religion

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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Søren Kierkegaard – the first Existentialist Philosopher

Søren Kierkegaard – the first Existentialist Philosopher

On May 5, 1813, Danish philosopher Søren Kierkegaard was born. A theologian, poet, social critic and religious author, Kirkegaard is widely considered to be the first existentialist philosopher. He is regarded as the leading Danish philosopher and also as an important prose stylist. He is one of the most important representatives of Denmark’s Golden Age. “I must find a truth that is true for me.” – The Journals of Soren Kierkegaard (1835)…
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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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Athanasius Kircher – A Man in Search of Universal Knowledge

Athanasius Kircher – A Man in Search of Universal Knowledge

On May 2nd, 1601 (or 1602), German Jesuit scholar Athanasius Kircher was born. He has published most notably in the fields of oriental studies, geology, and medicine, and has been compared to Leonardo da Vinci for his enormous range of interests.[5] He is regarded as one of the founders of Egyptology for his (mostly fruitless) efforts in deciphering Egyptian hieroglyphs, wrote an encyclopedia about China, studied volcanos and fossils, was one of the very…
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Catherine de Medici and St. Bartholomew’s Day

Catherine de Medici and St. Bartholomew’s Day

On April 13, 1519, Italian noblewoman and Queen of France Catherine de’ Medici was born. Catherine played a key role in the reign of her sons, and is blamed for the excessive persecutions of the Hugenots in particular for the St. Bartholomew’s Day massacre of 1572, in which thousands of Huguenots were killed in Paris and throughout France. Catherine de Medici and Henry, Duke of Orleans Catherine de’ Medici was born into a…
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Herrad of Landsberg and the Garden of Delights

Herrad of Landsberg and the Garden of Delights

Herrad of Landsberg was a 12th-century Alsatian nun and abbess of Hohenburg Abbey in the Vosges mountains. She is known as the author of the pictorial encyclopedia Hortus Deliciarum (The Garden of Delights). Abbess of Hohenburg Abbey It is assumed that Herrad of Landsberg was born around 1130. Hohenburg Abbey, also known as Mont St Odile, was run by Abbess Relinda, a nun sent from the Benedictine monastery of Bergen in Bavaria.…
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Hrotsvitha of Gandersheim – The Most Remarkable Women of her Time

Hrotsvitha of Gandersheim – The Most Remarkable Women of her Time

Although her date of birth is not known exactly, today’s post features “the most remarkable woman” of the early middle ages, Hrotsvitha of Gandersheim (in German also often referred to as Roswitha, and attributed as ‘the mighty voice‘ or the ‘Nightingale of Gandersheim‘). Hrotsvitha of Gandersheim was a 10th-century German secular canoness, as well as a dramatist and poet who lived and worked at Gandersheim Abbey in modern-day Bad Gandersheim, Lower Saxony, Germany,…
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Hildegard of Bingen – More than the ‘Sybil of the Rhine’

Hildegard of Bingen – More than the ‘Sybil of the Rhine’

Although her exact birthdate is uncertain, we dedicate today’s article to an extraordinary woman in science: German writer, composer, philosopher, Christian mystic, Benedictine abbess, visionary, and polymath St Hildegard of Bingen. At a time when few women wrote, Hildegard, known as “Sybil of the Rhine“, produced major works of theology and visionary writings. She used the curative powers of natural objects for healing, and wrote treatises about natural history and medicinal uses of…
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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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John Milton and his great Epic Paradise Lost

John Milton and his great Epic Paradise Lost

On December 9, 1608, English poet, polemicist, a scholarly man of letters, and a civil servant John Milton, was born. He is best known for his epic poem Paradise Lost, the Biblical story of the Fall of Man: the temptation of Adam and Eve by the fallen angel Satan and their expulsion from the Garden of Eden. “Of Man’s first disobedience, and the fruit Of that forbidden tree whose mortal taste Brought…
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