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Living History by Dr Julia Martins

 

Welcome to Living History, where we bring the stories of everyday people to life.

This project started as a way to bridge the distance between academic debates and the wider community - history should be accessible to everyone!

While my focus is on the history of medicine and gender, and I specialise in the early modern period (16th-18th centuries), I also hope to create links between the past and the present.

My goal is to bring history into contemporary debates, especially the stories of those often written out of history, while creating a sense of community and a safe space for discussion. And I am thrilled to have you here!

(If you are curious about the gendered language used in some texts, please read our Language and Inclusivity note.)

You can also sign up for our monthly newsletter which includes the latest videos and articles before they appear on the website, as well as recommendations, from books to films and online courses.

A number of texts on this site have video counterparts on our YouTube channel, where you'll find even more engaging content to explore.

I look forward to many stimulating debates and discussions with you!

Jun / 2024

Eaglestones: Historical Amulets for Childbirth

  • #Childbirth
    /
  • #Everyday Life
    /
  • #Medicine
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Jun / 2024

Playtime in Tudor England: Toys, Games, and Childhood

  • #England
    /
  • #Everyday Life
    /
  • #Tudor
    /
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May / 2024

Caterina Sforza: The Alchemy and Power of a Renaissance Icon

  • #Alchemy
    /
  • #Gender
    /
  • #Medicine
    /
  • #Remarkable People
    /
  • #Renaissance
    /
  • #Women
    /
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May / 2024

5 More Brazilian Women Who Changed History

  • #Brazil
    /
  • #Historical Figures
    /
  • #Remarkable People
    /
  • #Women
    /
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May / 2024

Green Sickness: A Historical Look at the ‘Disease of Virgins’

  • #Activism
    /
  • #Childbirth
    /
  • #Gender
    /
  • #Medicine
    /
  • #Midwifery
    /
  • #Religion
    /
  • #Theory
    /
  • #Women
    /
Featured image for “Green Sickness: A Historical Look at the ‘Disease of Virgins’”
Apr / 2024

5 Brazilian Women Who Changed History

  • #Brazil
    /
  • #Historical Figures
    /
  • #Remarkable People
    /
  • #Women
    /
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Apr / 2024

Golden Locks: Hair Care in the Renaissance Era

  • #Cosmetics
    /
  • #Hair
    /
  • #Hygiene
    /
  • #Medicine
    /
  • #Theory
    /
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Mar / 2024

Hot Cross Buns: Discovering the Easter Treat’s Rich History

  • #Easter
    /
  • #Food
    /
  • #Religion
    /
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Mar / 2024

Paracelsus: The Rebellious Doctor Who Defied Tradition

  • #Alchemy
    /
  • #Medicine
    /
  • #Remarkable People
    /
  • #Theory
    /
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Feb / 2024

Veiled Truths: Scandal and Mystery in a Renaissance Convent

  • #Religion
    /
  • #Remarkable People
    /
  • #Renaissance
    /
  • #Women
    /
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Feb / 2024

Fioravanti: Pioneering Surgeon-Alchemist of the Renaissance

  • #Alchemy
    /
  • #Fioravanti
    /
  • #Italy
    /
  • #Medicine
    /
  • #Remarkable People
    /
  • #Renaissance
    /
  • #Surgery
    /
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Dec / 2023

The Medicine behind food – from starters to desserts 

  • #Food
    /
  • #Humours
    /
  • #Medicine
    /
  • #Theory
    /
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Dec / 2023

The Medicine Behind the Nativity Gifts: Frankincense and Myrrh Revisited

  • #Medicine
    /
  • #Religion
    /
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Oct / 2023

What Were Early Modern Beds Like?

  • #Aristocracy
    /
  • #Beds
    /
  • #Everyday Life
    /
  • #Sleeping
    /
  • #Social Class
    /
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Sep / 2023

What Made a 17th-Century Midwife Good at Her Job?

  • #Childbirth
    /
  • #Midwifery
    /
  • #Women
    /
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Aug / 2023

Little Red Riding Hood and the Invisibility of Older Women

  • #Age
    /
  • #Literature
    /
  • #Medicine
    /
  • #Menopause
    /
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Jul / 2023

How to Clean Your Body in the Renaissance

  • #Health
    /
  • #Hygiene
    /
  • #Myths
    /
  • #Renaissance
    /
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Jun / 2023

The ‘Queen of Hysterics’ and 19th-Century Theatrical Hysteria

  • #19th Century
    /
  • #Hysteria
    /
  • #Victorian
    /
  • #Women
    /
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Jun / 2023

Maternal Mortality and “The Mother’s Legacy to Her Unborn Child”

  • #Childbirth
    /
  • #Children
    /
  • #Death
    /
  • #Maternity
    /
  • #Motherhood
    /
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Apr / 2023

A Grip on the History of Forceps in Medicine

  • #Childbirth
    /
  • #Forceps
    /
  • #Medicine
    /
  • #Midwifery
    /
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Mar / 2023

Eostre and Easter: ‘Rebranding’ a Spring Goddess to Fit Christianity?

  • #Easter
    /
  • #Goddess
    /
  • #Mythology
    /
  • #Paganism
    /
  • #Religion
    /
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Mar / 2023

The Surprising Connection Between Freud and Greek Mythology

  • #19th Century
    /
  • #Mythology
    /
  • #Psychoanalysis
    /
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Mar / 2023

Moderata Fonte and ‘The Woman Question’

  • #Feminism
    /
  • #Gender
    /
  • #Humanism
    /
  • #Remarkable People
    /
  • #Women's Rights
    /
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Feb / 2023

The Fascinating World of Aphrodisiacs

  • #Aphrodisiacs
    /
  • #Conception
    /
  • #Food
    /
  • #Pregnancy
    /
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Jan / 2023

Why is it that we imagine an older woman when we think of a witch?

  • #Menopause
    /
  • #misogyny
    /
  • #old age
    /
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Dec / 2022

‘Holy Anorexia’: The Fascinating Connection between Religious Women and Fasting

  • #Food
    /
  • #Religion
    /
  • #Women
    /
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Dec / 2022

‘Extended’ Breastfeeding in the Elizabethan Period

  • #Breastfeeding
    /
  • #Milk
    /
  • #Theatre
    /
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Nov / 2022

‘Follow what I say’: Isabella Cortese and Early Modern Female Alchemists

  • #Alchemy
    /
  • #Cosmetics
    /
  • #Women
    /
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Oct / 2022

On the Medusa, Vampires, and the Fear of the Female Body

  • #Menstruation
    /
  • #Monsters
    /
  • #Sexuality
    /
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Oct / 2022

Motherhood and Wet Nurses: Breastfeeding in Early Modern Times

  • #Breastfeeding
    /
  • #Medicine
    /
  • #Motherhood
    /
  • #Wet Nurses
    /
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Sep / 2022

Elizabeth I and Ageing

  • #Ageing
    /
  • #Beauty
    /
  • #Cosmetics
    /
  • #Remarkable People
    /
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Sep / 2022

Why Did People Try to Induce Menstruation in the Past?

  • #Abortion
    /
  • #Medicine
    /
  • #Menstruation
    /
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Aug / 2022

‘Unnatural Mothers’: The Surprising History of Abandoned Children

  • #Childbirth
    /
  • #Children
    /
  • #Hospitals
    /
  • #Motherhood
    /
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Jul / 2022

Giving Birth in 17th-century England: A Tentative List

  • #Childbirth
    /
  • #Medicine
    /
  • #Midwifery
    /
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Jun / 2022

Caterina Sforza: Using All the Weapons in Her Arsenal

  • #Alchemy
    /
  • #Noblewomen
    /
  • #Remarkable People
    /
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Jun / 2022

Green Sickness and Virginity

  • #Gender
    /
  • #Humours
    /
  • #Medicine
    /
  • #Menstruation
    /
  • #Virginity
    /
Featured image for “Green Sickness and Virginity”
May / 2022

Is the Catholic Church Harsher on Abortion Now than in Medieval Times?

  • #Abortion
    /
  • #Activism
    /
  • #Medieval
    /
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May / 2022

Opening up the Mother: Caesarean Sections and the Romans

  • #Ancient History
    /
  • #Caesarean
    /
  • #Myths
    /
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Mar / 2022

Female Genital Mutilation and ‘The West’: Past and Present

  • #Activism
    /
  • #FGM
    /
  • #Surgery
    /
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Mar / 2022

‘Let Nature Take its Course’: In Defence of ‘Gentle’ Midwifery

  • #Childbirth
    /
  • #Midwifery
    /
  • #Remarkable People
    /
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Feb / 2022

‘Neither, and yet both’: ‘Hermaphroditism’ and Binaries

  • #Gender
    /
  • #Intersex
    /
  • #LGBT+
    /
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Jan / 2022

Not ‘fit for child-bearing’: Fatness and (In)fertility

  • #Activism
    /
  • #Fatness
    /
  • #Fertility
    /
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Jan / 2022

(Un)sexing, Violence, and Women

  • #Gender
    /
  • #Menstruation
    /
  • #Theatre
    /
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Dec / 2021

‘Before she was in labour, she gave birth’

  • #Childbirth
    /
  • #Religion
    /
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Dec / 2021

‘…but the Art of Midwifry chiefly concern us’!

  • #Activism
    /
  • #Midwifery
    /
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