Amanda Bell, author of The Lost Book, and Jason McElligott, library keeper of Marsh’s Library, Dublin. They are looking at the Galeni Librorum, a rare book that went missing from the library, which is at the heart of Bell’s story. Photograph: Alan Betson

Once upon a time, a man wandered into a junk shop and found a dusty, battered book with a strange diamond pattern on the front. Inside, the pages were(...)

 King Hanvery VIII’s determination to marry Anne Boleyn and the Pope’s refusal to endorse the divorce which would have made it possible was more the occasion than the cause of the historic schism. Photograph: iStock

According to Cardinal Reginald Pole the English Reformation was result of Henry VIII’s “fleshy will” and “carnal concupiscence”. It is easy to under(...)

Roman emperor Caligula: “sexual perversity, sadism and an almost rabid focus on increasing the personal power of the emperor”.    Above, Malcolm McDowell in the 1979 film ‘Caligula’.

Caligula, the Roman emperor from AD 37 to 41, had a colourful reputation. There aren’t many reports from the period of his reign, but it’s generally (...)

Pope Francis: will receive the Charlemagne Prize at a ceremony in the Vatican on Friday. Photograph:  Filippo Monteforte/AFP/Getty Images

The European Union has failed to fulfil its founding promise of better economic security, conditions and opportunities for its citizens, the president(...)

‘Brewsters’ was the name for women making beer in the Middle Ages – it was only later, the story goes, that the word ‘brewer’ came into existence

Brewing beer was a woman’s job back in the Middle Ages. It was just another household chore that you had to learn – and get right – or you could be i(...)

Fr Dennis Faul, knowing what would happen if the hunger striker Bobby Sands died, made desperate attempts to persuade him to end his fast to the death.  PA Wire

Recent articles in The Irish Times revisited the question of the relationship between sacrifice and religiously sanctioned political violence. Since 9(...)

Results suggest that using the term “bloodcurdling” to describe feeling extreme fear is justified, say the researchers.

For many of you it’s back to work this week after an extended break. So, in the time-honoured tradition of not overly taxing readers’ brains, this wee(...)