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 On this day in history

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nordmann
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PostSubject: Re: On this day in history   Mon 06 Apr 2015, 17:58

As if to coincide with my point regarding Hellenic influences in the so-called "Roman World" today, April 6th marks the 1,613th anniversary of the Battle of Pollentia in which a "Roman" army, led by Greek-speaking officers under the command of the Greek-bred Vandal Stilicho defeated the Latin-speaking Visigoth Alaric's "barbarians" in Pollenzo, near Milan. This is the last battle in history whose victors were awarded a triumph in Rome (for saving Western Civilisation from those Latin-speaking "barbarian" guys).

Within a very short time some other important Greek-speakers based in Constantinople, fearful of Stilicho's power, had him outlawed and executed. This proved a mistake as Alaric regrouped and eight years later infamously sacked Rome. There were no Vandals to save them this time. The pope did a deal with the Latin-speakers and the Vandals receded into historical infamy as the bad guys, telephone booth wreckers, graffiti artists etc.

The other Greek-speakers weren't quite finished saving Western civilisation of course, famously under Belisarius a hundred years later, but mostly from then on they were preoccupied with stuff in the Middle East and the Balkans and the Latin-speakers (including a very powerful church) could reinvent their own role in historical affairs relatively unimpeded thereafter.


A Ladybird Book Stilicho receives a big "efharisto poli" from the "Romans" for defeating a Latin-speaker.
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PostSubject: Re: On this day in history   Wed 15 Apr 2015, 18:18

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PostSubject: Re: On this day in history   Tue 19 May 2015, 09:44

19 May 1536;

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PostSubject: Re: On this day in history   Tue 19 May 2015, 17:48

And every year on May 19th flowers are left for her:


Beginning in 1850, Longman Floral began delivering a large bouquet of long stemmed  red roses to the memorial plaque of Anne Boleyn in the Tower. The florist has remained tight-lipped concerning the purchaser's identity. There is much speculation as to who is honouring the late queen and  her descendants living in Kent are considered the most likely.


Others suggest the Percy family send the roses.


Nearly five hundred years on this woman still gets vitriolic comments - one poster from the site which gave the above info sent this:


John April 23, 2012 at 10:24 PM

No one should leave her flowers, she was a whore who broke up marriages...not just Henry's but also Henry Percy's, which ended because of his affair with Anne.



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PostSubject: Re: On this day in history   Wed 20 May 2015, 09:53

No video of the Wolf Hall execution scene has been posted yet, Temp. I thought it would have been by now.



You may already have seen this, post it anyway;

http://www.theguardian.com/science/2015/feb/16/anne-boleyn-portrait-found-using-facial-recognition-software
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PostSubject: Re: On this day in history   Fri 22 May 2015, 15:00

22 May 334 BC - The Battle of the Graniscus River and the very first battle between Alexander (the not-yet-Great) and the Persian Empire.

In the resulting melée as the Macedonians attempted to ford the river, a Persian nobleman, Spithridates, managed to get in close and deliver a sword blow against Alexander himself, who was beaten to the ground and temporarily stunned. But before Spithridates could get in a second killing blow he was himself cut down by Cleitus of Alexander's guard. Alexander soon recovered and led his troops on to victory.

But the subsequent history of the world would certainly have been very much different if Spithridates first blow had proved fatal or if he'd been given just a second or so longer in which to deliver a mortal blow to the already incapacitated Alexander.

On such tiny matters, such as a few seconds here or there, are the great affairs of the world determined.
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PostSubject: Re: On this day in history   Sat 23 May 2015, 12:13

Parmenion would certainly have mourned the irreparable loss of his golden poster boy. Philip II's grizzled old campaigner would then have been forced the publicly front the Macedonian army himself instead of using Alexander as a popular royal figurehead.
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PostSubject: Re: On this day in history   Wed 27 May 2015, 12:56

27 May 1941,the sinking of KMS Bismarck.

Bismarck under fire from RN ships;

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PostSubject: Re: On this day in history   Thu 28 May 2015, 11:14

28 May 1871, the end of the Paris Commune as the French Regular Army storm the final barricades held by the National Guard;

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PostSubject: Re: On this day in history   Thu 28 May 2015, 11:17

Back in 585 BC, a solar ecplipse during the Battle of Halys* fixes a time point from which other ancient events can be calculated.

* The two sides agreed a truce, when this happened.
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PostSubject: Re: On this day in history   Thu 28 May 2015, 11:34

28th May, 1920.  Dennis Gunn was convicted in Auckland of murder, in what is considered the first case of a capital crime based almost solely on fingerprint evidence.  He had killed Augustus Braithwaite, a postmaster, in his own home where cash registers were being held.

Despite an application to Cabinet for a reprieve he was executed on June 22nd.  His fingerprints were on file because he had failed to enrol for military service and was convicted on that account in 1918.  It does seem important that if you are going to carry out a major crime you shouldn't bother with minor crimes earlier.  (Though of course he might have been killed in warfare anyway.)  

His family were obviously not convinced of his guilt as his gravestone reads, "Sadly wronged".  More here
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PostSubject: Re: On this day in history   Fri 05 Jun 2015, 06:01

The newspapers Today in History talks of the first recorded night game of football in New Zealand being played at the Basin Reserve in front of a crowd of 8000. Two electric lights were used and when one went out the other was carried up and down the sideline till the second light malfunctioned and the game was foreshortened, being a scoreless draw. 



Football meant rugby not soccer.


A report of it at the time is in the online records and says the crowd at the grounds was 2000 with many people lining the streets outside, “somewhat shabbily unwilling to pay...”  It goes into considerable detail about the lamps used.  Siemen’s Brothers Dynamo-Light worked by a 14 horsepower engine.  The lights were the equivalent of 6000 sperm candles.  I wasn’t aware of sperm candles but see they are (as suspected) made from whale oil. 
http://paperspast.natlib.govt.nz/cgi-bin/paperspast?a=d&d=EP18790531.2.25


http://www.teara.govt.nz/en/object/7097/sperm-oil-candles
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PostSubject: Re: On this day in history   Fri 05 Jun 2015, 09:24

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PostSubject: Re: On this day in history   Fri 05 Jun 2015, 09:55

Yes, I heard about this earlier this evening.  In 2005 I did an article for our local community paper when the school here was chosen for a video-conference with four All Blacks, including Jerry.  Part of what I wrote said: Tana Umaga, Jerry Collins, Justin Marshall and Mils Muliaini answered questions from students about rugby and being an All Black as part of a Telecom link-up. 

 

Tamara Knierum-Wilson gave a glowing introduction to the school and area and asked the players about the most memorable moment in their career, excluding putting on the All Black jersey.   Tamara said she loved the experience and it was great to hear what the players felt about representing New Zealand...  “Jerry Collins added a lot of humour and Justin Marshall is a very good speaker.” 

  
They were asked how they felt running onto the field the first time they wore the black jersey...  Jerry Collins said that it wasn’t the running out.  “Then you are just thinking – ‘please don’t trip up’.  It’s the buzz on the field.”   



My memory of that video-conference was that Tana Umaga and Jerry Collins fed off each other, with Tana playing the straight guy to Jerry's cheeky comedic stuff.  


There will  be a lot of tributes paid in tomorrow's press and online, I am sure.  Though he may have been one of those players that divided the sporting public.  I am not sure now.
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PostSubject: Re: On this day in history   Fri 05 Jun 2015, 18:44

June 5th 1849
With one stroke of his pen did King Frederick VII change the constitution of Denmark from an Absolute to a Constitutional Monarchy, with a representative democracy. This was a result of the revolutionary times in Europe and internal problems within the Danish Monarchy.

Rights of Liberty
The Constitution was inspired from those of Belgium and Norway, as interpretations of the thoughts of Montesqieu, with the powers being divided into three, and by writing into it the traditional bourgeois rights of Freedoms: those of religion, of print, of memberships of associations, and the right when arrested to be heard by a judge who'd decide whether the arrest were lawful within a set number of hours, as well as those against the violations of the home.
The King reserved some power bastions, even if his powers were drastically reduced.

General conscription, as well as the right to support for the poor, and a free basic schooling were put into the Law.
A number of sections promising Laws on the established church, as well as on the judiciary, and on the practice of the guilds and of town Corporations were introduced.

Government of the King
The executive power was nominally by the King, to be exercised by his Ministers. The legislative powers were by a union of the King and the popular elected Parliament - the Rigsdag. The judicial powers were exercised by Courts, whose judges could only be sacked by their peers or by retirement.
Laws had to be approved by two chambers of Rigsdag the Folketing and the Landsting, yet still demanded the signature of the King to become the law of the land. The King chose his own ministers and represented the Kingdom towards other countries.

The electorate
In practice the electorate excempted five categories, women, people in service, criminals, fools, and the poor; in practice limiting the suffrage to some 14% of the population.
The right to vote members to the Folketing was confined to every male above the age of 30 - with the above mentioned exemptions.

The right to vote for members of the Landsting was limited to electors above the age of 40, paying a considerate tax.

The Constitution of 1866
was signed on July 28th 1866 was called the Revised Constitution, and a result of the defeat of 1864, and of the losses of the duchies of Scleswig, Holstein and Lauenburg. The Peace left Denmark with a broken country and two legal Constitutions, the common one of Denmark and Schleswig and the one of November 1863 - which actually had been the raison de guerre of the second Schleswig War.

The First Chamber

The Constitution of 1866 created a privileged electorate to the Landsting. This change was to create a number of conflicts between a Landsting dominated by conservative interests called the Right - Højre -  and the Folketing dominated by what was then called the Left - Venstre.
The Constitution of November 1866, regulating foreign and military matters, was after the cessession of the duchies actually without point. Yet there was disagrements on whether to copy it directly, as the King and his conservative government of civil servants wanted a constitution limiting the electorate to the Landsting further. 

The King and the wealthy 
The compromise happened to be the Revised Constitution which, almost to the letter, maintained most of the Constitution of June including the sections on the suffrage and electibility to the Folketing. The composition of the Landsting was changed radically. 12 of 66 members were appointed by the King. The essence of the complicated rules were that the wealthiest 1,000 men were apportioned half the votes in the electoral college for 46 of the seats, while still partaking in the election of the rest of the college.

The Constitution of 1866 was be the basis of a long and bitter fight only ending with the Change of System in 1901.

The Constitution of 1915
Females were granted suffrage along with servants without their own housekeeping. The extended suffrage was one of three important changesconnected to the Constitution of June 5th 1915. During the next ten years the number of people with suffrage was too rise to approximately 95% of the population. Kvinderne fik stemmeret, og det samme gjorde tjenestefolk uden egen husstand. .

Landsting for 35+
The Constitution of 1915 is mostly known for the extension of the suffrage. The second major change reformed the Landsting. Privileged electors were done away with, everyone with the suffrage to the Folketing were now able to vote to the elections to the Landsting. 
The age for voting was still higher, 35 years to 25 for the Folketing and the municipal elections.

Election mathematics
The third major point was the change in the electoral law. As early as 1901 had created written and secret ballots, and by 1915 proportional election was reached when the seats from the one-man constituencies were supplemented by mandates for parties parties having reached enough votes in a regional area to crave mandate/s there.
This reform was continued in 1920, when single-person constituencíes were abolished, and the seats were attributed according to the total number of votes within a regional area.

This constitution could no longer be amended solely by the Rigsdag, but had to be confirmed in a referendum with a majority consisting of at least 45% of the total number of voters.

Still no parliamentarism
Even though the system of parliamentarism, governmental dependence on a majority in the Folketing had been recognized as a principle by the Change of System in 1901, it was not set into the Constitution of 1915, which Constitution wasn't enacted until the end of the war, as nobody wanted aelections during the War. 

The Constitution of 1920
In connection to the the 'repatriation' of Northern Schleswig to Denmark in 1920, the Constitution of 1915 was adapted to the enlargement of the Danish territory. At the same time a section was included stopping the King's ability to declare war or make a peace without the consent of the Rigsdag.

Defeat in 1939

Only once, so far, a suggested change in the constitution was defeated in a referendum. In spite of a majority of 90% of the votes this did not meet the demand of at least 95% of the total number of possible votes.
...

The Constitution of 1953

The law concerning the change in the Succession to the throne was the major questioning the change in the Constitution in 1953. King Frederick IX had three daughters, and politicians as well as the public held a wish to change the law, dictating that only men could inherit the Danish throne.

The end of the Landsting
In the minds of the politicians were the thought, that only a popular question like that could grant enough votes to see it through.
By this change the landsting was abolished, yet now two fifths of the members of the Folketing could demand a referendum on a law.


Parlamentarism and the county of Greenland
At last parlamentarism was officially introduced. Greenland changed its status from being a colony to being a county, and thus a part of the kingdom. Further a section was introduced, deciding that only under certain circumstances could soverignty be transferred from denmark to international organisations.  

A meager victory
The suggested change in the Constitution was sent to a referendum on May 28th 1953 with the recommendations of all parties in the Rigsdag except from the Communists.
78,8% of the entire vote were in favour, but due to low total polling this meant that only 45,8% of the electorate this meant that only some 20.000 votes saw it through.

Source: Den Store Danske (Gyldendal), Danmarkshistorien.dk (Aarhus Universitet)

This is an excerpt from an article in the Danish 'Altinget' of this day.
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PostSubject: Re: On this day in history   Sat 06 Jun 2015, 00:26

Thanks for those pointers Nielsen. They'll certainly be useful background information for the ongoing 1864 series which is currently being broadcast in the UK.

The point about Greenland's constitutional status is timely. It reminds me of the press coverage in 1985 when Greenland left the then EEC. I particularly remember an article in The Economist magazine about it entitled 'So hard to say goodbye'. Parallels were drawn with the independence of Algeria in 1962 which also left the EEC after having been part of it for years as part of France. The reason it's timely is that today 6th June is the 40th anniversary of the UK's referendum on membership of the EEC held in 1975.

P.S. Very sad news that Trike and Caro re Jerry Collins and his wife Alana. Thoughts also for their poor daughter.
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PostSubject: Re: On this day in history   Sun 07 Jun 2015, 07:44

It has been very sad, and very strongly in the news here.  I see the Porirua (his home town/suburb/area) mayor wants to have a permanent memorial and there is talking of renaming a sports ground.  I hope that the baby girl's injuries are not of the sort that means she will need permanent care, but I did see something about brain injury, which never sounds good.
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PostSubject: Re: On this day in history   Mon 08 Jun 2015, 16:14

8 June 1940, largely overlooked due the evacuation at Dunkirk, 8 June marked the end of the evacuation of Allied forces from Norway,

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Operation_Alphabet



this same day, the aircraft carrier Glorious was caught and sunk by the German battlecruisers Scharnhorst and Gneisenau

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PostSubject: Re: On this day in history   Mon 15 Jun 2015, 11:16

15 June 1215

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PostSubject: Re: On this day in history   Mon 15 Jun 2015, 13:39

A lot of people over here think she's one of the girls in Lord Baelish's brothel.
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PostSubject: Re: On this day in history   Mon 15 Jun 2015, 14:14

15 June 1815, the Duchess of Richmond's ball is interrupted with news that Napoleon's Army is fast approaching;



https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Duchess_of_Richmond%27s_ball


Last edited by Triceratops on Mon 15 Jun 2015, 14:20; edited 1 time in total
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PostSubject: Re: On this day in history   Mon 15 Jun 2015, 14:18

I thought it was Josephine was the ball-buster ...
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PostSubject: Re: On this day in history   Mon 15 Jun 2015, 15:49

We're getting this tomorrow evening, it doesn't appear to be available to the Sassenachs. http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b05zqw3h
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PostSubject: Re: On this day in history   Wed 17 Jun 2015, 14:29

^^^^^^^

I watched last night, Ferval. Thought it was a reasonable enough programme about Waterloo from the perspective of the ordinary soldier, and one woman.
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PostSubject: Re: On this day in history   Thu 18 Jun 2015, 14:25

18 June 1815;




clip from the 1970 film directed by Sergei Bonderchuck. Thousands of  Soviet Army soldiers provide the spectacle;

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PostSubject: Re: On this day in history   Thu 02 Jul 2015, 09:58

2 July 1816 

The French frigate Medusa (Méduse) ran aground on a reef 50km off the coast of what is now Mauritania through inept navigation of her captain who had been given command purely for political reasons and who was completely inexperienced as a naval officer. The Medusa remained stuck on the reef for 3 days until a gale threatened to cause the ship to break up. The 400 people on board evacuated, most into the ship's launches but with 151 men on an improvised raft towed by the other boats. The crew of the boats soon realised that it was impractical to tow the cumbersome raft so they cut the cables and left the raft to its fate. The launches all made it to the coast and nearly all their occupants eventually made it overland to safety in Senegal.

But the fate of those on the raft was very different. Dozens were washed into the sea by a storm, others, drunk from wine, rebelled and were killed by officers. When supplies ran low some resorted to cannibalism and several injured men were thrown into the sea. After 13 days the raft was found with only 15 men surviving. The ordeal suffered by the survivors on the raft was immortalised by Géricault's enormous painting 'The Raft of the Medusa:



When a salvage ship finally got to reef 54 days after the Medusa had run aground, they found that not only was the ship still intact but that of the 17 men who had opted to remain onboard, three were still alive. The whole matter became a scandal in France particulalrly when it emmerged that government officials had tried to cover it all up. The captain was eventually court-martialled and found guilty on several charges ... but bizarrely was only sentenced to three years in gaol.
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PostSubject: Re: On this day in history   Thu 02 Jul 2015, 11:11

Shipwrecks make the most wonderful stories, don't they.  The famous one near where I live involved a drunken captain brandishing a gun [do you ever brandish anything but a firearm?] on New Year's Eve after the ship had come all the way from Britain and was just a few kilometres from its destination. 

My newspaper for July 2 is full of deaths - that of Nostradamus, Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Robert Peel, James Garfield, Amelia Earhart (well, presumably), Ernest Hemingway and Mario Puzo (author or The Godfather).  But it also has one event that would have saved lives: 1819: the Facotry Act is passed in Britain, prohibiting employment of children under nine in textile factories.  Children under 16 could work for only 12 hours a day.  [I struggle to work for 12 minutes at a time.]  Did the twelve hours include lunch breaks? or were they added on? or were there none.  Surely people weren't expected to work without food for twelve hours.
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PostSubject: Re: On this day in history   Thu 02 Jul 2015, 11:40

@Caro wrote:
Did the twelve hours include lunch breaks? or were they added on? or were there none.  Surely people weren't expected to work without food for twelve hours.

I remember doing the 1819 Cotton Mills and Factory Act at school, but I couldn't remember any of the actual requirements of the Act so had to look it up:

Children between nine and sixteen could work no more than twelve hours a day (not including mealtimes or schooling); the twelve hours to be worked between 5 a.m. and 9 p.m. ; at least half an hour to be allowed for breakfast, and a dinner break of at least an hour to be taken between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. (an amending Act in the next session (60 Geo. III., c. 5) amended these limits to 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.) Meals were to be provided (although what is not stipulated) as was half an hour of schooling each day. Given the long hours worked I can't think that just half an hour's compulsory schooling was very effective, especially as I expect children of all ages were often just lumped together with a single master. And the Act made no provision for any routine inspection of mills and factories anyway so doubtless the requirements were often ignored by mill owners.
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PostSubject: Re: On this day in history   Thu 02 Jul 2015, 13:08

July 2nd 1505 - a lightning strike with some of the largest repercussions in history occurred.

On the short way south from Stotternheim to Erfurt in Thuringia a young law student is returning to university after having visited his parents. He gets caught in a thunderstorm on the open road with no place to shelter and lightning strikes the ground near him, allegedly winding him with the shock of its blast. Scraping himself back to his feet he falsely concludes his survival has been due to divine intervention. In gratitude Martin Luther vows at that moment to dedicate his life to God and become a monk.
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PostSubject: Re: On this day in history   Tue 07 Jul 2015, 17:11

I missed this yesterday.

July 6th 1553 was the day Edward VI - the "Forgotten Prince" - died at Greenwich Palace. The weather in our capital then was as it has been these last few days: hot, humid and thundery.

As this young king (he was only fifteen) lay dying, a terrible storm broke over London and the sick boy, helpless in the arms of his friend, Sir Henry Sidney, is supposed to gasped out a final solidly Protestant prayer:

"Lord God, deliver me out of this miserable and wretched life, and take me among thy chosen: howbeit not my will, but thy will be done...O my Lord God, bless thy people, and save thy inheritance. O Lord God save thy chosen people of England! O my Lord God, defend this thy realm from papistry, and maintain thy true religion..."

Poor little Edward - what did he really pray for as he choked out his life in Sidney's (or, more like, his faithful groom, Christopher Salmon's) arms? We shall never know.
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PostSubject: Re: On this day in history   Wed 08 Jul 2015, 13:23

July 8th 1836

After more than four years at sea The Beagle, with Charles Darwin on board, sets down in Jamestown, St Helena. Darwin spends a week wandering around noting his observations in his diary, though by now homesickness and lack of originality and diversity in the subject matter on view meant that his diary entries had grown in recent months increasingly reticent, perfunctory, terse and sparse.

On St Helena he made two exceptions to this tendency. The first was to express his anger at the disrespect locals showed to the memory of Napoleon, at that point dead a mere 15 years but whose house and tomb on the island were already being allowed to deteriorate through neglect. He likened this ignorance to the locals' equally baffling indifference to the fact that amongst them were elderly white people (or very near to being white people) who had been slaves in their early lives. These were preciously unique links to a past whose neglect threatened to expunge them from memory. To a man who as a young child would have heard "bogeyman" stories featuring a then all-too-real monster in the form of Bonaparte such a sudden and fickle race to forgetfulness must have seemed puzzling to the point of being frightening. How willingly people embrace ignorance, he reckoned, even of that which so recently had been so well understood, and indeed which had had to be understood by so many.

The second item to prompt him into verbosity - and by far his most thorough piece of research while there - was his survey of the overall volcanic rock formation of which the island is composed. Darwin noted that the arrangement of its strata, their thickness, quality and their angle to the horizon, acted as confirmation of his recently promulgated theory regarding volcanic activity as a secondary result of a primary cause. That cause baffled even those who subscribed to this view at the time, but Darwin reckoned that it was not inconceivable that some activity was caused through rupture of the crust of the earth while other suggested a slippage of a section of crust beneath a similar adjoining section. For both to make sense meant that the seabed, indeed all land, was in a state of flux, just one that happened so slowly as to be imperceptible to the senses and one that happened sectionally, though the sections themselves were so large as to defy normal perception too. For this theory, just as for his equally bold theory in which humans and other primates shared common evolutionary ancestry, he was to be very publicly derided upon his return.

Plate tectonics, and in particular the principle of seafloor spreading, were finally accepted as incontrovertible theory by the general scientific community only as recently as the 1950s, a whole 120 years after a young Darwin took time out from berating Britain for its inadequate preservation of Napoleon's last remains to attempt to enlighten it regarding not just the evolution of living things, but the evolution of the very earth itself. The rest of humanity could race headlong and happily into ignorance if it wished, but Charles Darwin was damned if he was going to join them.

What's not to like about that man?
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PostSubject: Re: On this day in history   Sat 11 Jul 2015, 07:15

It was even later, I think, that the theory of continental drift was fully accepted.  I remember my husband teaching this very new theory in the 1970s, and I think it was the 60s before the certainty of Gondwanaland was accepted by northern hemisphere scientists.

I thought perhaps there was some friction between Darwin and Alfred Wallace, but perhaps that is not right.

10th July 1985: the Greenpeace ship, the Rainbow Warrior, was bombed with the death of Portuguese photographer Ferdinando Perriero.  Two days later two French agents were arrested (they hadn't quite understood how small a country this is and what nosy people live here, and eventually sentenced to 10 years jail but were out in two and fully welcomed back to France.  The decision to bomb the ship (in the time of the Mururoa Island nuclear tests) was made with the knowledge/aquiescence/insistence of the French government right up to the top.  New Zealanders have never really understood the point of that act of state terrorism in a friendly country, or why allied countries did nothing to support us.  One of my sons, just 5 at the time, has never really forgiven France for this.
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PostSubject: Re: On this day in history   Sun 12 Jul 2015, 06:39

11th July had two NZ events, one with more positive historical results than the other.  In 1821 Hongi Hika arrived back in NZ from a trip to England bearing 500 muskets, which Maori tribes took to with great gusto in certain parts of the country, and waged war on each other with this new exciting weapon. 

In 1877 Kate Edger graduated as the first BA (in Mathematics and Latin) in the British Empire.  She enrolled in the university without telling them her gender and was accepted.  I might write more about her in a different thread later.


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PostSubject: Re: On this day in history   Wed 22 Jul 2015, 20:27

22 July 1209 – the sack of Béziers and the occasion of the Papal Legate's memorable pronouncement: "Caedite eos. Novit enim Dominus qui sunt eius - Kill them all for the Lord will knoweth them that are His". All in all a rather a low point for chivalry and christianity in the High Middle Ages.

Earlier in the year Pope Innocennt III had called for a crusade against the "heresy" of the Cathars. At the time the south of France, the Languedoc region, was comprised of numerous semi-independent territories, paying only nominal fealty, if any, to the French Crown. In the Languedoc, the Cathar movement had become very popular, not just amongst the poor and disenfranchised, but also amongst the local nobility, landowners, merchants and city authorities.

A crusader army comprising knights and mercenary bands was raised, mostly from northern France, drawn by the usual crusader enticements of forgiveness for sins and the promise of plunder ... and all without having to traipse off to the Middle East. The army, under the command of the Papal Legate, Abbott Arnaud Amalric, duly marched south. On 21 July 1209 they arrived at the first major Cathar stronghold , the ancient city of Béziers. The Viscount of Béziers, Raymond Roger Trencavel, attempted to submit peacefully but his offer was immediately rejected. The city was then given an ultimatum to hand over all the heretics or face destruction, but in a meeting in the cathedral it was decided to reject these terms because of popular support for the cathars. So the Papal army set about preparing to besiege the well-fortified city.

The crusader army was still just getting settled in on 22 July when a group of soldiers from the city attempted to harass a band of mercenaries as they attempted to set up camp. The mercenaries fought back and drove their attackers back into the city, entering one of the city’s gates and then to everyone's surprise overwhelming the city garrison. Joined by other common soldiers they then proceeded to sack the city. The crusader knights and nobles, still outside the walls did nothing as the city’s civillians were butchered, until they realised that they were missing out on all the loot. They then stormed into the city and forced the mercenary bands to give up their plunder. Angry and disappointed the mercenaries responded by setting the city alight. In the chaos the city was burned to the ground and most of the plunder with it. A large number of the population, catholics and cathars alike, had taken refuge in the cathedral, but this too was set alight and eventually collapsed. Reports give the number of survivors of the city, whose population had been swollen by refugees from the surrounding villages, as about 30 persons only.

Amalric’s own version of the siege, described in his letter to the Pope in August 1209 states:

"While discussions were still going on with the barons about the release of those in the city who were deemed to be Catholics, the servants and other persons of low rank and unarmed attacked the city without waiting for orders from their leaders. To our amazement, crying "to arms, to arms!", within the space of two or three hours they crossed the ditches and the walls and Béziers was taken. Our men spared no one, irrespective of rank, sex or age, and put to the sword almost 20,000 people. After this great slaughter the whole city was despoiled and burnt."

About twenty years later Caesarius of Heisterbach related the story about the massacre:

"When they discovered, from the admissions of some of them, that there were Catholics mingled with the heretics they said to the abbot 'Sir, what shall we do, for we cannot distinguish between the faithful and the heretics.' The abbot, like the others, was afraid that many, in fear of death, would pretend to be Catholics, and after their departure, would return to their heresy, and is said to have replied, 'Caedite eos. Novit enim Dominus qui sunt eius' - Kill them all for the Lord will knoweth them that are His, and so countless number in that town were slain."

While there remains doubt that the abbot said these exact words, there is little if any doubt that they captured the spirit of the assault and that the crusaders intended to kill the inhabitants of any stronghold that offered resistance, a policy they stuck to throughout the rest of the Albigensian Crusade against the Cathars.
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PostSubject: Re: On this day in history   Mon 27 Jul 2015, 23:39

27th July, 1965: The Lawson quins were born in NZ, only of one five sets of quintuplets that survived.  Deborah, Sam, Lisa, Shirleen, Selina. They were a huge sensation here and their every step was followed particularly in women's magazines. There was some help for the family with physical things, but no so much counselling help or help with the emotional and social changes. They have now turned 50, all of them still alive. But their lives have not been a bed of roses.  I am listening to two of them on the radio now and they seem to have had a happy childhood, and not really understood how unusual their lives were.  Protected by their parents, in particularly their mother who provided a home as ordinary as they could, with home made food and clothing. But eventually the parents separated when they were six, with their father probably finding the pressure of publicity too hard.  The women on the radio say this wasn't an unhappy time for them; their mother looked after them and they had each other always.

But unfortunately she remarried.  Her new husband (who looks very attractive in a 60s or 70s style) turned out to be very abusive, and eventually murdered their mother, I think when they were 16.  It's been a very hard time for them and I think there was some drinking problems for some of them.  But they seem to have always been very close and still are, and seem to be on an upward path.  There has been a book written about them recently, I gather.  And from what they are hinting, I think the boy prefers to keep his life private and didn't contribute to the book (by a well-known NZ journalist), but the others did. Possibly one boy with four sisters of the same age may have felt a little on the outside always.
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PostSubject: Re: On this day in history   Tue 28 Jul 2015, 08:23

July 28th 1540.


Quite a day today: a Tudor execution and a big fat wedding.


Thomas Cromwell  was hacked to death on Tower Hill:


Many lamented but more rejoiced, and specially such as either had been religious men, or favoured religious persons; for they banqueted and triumphed together that night, many wishing that that day had been seven years before; and some fearing lest he should escape, although he were imprisoned, could not be merry. Others who knew nothing but truth by him both lamented him and heartily prayed for him. But this is true that of certain of the clergy he was detestably hated, & specially of such as had borne swynge [beaten hard], and by his means was put from it; for in deed he was a man that in all his doings seemed not to favour any kind of Popery, nor could not abide the snoffyng pride of some prelates, which undoubtedly, whatsoever else was the cause of his death, did shorten his life and procured the end that he was brought unto.

The Duke of Norfolk was especially gleeful, of course - and the wedding celebrated later that day at Oatlands Palace, Surrey, made his niece, young Catherine Howard, Queen of England.
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PostSubject: Re: On this day in history   Mon 17 Aug 2015, 10:29

Happy Birthday Quake Lake, born this day in 1959.

Unfortunately the area now lying at depths of up to 200 feet below the lake's surface was a popular Montana destination for wildlife lovers and campers at the time. 28 people died when an 80 million ton landslide caused by a relatively moderate earth tremor (7.5 on the Richter scale) blocked the Madison River. An existing lake - Hebgen - was substantially deepened in the event. Quake Lake, further downstream, was formed from scratch.

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PostSubject: Re: On this day in history   Mon 17 Aug 2015, 12:15

In 1896 Mrs Bridget Driscoll was crossing a road in the grounds of the Crystal Palace when she was knocked down and killed by a motor car thus becoming the first pedestrian in the UK to die in this manner.
How she managed to get herself killed is more surprising that the fact there was an accident, the car having a speed limiter restricting it to a maximum of 4.5 mph despite a witness saying it was travelling at a reckless speed, like a fire engine. I can only imagine that both Mrs D. and the driver froze in panic. The car was, at the time, being demonstrated to a prospective purchaser. I bet that went well.

At the inquest the magistrate hoped that Such a thing would never happen again.


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PostSubject: Re: On this day in history   Mon 17 Aug 2015, 16:01

The first screen when I open up Chrome daily has a picture on which to click (if one wishes - I don't always) - the one today was of a balloon and apparently this day in 1978 was the first time a crossing* of the Atlantic was made (by some Americans - from Maine to France).  A few days ago there was a picture of a very ugly frog picture - I thought it was do to with H P Lovecroft's creepy novel whose name I forget - but no, it was the anniversary of Flip the Frog, which was seemingly the first animated cartoon film.

* Edit - of course it wasn't the first time the Atlantic had been crossed - it was the first time said crossing had been made by hot air balloon.  In case I was overly vague before the central picture on the first page of Chrome is linked to a happening on whichever date one opens Chrome some years ago.


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PostSubject: Re: On this day in history   Mon 17 Aug 2015, 18:09

Do you mean "The Shadow over Innsmouth"?
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PostSubject: Re: On this day in history   Mon 17 Aug 2015, 19:29

@Gilgamesh of Uruk wrote:
Do you mean "The Shadow over Innsmouth"?
Quite right.  I was too lazy to "google" it.
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PostSubject: Re: On this day in history   Thu 20 Aug 2015, 12:34

On this day in 14CE Agrippa Postumus, grandson (and adopted son and heir) of Augustus Caesar, was executed/assassinated on the island of Planasia by his guards. Different accounts place this just before or just after Augustus's own death but the consensus either way is that the deed was ordered by Augustus's wife Livia to advance her own son Tiberius's chances of becoming Caesar.

According to Cassius Dio there then ensued a very curious incident, which ultimately led to one of the best examples of mordant humour in history. A slave of Agrippa Postumus called Clemens turned up in Rome around two years later stating that he was in fact Agrippa and would very much like Tiberius to hand over the empire like a decent chappie. Tiberius, understandably, was somewhat less than impressed and, after a few Scarlet Pimpernel-like escapades, the hapless Clemens was at last hunted down and brought before the emperor.

"So," Tiberius is alleged to have asked, "Just how did you come to be Agrippa?" Clemens is said to have replied, "The same way you became Caesar".

Class!
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PostSubject: Re: On this day in history   Fri 21 Aug 2015, 09:28

August 21st 1879 - up to fifteen people claim to have seen the Blessed Virgin Mary, Saint John the Evangelist, Saint Joseph, a lamb on an altar and several flying angels on a gable wall in Knock, County Mayo, Ireland, between eight o'clock and eleven o'clock in the evening. The "Knock Apparition" was to become the basis of a local religious tourism industry which today accounts for a million "pilgrims" to the "shrine" per year.

Mayo at the time had recently spawned The Land League - the first effective and concerted political organisation aimed at reforming a system of land ownership in which a tiny number of wealthy Protestant landlords, many of them resident in England, presided over a system in which literally millions of mostly Catholic tenants could be arbitrarily evicted, their crops seized, and their rents summarily raised to unaffordable levels, without anything by way of legal redress or protection. The Land League would become a national phenomenon and the basis for further political movements agitating for Home Rule and ultimate independence from what was basically a corrupt British dominion.

At the time of the alleged apparition in Knock the local parish priest was a certain Father Cavanagh, a man who was very much on the side of the landlords and their agents, preaching constantly to his "flock" against the temptation to engage in illegal activities that might offend the status quo. Cavanagh lived a little beyond the means one would have expected a priest in such a poverty-stricken part of Ireland to enjoy and one of the little trinkets his inexplicable wealth had allowed him to purchase was a rudimentary "magic lantern" projector.

Go figure.
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PostSubject: Re: On this day in history   Wed 26 Aug 2015, 08:26

August 26th 1970



5th Avenue in New York is brought to a halt as approximately 20,000 protesters celebrate the great "Women's Strike for Equality", headed up by Betty Friedan, then the leading light of what was called "second-wave feminism".

The incident has rightly gone down in history as one of those turning points where public opinion can almost be tangibly felt to shift perceptibly in a new direction, at least in the US. However it should have gone down in history anyway, if only for the slogan on display that caught everyone's eye at the time: "Don't iron while the strike is hot!".

Most modern day observers concur that the aim of the protest 45 years ago today, equality for women, might still be a good idea if it is ever tried.
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PostSubject: Re: On this day in history   Wed 26 Aug 2015, 11:11

What I am mentioning is not of as worldwide importance as Nordmann's citing of the "women's strike for equality" - but Google brought to my attention that it (or perhaps more correctly yesterday was) the 70th anniversary of the "Tomatina" - a large-scale tomato fight that takes place annually in the Spanish town of Bunol (sorry don't know how to type the tilde above the n). 
http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/weird-news/la-tomatina-70-years-biggest-6320667

Thinking of women's equality, some years ago I was having not exactly an argument - more an animated discussion with someone - with a political slant.  We touched on Baroness T and the person I was talking to said "It just goes to show that you shouldn't have women as prime ministers" - I said being a woman does not de facto make someone a bad prime minister - after all we had only ever had one woman prime minister (in the UK at least) and not all the male prime ministers had been good.  It was possible of course the other person might have been trying to wind me up.
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PostSubject: Re: On this day in history   Wed 26 Aug 2015, 21:24

@nordmann wrote:
August 26th 1970

<>

Most modern day observers concur that the aim of the protest 45 years ago today, equality for women, might still be a good idea if it is ever tried.
I wouldn't mind seeing the effect of equality for men, either.
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PostSubject: Re: On this day in history   Fri 04 Sep 2015, 08:58

September 4th 1666 saw the most destruction caused by the catastrophic "Great Fire of London". On this day the lead roof of St Paul's melted and "flowed in rivulets" down Ludgate, according to John Evelyn.

The BBC History website (remember them?) made this nifty little "before and after" gizmo some time ago showing the London skyline as drawn by the Czech draftsman Wenceslas Hollar, his two portrayals of the city separated by twenty years, the second a year after the fire. Use the buttons on the top of the graphic to zero in on known landmarks.

Great Fire of London: Skyline Animation
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PostSubject: Re: On this day in history   Mon 07 Sep 2015, 13:57

Friday September 7th 1666

Samuel Pepys, in his typically understated style, describes an early morning walk through the centre of London, a city still smouldering in the aftermath of the Great Fire which in the space of three days and nights had destroyed almost 80 percent of the fabric of the ancient town.

Up by five o’clock; and, blessed be God! find all well, and by water to Paul’s Wharfe. Walked thence, and saw, all the towne burned, and a miserable sight of Paul’s church; with all the roofs fallen, and the body of the quire fallen into St. Fayth’s; Paul’s school also, Ludgate, and Fleet-street, my father’s house, and the church, and a good part of the Temple the like. So to Creed’s lodging, near the New Exchange, and there find him laid down upon a bed; the house all unfurnished, there being fears of the fire’s coming to them. There borrowed a shirt of him, and washed. To Sir W. Coventry, at St. James’s, who lay without curtains, having removed all his goods; as the King at White Hall, and every body had done, and was doing. He hopes we shall have no publique distractions upon this fire, which is what every body fears, because of the talke of the French having a hand in it. And it is a proper time for discontents; but all men’s minds are full of care to protect themselves, and save their goods: the militia is in armes every where.

I like the bit about borrowing a shirt from John Creed. While Pepys' own house near Old Jewry hadn't succumbed to the flames he, like many others, had hastily packed and despatched all movable belongings to safety so as yet he obviously hadn't had a chance to retrieve his clothes. What makes it amusing is that which is not stated in the excerpt. Creed and Pepys were - sometimes bitter - rivals for the patronage, protection and approval of Lord Sandwich, the man upon whose favour a naval career could be built and whose lack of same would kill such a career stone dead. Creed, one imagines, would have been quite tempted to tell Pepys to sod off. The poor guy was obviously flat out after his own three days of frantic efforts to avoid total devastation as the fire had crept towards his own house. Yet he had the grace to take time out to lend Sam a clean shirt. A moment of 17th century class behaviour preserved for eternity thanks to Samuel's scribbles.


17th century man's shirt
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PostSubject: Re: On this day in history   Tue 15 Sep 2015, 07:36

Modern archaeologists eat your heart out!


Helena Jones of the Doomed Temple

On this day, September 15th 326CE, the emperor Constantine's mammy Helena, while wandering around Jerusalem, found not only the actual burial place of Jesus Christ (of whom she was probably at that point the world's most illustrious fan) but also - wait for it - the entire cross on which he had been crucified!

All of these had been buried, it seemed, under a temple that Hadrian had built dedicated to some floozy like Venus or Aphrodite or Minerva or his Mother (depending on who you believe). Helena, whose son under her influence was to banish such bimboism for ever and replace it with the much more respectable Anointedism as the state religion, wasted no time in having the temple pulled down and the earth beneath it examined for relics.

So successful was this excavation that the dig produced not one but three crosses! Her willing archaeologists (she had declared money was no object so had found many eager relic-hunters who all enjoyed extraordinary success in their endeavours) were stumped as to which of these might be the genuine one and began squabbling amongst one another as to who should claim the reward. Helena however came up with the perfect solution.

Scraping some unfortunate poor wretch "of high rank" up from her deathbed she had her wheeled to the location and ordered to pray before each cross, touching each one in turn of course as she went along. The first two turned out to be duds but when the old hag laid a finger on the third she was suddenly illuminated and shot from her bed like a rocket. Once it was ascertained that Helena's diggers hadn't inadvertently dug up Jerusalem's mains supply this cross was then given the nod as the real one, encased in a gold casket and presented to the local bishop to guard with his life "for posterity".

The cross had a few adventures between then and the early middle ages, at times being seized as war booty and rescued again, along the way travelling to Constantinople and back to Jerusalem again, and always with its current owners enjoying wealth akin to a series of lottery wins. This was one truly lucky talisman indeed! However the mystery behind the wealth was probably explained in the year 1009 when the crusader Arnulf got his hands on the casket and had it opened, finding within the huge box just a small splintered plank rattling around the bottom.

In 1187 Saladin managed to acquire it after the Battle of Hattin and, having paraded the plank upside down in Damascus (the cad!) it (along with the Holy Nails and a few other sundry money-makers) all disappeared from history. At first the Christians back in Holy Europe were mortified but they quickly rallied when they realised that this meant that the several thousand splinters already in circulation now shot up in value.

Helena's church built on the spot - The Church of the Holy Sepulchre - is still there. But be careful if you visit. It's looked after by different Christian types and you know what they're like! In recent years fistfights between Franciscans and Greek Orthodox, Armenians brawling with Orthodox, Orthodox attacking Orthodox and on occasion everyone attacking everyone have become a standard part of the fare served up to unsuspecting tourists.


Franciscan thugs psyching themselves up before the Church of England lads arrive on tour with the national football team.
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PostSubject: Re: On this day in history   Wed 16 Sep 2015, 08:10

Very witty, our nordmann.

I had never seen the connection before, but I suppose Flavia Iulia Helena Augusta was a sort of early Philippa Langley. After reading yesterday's post, I can just imagine her standing there, telling the diggers she's come over all shivery. Perhaps there was a great big "C" on the ground somewhere too? I bet there was, you know.

I wonder how, had three possible Richard IIIs been dug up in Leicester, they would have decided which one was real? The "old hag" (lovely choice of diction there) test wouldn't do - then again you never know.
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PostSubject: Re: On this day in history   Wed 16 Sep 2015, 14:21

September 16th 1847



The Shakespeare's Birthplace Trust is founded and purchases the property after which it is named. The body - funded totally through public charitable donation - is therefore officially the oldest conservation society in Britain and the house it preserved Britain's first officially "listed" building.

In the same month the death toll from starvation and diseases related to the Great Famine in Ireland had just passed the 300,000 mark.
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