Emma Mason

Emma Mason is Digital Editor for BBC History Magazine

Photo M Larvey

Buried by the eruption of Vesuvius in AD 79, and gradually disinterred from the middle of the 18th century, Pompeii is probably the world’s most famous archaeological site. But what was life like for the Romans who lived there, pre-eruption? Not that different from our own, as Mary Beard reveals in her A to Z of the ancient town, complete with yob culture, nightlife and plonk...

This article was first published in the September 2008 issue of BBC History Magazine

Star Wars, 1977. (© Glasshouse Images/Alamy Stock Photo)

Professor Nicholas John Cull explores the history of the Star Wars franchise, and explains why in 1977 thousands of people flocked to cinemas to be taken to a galaxy far, far away…

This article was first published in December 2015

David Bowie with Twiggy, 1973 (Justin de Villeneuve/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

A year ago today, David Bowie died from cancer at the age of 69. Here, we look back on his remarkable life and career in pictures...

John Duval Gluck, Jr, 'the Santa Claus man'. (Gluck Scrapbooks)

In 1913, a charismatic customs broker named John Duval Gluck, Jr founded the Santa Claus Association – a group responsible for answering Santa's mail in New York City. For 15 years the association received an abundance of gifts and donations from delighted New Yorkers, and Gluck himself became a Jazz Age celebrity. But in 1927, Gluck was exposed as a fraud

A newspaper article reporting the mysterious disappearance of the novelist Agath

It’s a time for gifts, last-minute shopping, and over-indulgence. But through history the festive season hasn’t just been about celebration: here, Graeme Donald, author of On This Day in History, reveals eight of the weirdest things that have happened during the Christmas period through history…

This article was first published online in December 2014

WW1 postcard c1918 (Popperfoto/Getty Images)

‘Tis the season of “peace on Earth and goodwill to all men”. But how did the festive period fare during the First World War? Hannah Scally, senior historian at illustratedfirstworldwar.com, explains how the British Christmas adapted.

This article was first published online in 2014

Roman Saturnalia banquet - Alamy

It is today associated with decorations, gift giving and indulgence. But how did the Romans celebrate during the festive season? Dr Carey Fleiner, a senior lecturer in classical and medieval history at the University of Winchester, looks back at Saturnalia, the Roman mid-winter ‘festival of misrule’.

This article was first published in 2013

A 1660 illustration from A Book of Roxburghe Ballads (Bridgeman Art Library)

Mark Stoyle investigates popular resistance to the Puritan assault on Christmas during the 1640s and 1650s.

This article was first published in the Christmas 2011 issue of BBC History Magazine

Christmas, 1500s. (© North Wind Picture Archives/Alamy)

It is today associated with merriment, gift giving and indulgence. But how was Christmas celebrated in the Middle Ages? Here, Dr Matthew Champion from St Catharine's College Cambridge shares his top tips for a medieval Christmas…

This article was first published in December 2014

Shapes for pies from T Hall, The Queen's Royal Cookery, 1713

It's the season to eat, drink and be merry; a time for indulging in a little (or a lot) of what you fancy. But what did people in the 17th and 18th centuries eat at Christmas, and could you turn your hand to the recipes?

This article was first published in December 2013

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