Cleopatra and 2,000 Years of Slander

Cleopatra is what you might call the epitome of a VIP. After more than 2,000 years, she is as present as if she were still alive. Such eminence lends itself to storytellers and moralists alike. It offers any number of pitfalls for historians and writers, too. 

Independent Corsica

Corsica was once independent. It was a kingdom before becoming a republic and then a kingdom again. The whole affair has to be classified as highly unsuccessful as most of Europe just ignored it. The first king was German and spent nine months on the island; the second king was British and never set foot on Corsica. In between the two was a general turned president; he then turned prime minister for the last act.

And God Granted Their Wishes

For times immemorial, humans have prayed to their Gods to look favorably upon them, to keep them safe, and to grant their wishes. But what happens once the wish has been granted? This real life story starting in the dim past and bringing us into today's world tells you exactly what. 

Cosmati Mosaics: Recycled Art

In the 12th and the 13th century, an Italian family business elevated recycling to an art form. Named for Cosmas, the founding father of the enterprise, they are collectively known as the Cosmati. Using ancient art buried in the rubble of Rome, they created outstanding works of art. 

The Village of St Silvester, Switzerland

The day of Saint Sylvester is the 31st of December, New Year’s Eve. In French and in German usage, the saint's name is synonymous with New Year’s Eve, party, booze, and fireworks. The village of St Silvester in Switzerland was named after the church dedicated to him. There, his day starts off with an old tradition dating back more than 400 years.