Ariel Hessayon

Ariel Hessayon is a Senior Lecturer in the Department of History at Goldsmiths, University of London. He is the author of “Gold Tried in the Fire: The Prophet TheaurauJohn Tany and the English Revolution” (2007), as well as the co-editor of several collections of essays. Hessayon has also written extensively on a variety of early modern topics: anti-scripturism, book burning, communism, environmentalism, esotericism, extra-canonical texts, heresy, crypto-Jews, Judaizing, millenarianism, mysticism, prophecy and religious radicalism.
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A Brief History of Women’s Football

With the FIFA Women’s World Cup in full swing, Ariel Hessayon reflects on women’s surprisingly long involvement with football. While medieval girls and women played and were entertained by a variety of bat and ball games, the earliest specific association I know of comes from a mid-15th century poem. This was a satire by the prolific East Anglian monk John Lydgate. In it the poet enlarged... Continue Reading

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6 Magna Carta Myths Explained

Our shared perception of Magna Carta owes more to events in the 17th and 18th centuries than the 13th. English history is full of myths. That shouldn’t surprise us, because a large part of modern English national identity is based on what we collectively believe happened in the past, rather than on what actually did—at least, as far as we can tell. The job of historians becomes harder... Continue Reading

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Book Burning and Censorship in Revolutionary England

During the English Revolution, authorities could no longer burn people, but they could still burn their books. What historians chose to write about is often informed not just by their intellectual interests, but also by present-day concerns. Sometimes those connections are drawn subtly. But on occasion they are blatant. Whether it’s the link between the study of women in the past and the... Continue Reading

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Bites, Brawls and Severed Heads: History of Football Violence

Luis Suarez’s outrageous behavior on the pitch pales in comparison to football’s violent practices in the past. Another game, another bite. That’s the allegation against Uruguayan Luis Suarez, anyway, who has been accused of sinking his teeth into an opposition player. For the third time. But a mid-game nibble on an Italian player’s shoulder is nothing compared to football’s... Continue Reading

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From Violent Peasants to Megastars: The History of Football

Football has never had it so good, but questions remain as to the game’s future direction. With the FIFA World Cup underway, there are many out there who have no idea about the history of this long-loved sport. If you love football, you’re probably only aware of its history from recent times. But football has a long, gruesomely violent and hugely interesting past. And so begins a tale of... Continue Reading

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