history

Rome is Burning – Nero and the Great Fire of Rome

Rome is Burning – Nero and the Great Fire of Rome

On July 19, 64 AD, the Great Fire of Rome (Latin: Magnum Incendium Romae) occurred and continued burning until July 26 during the reign of emperor Nero. According to the Roman historian Tacitus three of the 14 city districts were completely burned down, in seven districts only debris and rubble was left from the former buildings, and only 4 districts were not affected. Almost 70 percent of the entire city was destroyed.…
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Cracking the Code – Champollion and the Rosetta Stone

Cracking the Code – Champollion and the Rosetta Stone

On July 15, 1799 in the Egyptian village of Rosetta  Pierre-François Bouchard, Captain of the French expedition army on Napoleon‘s Egyptian Campaign discovered an unimpressive black stone with some written inscriptions on it. But this black stone, later referred to as the Rosetta Stone, should become the central key to deciphering the long lost secret of the Egyptian hieroglyphics. The Riddle of Egyptian Hieroglyphs By the end of the 6th century AD, by…
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Thomas Cook Invents Organized Tourism

Thomas Cook Invents Organized Tourism

On 5 July 1841, British pioneer of organized tourism Thomas Cook arranged to take a group of 540 temperance campaigners from Leicester Campbell Street station to a rally in Loughborough, eleven miles away. This led him to start his own business founding the world’s first and most famous travel agency. A Cabinet Maker and Baptist Preacher Thomas Cook came from a Baptist family. His parents John and Elizabeth Cook lived in simple…
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Lucrezia Borgia – Femme Fatale or Political Tool?

Lucrezia Borgia – Femme Fatale or Political Tool?

On June 24, 1519, Lucrezia Borgia, the daughter of Pope Alexander VI, and Vannozza dei Cattanei, passed away. Lucrezia’s family later came to epitomize the ruthless Machiavellian politics and sexual corruption alleged to be characteristic of the Renaissance Papacy. Lucrezia was cast as a femme fatale, a role she has been portrayed as in many artworks, novels, and films. The extent of her complicity in the political machinations of her family is…
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Waterloo and the European Balance of Power

Waterloo and the European Balance of Power

On June 18, 1815, a battle was fought near Waterloo in present-day Belgium, which should be Napoleon’s last. An Imperial French army under the command of Emperor Napoleon was defeated by the armies of the Seventh Coalition, comprising an Anglo-Allied army under the command of the Duke of Wellington combined with a Prussian army under the command of Gebhard von Blücher. The defeat at Waterloo ended Napoleon’s rule as Emperor of the…
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Bartolomeo Platina and the Vatican Library

Bartolomeo Platina and the Vatican Library

On June 15, 1475, Pope Sixtus IV issued the papal bull ‘Ad decorem militantis Ecclesiae‘ in which he regulated the complex structure of the newly founded Vatican Apostolic Library and appointed Renaissance author Bartolomeo Platina as its first head librarian. For sure you will heave heard about the famous Vatican Library and even more about the Vatican Secret Archives, which are part of the library. Even in popular culture such as Dan…
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Index Librorum Prohibitorum – The List of Banned Books

Index Librorum Prohibitorum – The List of Banned Books

On June 14, 1966, the Roman Catholic Church abolished their famous list of banned books, the Index Librorum Prohibitorum or shorter simply, the Index, that had been installed almost 500 years ago. Actually, it was soon clear after the invention of the printing press that the written word could also be dangerous, especially if it can be published in large quantities. Once Johannes Gutenberg had presented the printing press including the printing process back in…
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Henry Dunant and the Red Cross Project

Henry Dunant and the Red Cross Project

On May 8, 1828, Swiss businessman and social activist Henry Dunant was born. He is best known for the creation of the International Committee of the Red Cross in 1863. Also the 1864 Geneva Convention was based on Dunant‘s ideas. In 1901 he received the first Nobel Peace Prize together with Frédéric Passy. “In one of the Cremona hospitals, an Italian doctor had said: “We keep the good things for our friends…
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How the Pope divided the New World among Spain and the Rest of the World

How the Pope divided the New World among Spain and the Rest of the World

On May 4, 1493, Pope Alexander VI issued the papal bull ‘Inter caetera‘ (Among other [works]), which granted to the Catholic Majesties of Ferdinand and Isabella of Spain all lands to the “west and south” of a pole-to-pole line 100 leagues west and south of any of the islands of the Azores or the Cape Verde islands. It established a dividing line between the Castilian and Portuguese spheres of power. No Agreement between Portugal and Spain…
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The Natural History Museum in London

The Natural History Museum in London

On April 18, 1881, the Natural History Museum in London was opened for the public. It is one of the largest natural history museum‘s of the world. Sir Hans Sloane was an Irish physician, but also a collector who provided the foundation for the museum. He allowed his collections to be purchased by the British government below their actual value on the free market. The collections included dried plants, and animal and human…
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