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The Alchemy Of Happiness  

Abd al-Hamid, al-Ghazali

Born in 1058 to a family of spinners and sellers of wool in a small village in eastern Iran, Ghazali became one of the most prominent expounders of Islamic theology of his day. Traveling ... More

Florida Road Map  

Anonymous

A vision of the “American Century” is powerfully conveyed by this 1930 road map produced by the Gulf Oil Company. The map spins an idealized vision of America just before the Great ... More

Global Gender Gap Report  

World Economic Forum

The Global Gender Gap Report was introduced by the World Economic Forum in 2006 to analyze disparities between genders in a worldwide context. It assesses national gender gaps in political, ... More

Janissary Musket  

Anonymous

The Janissaries constitute the most famous and centralized of the Ottomans’ military institutions. A feared and respected military force, the Janissaries were Christian-born males who had ... More

Letter to Don Benedetto Castelli  

Gallileo Galilei

An Italian astronomer, physicist, and mathematician, Galileo Galilei (1564–1642) made many significant contributions to science—such as improvements to the telescope and work with ... More

Letter to the Grand Duchess Christina de’ Medici  

Galileo Galilei

This famous letter is often cited as an early sign of Galileo’s inevitable conflict with church authorities over the Copernican system of planetary motion—and the theory’s theological, as ... More

The Life of Michelangelo Buonarroti  

Giorgio Vasari

Trained as a painter, architect, and goldsmith, Giorgio Vasari (1511–1574) practiced various artistic trades, but is most renowned today as the first art historian. His Lives of the Most ... 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

“On Sociability,” The Descent of Man, and Selection in Relation to Sex, 1871  

Charles Darwin

Charles Darwin (1809–1882), a British naturalist, propounded the theory of evolution in his famous work On the Origin of Species (1859). With this theory, Darwin launched a massive debate ... More

“The Painter of Modern Life”  

Charles Baudelaire

In his essay The Painter of Modern Life, the French poet Baudelaire (1821–1867) lays out his vision of modernism, which became perhaps the closest thing to a “manifesto” the movement had. ... More

“The Soul of Man under Socialism”  

Oscar Wilde

Oscar Wilde, an Irish poet and writer, became one of London’s most popular playwrights in the 1890s. Trained as a classicist in Dublin, then at Oxford, Wilde became a journalist in London ... More

The True History of the Conquest of New Spain  

Bernal Díaz del Castillo

The best Spanish source on the Aztec–Spanish encounter was written by Bernal Díaz del Castillo, an old campaigner from Cortés’s army. Born and raised in a poor family in Spain, Díaz began ... More

Upside Down World Map  

Anonymous

This “upside down” map is oriented so that south is up, north is down, east is on the left, and west is on the right. The Southern Hemisphere is thus at the top of the map, instead of at ... More

“What Educated Women Can Do”  

Indira Gandhi

The only child of Jawaharlal Nehru, the first prime minister of India, Indira Gandhi served in turn as prime minister between 1966 and 1977 and again from 1980 until her assassination in ... More

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