53 - 68 – On this day in 53 A.D., Roman Emperor Nero marries Claudia Octavia, his step-sister and first wife. He would tire of her after a few years and divorce her after his mistress became pregnant. He eventually charged Claudia with adultery, had her banished, and on this day in 62 A.D., ordered her "suicide." Nero was famed for his tyranical rule and his brutal persecution of Christians as scapegoats following the Great Fire of Rome." Nero saw several rebellions put down during his reign, including Boudica's revolt in Britian and The First Jewish War. He lost support over his tax policy, and the Roman Senate ordered his death. He committed suicide on this day in 68 A.D.
721 – Odo of Aquitaine defeats the Moors in the Battle of Toulouse, one of the major battles fought by the Franks that spelled the end of the first attempted Muslim conquest of Europe. An argument can be made the we are now in the middle of the second.
1310 – Duccio's Maestà Altarpiece, a seminal artwork of the early Italian Renaissance, is unveiled and installed in the Siena Cathedral in Siena, Italy.
1667 – The Raid on the Medway by the Dutch fleet begins. The Dutch bombarded and captured Sheerness, went up the River Thames to Gravesend, then up the River Medway to Chatham, where they burnt three capital ships and ten lesser naval vessels and towed away the Unity and the Royal Charles, flagship of the English fleet. The raid led to a quick end to the war and a favourable peace for the Dutch. It is considered to be the greatest defeat in English naval history
1732 – James Oglethorpe is granted a royal charter for the colony of Georgia.
1815 – The Congress of Vienna concludes. Its redrew Europe's political map after the French Revolutionary Wars, the Napoleonic Wars, and the dissolution of the Holy Roman Empire.
1856 – 500 Mormons leave Iowa City, Iowa and head west for Salt Lake City carrying all their possessions in two-wheeled handcarts.
1928 – Charles Kingsford Smith completes the first trans-Pacific flight in a Fokker Trimotor monoplane, the Southern Cross.
1930 – Chicago Tribune reporter Jake Lingle is killed during rush hour at the Illinois Central train station by the Leo Vincent Brothers, allegedly over a $100,000 gambling debt owed to Al Capone.
1934 – Donald Duck makes his debut in The Wise Little Hen.
1944 – The Soviet Union invades East Karelia and the previously Finnish part of Karelia, occupied by Finland since 1941.
1954 – Joseph Welch, special counsel for the United States Army, lashed out at Senator Joseph McCarthy during hearings on whether Communism had infiltrated the Army – giving McCarthy the famous rebuke, "You've done enough. Have you no sense of decency, sir, at long last? Have you left no sense of decency?"
1967 – Six-Day War: Israel captured the Golan Heights from Syria.
1985 – Thomas Sutherland became one of the many unfortunates kidnapped in Lebanon at the direction of Iran. He was held for six years before being released in 1991. He later won a $353 million judgment against Iran's frozen assets in the U.S.
1672 – Tsar Peter I (Peter the Great) of Russia. He was one of the great leaders of history.
1849 – Michael Peter Ancher, Danish painter (d. 1927)
1891 – Cole Porter, American composer and lyricist (d. 1964)
1916 – Robert McNamara, U.S. Defense Secretary and President of the World Bank
1870 – Charles Dickens, one of the all-time great English authors.
Holidays and Observances
Germanic Neopaganism: Day of Remembrance for Sigurd the Volsung, a legendary hero of Norse mythology, as well as the central character in the Völsunga saga. The earliest extant representations for his legend come in pictorial form from seven runestones in Sweden and most notably the Ramsund carving (c. 1000) and the Gök Runestone (11th century). He is the hero in the German Nibelungenlied, and Richard Wagner's operas Siegfried and Götterdämmerung.
Roman Catholic Church celebrates the feast of Saint Primus and Felicianus, brothers and patricians in Ancient Rome who converted to Christianity and devoted themselves to caring for the poor and visiting prisoners. Arrested during Diocletian's reign, they both refused to sacrifice to the public gods. They were imprisoned and tortured. Still refusing to recant their faith, Emperor Diocletian at Nomentum (12 miles from Rome) in 297 A.D.
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