For almost three decades, Colin Steer had wondered what had caused the living room floor beneath his sofa to dip but it was only after he retired that he discovered his family had been sitting on a piece of history.
Intrigued by the sunken floor, the retired civil servant has uncovered a 33ft medieval well in the house where he and wife Vanessa have lived for almost 25 years.
After three days of work Mr Steer, from Plymouth, Devon, stopped digging at 17ft and is now trying to date the unexpected find. Plans show the well dates back to the 16th century.
“I was replacing the joists in the floor when I noticed a slight depression – it appeared to be filled in with the foundations of the house,” he said.
“I dug down about one foot but my wife just wanted to me to cover it back up because we had three children running around at the time.
“I always wanted to dig it out to see if I could find a pot of gold at the bottom, so when I retired at the end of last year that’s what I started to do.”
Read more on the Daily Telegraph
Mairi Chisholm and Elsie Knocker tend to a wounded Belgian soldier in their advanced dressing station, Pervyse, Belgium. (www.greatwardifferent.com)
St. Stephen’s Basilica (Hungarian: Szent István-bazilika) is a Roman Catholic basilica in Budapest, Hungary. It is named in honour of Stephen, the first King of Hungary (c 975–1038), whose right hand is housed in the reliquary. It was the sixth largest church building in Hungary before 1920. Today, it is the third largest church building in present-day Hungary.
The ‘Princes in the Tower’ were Edward (1470-1483) and Richard (1473-1483), the sons of Edward IV. Shortly after Edward was crowned Edward V, he and his brother disappeared and were never seen alive again.
Edward was born in London in 1470. His brother Richard, Duke of York, was born in 1473 in Shrewsbury. Their parents were Edward IV and his wife, Elizabeth Woodville. Edward IV had come to the throne as a result of the Wars of the Roses and managed to restore a certain amount of stability to the country.
Edward IV died suddenly on 9 April 1483 and his eldest son was proclaimed Edward V at Ludlow. Edward’s uncle, his father’s brother, Richard, Duke of Gloucester, was named as protector. Elizabeth Woodville and her supporters attempted to replace Gloucester with a regency Council, aware of the dislike Gloucester had for them. As the new king, Edward V, travelled towards London, he was met by Gloucester and escorted to the capital, where he was lodged in the Tower of London. In June, Edward was joined by his brother, the Duke of York.
The boys were declared illegitimate because it was alleged that their father was contracted to marry someone else before his marriage to Elizabeth Woodville.
In July 1483, Richard, Duke of Gloucester was crowned Richard III. The two boys were never seen again. It was widely believed that their uncle had them murdered.
Via BBC - History
Full article on BBC - History
The 1820s saw Charles Babbage work on his ‘Difference Engine’, a machine which could perform mathematical calculations. A six-wheeled model was initially constructed and demonstrated to a number of audiences. He then developed plans for a bigger, better, machine - Difference Engine 2. He also worked on another invention, the more complex Analytical Engine, a revolutionary device on which his fame as a computer pioneer now largely rests. It was intended to be able to perform any arithmetical calculation using punched cards that would deliver the instructions, as well as a memory unit to store numbers and many other fundamental components of today’s computers. The remarkable British mathematician Ada Lovelace completed a program for the Analytical Engine but neither it, nor Difference Engine 2, were finished in Babbage’s lifetime.
The church of Hagia Sophia in Constantinople, now Istanbul, was first dedicated in 360 by Emperor Constantius, son of the city’s founder, Emperor Constantine. Hagia Sophia served as the cathedra, or bishop’s seat, of the city. Originally called Megale Ekklesia (Great Church), the name Hagia Sophia came into use around 430. The first church structure was destroyed during riots in 404; the second church, built and dedicated in 415 by Emperor Theodosius II, burned down during the Nika revolt of 532, which caused vast destruction and death throughout the city.
Immediately after the riots, Emperor Justinian I (r. 527–65) ordered the church rebuilt. The new building was inaugurated on December 27, 537. Architects Anthemios of Tralles and Isidoros of Miletos most likely were influenced by the mathematical theories of Archimedes.
The vast, airy naos, or central basilica, with its technically complex system of vaults and semi-domes, culminates in a high central dome with a diameter of over 101 feet 31 meters and a height of 48.5 meters. This central dome was often interpreted by contemporary commentators as the dome of heaven itself. Its weight is carried by four great arches, which rest on a series of tympana and semi-domes, which in turn rest on smaller semi-domes and arcades. This complicated structural system was prone to problems: the first dome collapsed in 558, to be rebuilt in 562 to a greater height. Earthquakes and earth subsidence have also taken their toll on the building over the centuries, although the surviving main structure is essentially that which was first built between 532 and 537.
The interior of Hagia Sophia was paneled with costly colored marbles and ornamental stone inlays. Decorative marble columns were taken from ancient buildings and reused to support the interior arcades. Initially, the upper part of the building was minimally decorated in gold with a huge cross in a medallion at the summit of the dome. After the period of Iconoclasm (726–843), new figural mosaics were added, some of which have survived to the present day.
After Mehmed II’s conquest of the city in 1453, Hagia Sophia was converted to a mosque (Ayasofya Camii), which it remained until the fall of the Ottoman empire in the early twentieth century. A view of Hagia Sophia during the conquest is conveyed in a woodcut by Pieter Coecke van Aelst depicting the procession of Süleyman the Magnificent through the Hippodrome. During this period, minarets were built around the perimeter of the building complex, Christian mosaic icons were covered with whitewash, and exterior buttresses were added for structural support. In 1934, the Turkish government secularized the building, converting it into a museum, and the original mosaics were restored.
(Article via Metmuseum)
White Tower i.e. Weisser Turm, Rothenburg i.e. ob der Tauber, Bavaria, Germany (via http://www.old-picture.com)
Justinian I, commonly known as Justinian the Great, was Byzantine Emperor from 527 to 565. During his reign, Justinian sought to revive the Empire’s greatness and reconquer the lost western half of the classical Roman Empire.
One of the most important figures of Late Antiquity and the last Roman Emperor to speak Latin as a first language, Justinian’s rule constitutes a distinct epoch in the history of the Eastern Roman Empire. The impact of his administration extended far beyond the boundaries of his time and domain. Justinian’s reign is marked by the ambitious but only partly realized renovatio imperii, or “restoration of the Empire”. This ambition was expressed by the partial recovery of the territories of the defunct Western Roman Empire. His general Belisarius swiftly conquered the Vandal Kingdom in North Africa, extending Roman control to the Atlantic Ocean. Subsequently Belisarius, Narses, and other generals conquered the Ostrogothic Kingdom, restoring Dalmatia, Sicily, Italy, and Rometo the Empire after more than half a century of barbarian control.
The prefect Liberius reclaimed most of southern Iberia, establishing the province of Spania. These campaigns re-established Roman control over the western Mediterranean, increasing the Empire’s annual revenue by over a million solidi. During his reign Justinian also subdued the Tzani, a people on the east coast of the Black Sea that had never been under Roman rule before.
A still more resonant aspect of his legacy was the uniform rewriting of Roman law, the Corpus Juris Civilis, which is still the basis ofcivil law in many modern states. His reign also marked a blossoming of Byzantine culture, and his building program yielded such masterpieces as the church of Hagia Sophia, which was to be the center of Eastern Orthodox Christianity for many centuries.
A devastating outbreak of bubonic plague (see Plague of Justinian) in the early 540s marked the end of an age of splendor. The Empire entered a period of territorial decline not to be reversed until the ninth century.
Procopius provides the primary source for the history of Justinian’s reign. The Syriac chronicle of John of Ephesus, which does not survive, was used as a source for later chronicles, contributing many additional details of value. Both historians became very bitter towards Justinian and his empress, Theodora. Other sources include the histories of Agathias, Menander Protector, John Malalas, the Paschal Chronicle, the chronicles of Marcellinus Comes and Victor of Tunnuna.
Justinian is considered a saint amongst Orthodox Christians, and is also commemorated by some Lutheran Churches.
Article via http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Justinian_I
“Quick! What’s the first thing that pops into your head when we say “slave rebellion”? If you have even a little bit of a history education, you’ll say Nat Turner’s 1831 revolt in Virginia. It involved over 70 slaves who killed 55 white men, women and children, and it ended after the official executions of 55 slaves, with 200 more unofficially tortured and/or killed by angry white mobs. Nat Turner’s story is the most well-known slave rebellion in American history. But it wasn’t the largest or most remarkable, not by a long shot.
In 1811, a slave named Charles Deslondes led between 200 and 500 uniformed, semi-armed, flag-bearing multi-ethnic slaves toward New Orleans, and they weren’t coming for goddamned Mardi Gras. They wanted to conquer the city and establish a black republic on the Louisiana coast.
For years, Deslondes had played the part of the loyal, trustworthy slave, all the while plotting a revolution, just like the one that happened in his home country of Haiti a few years earlier. But he wasn’t interested in a Nat Turner-style helter-skelter slaughter. Which was why his conspirators didn’t steal just the weapons of their masters, but their militia uniforms and marching drum as well, and why between 10 and 25 percent of the local slave population joined them. For seven hours, the army marched from plantation to plantation, picking up more slaves and leaving destroyed homes and terrorized slave owners behind as they made their way to New Orleans.
By the next morning, refugees from the plantations had warned the New Orleans militia of the coming insurrection, and the better-armed whites easily squelched the revolt. Charles Deslondes was never tried for the insurrection, but that was probably because he was shot, mutilated and burned alive before anyone had the chance to formally arrest him.”
article via Cracked
Gilles de Rais
About 140 children died [by him], sacrificed to demons and Satan or to satisfy his sexual lust. By 1440 he was hanged, his (false) tears under the gallows couldn’t save him. Gilles de Rais (also spelled Retz) was born on September 10, 1404 and had his life extinguished on October 26, 1440. He was a French noble man, soldier and even fought beside Joan of Arc. He was convicted of torturing, raping and murdering hundreds of children which were mainly boys. According to most historians, this aristocrat along with Erzsebet Bathory, who later commits her crimes a century later, are the true pioneers in to the dark realm of the serial killer.
In the following years from 1427 to 1435 Rais served as a commander in the Royal Army. During these years, in 1429 Rais had honor to fight alongside Joan of Arc against the English and the Burgundian allies. Gilles later became one part of a trio of commanders that held a quasi-ceremonial title of Marechal which is a subordinate position directly under the Royal Connetable. He held this title on the crornation of Charles VII on July 17, 1429.
In 1435 Gilles de Rais retired from the life of war and military servitude to promote theatrical performances and thus squandering the riches that took him so long to acquire. It was at this point that Gilles met Francesco Prelati. Prelati promised Rais that he could regain his lost riches by joining the occult practices and sacrificing children to the demon named “Barron”.
On May 15, 1440, during a dispute with a clergyman named Jean le Ferron at the Church of Saint Etienne de Mer Morte, the clergyman was kidnapped with Rais being the prime suspect and Bishop Nantes led the investigation into the world of Gilles de Rais. The findings were released on July 29, 1440 and the Bishop was able to persuade the Duke of Brittany to drop personal immunity for Rais. On August 24 Jean le Ferron was released and Gilles along with his accomplices were arrested on September 15. Gilles de Rais was brought up on charges including murder, sodomy and heresy.
On October 21, Rais confessed to the charges in which the courts then cancelled their plans to torture him into confessing. The transcripts from the missing children’s parents and the graphic detailed descriptions on the murders by Rais’ accomplices were too grotesque and vulgar that they were ordered by the judge to be stricken from the record.
It is written that Gilles lured his children victims who were mostly profiled as blond haired with blue eyes, just as Rais was as a young boy, to his house. He then preceded raping, torturing and mutilating the victims. He would often ejaculate, probably by masturbation, over the dying victim. After Gilles de Rais and his accomplices decapitated the victims, he would then line them up to see which victims looked the most fair. There is no definite proven amount of murders due to the fact that most were burned or buried. Noted guesses range from 80 to 200 with some numbers even reaching 600. The victims were between the ages of six to eighteen and were comprised of males and females. He favored boys but girls often worked out the same when need arose.
On October 23 Henriet and Poitou, Gilles’ accomplices were condemned. On October 25 Gilles de Rais was sentenced with excommunication and condemned on the same day. After pleading remorse for his crimes, Rais obtained was allowed confession in the Church. Gilles de Rais, Henriet and Poitou were hanged on October 26 1440.
“If you’ve ever used birth-control pills, or had asthma, arthritis, hemorrhoids, eczema, allergies, chronic lung illness, cancer or weak little baby muscles, you can thank Percy Julian for inventing steroids. It was one of the most crucial advancements in modern medicine — there probably isn’t a single person reading this who hasn’t been treated with a steroid at some point.
Way back in 1940, Julian figured out how to isolate the hormones progesterone, estrogen and testosterone from soybean oil, which was a huge deal. Up until that point, scientists had only taken tiny steps in figuring out what to do with these hormones, since they only had a miniscule amount to work with.
Now Percy Julian was synthesizing $10,000 worth of sex hormones a day, and the effect on the world was profound: Within a few years, one guy figured out how to use cortisone to treat arthritis. A few years later, another guy figured out how to prevent ovulation using progesterone, inventing a little thing most ladies refer to as “the pill.” So, yeah, kind of a big deal. In fact, the arthritis guy got a Nobel Prize for his work.”
(source: cracked.com: 5 Important People Who Were Screwed Out of History Books)
In 1278, Henry, the abbot of the Cistercian monastery in Sedlec, was sent to the Holy Land by King Otakar II of Bohemia. He returned with him a small amount of earth he had removed from Golgotha and sprinkled it over the abbey cemetery. The word of this pious act soon spread and the cemetery in Sedlec became a desirable burial site throughout Central Europe.
In the mid 14th century, during the Black Death, and after the Hussite Wars in the early 15th century, many thousands were buried in the abbey cemetery, so it had to be greatly enlarged.
Around 1400, a Gothic church was built in the center of the cemetery with a vaulted upper level and a lower chapel to be used as anossuary for the mass graves unearthed during construction, or simply slated for demolition to make room for new burials.
After 1511, the task of exhuming skeletons and stacking their bones in the chapel was given to a half-blind monk of the order.
Between 1703 and 1710, a new entrance was constructed to support the front wall, which was leaning outward, and the upper chapel was rebuilt. This work, in the Czech Baroque style, was designed by Jan Santini Aichel.
In 1870, František Rint, a woodcarver, was employed by the Schwarzenberg family to put the bone heaps into order, yielding a macabre result.
Shaikh Salim Chishti was a Sufi saint during Mughal Empire in South Asia. Salim Chishti (1478 – 1572) was one of the famous Sufi saints of the Chishti Order in India.
Salim Chisti, leading his Shaikzada division, fought in the Battle of Haldighati on the side of Akbar against Maharana Pratap.
Salim Chishti was a greatly revered Sufi Mystic who, it was thought by many, could perform wonders. The Mughal Emperor Akbar-e-Azam went to the shrine of Hazrat Ashraf Jahangir Semnani, but on his travels, had received inspiration to go to see Salim Chishti. Akbar came to the holy man’s camp, deep in the desert, seeking a male heir to his throne. Salim Chishti blessed Akbar, and soon the first of three sons was born to him. He named his first son Salim (later emperor Jahangir) in honor of Salim Chishti. A daughter of Sheikh Salim Chishti, was the foster mother of Emperor Jahangir. The emperor was deeply attached to his foster mother, as reflected in the Jahangirnama and he was extremely close to her son Qutb-ud-din Khan Koka whose was made the governor of Bengal and his descendants are still to be found in Sheikhupur, Badaun.
Akbar held the Sufi in such high regard that he had a great city Fatehpur Sikri built around the Sufi Saint’s camp. His Mughal Court and Courtiers were then relocated there. A shortage of water is said to be the main reason that the city was abandoned and it now sits in remarkably good condition as a mostly deserted city. Now it is one of the main tourist attractions of India.
Italian art historians claim they have found 100 previously unknown works by Caravaggio, one of the giants of the [Baroque].
The sketches and paintings, if proved to be authentic, would be worth an estimated 700 million euros (£560 million).
Experts said that after two years of rigorous analysis, they had found “remarkable similarities” between the newly-discovered works, kept in a castle in Milan, and the known works of Caravaggio.
But the announcement came out of the blue, caused an immediate storm in the art world and raised as many questions as it answered.
The historians apparently managed to keep their research a secret for two years, but on Friday their findings will be published in a lavish, two-volume, 600-page e-book in four languages.
The works are believed to date from Caravaggio’s earliest years as a painter, when he was a young apprentice under Simone Peterzano, a mannerist painter in Milan, from 1584 to 1588.