The Rest Is History

Stolen antiquities, time travel, and leeches.

By Jaime Fuller

Friday, January 11, 2019

Manuscript leaf with Saint Christopher bearing Christ, c. 1300. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Purchase, Mr. and Mrs. Ronald R. Atkins, Audrey Love Charitable Foundation, Wolfgang Wilhelm and Michel David-Weill Gifts, and funds from various donors, 2010.

• A tiny bit of history: “Blue pigment found in the teeth of a medieval skeleton reveal that, more than 850 years ago, this seemingly ordinary woman likely was involved in the production of lavishly illustrated sacred texts.” (NPR)

• A collection of medical artifacts sure to make one queasy are now on view in Greenwich, Connecticut, including a jar with a perforated top labeled leeches. (Collectors Weekly)

• The history of white women as morality police: “White feminist ideology grew from notions of white female superiority over people of color and their obligation to protect others from potential degeneration. In continuation of contemporary practice, early white colonial feminists appropriated the same pseudoscientific ideas and terminology as their male counterparts to justify their own superior position over people of color.” (Nursing Clio)

• That time Charles Dickens superfans put a fictional villain on trial. (Times Literary Supplement)

• On books as time-travel device. (The New York Times)

• An important question: “How did Rossetti and his protégés come to be so obsessed with wombats?” (Public Domain Review)

• On the history of U.S. borders and frontiers. (Boston Review)

• This week in headlines that also work as Indiana Jones movie subtitles: the case of the stolen sumerian antiquities. (Archaeology)

• Mary Norris on Greek: “The epithet ‘wine-dark sea’ has often confused readers—did Homer mean red, white, or rosé? And why would any of these describe the color of the sea?” (The New Yorker)

• This week in obituaries: the “godmother of Title IX,” the lawyer who represented the first black family to move to Levittown, a Bengali filmmaker, a TV news correspondent, and a Vogue editor.