Today in History for 7th September 2018

Historical Events

1923 – Mary Katherine Campbell (Ohio), 16, crowned 2nd Miss America 1922-23
1952 – Whitey Ford becomes 5th pitcher to hurl consecutive 1 hitters
1970 – Donald Boyles sets record for highest parachute jump from a bridge, by leaping off of 1,053′ Royal George Bridge in Colorado
1979 – The Entertainment and Sports Programming Network (ESPN) makes its debut.
1981 – Jerry Lewis’ 16th Muscular Dystrophy telethon raises $31,500,000
2008 – 25th MTV Video Music Awards: Britney Spears and Chris Brown win

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Famous Birthdays

1929 – T. P. McKenna [Thomas Patrick McKenna], Irish actor (Rivals, Holocaust), born in Mullagh, Ireland (d. 2011)
1942 – Alan Oakes, British footballer (Manchester City), born in Winsford, England
1946 – Willie Crawford, American baseball player (Los Angeles Dodgers), born in Los Angeles, California (d. 2004)
1972 – Jason Isringhausen, American pitcher (NY Mets), born in Brighton, Illinois
1981 – Gökhan Zan, Turkish footballer, born in Antakya, Hatay, Turkey
1986 – Colin Delaney, American professional wrestler, born in Rochester, New York

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Famous Deaths

1644 – Guido Bentivoglio, Italian statesman (b. 1579)
1719 – John Harris, English writer
1872 – Antoni Stolpe, Polish pianist and composer, dies at 21
1940 – Edmund Rumpler, Austria auto/airplane builder, dies
1991 – Archie N Menzies, playwright/composer (Under Your Hat), dies at 87
2004 – Bob Boyd, American baseball player (b. 1925)

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Phaeton

Phaeton

History Today

A horrifying tale of reckless daring and ecological catastrophe.

Phaeton (or Phaethon, the ‘shining one’) was the son of a water nymph, Clymene, and, allegedly, the sun god Helios. In order to confirm that he really was his father, Helios promised by the river Styx to grant Phaeton any wish. Phaeton asked to drive the sun god’s chariot. According to Ovid’s Metamorphoses, Helios tried to dissuade him, warning his son that not even Jupiter (Zeus), king of the gods, could control the fiercely hot chariot pulled by fire-breathing horses. But Phaeton was adamant in his demands and Helios finally granted him his wish.When Phaeton stepped into the chariot, the horses, used to the great weight of the sun god, thought it empty. Confused, they reared and Phaeton lost control. The horses, driven wild, scorched the earth, reducing Africa to a desert. Mother Earth, in danger of burning up, appealed in desperation to Zeus for help. In order to preserve her, Zeus struck the chariot with a thunderbolt.Revealing the influence of Michelangelo and Tintoretto, Rubens depicts Phaeton falling from the chariot, his hair on fire, mirroring a blazing earth, which terrifies the deities of the seasons portrayed on the left of the painting.The epitaph of the fallen Phaeton reads: ‘Here Phaeton lies who in the sun god’s chariot fared. And though greatly he failed, more greatly he dared.’This myth of youthful courage and tragedy is referenced in four of Shakespeare’s dramas: Richard II, Romeo and Juliet, Two Gentlemen of Verona and Henry VI. It has inspired a number of composers, including Jean-Baptiste Lully, Camille Saint-Saëns, Paul Hindemith and Benjamin Britten. In 2002, Volkswagen took the interesting decision to name a car after Phaeton, in an attempt to compete in the luxury market dominated by its rivals Mercedes and BMW. It was not the success that Volkswagen hoped for.

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Today in History for 6th September 2018

Historical Events

1543 – French and Turkish fleet occupies Nice
1634 – Battle at Nordlingen ends in Swedish/protestant German defeat
1819 – Thomas Blanchard patents lathe
1972 – Summer Olympics resume in Munich, Germany after massacre of 11 Israeli athletes by Black September Palestinian terrorist organisation
1980 – French runner Chantal Langlacé sets women’s 100k world record (7h 27m 22s) in Amiens, France
1987 – Conjoined twins Benjamin and Patrick Binder separated at John Hopkins Hospital

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Famous Birthdays

1729 – Moses Mendelssohn, German Jewish enlightenment philosopher (Haksalah), born in Dessau, Principality of Anhalt (d. 1786)
1819 – Nicolae Filimon, Romanian writer and critic (Ciocoii Vechi Si Noi), born in Bucharest, Romania (d. 1865)
1911 – Harry Danning, American baseball player, born in Los Angeles, California (d. 2004)
1953 – Katherine Cannon, American actress (Father Murphy, Survivors), born in Hartford, Connecticut
1969 – Aaron Pierce, American NFL halfback (NY Giants), born in Seattle, Washington
1971 – Pavel Patera, Czech hockey forward (Team Czech Rep, Olympic gold 1998), born in Kladno, Czech Republic

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Famous Deaths

1974 – Olga Baclanova, actress (Freaks, Docks of NY), dies at 75
1979 – Ronald Binge, British composer (Elizabethan Serenade, Sailing By), dies at 69
1994 – Max Kaminsky, trumpeter, dies at 85
1995 – Buster Mathis, American heavyweight boxer, dies at 52
2003 – Harry Goz, American actor (b. 1932)
2003 – Mohammad Oraz, Iranian mountain climber (b. 1969)

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Today in History for 5th September 2018

Historical Events

1781 – French fleet of 24 ships under Comte de Grasse defeat British under Admiral Graves at Battle of the Chesapeake [Battle of the Virginia Capes] in American Revolutionary War
1955 – WKRG TV channel 5 in Mobile, AL (CBS) begins broadcasting
1961 – USSR performs nuclear test at Eastern Kazakh/Semipalitinsk USSR
1966 – WRLK TV channel 35 in Columbia, SC (PBS) begins broadcasting
1978 – Anwar Sadat, Menachem Begin and Jimmy Carter begin Egypt-Isreal peace conference at Camp David
1994 – Kirgizia government resigns

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Famous Birthdays

1695 – Carl Gustaf Tessin, Swedish politician, born in Stockholm, Sweden (d. 1770)
1722 – Frederick Christian, Elector of Saxony, born in Dresden Castle, Dresden, Germany (d. 1763)
1944 – Dario Bellezza, Italian poet, born in Rome (d. 1996)
1970 – Brad Hopkins, American NFL tackle (Houston Oilers), born in Columbia, South Carolina
1970 – Liam Lynch, American musician (Sifl and Olly), born in Petersburg, Virginia
1977 – Rosevelt Colvin, American football player, born in Indianapolis, Indiana

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Famous Deaths

1917 – Marian Smoluchowski, Polish physicist (b. 1872)
1920 – Robert Harron, American actor (Birth of a Nation, Intolerance), accidentally shot to death at 27
1942 – François de Labouchère, French aviator of World War II, compagnon de la Libération. (b. 1917)
1978 – Joe Negroni, American rock vocalist (Frankie Lymon and The Teenagers), dies of a brain hemorrhage at 37
1988 – Lawrence Brown, American trombonist (Duke Ellington Orchestra), dies at 81
1997 – Georg Solti, conductor, dead, dies at 84

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On the Spot: John Bew

On the Spot: John Bew

History Today

‘What is the most common misconception about my field? That it is ‘great man’ history.’

[[{“fid”:”43596″,”view_mode”:”float_right”,”fields”:{“format”:”float_right”,”field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]”:”John Bew.”,”field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]”:”John Bew.”,”external_url”:””},”link_text”:null,”type”:”media”,”field_deltas”:{“1”:{“format”:”float_right”,”field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]”:”John Bew.”,”field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]”:”John Bew.”,”external_url”:””}},”attributes”:{“alt”:”John Bew.”,”title”:”John Bew.”,”class”:”media-element file-float-right”,”data-delta”:”1″}}]]Why are you a historian of statecraft and foreign affairs?Both my parents are historians, which played a part. Growing up in a highly politicised environment – Northern Ireland during the 1980s and 1990s – was also important.What’s the most important lesson history has taught you?I’ve become favourable to those who used history as a spur to imagination and source of inspiration. Both Attlee and Churchill were avid readers of history but believed in mankind’s ability to escape its grip when the moment came.Which book has had the greatest influence on you?Eric Hobsbawm’s Nations and Nationalism, J.G.A. Pocock’s The Machiavellian Moment and Paul Kennedy’s The Rise and Fall of the Great Powers.What book in your field should everyone read?Henry Kissinger’s World Order or Friedrich Meinecke’s Machiavellianism.Which moment would you most like to go back to?Bantry Bay, Christmas 1796, when Lord Castlereagh, Chief Secretary in Ireland, looked out at the remnant of a failed French invasion fleet.Which historian has had the greatest influence on you?Jon Parry and Brendan Simms.Which person in history would you most like to have met?Lord Castlereagh, Britain’s much-maligned Foreign Secretary. He was awkward and shy but saw so much in his life.What foreign languages do you speak?I can read French and a reasonable amount of German.What’s the most exciting field in history today?The intellectual history of international relations.What historical topic have you changed your mind on?The Treaty of Vienna, 1815 – not perfect, but better than the 1919 Treaty of Versailles.Which genre of history do you like least?I’m impressed by economic history but can’t get into it.Is there a major historical text you have not read?Robert Caro on LBJ.What’s your favourite archive?The manuscript room of the Library of Congress in Washington, DC.What’s the best museum?Blenheim Palace.What is the most common misconception about your field?That it is ‘great man’ history.What will future generations judge us most harshly for?Having the same flaws as every other generation.Michelangelo or Frida Kahlo?Frida Kahlo.Normans or Anglo-Saxons?Anglo-Saxons.Rome or Athens?Rome.Braudel or Gibbon?Gibbon.John Bew is Professor in History and Foreign Policy at King’s College London and author of Citizen Clem: A Life of Attlee (Riverrun, 2016).

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Today in History for 4th September 2018

Historical Events

1944 – Finland breaks diplomatic contact with Nazi Germany
1961 – Carol Burnett-Richard Hayes Show premieres on CBS radio
1965 – Beatles’ single “Help!” goes #1 and stays #1 for 3 weeks
1967 – 6.5 earthquake of Kolya Dam India, kills 200
1982 – Arson fire engulfs apartment-hotel in LA, 25 die
2002 – Before a U.S. Congressional panel, Doris Roberts testifies that age discrimination is prevalent in Hollywood

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Famous Birthdays

1908 – Edward Dmytryk, director (Carpetbaggers, Young Lions, Caine Mutiny)
1913 – Stanford Moore, US biochemist (Nobel 1977)
1929 – Thomas F Eagleton, (Sen-D-MO, 1968-86/VP candidate-D-1972)
1931 – Mitzi Gaynor [Francesca von Gerber], American actress, singer and dancer (Anything Goes, South Pacific), born in Chicago, Illinois
1948 – Samuel Hui, Hong Kong singer
1979 – Kosuke Matsuura, Japanese racing driver

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Famous Deaths

1709 – Jean-Francois Regnard, French comedic poet/slave in Algeria, dies
1784 – Cesar F Cassini “the Thury”, French astronomer (geodesic labor), dies
1962 – William Clothier, American tennis player (US Open-1906) and 1st president of tennis hall of fame, dies at 80
1990 – Henry Faas, [Wandelganger], Dutch journalist (Volkskrant), dies
1991 – Thomas Tryon, actor (Cardinal)/writer (Other), dies at 65
1993 – Herve Villechaize, actor (Fantasy Island), shoots self to death at 50

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Today in History for 3rd September 2018

Historical Events

590 – St Gregory I begins his reign as Catholic Pope
1189 – Richard the Lionheart is crowned in Westminster. 30 Jews are massacred after the coronation – Richard ordered the perpetrators be executed
1943 – General Castellano signs cease fire treaty in Sicily
1951 – TV soap opera “Search for Tomorrow” debuts on CBS
1972 – American women’s 4 x 100m medley relay team of Melissa Belote, Cathy Carr, Deena Deardurff and Sandy Neilson swim world record 4:20.75 to beat East Germany for gold at the Munich Olympics
1984 – South Africa adopts constitution

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Famous Birthdays

1903 – Willem Kooiman, Dutch theologist/church historian
1917 – Eddie “Brat” Stanky, Phil Rizzuto’s nemisis/2nd baseman (Dodgers)
1923 – Terry Wilson, American actor (Wagon Train, Escape to Witch Mountain), born in Huntington Park, California (d. 1999)
1931 – Rudolf Kelterborn, composer
1953 – Khabib Munir, Syria, cosmonaut (Soyuz TM-3 backup)
1982 – Kaori Natori, Japanese singer and model

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Famous Deaths

1653 – Claudius Salmasius, [Claude Saumaise], French linguistic, dies at 65
1720 – Henri de Massue, Marquis de Ruvigny, 1st Viscount Galway, French soldier and diplomat, dies at 72
1935 – Johannes Aengenent, Bishop of Haarlem (1928-35), dies at 62
1983 – Ellie Lambeti, Greek actress (b. 1926)
1994 – Major Lance, American soul singer (The Monkey Time), dies at 55
1995 – Roye England, modeller/museum curator, dies at 88

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Beyond the Warrior Queen

Beyond the Warrior Queen

Eleanor Parker

Medieval women wielded spiritual and political power in subtly effective ways.

This year’s 1,100th anniversary of the death of Æthelflæd, Lady of the Mercians, has brought some welcome attention to the story of a powerful Anglo-Saxon woman. As a political and military leader, Æthelflæd is the kind of woman modern audiences are often surprised to find recorded in early medieval history. It would be encouraging if one effect of this anniversary were an increased awareness of the many different ways in which medieval women could be influential – in roles as culturally important, though perhaps less immediately appealing to modern sensibilities, as warrior queen.One family of women who should be better known are celebrated in a group of texts collectively called the Kentish Royal Legend, an important source for the history of the early Anglo-Saxon church. This text deals with the history of Kent in the period when it was the richest and most powerful of the Anglo-Saxon kingdoms, focusing on the genealogical line of Æthelberht, the first Anglo-Saxon king to accept Christianity, and his wife Bertha.It begins with Æthelberht’s baptism by St Augustine at the end of the sixth century, then follows the history of Æthelberht and Bertha’s descendants over several generations. In each generation it gives particular prominence to their female descendants, the women of the Kentish royal house, highlighting their role in the spread of Augustine’s mission during the first century of the English church.The Kentish Royal Legend survives in a number of different versions, in Latin and Old English, and, although it has a complicated history, its ultimate origins may lie at the abbey of Minster-in-Thanet, the community whose foundation story is recorded in the text. It may be that the first version (which does not survive) was written by or for the nuns of Minster, perhaps in the middle of the eighth century, and the text’s focus on the women of the Kentish royal family makes this an appealing possibility.It describes the life of Æthelberht’s daughter, Æthelburh, presenting her marriage to Edwin of Northumbria as instrumental in the conversion of Edwin’s kingdom and telling how Æthelburh founded a religious community at Lyminge in Kent. It also mentions Eanswythe, Æthelburh’s niece, who was believed to have been part of a similar community at Folkestone, as well as several other prominent women commemorated as religious leaders by the Anglo-Saxon church.Most of all, it celebrates a woman named Domne Eafe, the founder of Minster Abbey. The text tells how Domne Eafe, the great-granddaughter of Æthelberht and Bertha, managed to obtain land for the foundation of her monastery from Ecgberht, king of Kent. Her two young brothers had been murdered by one of the king’s followers, so Ecgberht offered Domne Eafe restitution for their murder in the form of land. The Kentish Royal Legend describes how she managed to manoeuvre the king into giving her as much land as she wanted (and perhaps more than he intended) by persuading him to grant her all the lands which her pet deer could run around on the island of Thanet. She set the deer running and it followed the course of her will, marking out the ground for her abbey, which the king had to grant.This story is, of course, not to be taken too literally, yet it is striking how the text presents Domne Eafe: it emphasises her mastery of the situation and her subtle but powerful control of both the king and the deer. In her skilful manipulation of the king, bringing good out of the evil of her brothers’ murder, she demonstrates the ability to wield what the Anglo-Saxons called ræd, the practical wisdom and good judgement which was deemed an essential quality of an effective ruler. This was apparently how the nuns of Minster Abbey chose to remember their founding mother.Today we are still finding out new information about the women celebrated in the Kentish Royal Legend: recent archaeological investigations at Lyminge have radically changed our understanding of the importance of that settlement, while in Folkestone an ongoing project called Finding Eanswythe is aiming to uncover more about this little-known woman. But understanding the importance of early medieval women like these is often not just about literally uncovering new information, but also learning to recognise models of leadership – such as Domne Eafe’s inspired manoeuvring – unfamiliar to modern eyes. For the early readers of the Kentish Royal Legend, this clever abbess was one of a family of women whose spiritual and political influence, in successive generations, played a formative role in the establishment of the Anglo-Saxon church.Eleanor Parker is Lecturer in Medieval English Literature at Brasenose College, Oxford and writes a blog at aclerkofoxford.blogspot.co.uk.

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