history

Ernst Curtius and the Excavation of Olympia

Ernst Curtius and the Excavation of Olympia

Olympia, draft by Friedrich Thiersch, 1879 On September 2, 1814, German archaeologist and historian Ernst Curtius was born, who directed the excavation of Olympia from 1875–1881, the most opulent and sacred religious shrine of ancient Greece and site of the original Olympic Games. Ernst Curtius was born in Lübeck, Germany, and entered the University of Bonn in the 1830s. In this period, it is assumed, that Curtius discovered his interest…
Marius and the Battle of the Raudine Plain

Marius and the Battle of the Raudine Plain

On July 30, 101 BC, the Battle of the Raudine Plain took place, which resulted in the Roman victory of Consul Gaius Marius over the invading Germanic tribe of the Cimbri near the settlement of Vercellae in Cisalpine Gaul. The entire tribe of the Cimbri was virtually wiped out and the plans of the Germanic tribes of an invasion of Rome was put to an end. Well, then raise your hands if…
Life and Legend of Frederick Barbarossa

Life and Legend of Frederick Barbarossa

Frederick sends out the boy to see whether the ravens still fly Frederick I ‘Barbarossa‘ in a typical folk tale On June 10, 1190, Frederick I, emperor of the Holy Roman Empire and better known as Frederick Barbarossa passed away. He died by drowning in the river Saleph during the Third Crusade. He got the name Barbarossa from the northern Italian cities he attempted to rule: Barbarossa means “red beard”…
The Viking Raid on the Abbey of Lindisfarne

The Viking Raid on the Abbey of Lindisfarne

Lindisfarne, painting by Thomas Girtin, 1798 On 8 June, 793 AD, Vikings destroyed the abbey on Lindisfarne, a centre of learning that was famous across the continent. This event also is considered as the beginning of the Viking Age, when Scandinavian Norsemen explored Europe by its seas and rivers for trade, raids and conquest. Recently, this first Viking assault has gained more public interest because of the popular tv series…
The Legend of Bonnie and Clyde

The Legend of Bonnie and Clyde

Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow between 1932 and 1934 On May 23, 1934, the American robbers Bonnie and Clyde are ambushed by police and killed in Black Lake, Louisiana. Bonnie Elizabeth Parker and Clyde Chestnut Barrow became American pop folklore as outlaws and robbers when traveling the central United States with their gang during the Great Depression. Bonnie Elizabeth Parker got married to Roy Thornton shortly after they had dropped out of…
The Myserious Voynich Manuscript

The Myserious Voynich Manuscript

A page from the mysterious Voynich manuscript In 1912, Polish-born antiquarian and bibliophile Wilfrid Voynich bought a mysterious illustrated codex hand-written in an unknown writing system that may have been composed in Northern Italy during the Italian Renaissance. The eponymous Voynich manuscript has been studied by many professional and amateur cryptographers, but no one has yet succeeded in deciphering the text. Therefore, it has become a famous case in the…
Thomas Blood and the Crown Jewels of England

Thomas Blood and the Crown Jewels of England

Thomas Blood (1618 – 1680) On May 9, 1671, Anglo-Irish officer and desperado Colonel Thomas Blood attempted to steal the Crown Jewels of England from the Tower of London. Not much is known about Thomas Blood’s early life. It is assumed that he was born to a successful blacksmith in Ireland. His father owned some land across the country and his grandfather was a member of the Parliament. Historians believe,…
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

The Cantino planisphere of 1502 shows the line of the Treaty of Tordesillas. On May 4, 1493, Pope Alexander VI issued the papal bull ‘Inter caetera‘ (Among other [works]), which granted to 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. In the late 15th century, Spain and Portugal had…
The Natural History Museum in London

The Natural History Museum in London

The Natural History Museumimage: Wikimedia user Diliff 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…
Samuel Johnson and his Famous Dictionary

Samuel Johnson and his Famous Dictionary

Samuel Johnson reading the “Vicar of Wakefield“ On April 15, 1755, after nine years of intensive labor, Samuel Johnson publishes his “Dictionary of the English Language”, sometimes published as Johnson‘s Dictionary. It is among the most influential dictionaries in the history of the English language. Samuel Johnson showed signs of great intelligence quite early and his parents decided to start his educational program, when he was only three years old.…
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