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Famous People

In this section, we shed light on some of the most famous and infamous people known throughout history, from powerful pharaohs, to emperors and empresses, acclaimed military leaders, or just regular civilians who’ve been thrown into the spotlight for great crimes or for heroic actions, leaving an indelible mark on the world.

Bayeux Tapestry - The death of King Harold Godwinson at the Battle of Hastings.

Did Harold Godwinson Really Die on the Battlefield at Hastings as the Records Suggest?

The reign of Harold Godwinson, the last Saxon King of England, is mostly remembered for its ignoble end, a victim of war at the Battle of Hastings in 1066 when William of Normandy came to conquer...
Anglo Saxon Helmet, Sutton Hoo, Suffolk. A reproduction of the helmet rebuilt from the fragments found in mound 1 in 1949.

The Anglo-Saxon Conquerors: Creators of Medieval England

The people of England got their name from the Angles, who, along with the Saxons, invaded in the early- to mid-5th century AD, after the Roman Empire began to groan under the weight of barbarian...
King Offa of Mercia in procession.

King Offa of Mercia: A Ruthless Anglo-Saxon Hellbent on Power and Prestige

One of the most prominent Anglo-Saxon kings, Offa of Mercia in southern England, came to power upon the murder of his cousin, King Aethelbald. He went on to rule for 39 years and consolidated much of...
Portrait of Ivan IV, the first tsar of Russia, by Viktor Vasnetsov.

Ivan the Terrible: How Did He Become the First Tsar of Russia?

The Tsar of Russia was the title used by the ruler of the Tsardom of Russia, a state that existed from 1547 to 1721. The Tsardom of Russia was preceded by the Grand Principality of Moscow, and was...
 Princess Henrietta of England

Henrietta of England and Her Tragic Life of Calamities and Heartbreak

Henrietta of England was an English princess who lived during the 17 th century. She belonged to the House of Stuart and after her marriage to Philippe I, Duke of Orléans, became the Duchess of...
On Left - Miniature of Egbert, first king of England. On Right Top - Coin of King Egbert of Wessex. On Right Bottom - The entry for 827 in the C manuscript of the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle listing the territories he brought together to unite England.  Source: Left, Public Domain; Right Top, Public Domain; Right Bottom, Public Domain.

King Egbert of Wessex Conquers all to Become Bretwalda, the First King of a United England

King Egbert, later designated the first king of England, began his reign in the 9 th century, when England was fragmented into multiple small kingdoms and under attack by Norsemen. He was one of the...
Meeting on the Isle of Pheasants, June 1660; Maria Theresa is handed over to the French and her husband by proxy, Louis XIV.

Maria Theresa of Spain: Betrayal, Incest, and Black Baby Rumors

Maria Theresa of Spain was an infanta (meaning ‘princess’) of the Spanish Empire who lived during the 17 th century. She belonged to the Spanish branch of the House of Habsburg , and is best-known...
Coronation of Louis the Pious as King of Aquitaine.

The Troubled Reign of Louis the Pious, Emperor of the Holy Roman Empire

Louis I (byname the Pious, the Fair, or the Debonair) was a King of the Franks and Holy Roman Emperor belonging to the Carolingian Dynasty. He lived between the 8 th and 9 th centuries AD and reigned...
Queen Elizabeth I: The Controversies and the Accomplishments

Queen Elizabeth I: The Controversies and the Accomplishments

Elizabeth I was one of England’s most famous and powerful queens and an iconic figure in world history. Known also as ‘The Virgin Queen’ and ‘Good Queen Bess’, she belonged to the House of Tudor – a...
Komnenian Dynasty mosaic in the Hagia Sofia, Istanbul, Turkey. The Virgin Mary and baby Jesus are flanked by John II Komnenos and his wife, Irene of Hungary.

The Komnenian Dynasty: The Byzantine Royal Family that Kept Coming Back

The Komnenos (also spelled as Comnenus) family was a medieval noble family from Paphlagonia, Anatolia, in modern day Turkey. During the 11th century, the Komnenian Dynasty was founded. This dynasty...
A Silures wagon by Anne Leaver.

The Silures Tribe: Rome’s Biggest Headache Hailed from Wales?

The people of Wales are fiercely proud of who they are, where they come from, and above all, their ability to remain a distinct people in the face of conquest. One such tribe in the south of Wales...
A miniature depicting the defeat of the Georgian king George I ("Georgios of Abasgia") by the Byzantine emperor Basil II. Skylitzes Matritensis, fol. 195v.

Byzantine Basil II: He Took an Icon of the Virgin into Battle Then Gouged Out the Eyes of Foes

The horrors and mass slaughters that many monarchs around the world perpetrated in ancient and more modern times may be eclipsed by the Byzantines, including Byzantine Emperor Basil II, known as...
Heraclius is depicted beheading Choroses, the Persian king as Cherubim angels look on.

Wild Success and Deplorable Failure: The Cursed Reign of Heraclius, Byzantine Emperor

The reign of Heraclius, the Byzantine emperor from 610 to 641, reads like a series of disasters that continued to be visited on his heirs. In between the disasters he had some successes, but he and...
A man in Liqian, China. There is debate whether his village was inhabited by Roman soldiers from the lost legion of Carrhae.

The Lost Legion of Carrhae: Did a Roman Legion End Up in China?

Rome and China are two major civilizations that shaped the cultures within their sphere of influence. They are also cultures that appear to have been mostly isolated from each other. For this reason...
Mosaic - Empress Theodora and Retinue, San Vitale in Ravenna.

Theodora: How a Poverty Stricken Prostitute Became an Empress

The history of Theodora is a classic rags to riches tale, as she is thought to have started life in the lowest class of Byzantine society but became one of the most powerful women in civilization’s...
Gaius Aurelius Valerius Diocletianus (ca.245-313), Roman Emperor Diocletian. Marble bust, XVIIth century, Florence, Italy. On display at Château de Vaux-le-Vicomte, France.

Emperor Diocletian: The Stabilizer of Rome Had a Green Thumb

Diocletian was a Roman emperor who lived between the 3rd and 4th centuries AD. Prior to his ascension to the throne, the Roman Empire was going through the Crisis of the Third Century, a period...

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