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8 MIN READ TIME

Power to the people

Paul McGuinness Editor
ON THE COVER: ILLUSTRATION: JEAN-MICHEL GIRARD/WWW.THE-ART-AGENCY.CO.UK, ALAMY X1, ISTOCK X1, GETTY IMAGES X4, COVER IMAGE ENHANCEMENT - CHRIS STOCKERDESIGN.CO.UK/ON THIS PAGE: GETTY IMAGES X1

An estimated 107 billion people have ever lived, and yet only a very few are recognisable by a single name – Plato, Cleopatra, Michelangelo, Pelé, Napoleon. These are people who have truly made history. It says much about our cover star that his own arch-rival, the Duke of Wellington, said that the Emperor of France was worth 40,000 men. Few men, after all, could rise from humble beginnings to conquer much of Europe; even fewer could escape from exile and do it all over again. His remarkable rise and fall (and rise and fall) begins on page 24.

History is packed with big names, of course, but none of them exist outside the context of their times. So this issue, we set our sights on some scintillating societies. We travel to Sparta (p34, that brutal Ancient Greek city-state, to reveal the ruthless regime that made it such a power. And we celebrate Jane Austen’s 200th anniversary (p43 by looking at the world her books reflect, where marriage and manners could be everything. We also visit the Wild West (p70, and learn that there was more to the frontier than heroes and villains, and look back to the early years of Northern Ireland’s Troubles (p50.

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About BBC History Revealed Magazine

Follow the rise and fall of France's most infamous dictator, Napoleon, all the way from emperor to exile. Also inside, celebrate 200 years of Jane Austen and discover what life was really like for Ancient Greeks living in Sparta, the civilisation's most brutal city-state. We've also lined up ten of the greatest partnerships in history, from Marks and Spencer to Rolls and Royce, plus meet the man who inspired 007 – Elizabeth I's forgotten spy, John Dee.

Other Articles in this Issue


TIME CAPSULE
During a routine drill, a fireman in Lambeth casually steps
Weird and wonderful, it all happened in July
On 26 July 1945, the Labour Party secures a landslide win in the General Election
Magician, scientist, spy… The man who inspired Ian Fleming’s James Bond certainly cast a spell on Queen Bess
After centuries of persecution and prosecution, homosexuality is partially decriminalised, but there was still a long way to go before full equality could be achieved
In an effort to overthrow Cuba’s dictator, a young Fidel Castro attacks the Moncada Barracks, igniting the spark of rebellion
FEATURES
A soldier who made himself an emperor, Napoleon Bonaparte towered over Europe. Jonny Wilkes charts the ups and downs of the great conqueror
Ancient Greece’s most brutal city-state may seem legendary, but the harsh way of life depicted in the movies was very real
Her novels have come to define Regency England, and she is now remembered as one of history’s wittiest writers. But Jane Austen hasn’t always known success. On the bicentenary of her death, Sandra Lawrence tells her story
In the midst of devastating conflict and violence, the people of Northern Ireland still carried on – even as rubble, fire and bullets rained down around them
During a desperate attempt to discover the Northwest Passage, an entire Royal Navy crew of 129 officers and men mysteriously disappeared. Amid claims of poisoning and cannibalism, Pat Kinsella separates fact from fiction
Sometimes, when two individuals collide, magic happens
The defeat of the Duke of Monmouth’s rebel army at Sedgemoor in Somerset was the last major battle on English soil. Julian Humphrys tells more
Not every advance in the Wild West was fashioned by a six-shooter. Some of its most colourful characters were actually pushing the frontiers of discovery rather than holding up stagecoaches. Jamie Flook saddles up and heads for the real Old West
Q&A
Born in AD 76, Hadrian became Roman emperor in AD
Lottie Goldfinch explains what they believed and why they died out
The Royal Navy’s ‘all-big-gun’ battleship set a new standard for naval technology, and triggered a global arms race
HERE & NOW
What’s caught our attention this month…
From Roman garrison to Norman stronghold and finally a Victorian Gothic fantasy, this structure in the heart of Cardi holds the secrets of the Welsh capital’s past
This month’s best historical books
EVERY ISSUE
Get in touch – share your opinions on history and our magazine
PATH TO FREEDOM During the attempt to desegregate American society,