Show Less
Open access

Commercialised History: Popular History Magazines in Europe

Approaches to a Historico-Cultural Phenomenon as the Basis for History Teaching

Edited By Susanne Popp, Jutta Schumann and Miriam Hannig

This volume of essays is the result of the EU project «EHISTO», which dealt with the mediation of history in popular history magazines and explored how history in the commercialised mass media can be used in history teaching in order to develop the media literacy and the transcultural competences of young people. The volume offers articles which for the first time address the phenomenon of popular history magazines in Europe and their mediating strategies in a foundational way. The articles are intended as introductory material for teachers and student teachers. The topic also offers an innovative approach in terms of making possible a European cross-country comparison, in which results based on qualitative and quantitative methods are presented, related to the content focus areas profiled in the national magazines.
Show Summary Details
Open access

The use of history in popular history magazines. A theoretical approach

| 223 →

Marianne Sjöland

The use of history in popular history magazines. A theoretical approach1

1. The Presence of History

We meet history everywhere: in the education system, in movies, in discussions with friends and family, at memorial sites etcetera. All these seemingly different situations have something in common; they are expressions of human needs for and uses of history.

We use the past, not only in order to educate ourselves, but also to tackle current situations and to find guidelines for the future. Sometimes these processes concern questions about our identity and roots, and sometimes we seek anchor in the past in reaction to the current rapid pace of change in the world, which has disturbed the previous security of our worldview.2 Thus, history provides us with answers, but these can be of very different kinds, not only depending on the type of question but also on the context and purpose. This means that uses of history are multifaceted phenomena, which can be difficult to identify and, not least, to analyze.

This chapter examines how the use of history is reflected in an internationally popular medium, namely two popular history magazines, the Swedish POPULÄR HISTORIA and the British HISTORY TODAY. The latter is a monthly magazine and was founded 1951 by Brendan Bracken, Minister of Information during the Second World War and publisher of THE FINANCIAL TIMES. The aim of the magazine was, and still is, to provide a general public with popularized well-written articles by leading scholars, covering all different kinds of historical themes. Today the ← 223 | 224 → magazine is owned by a trust.3 According to the website of HISTORY TODAY the number of readers is 50 000.4 The Swedish counterpart, POPULÄR HISTORIA, was first published in 1991 by the journalist Erik Osvalds, the photographer Björn Andersson and the archeologist Sven Rosborn. Since 2003, POPULÄR HISTORIA is a monthly magazine, owned by a publishing house, LRF Media. The amount of readers are currently 175.000.5

Just like HISTORY TODAY the Swedish magazine looks to a general public with an interest in history, but, compared to the English magazine, the editorial emphasizes the combination of educational and entertaining aspects of the popular historiography a little more.6

I chose those publications as objects for my ongoing doctoral thesis as they are widespread and likely to affect the perception of history of a significant number of people, and thus also will affect the present and the future. One way to gain knowledge of the historiography of the genre is to apply a theoretical approach on the uses of history in the magazines to find out what functions the past fulfills within. This functional perspective needs to be related to structural aspects, in this case historical cultural contexts, which highlight a sort of general societal idea of what history is and what kind of history is valued as important, or, respectively as less important. My study consequently belongs within the research field of history didactic with a focus on popular history.

2. Formation of Historical Culture Through History

The concept of historical culture is seen in this article as having an overall contextual and theoretical function. Historical culture is defined here as how the human historical consciousness, through various artifacts, is expressed publicly or privately. Together, these manifestations create some kind of consensus in a society on how the past is to be understood ← 224 | 225 → and handled.7 The concept of historical consciousness accommodates the human capacity to create a connection between the interpretation of the past, the understanding of the present and the expectations for the future.8 This means that historical consciousness is not primarily about knowledge of history, but about an awareness of that we, through our narrative ability, both are history and make history.9 Although expressions of historical consciousness are very difficult to examine, it is an indispensable dimension in the research of historical culture.

Before presenting the empirical analysis, I want to highlight a few important prerequisites for the understanding of studies of historical cultures. First, they do not primarily treat production and consumption of history as a science, but rather history as a common and overarching framework in society.10 Second, historical culture is to be understood as a kind of communicative context in which history is produced and consumed. In this study, the historical-cultural communication is shaped by the following: editorial, writers, magazine – and readers. Presented in this mode historical culture is similar to a chain of communication, which means that the editorial, the writers and the readers shape the historical writing of the magazines together. The question is how this complex process can be captured and described. I mean that an analysis of the various players’ uses of history will open up an operationalization of the concept of historical culture, and simultaneously relate the magazines to wider contexts, such as historical cultural traditions and contemporary structures of society.

The historian Klas-Göran Karlsson means that communicating history corresponds to specific needs or interest of the users and therefore must be analyzed in a temporal context: ‘An historical product should be analytically understood as a live topic.’11 With inspiration from Friedrich Nietzsche’s categorization of how we master and are mastered by history, Karlsson has developed a typology of different ways of using history in ← 225 | 226 → societal contexts.12 The model was primarily developed to analyze the uses of history in the Russian and Soviet societies. Then it contained five types, in comparison with the seven accepted today. In this study I will use this typology as an instrument for analyzing the uses of history in articles in POPULÄR HISTORIA and HISTORY TODAY, which mainly are attributed to the editorials and writers’ needs and interest in history.13 In order to create an overall picture of the typology, the various meanings of the seven categories will first be described in a rather schematic way.14 Later on, in connection with the analysis of the articles, different categories will be further problematized.

The scholarly-scientific use of history is mainly used by historians and history teachers. It aims to assess the veracity of historical materials and to scientifically interpret, contextualize and communicate the results of the interpretations. This approach to history most of us have faced in the school-system and at university, but also in some media such as in historical documentaries on television and film. This scholarly-scientific use of history is based on a need to discover new facts about the past. Since the present and past, in a scientific use of history, are seldom integrated, the past mainly serves as background to the present. This creates a prospective time movement, from then until ‘now’.

In an existential use of history the direction of time is the opposite; people turn to history in order to orient and anchor themselves due to contemporary major changes or crises in society, or in a private context. The means whereby this occurs are, both publicly and privately, memories and sometimes even absence of memory. Genealogy (i.e. family history), however, is an example of an existential use of history that does not need to be preceded by traumatic events. Instead, genealogy is associated with more personal issues, for instance questions of identity or relationships, ← 226 | 227 → but the results of this kind of research are often related to larger contexts in order to make sense.15

A moral use of history aims to bring to light immoral acts in the past which for various reasons have been deliberately hidden by authorities over time. Classic examples are genocide and discrimination which have been recognized by later generations for providing victim restitution and bringing the guilty to justice.

An ideological use of history means that practitioners, such as politicians, are using the past to provide historical facts with new meaning and thus justify actions and reinforce positions of power. Often, the history in question is commoditized and explicitly introduced to support the purpose and ideology of the users. A decision not to use history can either mean that the past itself has little or no value, or that some parts of history are consciously repressed to promote contemporary ideals. This emerges from the idea that modern humans have nothing to benefit from the past. Instead they should engage in issues concerning the present and the future. A decision not to use history can be quite difficult to pin down by its very nature.

A politico-pedagogical use of history emphasizes similarities between the past and the present in order to, among other things, achieve political success. The rhetorical means consist of metaphors, symbols and analogies that support the user’s simplification of the relationship between different time periods. The user often takes a pedagogical approach with the use of historical examples. In this way a politician, for example, will often lead people towards a particular standpoint as a teacher might seek to lead a class to a particular view.

The commercial use of history is the last in this typology. The use appears mainly in artifacts such as film, magazines, literature and advertising. The producers are driven by interests of profit, which, through the ← 227 | 228 → commercialization, increases the value of history.16 This use of history reaches many consumers and will consequently have a widespread impact on people’s view of history, but also of the present and the future. Karlsson points out the relevant question: ‘What happens to the past in the popular culture? Could it be that even the Holocaust, when it reaches Hollywood, might be Americanized by the inclusion of American and commercial values, which sometimes could be difficult to even imagine, such as a happy ending?’17 He continues: ‘The commercial use of history has similarities to the politico-pedagogical use of history in that a historical phenomenon with great emotional luminosity is particularly useful.’18 As implied, it is crucial for producers of commercial history to select and create history which attracts numerous of consumers. The interesting question that follows is: What kind of history has ‘luminosity’ and what kind of history is considered to lack the phenomenon and therefore may never be considered in commercial products, such as POPULÄR HISTORIA and HISTORY TODAY?

Finally, I want to emphasize that the categories presented above should not be seen as isolated, but rather as overlapping or parallel forms. Despite this ambiguity the typology can provide an important tool for describing and problematizing the historiography of the magazines. In the next section the categories are applied on an empirical material included in my ongoing thesis. The selected articles focus on the medieval Crusades.

3. The Medieval Crusades in History Magazines

The medieval Crusades have a long and strong presence in popular culture. A well-known example from British literary history is Walter Scott’s adventure novel from 1820, ‘Ivanhoe’, which during the Twentieth Century was adapted for the screen several times. From a Swedish point of view, Jan Guillou’s novels from the late 1990s, about the medieval Templar Arn, have gained great popularity, largely depending on the film versions of the books. If the context is widened, the Crusades’ significance for our time ← 228 | 229 → also attributes to the international conflicts between the USA, in alliance with a number of Western countries, and Iraq, Afghanistan and Iran. From a historical cultural perspective the tensions have activated various uses of history and created new meanings to the history of the Crusades. Amongst other, such perspectives will be presented in the analysis of two articles in HISTORY TODAY 9 (2012) and POPULÄR HISTORIA 12 (2007).

Peter Frankopan, historian and author, has written the British article, ‘The View from the East’. The purpose is to describe the First Crusade from a Byzantine perspective. The widespread perception in the West is that this crusade was under the total control of the Crusaders, but the author claims that the Eastern Roman sources expose a different picture. For example, the 12th centurial text, ‘Alexiad’, reveals that it was not in Clermont in 1095 that the expedition to liberate Jerusalem was initiated, but in Constantinople. Neither was it the pope, Urban II, who made plans for the Crusades, but the Byzantine Emperor, Alexios I Komnenos.19 This challenge to previously enduring views of history is typical both for the historiography of HISTORY TODAY and for the scholarly-scientific use of history, which, among other things, aims to discover new historical facts and through these questions previous research.20 But this does not mean that the history mediation of the magazine is entirely comparable to a modern scientific uses of history. HISTORY TODAY turns primarily, just as POPULÄR HISTORIA, to people with a general interest in history. Many readers seem however to appreciate a historiography that is close to a traditional academic use of history. The question is how such a use of history is expressed in the magazines. I have chosen to start with something that at first reading may appear as a deviation from a scholarly-scientific use of history; Frankopan’s article is marked by several narrative components, for example, in the introduction: ‘On June 7th, 1099 the knights of the First Crusade reached the imposing walls of Jerusalem, the holiest city in Christendom. The journey had been long and painful. A vast force had set out for the east nearly three years earlier, roused by a passionate call to arms by Pope Urban II, who spent months criss-crossing France ← 229 | 230 → to galvanise support for a massive expedition to liberate the place where Jesus Christ had lived and was crucified.’21

Similar traits appear in the article of POPULÄR HISTORIA, ‘Påvens elitsoldater’ (‘The Pope’s elite soldiers’), about the Nordic Templars. The topic of the article was raised by the Swedish film ‘Arn – Tempelriddaren’ (‘Arn – The Knight Templar’), which premiered the same year as the text was published, 2007. The article is written by Sören Wibeck, journalist and author, whose aim is to tell the real story behind the film. Just as Frankopan, Wibeck occasionally uses classic storytelling to create empathy and a sense of being close to the past. Here, he describes the atmosphere when the Christian army commander had been captured by the Muslim hero, Saladin: ‘He drank but shook with fear, convinced that he would lose his head. Saladin reassured him: “A king does not kill a king.” But he did not intend to save the knights of the military orders.’22

The emotive elements of the citations above are prominent, and although the authors are careful to specify facts, such as time and participants, focus is on the seriousness of the situations. It may be worth pausing to reflect on the status of those elements in a scholarly-scientific use of history.

I suggest that the narrative elements can be seen as expressions of both a traditional and a modern variety of scholarly-scientific use of history. Before history became a science, in the 1800s, narratives like the above were the accepted way in which history was retold.23 With the entry of source criticism the narrative form was discounted in favour of analysis, since the former was considered to be built on myth, thus perpetuating fictional history. The postmodern and hermeneutic influences, particularly from theorists as Hayden White, have, by contrast, led to the resurrection of power for narrative within the science of history. This is mainly due to that scientific history writing is regarded as narrative in the sense that it is constructed, similar to other analyses, with a clear introduction, discussion of points and end. Within this framework appear specific patterns of ← 230 | 231 → narrative which give the text a certain meaning and moral.24 I have some sympathy with this way of looking upon scientific history, indeed upon most forms of historical communication, but in this analysis I have chosen instead to understand the narrative elements as a stylistic technique which aim to create ‘emotional luminosity’. Such characteristics are typical of a commercial use of history, and thus of several popular historical genres, especially history on film.25 However, this kind of dramatic narrative does not usually have a strong position in POPULÄR HISTORIA and HISTORY TODAY, which why the above quotations may be viewed as exceptions.26 Perhaps they can be explained by the time period that is focused upon which these articles focus. Sometimes older epochs, such as the medieval, are surrounded by myths and tales to a greater extent than modern history.27 However, the narrative approach can also be understood in terms of new developments in scientific historiography. In the following section, I will discuss this perspective.

The influence of postmodernism and the linguistic turn of phrase must be seen as the most obvious answer to the question about the cause of the aestheticizing of the scientific language. The historians’ increased attention to the significance of language in source material may have led to a greater awareness of their own writing. The historian Eva Österberg argues that the historians’ more audience-centric way of writing is a major reason for the growing interest in history among the general public. In this context Österberg mentions the historian Peter Englund’s novels about the wars of the 17th and 20th centuries. These books are considered especially important for the public interest in history during the last twenty years.28 I agree with her to some extent, but I also see this trickle-down theory as a unilateral explanation, which needs to be supplemented by reference to the perspective of the beneficiary of such an approach. More and more ← 231 | 232 → historians want to reach readers outside of academic circles, and this demands linguistic adaptations to scientific literature. Thus, the linguistic change could not be understood as initiated only by the authors, but also as a result of an interaction between authors and readers. This is on one hand about a popular historical impact on scholarly-scientific use of history; but on the other hand the influences can be seen to go in the opposite direction. For example, the popular history magazines are gaining confidence and readers by mediated history writing reminiscent of an academic use of history. We must return to the articles of the Crusades in order to study how this manifests itself.

This genetic perspective is a common trait for the historiography of both the magazines. This means that history is mediated in a forward movement, from ‘then’ to ‘now’, in order to explain a contemporary phenomenon. In the Swedish article, this becomes clear since the aim is to tell the true story of the Crusades and Templars taking the opportunity of looking at the fictional base of a newly published film. In the British article the genetic perspective builds upon a new interest in Eastern Roman medieval sources and the consequences of new interpretations which follow the finds. In this way the Byzantine sources, despite their age, gain ‘newsworthy’ status.29 As a result the genetic perspective interacts with the scientific requirement of revisionism. Frankopan refers several times to misunderstanding and neglect of Eastern Roman sources, and also to the over emphasis of western success during the age of the Crusades. The latter is, according to the author, based only on the extremely short European siege of Jerusalem in 1099 and later interpretations of this event: ‘Popular images of the Crusade – the brave knight, the devout soldier driven by his faith, the struggle against adversity – owe much to that first, extraordinary adventure that saw men from western Europe break through the defences of the Holy City in July 1099. When politicians, social campaigners and demonstrators use the word “crusade” to contextualise and explain their views, what they are talking about is not the Crusades as a whole, but ← 232 | 233 → specifically the successful and dramatic expedition unleashed at the end of the 11th century.’30

The author has identified a distorted picture of a well-known episode in European history, an episode which is used as well in contemporary popular cultural contexts. His interest lies in correcting and giving a true picture of the origin and courses of the Crusade, and these are typical motivations for scholarly-scientific use of history. However Frankopan is not as critical of his own interpretations as to the research of others when discussing the Byzantine emperor’s ability to rule: ‘This picture, however, is wrong and is based on erratic handling of the plentiful primary material. For example, although the “Alexiad” talks of chaos in the east at the start of Alexios’ reign, reporting bands of Turks advancing to the Bosphorus itself and taking control of most of Asia Minor, the reality was very different. As coin finds and lead seals from this period attest, the civil and military administration of the empire’s eastern provinces continued to function properly well after 1081. Moreover, far from facing a bleak position in the east, the new emperor took several bold steps in the first months after taking power to strengthen his hand in Anatolia.’31

The importance of reality is interesting for several reasons, partly because the author believes it possible to reconstruct an event in the past ‘wie es eigentlich gewesen’ (‘as it had actually been’) – an approach that is associated with a more traditional scholarly-scientific use of history, partly since Wibeck has a similar aim with his article. The Swedish text contains criticism of the fictional character of the film, ‘Arn – The Knight Templar’, for example in one of the captions, which describes an image of a scene in the film: ‘There is no evidence for any Swedish Templars having existed.’32 However, other illustrations are not subjected to similar criticisms based on sources, such as an 19th century painting depicting Templar knights in battle: ‘King Baiduin IV incites his forces during the battle against the Muslims at fort Mont Gisard in November 1177.’33 Even though the painting is made about 650 years after the battle, nothing is commented on the ← 233 | 234 → time difference or the relationship between fiction and reality, such as the remarks made about the film. In general, images of artwork are often used in POPULÄR HISTORIA and HISTORY TODAY as evidence of events in the past. This is one of several features which are significant for the version of scholarly-scientific use of history which regularly appears in the magazines.

When focusing on other tendencies in the British article, a clear admiration emerges for the Byzantine Empire, Emperor Alexios I and Constantinople, which was a dynamic and cosmopolitan city during the High Middle Ages.34 By adding this positive image to the revelations of other researchers’ incorrect interpretations of the West European Crusades, Frankopan is highlighting the contrast between his new truths and earlier established beliefs.35 In addition to a scholarly-scientific use of history this is also an example of the moralizing use of history, in the sense that the author, in the end of the article, reveals what critical damage the Crusaders caused the Byzantine Empire: ‘What is perhaps harder to understand, however, is how it has taken so long to see that the western “success” brought other costs. In the first instance those included the breakdown of the churches; but in the long run it sowed the seeds that led to the devastation of Constantinople in 1204 and, ultimately, the death of the eastern Roman Empire.’36

The underlying message is that history is written by those who ultimately gained power, namely the West European powers. This has led to a neglect of the fate of the Byzantine Empire. The moral use of history here is therefore about restoring the memory of the Eastern Roman Empire and crushing the myth of the Pope’s major influence and the successes of the Crusaders. The far-reaching effects of the Crusades on the relations between the West and the Muslim world are not mentioned at all, which in a contemporary point of view can seem rather strange. But it is not the fate of Muslims Frankopan wants to highlight; it is the neglected Byzantine perspective. ← 234 | 235 →

In the article of POPULÄR HISTORIA, the Muslims are present, but they are portrayed as perpetrators in contrast to the Crusaders’ victimized characters. Also in this context it may be worth to consider the impact of the scholarly-scientific use of history on the moral use of history. In this article ‘the truth’ about the Templars includes, among other things, focus on Muslim injustices: ‘Beha-al-Din tells us that a single Muslim had captured thirty fugitive Franks and tied them together with a rope. They were so terrified that they dared not resist.’37 Wibeck continues: ‘A band of fanatic Sufis wanted nothing more than to kill the Templars. They carried out the executions with relish.’38 The author’s moral use of history emerges by showing the Templars’ ‘real’ suffering caused by the Muslims’ actions. The film version, where Muslims are given more nuanced roles, is working as a contrast to the ‘true story’ of the article. In a broadened perspective Wibeck’s moral sting can be seen as directed against those who have illustrated the Christian Templar’s reality in another way. Guillou, the author of the novels of the Northern Knights Templars, has repeatedly expressed his disapproval of the unilateral negative image of Muslims that appears in the media. The Arn-novels are, according to the novelist, a result of this dissatisfaction. By writing about the first Crusades, he wanted to give a background to contemporary conflicts and stereotypical images of the Christian’s enemies.39 Wibeck’s article might in this context be understood as a statement against the novelist’s perception and thus as an ideological use of history. The function here is to rationalize the history in order to contrast it to Guillou’s versions. In this respect the article risks being perceived as politically incorrect by some readers, since it conveys a negative image of Muslims.

In a previous issue of POPULÄR HISTORIA, in 2002, Wibeck wrote about another Middle East subject, namely the establishment of the state of Israel. A major part of the text is about the founder of Zionism, Theodor Herzl, and his role in the formation of the state. Considering the subject it would be reasonable to expect a mention of the conflicts between Israel and its neighbor states after 1948, but in fact nothing ← 235 | 236 → is said about these significant conflicts. The story ends in May 1948. Perhaps this choice of end-date depends on the specific niche at which the article is aimed. There is a much greater risk that an article on the history of the State of Israel would be perceived as politically contentious, more so than an article on the truth behind a historical cultural artifact, such as that on the film ‘Arn – The Knight Templar’. Possibly it is such editorial considerations that make popularized historiography popular and the commercial use of history functional.

4. Summary and Conclusions

The use of history in the popular historical articles on the medieval Crusades can be summarized based on the following observations:

 In the scholarly-scientific use of history truth about the Crusades takes central stage. The authors take position against other research results – respectively those based on popularly accepted historical positions, and present their own interpretations as realities. The key words here are then ‘revision’ and ‘verification’.

 The Swedish article does not revise the history of the Crusades in the same way as in the British article, whilst the scholarly-scientific use of history can be seen as more modified in the former than in the latter. In other words; the article in POPULÄR HISTORIA seems to be more obviously adapted to a popular context.

 Narrative as stylistic feature can be identified in both articles, which underlines their popular historical context, despite the scientific character of, especially, HISTORY TODAY.

 Authors’ attentions on neglected perspective and memories can be classified as a moral use of history. In these cases the scholarly-scientific use of history has a reinforcing role, notably by interpreting of the sources as objective statements about injustices, losses and victories. In the British article the myth of the Western Roman Church’s ascendancy is crushed. In the Swedish article the Templar’s suffering and the enemy’s atrocities are enhanced.

This is how the uses of history in the two articles above can be described. However one important aspect remains to be discussed: the category of the commercial use of history. Can the articles on the medieval Crusades, and ← 236 | 237 → ultimately the historiography of POPULÄR HISTORIA and HISTORY TODAY, be categorized as a commercial use of history? A quick answer is: yes, in the sense that the magazines are popular commercial products with historical focus. But to be satisfied with such an explanation would be to ignore the multiple results in the analysis above. Therefore I must express reservations and answer both ‘yes’ and ‘no’ to the question above. For example, we have notified different categories of uses of history in the articles, such as a scholarly-scientific, a moral and even an ideological use of history. These are based on needs to discover, rehabilitate and debate, and even if they appear in a commercial context it is problematic to define them as typical for a commercial use of history. This must mean that the commercial use of history differs in several ways from other categories in Karlsson’s typology. For example, a scientific use of history can be functional without the support of other uses of history, but a commercial use of history cannot exist without support from other uses of history. Therefore the commercial use of history, in greater degree than the other categories, must be regarded as a hybrid. We might go even further and say that the roots of this phenomenon cannot mainly be found in the need for strong history, but in a need of economic earnings. Despite this prerequisite, I still believe it important to investigate popularized and commercialized history, not at least to identify any possible national differences or, conversely, if this kind of historiography has a more general character. This, I hope to develop further in the final chapters of my thesis.

1 This chapter is partly based on my licentiate thesis, Marianne Sjöland: Historia i magasin: en studie av tidskriften ‘Populär Historia’ historieskrivning och av kommersiellt historiebruk. Lund 2011, and partly on my on-going dissertation project.

2 Jörn Rüsen: Berättande och förnuft: historieteoretiska texter. Göteborg 2004, p. 61 f.

3 Paul Lay, editor of HISTORY TODAY, in an interview 23 October 2013.

4 URL: (1.8.2014).

5 URL: (1.8.2014).

6 Magnus Bergsten, editor of POPULÄR HISTORIA, in an interview 26 March 2009.

7 Cf. Rüsen (note 2), p. 152; Klas-Göran Karlsson/Ulf Zander (eds.): Historien är nu: en introduktion till historiedidaktiken. 2nd ed. Lund 2009, p. 40 f.

8 Bernhard Eric Jensen: Historie – livsverden og fag. København 2003, p. 59 f.; cf. Rüsen (note 2), p. 151; Karlsson (note 7), p. 47 f.

9 Cf. Jensen (note 8), p. 58–60.

10 Cf. Rüsen (note 2), p. 150.

11 Cf. Karlsson (note 7), p. 39.

12 Friedrich Nietzsche’s uses of history are divided into three methods: the monumental method where history is used as a ‘magistra vitae’; the antiquarian method in which history is admired and preserved; the critical method which bring the past to justice. Nietzsche discusses these uses of history in: Friedrich Nietzsche: On the use and abuse of history for life [1874]. Gloucester 2008.

13 The readers’ impact on the content and form of the magazines should not be underestimated, but those aspects are not in focus in this article.

14 Main part of this section is built on Karlsson/Zander (note 7), p. 56–69.

15 Klas-Göran Karlsson: Processing time – On the manifestations and activations of historical consciousness. In: Helle Bjerg/Claudia Lenz/Erik Thorstensen (eds.): Historicizing the uses of the past: Scandinavian perspectives on history culture, historical consciousness and didactics of history related to World War II. Bielefeld 2011, p. 138.

16 Cf. Karlsson/Zander (note 7), p. 59.

17 Ibid., p. 68.

18 Ibid., p. 67.

19 Peter Frankopan: The view from the east. In: HISTORY TODAY 9 (2012), p. 41.

20 Cf. Karlsson/Zander (note 7), p. 69.

21 Cf. Frankopan (note 19), p. 38.

22 Sören Wibeck: Påvens elitsoldater. In: POPULÄR HISTORIA 12 (2007), p. 30.

23 Stefan Berger/Chris Lorenz/Billie Melman (eds.): Popularizing national pasts: 1800 to the present. New York 2012, p. 7 f.

24 Callum G. Brown: Postmodernism for historians. Harlow 2005, p. 103–105.

25 Ulf Zander: Clio på bio: om amerikansk film, historia och identitet. Lund 2006, p. 26.

26 Cf. Sjöland (note 1), p. 82.

27 Cecilia Trenter: I mötet med minnet – historiekultur i Skandinavien. In: Historisk Tidskrift 2 (2002), issue 122, p. 289–291.

28 Eva Österberg: Kultur, genus och samtiden. In: Gunnar Artéus/Klas Åmark (eds.): Historieskrivningen i Sverige. Lund 2012, p. 202.

29 For example, all illustrations in the article show medieval Byzantine sources, which reinforce the author’s argument about the value of the Byzantine material in the historiography of the Crusades.

30 Cf. Frankopan (note 19), p. 39.

31 Ibid., p. 42.

32 Cf. Wibeck (note 22), p. 27.

33 Ibid., p. 28.

34 Cf. Frankopan (note 19), p. 41.

35 Sören Wibeck’s article fits well with the image of the Crusades that Peter Frankopan claims is incorrect.

36 Cf. Frankopan (note 19), p. 45.

37 Cf. Wibeck (note 22), p. 30.

38 Ibid.

39 URL: (29.5.2014).