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The Adventures of Telemachus  

Francois Fénelon

A Catholic priest and writer, François Fénelon (1651–1715) was enlisted by the church to preach to French Protestants (Huguenots) in order to bring them back to orthodox belief. His ... More

The Code of Manu  

Anonymous

The Code of Manu deals with many different features of Hindu life, such as the proper behavior of different castes and methods for ritual purification. The “Manu” referred to in the title ... More

The Decameron, “Putting the Devil Back in Hell”  

Giovanni Boccaccio

A Latin scholar, poet, and biographer, Boccaccio (1313–1375) is most famous today as the author of the Decameron. This compilation of 100 tales, by turns serious, bawdy, and irreverent, ... More

“Dedication to tallyrand,” Vindication of the Rights of Women  

Mary Wollstonecraft

The British activist Mary Wollstonecraft (1759–1797), mother of author Mary Shelley and the bearer of a tainted reputation, wrote a letter called “Vindication of the Rights of Man” (1790) ... More

Examination of Lady Jane Grey, London  

John Foxe

Jane Grey, the granddaughter of Henry VIII’s sister Mary, was born in 1537, the same year as Edward VI, the only surviving son of the king who had sought a male heir so desperately. Jane, ... More

Feudal Contracts and the Swearing of Fealty  

Anonymous

In the catastrophe brought on by the assaults on all their borders, some European midieval Christians were forced to devise new means of self-protection. Into this vacuum of governmental ... More

Foxe’s Book of Martyrs, Trual of Anne Askew  

John Foxe

John Foxe (1517–1587) authored this martyrology that especially focuses on the martyrdoms of 16th-century Protestants at the hands of Catholic inquisitors. This selection recounts the trial ... More

Marina de San Miguel’s Confessions before the Inquisition, Mexico City  

Anonymous

The Inquisition was well established in Spain at the time of Cortés’s conquest in the 1520s. A tribunal of the Holy Office of the Inquisition came in the conquistadors’ wake, ultimately ... More

Memoirs  

Halidé Edib Adivar

Halidé Edib Adivar (1884–1964) was a Turkish feminist and writer, best known for novels focusing on the status of Turkish women. Born in Constantinople (Istanbul), she was connected by ... More

The Murder of the Philosopher Hypatia, Alexandria, Egypt  

Socrates

Born around 360 CE and instructed by her father, Theon, a mathematician and the last librarian of the famous Library of Alexandria, Hypatia directed the Platonic school in the city, ... More

The Mystery of the Harappan Seals  

Thomas R. Trautmann

Few things are more tantalizing to historians than an undeciphered script. Hundreds of broken and intact Harappan seals have been discovered in numerous sites throughout the Indus Valley, ... More

Nihongi Shoki (Chronicles of Japan)  

Anonymous

The Nihon Shoki is the first official history of Japan. It draws on numerous sources, including Chinese histories, clan histories, and the accounts of religious authorities. While it ... More

On Personal Piety  

Yi Kyu-bo

The author of this personal essay was Yi Kyu-bo (1168 – 1241), a poet, essayist, and critic in the Koryo kingdom of Korea. He was also a high-ranking civil servant, who passed the ... More

The Salem Witch Trials, British North America  

Anonymous

The witch hunt that took place in Salem, Massachusetts, in 1692 has been frequently (if sensationally) depicted in modern films and plays. But a reading of the extant documents used in the ... More

Selections from the Analects  

Followers of Confucius

Traditional versions of the Confucius’s life say that he was born in the sixth century B.C.E., and was an itinerant political advisor. He was, technically speaking, a failure in his ... More

The Story of My Misfortunes  

Peter Abelard

One of the most brilliant professors and theologians of the European Middle Ages, Peter Abelard (1070–1142) became a star performer in the academic art of “dialectic.” His abilities also ... More

The Tale of Genji  

Murasaki Shikibu

The daughter of a minor noble in the court at Heian-Kyo in central Japan, Murasaki Shikibu (ca. 973–1025) created Japan’s most popular work of fiction and one of the world’s great literary ... More

“The story of a Female Psychic”  

Fatima Mernissi

Fatima Mernissi is a Moroccan feminist and sociologist. After studying at the Sorbonne in Paris, she received her Ph.D. from Brandeis University before returning to Morocco. Mernissi’s work ... More

“Wage Labour and Capital”  

Karl Marx

Karl Marx (1818–1883) and Friedrich Engels (1820–1895) are best known for their collaborative work The Communist Manifesto (1848). However, the two had been observing the real consequences ... More

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