A victory that is so costly in terms of men and resources that it seems no different from losing. It comes from King Pyrrhus of Epirus, who was fighting against the Romans in the Pyrrhic Wars (c.280BCE). Pyrrhus is supposed to have said 'If we are victorious in one more battle with the Romans, we shall be utterly ruined' (Plutarch, Life of Pyrrhus, 21:8).
Fact of the Day
The term 'freelance' derives from Walter Scott's description of Medieval mercenaries in his book 'Ivanhoe'.
Quote of the Day
"London, that great cesspool into which all the loungers of the Empire are irresistibly drained. "
~ Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
On This Day
1559 King Henri II of France was injured in a jousting accident when a lance shattered on his shoulder, sending splinters into his eye. He died 10 days later, leaving the throne of France to his son Francis II, husband of Mary Queen of Scots.
1688 The Immortal Seven - a group of seven politicians, religious leaders and nobles who were upset with the rule of James II - sent a letter to William of Orange, stadholder of the Netherlands, inviting him to invade England. The invitation provided William - later William III - with the cover of legitimacy he needed to effect the 'Glorious Revolution'.
1837 Punishment by pillory was finally abolished in Britain.
1882 Charles Guiteau, an American writer and lawyer, was executed by hanging almost exactly a year after he shot President James A. Garfield, who died of his wounds two months later.
1934 Hitler's political opponents and the leadership of the SA were either murdered or imprisoned in the Night of the Long Knives.
1937 The world's first emergency telephone number "999" was introduced in London.
1940 German military forces began their occupation of the Channel Islands, the only British territory to be occupied by the Nazis in Europe. They remained in control of the four islands - Jersey, Guernsey, Alderney and Sark - until May 1945.