In 698 A.D., eleven years after his death, St Cuthbert’s body was exhumed and found to be incorrupt. Removed from its subterranean stone sarcophagus in St Peter’s Church, on the monastery island of Lindisfarne, the body was then transferred into a new oak coffin and placed above ground next to the altar. Almost 200 years later, in 875 A.D., this coffin was evacuated from Lindisfarne and for seven years carried across Northumbria by monks evading Danish armies.
Alexander III of Macedon (356 BC – 323 BC) is immortalised as one of history’s greatest generals for having never lost a battle and establishing a massive empire from the Balkans to the Indus River. His impact on history is immense: Alexander introduced the Persian idea of absolute monarchy to the Greco-Roman world, forever changing global governance. For such an influential figure, it should come as no surprise that historians have been interested in his personal life, notably his sex life.
The Roman Emperor Vespasian came to power in 69CE after a year-long and bloody Roman civil war, which had seen no fewer than four emperors. Having little legitimacy to his newfound and tenuously held position other than the strength of the legions which had proclaimed him emperor, Vespasian needed to validate his rule quickly. As everyone knew, the best way to garner public support in Rome was to decimate a foreign enemy, and Vespasian found the perfect target: Judea, a plucky province that had recently shaken off Roman rule with a rebellion in 66CE.