A time in ancient Rome lasting from about 150BCE until the assumption of power by Octavian in 30BCE. It covers a period when the foundations of the Republic became more shaky, with 'great men' achieving dominance and often ignoring the laws and traditions of the Senate.
Fact of the Day
During the Napoleonic Wars, the Royal Navy used c. 80,000 barrels of gunpowder every year.
Quote of the Day
"And if I am to estimate the penalty justly, I say that maintenance in the Prytaneum is the just return. "
~ Plato reporting Socrates' suggestion for punishment
On This Day
1314 The Scottish army, led by Robert the Bruce, won a decisive landmark victory over Edward II's English at the Battle of Bannockburn.
1509 Henry VIII and Catherine of Aragon enjoyed a lavish joint coronation at Westminster Abbey. Thirteen days after their low-key wedding, it was intended to be their big celebration.
1519 Lucrezia Borgia, daughter of Pope Alexander VI, died, ten days after giving birth to her tenth child. To history, she is known - with no evidence - as a poisoner, but she was a powerful woman in her own right and reigned as the Governor of Spoleto, a position usually held by cardinals.
1812 Napoleon’s Grand Army crossed the Nieman River, beginning the ill-fated invasion of Russia. Despite gaining considerable land during the summer, the Army was defeated and pushed out of Russia within six months.
1947 Private pilot Kenneth Arnold reported what is widely thought to be the first post-war UFO sighting, of nine shiny objects speeding past Mount Rainier at about 1,200 mph.
1948 The Soviet Union began the Berlin Blockade, blocking the Western Allies' transport access to West Berlin following the introduction of the Deutsche Mark. It was the first key East-West conflict of the Cold War.