France

William of Rubruck and his Adventurous Journey to Karakorum

William of Rubruck and his Adventurous Journey to Karakorum

On January 4, 1254, Flemish Franciscan missionary and explorer William of Rubruck was granted the privilege of an audience at the great Mongol Möngke Khan in his court in Karakorum. Background The Flemish William of Rubruck had joined the Franciscan Friars Minor at an early age, studied in Paris and in 1248 travelled to the Holy Land in the wake of King Louis IX and the seventh crusade, where he stayed for four…
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Henri Matisse in the Rush of Colors

Henri Matisse in the Rush of Colors

On December 31, 1869, Henri-Émile-Benoît Matisse, French draughtsman, sculptor, writer and artist, known for his use of colour and his fluid and original draughtsmanship, was born. “What I am after, above all, is expression. Sometimes it has been conceded that I have a certain technical ability but that, my ambition being limited, I am unable to proceed beyond a purely visual satisfaction such as can be procured from the mere sight of…
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The Lumière Brothers invented the Cinema

The Lumière Brothers invented the Cinema

On December 28, 1895, the Lumière Brothers performed 10 movies for their first paying audience at the Grand Cafe in Boulevard des Capucines, marking the debut of the cinema. Family Background and Family Business Louis and Auguste Lumière’s father Claude Antoine Lumière (1840-1911) learnt the profession of a type painter from the painter Auguste Constantin. 1860 he went into business for himself in Besançon. Soon he was attracted by the spreading new technology…
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Louis Pasteur – the Father of Medical Microbiology

Louis Pasteur – the Father of Medical Microbiology

On December 27, 1822, French chemist Louis Pasteurwas born, who is considered one of the most important founders of medical microbiology. He is remembered for his remarkable breakthroughs in the causes and prevention of diseases. “I am utterly convinced that Science and Peace will triumph over Ignorance and War, that nations will eventually unite not to destroy but to edify, and that the future will belong to those who have done the…
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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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Heinrich Heine – Famous Poetry with Radical Political Views

Heinrich Heine – Famous Poetry with Radical Political Views

On December 12, 1797, Heinrich Heine, one of the most significant German poets of the 19th century was born. Besides, he was also a renowned journalist, essayist, and literary critic. But, he is best known for his wonderful lyric poetry, while his radical political views led to many of his works being banned by German authorities. “Out of my own great woe I make my little songs.” — Heinrich Heine, Aus Meinen…
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Gustave Flaubert’s Scrupulous Devotion to Style and Aesthetics

Gustave Flaubert’s Scrupulous Devotion to Style and Aesthetics

On December 12, 1821, French novelist Gustave Flaubert was born. Highly influential, he has been considered the leading exponent of literary realism in his country. He is known especially for his debut novel Madame Bovary, his Correspondence, and his scrupulous devotion to his style and aesthetics. “Though she had no one to write to, she had bought herself a blotter, a writing case, a pen and envelopes; she would dust off her…
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Voltaire – Libertarian and Philosopher

Voltaire – Libertarian and Philosopher

On November 21, 1694, François-Marie Arouet was born, known by his nom de plume Voltaire, French philosopher during the Age of Enlightenment, re-known by his wits, prolific writer of novels, poems, essays, and letters, and dear friend of Prussian king Frederick the Grea.[6] “We should be considerate to the living; to the dead we owe only the truth.” – Voltaire in a letter to M. de Grenonville (1719) Origin and further Troubles…
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Anna Seghers – Prominent Advocate of German Exile Literature

Anna Seghers – Prominent Advocate of German Exile Literature

On November 19, 1900, German writer Anna Seghers was born. Seghers became famous for depicting the moral experience of the Second World War. I came across the writer at the end high school. “The Seventh Cross” of Anna Seghers was the last piece of literature that we officially had to read in the German literature courses before high school graduation. And I remember that I was rather impressed by this novel. “What…
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The Knights Templar and their Most Inglorious End

The Knights Templar and their Most Inglorious End

On Friday, October 13, 1307, King Philip IV of France ordered the Knights Templar grandmaster Jacques de Molay and scores of other French Templars to be simultaneously arrested under the accusation of various heredities. It is said that this very date sometimes spuriously is linked with the origin of the Friday the 13th superstition, because it was the beginning of the end of the powerful Knights Templar. The Origins of the Knights…
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