The buying or selling of ecclesiastical privileges, such as pardons or benefices.
Fact of the Day
Among the many people who bought coats of arms at the beginning of the seventeenth century was the common hangman of London, Gregory Brandon.
Quote of the Day
"Is life not a hundred times too short - to get bored? "
On This Day
193 Roman emperor Didius Julianus was executed by his successor, Septimius Severus. He had been emperor for a mere nine weeks, having bought the position when it was auctioned off by the Praetorian Guard.
1533 Anne Boleyn, second wife of Henry VIII, was crowned Queen of England.
1939 Naval submarine HMS Thetis sank during trials in Liverpool Bay. Ninety-nine of her crew suffocated and there were just four survivors.
1962 Adolf Eichmann, organiser of the Holocaust, was executed at midnight (between 31 May and 1 June) for crimes against the Jewish people. He had evaded capture and justice for 15 years.