The Rest Is History

A “funny little” snail man and the voice of John Keats.

By Jaime Fuller

Friday, March 26, 2021

Giant ramshorn snail. National Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian Institute.

• “How using sheepskin for legal papers may have prevented fraud.” (Science News)

• Found: a medieval snail-man object. “What it meant to the owner, or what went through the mind of the maker…I just don’t know.” (The Guardian)

• “Most historians and archaeologists agree: the sixth century was not an easy time to be alive…It is revealing how, against this backdrop of chaos, a people emerged who succeeded in founding perhaps the strongest kingdom in the post-Roman world. These were the Visigoths, who had first arrived in Iberia in the 410s, when Roman rule was crumbling.” (Archaeology)

• “The math was real. Nicolas Bourbaki was not.” (JSTOR Daily)

• A new map, “part botanical history, part social history,” explores New York City’s tree landscape. (Hyperallergic)

• “Did the Black Death Rampage Across the World a Century Earlier Than Previously Thought?” (

• “If the poet John Keats—fresh, fainting, convulsed by illness for much of his short life—could speak to us from beyond the grave, what would he say?” (

• How to decolonize paleontology. (New York Times)

• “Why Did the Slave Trade Survive So Long?” (The New York Review of Books)

• “The Lower East Side Housewives Who Wrote the Militant Playbook.” (Jezebel)

• This week in obituaries: Nawal El Saadawi, Jessica Walter, Elgin Baylor, Marianne Carus, Cyril Mango, Joan Walsh Anglund, Paul Jackson, George Segal, Paul Brock, David McCabe, José Baselga, Elsa Peretti, Glynn Lunney, Amaranth Ehrenhalt, Jonathan Steinberg, Christine Nofchissey McHorse, Daniel Wolf, Adam Zagajewski, Johnny Dumfries, Cepillín, Kent Taylor, Hugh Newell Jacobsen, and Milford Graves.