Magazine article History Today

From the Editor

Magazine article History Today

From the Editor

Article excerpt

This year marks the 500th anniversary of the accession of Henry VIII. History Today, in association with Historic Royal Palaces, is to run a series of public lectures and debates at Hampton Court Palace to mark the occasion. But in this issue we take a look at his father, Henry Tudor. In David Starkey's opinion, the life of Henry VII is 'one of the world's great adventures', encompassing war, exile, and unlikely victory at Bosworth in 1485. With remarkable skill, Henry forged through marriage the unity of the families of Lancaster and York, whose long, violent feud had scarred medieval England, to create the most famous of English dynasties. The neglect of Henry VII is puzzling. Perhaps he is seen as a medieval figure, and the current obsession with modern history has made the Middle Ages marginal. He lacks a mythical aspect too; Shakespeare characterised his great rival Richard III, as well as Henry VIII, who has since become a staple of stage, film and television. Henry VII is long overdue our attention, and Gordon Marsden's fascinating article makes an eloquent case for the importance of this extraordinarily clever king.

There are many characters and events in history that deserve greater attention. The subject of our cover story is the battle of Poltava which took place near the Ukrainian city of Kiev 300 years ago. It is a little known affair, but of immense and enduring world-historical importance, for Peter the Great's victory over the Swedish forces of Charles XII was the making of modern Russia. …

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