Plus: Harry Potter and Michael Jordan |

June 22, 2017

By Lily Rothman

This week we had cause to look even further back in time, to ancient Athens. That’s because the historian Thucydides is having a bit of a moment, more than 2,000 years after he died, getting a shout-out in Wonder Woman and being read in the White House. With that in mind, we looked at his impact on the course of history and what you need to know to understand why he’s suddenly making headlines.

If that news puts you in an ancient mood, this isn’t the first time we’ve had cause to go way back. From the first Olympic games to the Great Library of Alexandria and even the classic question about the chicken and the egg, it’s clear that ancient history can be timely too.

Here’s more of the history that made news this week:

Celebrate Selfies With 5 Self-Portraits That Made History

These self-portraits — by people from Velazquez and Rembrandt to Ellen DeGeneres — helped define the form now known as the selfie

Dogs Are on a Mission to Sniff Out Amelia Earhart's Remains

The famed aviator's final location has been a mystery for decades

What to Know About the Origins of Gerrymandering

The word is two centuries old

How the King James Bible Came to Be

A new exhibition highlights the translation process

How TIME Covered the Original Monterey Pop Festival

On the 50th anniversary of the Monterey International Pop Festival, here's a look at how TIME covered the original concert


June 22, 1998

Today in 1998: Michael Jordan

“Sure, it's un-American not to back the underdog, but even the hardworking, muttily named Utah Jazz (did Satchmo summer in Salt Lake?), with its working-class Mailman and great white hopes, couldn't drag us away from Jordan's charm. For a spasm of a second last month, it seemed O.K. if Larry Bird's Pacers won the conference championship--there was mythological resonance to the protagonist's being felled by a warrior ghost--but by Game 7, we were right back in our proper seats behind Jordan. We wanted one more hit of Jordan's hyperintensity, and we were willing to sacrifice our belief system for it.” (June 22, 1998)

Read the full story

June 23, 2003

Celebrating Harry Potter

“There were already lots of books with unicorns and wizards in them before Harry came along, certainly lots of books about orphans searching for their roots and adolescents coming of age—which leaves the question of what Rowling has done differently. Unlike some buff and brawny superheroes, Harry has the look of a nerd but the heart of a hero. He is small but fast: the wand is mightier than the sword. ‘He's kind of like me,’ says Alex Heggen, 12, of Des Moines, who, like so many kids, sees some of himself in Harry and hopes to find more of Harry in himself. ‘He's just brave sometimes ... I've got black hair, I wear glasses, we're about the same height ... Wearing glasses and having braces—getting picked on is just your life. You have to deal with it.’" (June 23, 2003)

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June 21, 1963

This Week in 1963: RFK and Civil Rights

“In 1956, President Eisenhower remained a bystander when violence erupted at the University of Alabama. He would, he said, be inclined to ‘avoid interference.’ But in the years since then, the Executive Branch under both Eisenhower and Kennedy became closely and inextricably involved in the Negroes' march toward equality. Last week President Kennedy played an active role in the drama at Tuscaloosa. The man he assigned to direct events was his younger brother, U.S. Attorney General Robert Kennedy. Bobby rolled up his sleeves and turned his office into a command post.” (June 21, 1963)

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Giza Gazers Retronaut Alex Q. Arbuckle has dug up some great photographs of tourists visiting the pyramids in the decades around the turn of the 20th century

The NYC LGBT Project The New York Times’ Liam Stack walks readers through a few of the pre-Stonewall LGBT landmarks that are being mapped by the NYC LGBT Historic Sites Project.

Missing Music In this segment from All Things Considered, Tom Moon of NPR tells how about a half an hour’s worth of Thelonious Monk recordings were recently rediscovered.

Undercover The filmmakers behind a new documentary about a British spy who was involved in the founding of modern Iraq stop by WNYC’s Leonard Lopate Show to discuss that history.

For the Future Adin Dobkin at The Atlantic presents a fascinating look at the work of the U.S. Army historians who are keeping records on the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan, and why recent wars have made their work particularly difficult.

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