history

Umberto Eco and The Name of the Rose

Umberto Eco and The Name of the Rose

On January 5, 1932, Italian semiotician, essayist, philosopher, literary critic, and successful novelist Umberto Eco was born. He is best known for his groundbreaking historical mystery novel Il nome della rosa (The Name of the Rose), an intellectual mystery combining semiotics in fiction, biblical analysis, medieval studies and literary theory. I have read ‘The Name of the Rose‘, when I was just 20 years of age, and ever since I am a…
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The Assassination of Thomas Becket

The Assassination of Thomas Becket

On December 29, 1170 AD, Thomas Becket, Archbishop of Canterbury, who engaged in conflict with Henry II of England over the rights and privileges of the Church, was assassinated by followers of the King in Canterbury Cathedral. The very last hours of Thomas Becket’s life are the reason why we remember him at all. If the four knights sent for his assassination had not completed their bloody work as he defied their…
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Charlemagne and the Birth of the European Idea

Charlemagne and the Birth of the European Idea

On December 25, 800 AD, Charlemagne also known as Karl the Great was crowned Emperor of the Holy Roman Empire by Pope Leo III in Rome. Thereby, he was the very first emperor of western Europe after the fall of the Roman Empire. Prelude Back in the 6th century, the West Germanic Franks had been christianized and Francia, ruled by the Merovingian dynasty, was the most powerful of the kingdoms that succeeded the…
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Leopold von Ranke – The Father of the Objective Writing of History

Leopold von Ranke – The Father of the Objective Writing of History

On December 21, 1795, German historian Leopold von Ranke, one of the founding fathers of modern source-based history science was born. Building on the methods of the Göttingen School of History, Ranke set the standards for much of later historical writing, introducing such ideas as reliance on primary sources (empiricism), an emphasis on narrative history and especially international politics. “We do not have to judge error and truth par excellence. He rises up…
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Melvil Dewey and the Dewey Decimal System

Melvil Dewey and the Dewey Decimal System

On December 10, 1851, Melvil Dewey, librarian and inventor of the Dewey Decimal classification system for libraries, the DDC, was born. Early Years Melvil Dewey was born as Melville Louis Kossuth Dewey into a rather poor family in the upper New York state. After a school-fire, he was told to live only for one more year and became obsessed with efficiency, wherefore he gained his interest in simplified spelling early. Dewey left…
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The Archeological Discovery of the Century – Tutankhamun’s Tomb

The Archeological Discovery of the Century – Tutankhamun’s Tomb

On November 26, 1922, Archeologist Howard Carter together with the 5th Earl of Carnarvon, opened the unharmed tomb of pharao Tutankhamun, one of the most important archeological discoveries of the 20th century. From Tutankhaten to Tutankhamun King Tut, as the Egyptian pharaoh of the ‘New Kingdom’ was called in popular culture, ruled between 1332 BC and 1323 BC. When the prince, back then called Tutankhaten became king, he was only ten years old. Nevertheless…
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Otto the Great – Founder of the Holy Roman Empire

Otto the Great – Founder of the Holy Roman Empire

On November 23, 912 AD, Otto I, also referred to as Otto the Great, emperor of the Holy Roman Empire and founder of the Ottonian dynasty of German emperors, was born as the oldest son of the Duke of Saxony Henry the Fowler (“Heinrich, der Vogler” referring to a German poem „Herr Heinrich sitzt am Vogelherd…“ by Johann Nepomuk Vogl, 1835 [1]) and his second wife Matilda of Ringelheim. By the time of…
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The Brothers Grimm and the Göttingen Seven

The Brothers Grimm and the Göttingen Seven

On November 18, 1837, a group of 7 university professors from the University of Göttingen protested against the abolition or alteration of the constitution of the Kingdom of Hanover by Ernest Augustus and refused to swear an oath to the new king of Hanover. The Göttingen Seven (in German “Göttinger Sieben“) were led by Friedrich Christoph Dahlmann, who himself was one of the key advocates of the unadulterated constitution. The other six were…
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Martin Luther – Iconic Figure of the Reformation

Martin Luther – Iconic Figure of the Reformation

On November 10, 1483, Martin Luther, monk, priest, professor of theology and iconic figure of the Protestant Reformation was born. “Be a sinner, and let your sins be strong (sin boldly), but let your trust in Christ be stronger, and rejoice in Christ who is the victor over sin, death, and the world” — Martin Luther, from a letter Youth and Education As eldest of seven children of Hans Luther and his wife…
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Alois Senefelder revolutionized Printing Technology

Alois Senefelder revolutionized Printing Technology

On November 6, 1771, Alois Senefelder, actor, playwright, and inventor of the lithographic printing technology was born. Background and Early Career His father, Johann Peter Senefelder, an actor at the Royal Theatre of Munich, was playing at Prague, then Imperial city (Reichsstadt) of the Holy Roman Empire of the German Nation, at the time of the birth of his son. The young Senefelder studied at Munich and received a scholarship, which enabled…
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