In our cover feature this month we offer a fresh perspective on medicine in the Middle Ages. Despite common beliefs that medieval physicians offered little more than leeches and superstition, our ancestors took a far more sophisticated approach to their health than you might imagine – as Elma Brenner reveals.
Also on the theme of health and wellbeing this month is James Gregory’s feature on vegetarian Victorians. From animal rights to abstinence, there were many reasons why some Britons chose a meat-free diet in the 19th century.
Staying in the Victorian period, Anne-Marie Kilday and David Nash go in hunt of Jack the Ripper. They explore five theories about the Victorian killer’s identity, and consider what these can tell us about British society’s greatest fears over the past 130 years.
Meanwhile, Priya Satia reveals how war sparked the Industrial Revolution. Was it Britain’s military machine – not the brilliance of its entrepreneurs – that was the main driver behind the nation’s economic miracle in the 18th century?
Jumping back to the medieval period, Gordon McKelvie profiles a Scottish king who modelled his style of kingship on an enemy of his people. Although neither man would have admitted it, James I of Scotland was, for all intents and purposes, Henry V’s Scottish protégé, claims McKelvie.
Elsewhere, Lizzie Oliver tells the grim story of the Sumatra Railway. Forced marches, savage guards, skeletal PoWs, and a death toll in the tens of thousands made its construction from 1943-45 “one of the darkest episodes of the Pacific War”.
Finally, we reveal the results of our poll to discover the100 most influential women in history. Earlier this summer, we asked you to vote for the women you believe had the biggest impact on world history, from a shortlist of 100 figures selected by 10 experts. Click here to discover who topped our poll and read historians’ analysis of the results here.
NEXT ISSUE: The October 2018 issue of BBC History Magazine is on sale from 6 September 2018, featuring articles on the making of Anne Boleyn, Roman women, the 1938 Munich crisis, and the surprising early history of the Egyptian capital Cairo.
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