Pliny the Elder

Pliny the Elder and the Destruction of Pompeii

Pliny the Elder and the Destruction of Pompeii

On August 25, 79 AD, Roman author, naturalist and natural philosopher Pliny the Elder died, while attempting the rescue by ship of a friend and his family from the eruption of Mount Vesuvius that had just destroyed the cities of Pompeii and Herculaneum. Unfortunately, there don’t exist contemporary pictures or portaits of Pliny the Elder. Thus, I decided to show you an also imaginary picture of the destruction of Pompeii instead. “Fortes…
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Isaac Casaubon – The Most Learned Man in Europe

Isaac Casaubon – The Most Learned Man in Europe

On February 15, 1559, French classical scholar and philologist Isaac Casaubon was born. Casaubon is known among philologists and historians of philosophy today above all for his proof in De rebus sacris et ecclesiasticis exercitationes XVI (1614, London) that the so-called Corpus Hermeticum could not have been created earlier than the first century AD. He was regarded by many of his time as the most learned man in Europe. Isaac Causaubon –…
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The Encyclopædia Britannica and the Spirit of Enlightenment

The Encyclopædia Britannica and the Spirit of Enlightenment

On December 6, 1768, the first volume of the first edition of the Encyclopædia Britannica was published in London as , ‘A Dictionary of Arts and Sciences, compiled upon a New Plan‘. The Britannica is the oldest English-language encyclopaedia still being produced today. The history of its 15 editions alone would be subject of an entire book. But although it might be the most popular encyclopaedia ever printed, it was not the…
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Johann Ludwig Burckhardt and the discovery of Petra

Johann Ludwig Burckhardt and the discovery of Petra

On August 22, 1812, Swiss traveler and orientalist Johann Ludwig Burckhardt, in the disguise of an arab traveler discovered the ruins of the ancient city of Petra, one of the most compelling archaeological sites in existence, in today’s Jordan. Petra – Location and Meaning Petra is located east of the Arabah, half way between the Gulf of Aqaba and the Dead Sea at an altitude between 800 and 1350 m in a wide…
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Pompeii – Conquered, Buried, Rediscovered

Pompeii – Conquered, Buried, Rediscovered

Pompeii was an ancient city in Campania on the Gulf of Naples, which like Herculaneum, Stabiae and Oplontis was buried during the eruption of Vesuvius in 79 AD, but remained largely preserved under the volcanic ashes.[1] In its approximately seven hundred year history Pompeii was inhabited and shaped by Osci, Samnites, Greeks, Etruscans and Romans, but was forgotten after the burial in the course of time. The rediscovery in the 18th century…
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Giuseppe Fiorelli’s Excavations in Pompeji

Giuseppe Fiorelli’s Excavations in Pompeji

On June 8, 1823, Italian archaeologist Giuseppe Fiorelli was born. Fiorelli’s systematic excavation at Pompeii, the ancient Roman town-city near modern Naples that was buried under volcanic ash and pumice in the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in 79 AD, helped to preserve much of the ancient city as nearly intact as possible and contributed significantly to modern archaeological methods. Born in Naples Giuseppe Fiorelli was born in Naples, Italy, and not much…
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The Comte de Caylus and the Birth of Archaeology

The Comte de Caylus and the Birth of Archaeology

On September 5, 1765, French antiquarian, proto-archaeologist and man of letters Anne Claude de Tubières-Grimoard de Pestels de Lévis, comte de Caylus, marquis d’Esternay, baron de Bransac, was born. The Comte de Caylus is credited with being the first to conceive archaeology as a scientific discipline. Caylus was also a painter and an engraver, and he is also credited with finding a new process to inlay colors in marble. The Comte de…
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Felix Hoffmann and the Synthesis of Aspirin

Felix Hoffmann and the Synthesis of Aspirin

On August 10, 1897, German chemist Felix Hoffmann  synthesized acetylsalicylic acid (ASA) in a stable form usable for medical applications. In 1899 it was marketed for the first time under the trade name Aspirin. Acetylsalicylic acid, the active ingredient of aspirin, was first discovered from the bark of the willow tree in 1763 by Edward Stone of Wadham College, University of Oxford. Felix Hoffmann – Early Years Felix Hoffmann was born on January…
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