Book Review: The Sky Atlas: The Greatest Map Myths and Discoveries of the Universe by Edward Brooke-Hitching

Book Review: The Sky Atlas by Edward Brooke Hitching

Edward Brooke Hitching, history-hound, lover of quirky things and writer for the ever-popular and erudite quiz show QI, has written The Sky Atlas. A treasury and history of some of humankind’s most beautiful maps and charts. Yet this book is more than that, it’s a sparkling and glittering array of sky-bound achievements. It’s a visual…

The challenge of ruling a diverse nation never changes

The challenge of ruling a diverse nation never changes

This very weighty and important subject is as relevant right now as it was in the 16th Century. That was when a Dutch engraving by artist Pieter van der Borcht the Elder managed to capture the complexity and challenging nature of geopolitics and ruling in a country with many different ideologies and in the midst…

A brief history of artisan and merchant guilds in medieval Poland

The medieval artisans of Poland

On a visit to the Muzeum Narodowe we Wrocławiu in the Polish city of Wrocław I was astonished not by the grimly beautiful Renaissance paintings of Christ, angels and demons but of something far more tangible. Medieval shop signs and merchant guild coats of arms that illustrated the professions of artisans, traders and merchants of medieval times.…