Portrait of the sadist as a young man by Charles Amédée Philippe van Loo (1719-1795).
His name has become a byword for deviancy and sexual cruelty. But Sade has also provided creative inspiration for generations of writers and artists.
Iconoclasm: the beheading of the English king, Charles I, in January 1649.
The polarisation of today's political discourse has echoes of the intolerance that characterised the Puritan era and the French Revolution.
How a conspiracy theory about the origins of the French Revolution became steeped in antisemitism.
Nine émigrés executed by guillotine, from La Guillotine in 1793 by H. Fleischmann/Wikimedia
The dangerous legacy of a letter received by Augustin Barruel, a French Catholic priest and famous conspiracy theorist, in the early 1800s.
A taxi rank marshal sprays hand sanitiser on a commuter wearing a mask as a preventive measure as she arrives at the Wanderers taxi rank in Johannesburg.
Marco Longari/AFP via Getty Images
Reactions in South Africa give little reason for hope that the virus will bring people closer together or trigger more energetic action against poverty.
© Wellcome Collection
Grisly early experiments laid the foundation of our understanding of how to keep organs 'alive' in isolation.
Ugandan opposition politician Bobi Wine takes a selfie with Zimbabwe’s opposition leader Nelson Chamisa
Bobi Wine in Uganda does it; so do the Economic Freedom Fighters in South Africa. The red beret is worn to signify the revolutionary. Its power lies in a symbolism that combines art and politics.
Today’s protests are driven more by anger over social and economic inequity than deep-seated grievances against a regime.
People get angry far more often than they rebel. And rebellions rarely become revolutions. An expert on the French Revolution explains why today's protest movements are different.
Hong Kong protesters shelter behind a thin barrier – and umbrellas – as police fire tear gas and encircle a group of demonstrators.
AP Photo/Vincent Yu
Revolutions are built not on deep misery but on rising expectations. History may not provide much hope of immediate change in Hong Kong – but protesters may have a longer view.
Could using the guillotine be more humane than execution by lethal injection?
Many recent executions in the US by lethal injections have resulted in prolonged suffering before death. A historian asks: Could the guillotine be a preferable method?
The Seine and Notre Dame, physically and spiritually the heart of Paris.
Iakov Kalinin via Shutterstock
From coronations to Revolution to reconciliation, Notre Dame has witnessed nearly 900 years of French history.
Flames and smoke rise as fire rages in the Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris.
AP Photo/Thierry Mallet
The Notre Dame Cathedral was long a powerful symbol of church authority - but it wasn't static. The design kept changing to keep up with the changing times.
Tarana Burke created #MeToo in 2006 but it didn’t emerge as a mass social movement until 2017.
AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes
From the French Revolution to #MeToo, social movements often burst into the mainstream with what seems like little warning. Cass Sunstein explains why.
The word ‘terrorism’ was first used at the time of the French Revolution.
Charles Monnet/Wikimedia Commons
Terrorism hasn't always been associated with individuals – in the past, it has described violence used by the state against its subjects.
An 1808 painting by Marie-Gabrielle Capet titled Atelier of Madame Vincent, showing Labille-Guiard at work (centre) as Capet fills her palette.
Adélaïde Labille-Guiard was a supremely skilled artist. But like so many talented women before and since, she suffered from snide allegations that she could not be capable of such brilliance.
Théroigne de Mericourt, engraving after a painting by Auguste Raffet in 1817.
This frail and often hated woman became a passionate advocate of a woman's place in a democratic society before a tragic episode broke her.
To arms, citizens!
Primary school children in France will now have to learn and sing La Marseillaise. But for many people, it is racist and xenophobic.
An Afghanistan national police officer helps a U.S. Army lieutenant, June 14, 2007. Can honour be restored in today’s international conflicts?
Michael Bracken/US Army/Flickr
Nothing displays the ethical superiority of one’s values better than to treat a foe with the respect due another human being.
The Hall of Mirrors at Versailles Palace.
Donald Trump has a Versailles-inspired apartment. There's a popular TV series and now, a new exhibition of treasures from the palace. A glittering symbol of aristocratic frivolity, Versailles was, in fact, a place of awesome royal power.
Striking at the heart of the French Republic.
Terror on July 14 is a clear rejection of the values of the French Republic.
Ahmed Negm, the Egyptian poet of protest.
The excitement that accompanied the beginning of the Arab Spring has now largely died down, as a timeworn truth reiterates itself: when an oppressive power is toppled, a similar or worse one will often…