Britain 1921-1953

Tenzing’s two wrist-watches: the conquest of Everest and late imperial culture in Britain 1921-1953 – response to Gordon T. Stewart, Past and Present, no. 149, p. 171, Nov. 1995; includes reply Peter H. Hansen In a recent article in Past and Present, Gordon T. Stewart examines the British Everest expeditions from 1921 to 1953 `in […]

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Past & Present

Rice milling, gender and slave labour in colonial South Carolina

Rice milling, gender and slave labour in colonial South Carolina Judith Carney On the eve of the American Revolution, exports of rice from South Carolina annually exceeded seventy million pounds, a figure achieved by a slave labour force that numbered about one hundred thousand.(1) (Table 1.) This represented a staggering growth of the rice economy […]