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
When Holy Roman Emperor Frederick Barbarossa laid siege to the Italian city of Crema, he allegedly let his troops play football with the severed heads of his captives.
Quote of the Day
"How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single moment before starting to improve the world. "
~ Anne Frank
On This Day
43 BCE The assassination of Cicero, requested by Marc Antony. When his head was delivered to Anthony, his wife, Fulvia, spat on it and jabbed hairpins into his tongue.
1732 The Theatre Royal, now known as the Covent Garden Opera House, opened with a performance of the Beggar's Opera.
1787 Delaware became the first state of the modern United States.
1817 Rear-Admiral William Bligh died. He had been captain of HMS Bounty during the mutiny.
1941 The Japanese launched a surprise attack on the American naval base a Pearl Harbour, Hawaii, killing 2,403.
1982 Charles Brooks Jr became the first person to be executed by lethal injection, with a huge dose of 'truth serum'