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History

Why didn’t medieval artists sign their work?

Signatures might be important, but they are not essential. Even today.

Who were the Magi, really?

Some early commentators suggest the magi were Persian, but others affirm they were Jews from Yemen.

The secret “priest holes” of England

In Queen Elizabeth I's time, being a Catholic priest was a crime punishable by death... Helping one was almost as bad.

Why do we wish people a “merry” Christmas?

A look at the history behind this turn of phrase.

The archaeological and historical evidence behind the birth of Christ

The biblical telling of the Nativity contains numerous historical references and descriptions of specific places and customs that match what we know of the time period.

The history of Christmas tree lights: From fire hazards to “festoons”

Christmas tree lights have evolved quite a bit over several centuries.

How poinsettias became the most popular potted Christmas plant

Poinsettias were associated with Christmas long before they were brought to the US from Mexico.

What countries’ names actually mean

Are the literal translations accurate descriptions?

Ancient Roman history revealed beneath St. John Lateran

Archaeologists try to recreate the buildings that once stood on the site of the oldest Catholic cathedral.

Take a virtual reality tour of the Holocaust Museum using your phone

A complete virtual field trip, with lesson plan.

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