The Year was A Date Lost in Antiquity

It was a pagan holiday. Now, the first day of November is called All Soul’s Day. According to various religions, this is the day to pray for the dead. In the Roman Catholic Church tradition, those who have gone to Heaven are Saints. Those who still have a chance to get into Heaven, who have…

The Year was 800

It was a power struggle. Who was the most powerful man in their world? Pope Leo III? Or Charlemagne? The Pope, to keep his position as head of the world, said he would crown Charlemagne emperor. Charlemagne, believing himself to be the head of the world, said no way. Charlemagne was tall, maybe as tall…

The Year was 1540

Court painter Hans Holbein had an off-with-your-head mess on his hands. He knew it the instant he laid eyes on sisters Anne and Amalia of Cleves. For once, Holbein’s boss, Henry VIII, was listening to his political advisor and not his heart. As Henry sought Wife 4th, his chamberlain, Thomas Cromwell, warned him, “Look for…

The Year was 1600

Did the Earth revolve around the Sun? No! But brilliant mathematician and astronomer Giordano Bruno was saying it did. Not only that. He also said that our solar system was just one of many. Born in Naples, Bruno became a Dominican friar, but his freethinking ideas were not going down too well with the Church….

The year was 3300 BCE

Knowing when the new year began was vital for existence – planting, harvesting, rainy season, dry season. And honoring the right gods at the right time was crucial. Humans did it for 2.5 million years before the Sumerians finally wrote it down in 3300 BCE. The new lunar year officially began on the first moon…

The Year was 1380

Twins Catherine and Giovanna were the 23rd and 24th children of Giacomo de Benincasa, a cloth dyer, and his wife, Lapa. Giovanna soon died. At seven, Catherine made a vow to remain a virgin for life. As a teenager, she advised, “Build a cell inside your mind, from which you can never flee.” When Catherine…

The Year was 1118

Canon Fulbert of Notre Dame wanted an excellent education for his brilliant teenage niece, Heloise. Who better than the most preeminent and respected scholar in the land, the monk Peter Abelard? At 39, Abelard was a famed philosopher and teacher, handsome and regal. Not only was Heloise brilliant, she was also strikingly beautiful. Shockingly, Abelard…

The year was 1163

That was the year a fateful progression of events began with a single act: a priest in England was accused of a murder. The king, the powerful Henry II, demanded that the priest be tried for the crime in his secular court system. The Archbishop of Canterbury, Thomas Becket, who was Henry’s good friend and…

The Year was 1492

No one died from gout – the Disease of Kings. So the doctor was not particularly worried about his patient, Lorenzo de’ Medici, called Lorenzo the Magnificent, one of the richest men in the world. But because Lorenzo was suffering from a pretty bad episode, the doctor changed the treatment. To the usual ground-up pearls,…

The Year was 432

Six years a slave. Irish pirates stole the 16-year-old Brit, calling him Padraig, making him take care of pigs. He escaped, made it back home, and became a cleric and then Padraig did a strange thing – he returned to Ireland in 432 AD. Everything about Padraig, Saint Patrick, the patron saint of Ireland, is…