Shrouded in mystery, eerie in sound, mysterious in origin, menacing in the images it provoked, the word ‘mafia’ came into common usage in c. 1875.
Stephen Basdeo completed his PhD in history in 2017. He is now a lecturer at the Richmond University's Leeds campus.
Whenever a politician proposes raising a new tax or cutting a public service, a newspaper columnist will often respond that the proposed changes are ‘Reverse Robin Hood’. Alternatively, those who look favourably upon governmental tax and finance reforms might attempt to portray the politician in question as embodying Robin Hood values.
If you were a criminal, what would you choose – a life sentence in prison, the death sentence, or to be surgically blinded?
Philip Cunliffe has written a fascinating book which gives an account of how history might have turned out had the goals of early twentieth-century socialists been realised.
On the same night that Mary Shelley conceived the idea for Frankenstein, her friend, Dr John Polidori, conjured another frightening creature – the vampire. Yet his malevolent vampire was no match for some Italian bandits, it seems.
The two men crucified alongside Jesus were not just petty thieves but dangerous bandits and possible revolutionaries.
In the earliest medieval poems, Robin Hood is devoted to the Virgin Mary. While this may seem odd, many thieves in medieval Europe had an attachment to her.
In WW1, Conscientious Objectors under sentence of death left their mark in their cells detailing their thoughts and prayers before in what they imagined were their final hours.
G. W. M. Reynolds, the “vicious republican” of the Victorian era, attributed the cause of all crime to the the existence of the royal family and the political establishment.
In the Victorian era, New York was a large industrial city with ‘dark Satanic mills’ in which the poor and the rich lived “cheek by jowl”; paupers lived a hand-to-mouth existence and for many, a life of crime as part of an organised criminal gang.