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Civil Rights Heroes

At Queen Victoria’s deathbed

Shocking eye-witness accounts of her last moments

And how they have inspired generations

the rise of

sparta How the city of warriors defeated Persia, toppled Athens and dominated Greece

Stealing The Mona Lisa The daring theft that made Da Vinci’s portrait priceless

Discover The


The Sultanate Of Women How a harem ruled the Ottoman empire for a century

Frontier Issue 074

Ming Tombs

Inside the amazing resting place of China’s emperors

Welcome So much of the ancient world is buried by myth, legend and partisan accounts of events, but that’s what makes picking through the pieces so interesting sometimes. Take Sparta, for example, a city state that is vastly misunderstood, in part because what we know about it we get largely from its adversaries, but also because so much of its history became a part of Greece’s epic backstory. From Leonidas I’s 300 who were really a couple of thousand to depictions of Sparta as an empire builder when it would seem expansion was low on its pecking order, there’s much to break down. So, it was great to have longtime contributor Murray Dahm take a look at the rise of Sparta, to give us an insight into how this highly militarised state grew in stature, power and influence. Oh, and I guess I should also introduce myself. You may have noticed my name last issue, but I have picked up the reins of All About History

Discover our exclusive offer for new readers on page 42

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 A still from the 1962 production of The 300 Spartans directed by Rudolph Mate and starring Richard Egan as King Leonidas, seen here in the midst of the famous Battle of Thermopylae. While a defeat for Sparta, the legend of this valiant last stand taken against the invading Persians has inspired generations of storytellers

from James Hoare, joining this fantastic team to help guide the magazine forward. Studying history has long been a passion of mine and I can’t wait to bring you some amazing stories and conversations that help expand our understanding of the world around us. It’s going to be a fascinating journey and I’d love to hear your thoughts as we move forward, so please feel free to reach out to myself and the team anytime. I really hope you enjoy the issue.

Jonathan Gordon Editor

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Share your views and opinions online

Editor’s picks 38

The Real Sparta


Mona Lisa


The Sultanate Of Women

It was fantastic to speak with ancient-world expert Philip Matyszak this issue, breaking down some of the misconceptions around Sparta and Athens Jack Parsons, formerly of this parish, takes us through the incredible tale of the theft that helped to make Leonardo da Vinci’s painting a household name Ottoman expert and author Jem Duducu walks us through the incredible period when the harem of the Ottoman empire held as much power as the sultans themselves






CONTENTS the rise of sparta


28 How a humble city state grew to dominate Greece with

its focused commitment to military might

American frontier

14  Timeline

We chart the expansion of America’s Western Frontier

18  Anatomy

The garb of a gold prospector

20 Hall of Fame The outlaws of old west

22 Q  &A


‘Dr Colorado’ Thomas J Noel

24 P  laces to Explore

Five great Native American sights

26 H  istorical Treasures

The gun that won the west


38 P  hilip Matyszak

Breaking down the myths of Sparta

58 T  he Theft Of The Mona Lisa

Inside the daring heist that made Da Vinci’s masterpiece priceless

44 G  reat Civil

Rights Heroes

Ten people who helped to shape the movement in the 1950s and 1960s

64 T  he Death Of

Queen Victoria

What do stunning eye-witness accounts reveal?

52 The Sultanate Of Women

How the harem became the place of power in the Ottoman Empire

70 M  ing Tombs

4 Be part of history

The resting place of China’s emperors



Every issue


06  History in pictures

Photos with amazing stories

76  Greatest battles

Breaking down Baldwin IV’s victory at Montgisard against all odds

86  Through history


A closer look at the arms and armour of China’s Qing Dynasty

91 Recipe

Spartan Black Broth provided nutrition for hard-working hoplites


92 R  eviews

Our verdict on the latest historical books and home movie releases

97  History vs Hollywood

82 What if

Historian and best-selling author Dr Helen Rappaport ponders the survival of the Romanovs

It’s picking up awards, but is The Favourite true to Queen Anne?


64 Subscribe to our weekly email newsletter for more stories, visit


Defining Moments Lip Reading

George HW Bush accepts his party’s nomination for President of the United States of America at the 1988 Republican National Convention in New Orleans. It was the event at which he delivered possibly his most famous and long-lasting soundbite, “Read my lips: no new taxes.” Unfortunately a recession early in is presidency meant that it didn’t prove to be a long-lasting promise and he would go on to serve only a single term in office.

© Getty Images



Defining Moments Rooftop Rock

Famously, The Beatles had stopped touring after their performance at Candlestick Park in San Francisco in 1966, but on 30 January 1969, during the recording process for Let It Be, they clambered to the roof of the Apple Corps building on Savile Row and played a surprise 42-minute set. While it was not an entirely spontaneous decision, it was not announced beforehand. It would be their final public performance as a band.




© Getty Images

Defining Moments Vikings Live

Around the world there are communities and organisations devoted to not only teaching history but also bringing it back to life and there’s no greater example of this passion than at the Jorvik Viking Centre in York. And as it happens from 20-29 February 2019 the centre will be holding its 35th Jorvik Viking Festival packed with events and spectacles for all the family. Visit for more information.




© Getty Images


“Divine task! Immortal mission! Let us tread fast and joyfully the open trail before us! Let every American heart open wide for patriotism to glow undimmed, and confide with religious faith in the sublime and prodigious destiny of his well-loved country� William Gilpin, explorer, politician and land speculator addressing the US Senate, 2 March 1846

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All About History 74 (Sampler)  

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All About History 74 (Sampler)  

You can subscribe to this magazine @