The ancient origins of the Dog Days of Summer

According to popular folklore: “Dog Days bright and clear Indicate a happy year; But when accompanied by rain, For better times, our hopes are vain.” It sounds good…but what are the Dog Days of summer, exactly? And what do they have to do with dogs? The exact dates of the Dog Days can vary from source to source and probably they have changed over time. However, most sources agree that they occur in mid- to late summer, from July 3 to August 11. This is soon after the Summer Solstice…

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#TodayInHistory – August 31

August 31 – Some important events on this day. 1142 👉🏼 Possible date for establishment of the Iroquois (Haudenosaunee) League – with the aid of Hiawatha and Deganawidah 1422 👉🏼 Henry VI becomes King of England at the age of 9 months 1772 👉🏼 Hurricane destroy ships off Dominica 1888 👉🏼 The body of Jack the Ripper’s first victim, Mary Ann Nichols, is found in Whitechapel in London’s East End. Jack the Ripper was a serial Killer that, thanks to his horrible crimes, sadly became a celebrity. His failure to…

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#TodayInHistory – August 30

August 30 – Some important events on this day. 257 👉🏼 St Sixtus II begins his reign as Catholic Pope 1146 👉🏼 European leaders outlaw crossbow, intending to end war for all time 1363 👉🏼 Beginning of the Battle of Lake Poyang; two Chinese rebel leaders Chen Youliang and Zhu Yuanzhang are pitted against each other in what was one of the largest naval battles in history during Mongol-led Yuan Dynasty 1590 👉🏼 Tokugawa Ieyasu enters Edo Castle (Traditional Japanese date: August 1, 1590) 1682 👉🏼 William Penn leaves England…

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#TodayInHistory – August 29

August 29 – Some important events on this day. 1350 👉🏼 Battle of Winchelsea (or Les Espagnols sur Mer): The English naval fleet under King Edward III defeats a Castilian fleet of 40 ships 1526 👉🏼 Battle of Mohács: In a decisive battle the Hungarian Empire is conquered by the Ottoman Empire led by Suleiman the Magnificent 1533 👉🏼 Atahualpa, last Sapa Inca Emperor is suspected to have been buried in Northern Peru or in Ecuador. ✔️READ THE ARTICLE! 1825 👉🏼 Portugal recognizes the Independence of Brazil 1831 👉🏼 Scientist…

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Chocolate rain falls in Switzerland

Residents of an industrial area of Olten, a town in north-western Switzerland, just few days ago, have been reporting chocolate powder raining from the sky. Well, if chocolate was ever going to fall from the sky anywhere in the world, it had to be just in Switzerland, the European country well-known for making probably the best chocolate in the world! Reports of chocolate powder falling from the sky in the town of Olten started showing up online a few days ago, accompanied by photos of cars covered in brown. People…

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#TodayInHistory – August 28

August 28 – Some important events on this day. 476 👉🏼 Orestes, father of Emperor Romulus Augustulus is captured and executed by Odoacer and his followers. When Romulus Augustulus came to power as the Emperor of the Western Roman Empire, it was but a fraction of what it had once been. The empire in the East essentially treated its Western realm as a client state. Rome itself had been sacked by barbarians twice in the fifth century. Odoacer was a Germanic mercenary soldier for the Roman army, who when refused…

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Krakatoa: the story of the world’s mightiest explosion

The biggest explosion the world has ever known (try to imagine: an estimated 13,000 times greater than the bomb that destroyed Hiroshima during WWII) happened on this day, August 27 1883, as eruptions of the Krakatoa volcano reached their peak. To understand, the noise of the explosion was heard 3,000 miles (4,800km) away, five cubic miles (21 km^3) of rock and ash were projected 50 miles (80.5km) into the air, while 36.5m tsunamis were created and 36,000 people lost their lives. The island of Krakatoa (originally Krakatau) featured three linked…

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#TodayInHistory – August 27

August 27 – Some important events on this day. 479 BC 👉🏼 Greco-Persian Wars: Battle of Plataea, Persian forces led by Mardonius routed by Greek army under Pausanias; together with Greek success at Battle of Mycale halts Persian invasion of Greece 479 BC 👉🏼 Greco-Persian Wars: Battle of Mycale won by Greek forces over Persian naval troops on Ionian coast, double victory with that at Plataea ends Persian invasion 663 👉🏼 Battle of Baekgang: Tang Chinese and Silla Korean forces defeat Korean Baekje forces and their Yamato Japanese allies on…

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#TodayInHistory – August 26

August 26 – Some important events on this day. 1071 👉🏼 Battle of Manzikert: Seljuq Turks led by sultan Alp Arslan beat and capture Byzantine Emperor Romanos IV Diogenes 1346 👉🏼 Battle of Crécy, south of Calais in northern France: Edward III’s English longbows defeat Philip VI’s army, cannons used for first time in battle 1498 👉🏼 Michelangelo is commissioned to carve the Pietà. 1748 👉🏼 The first Lutheran denomination in North America, the Pennsylvania Ministerium, is founded in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. 1778 👉🏼 The first recorded ascent of Triglav, the…

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#TodayInHistory – August 25

August 25 – Some important events on this day. 325 👉🏼 Council of Nicaea ends with adoption of the Nicene Creed establishing the doctrine of the Holy Trinity 1609 👉🏼 Galileo demonstrates his 1st telescope to Venetian lawmakers 1718 👉🏼 Hundreds of French colonists arrive in Louisiana; New Orleans founded 1768 👉🏼 Captain James Cook departs from Plymouth, England, on his first voyage on board the Endeavour, bound for the Pacific Ocean 1804 👉🏼 Alicia Thornton becomes first female jockey in England riding at Knavesmire in Yorkshire 1875 👉🏼 Captain…

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#TodayInHistory – August 24

August 24 – Some important events on this day. 49 BC 👉🏼 Julius Caesar’s general Gaius Scribonius Curio is defeated in the Second Battle of the Bagradas River by the Numidians under Publius Attius Varus and King Juba of Numidia. Curio commits suicide to avoid capture. 79 👉🏼 Mt Vesuvius erupts, buries Roman Pompeii and Herculaneum, 15,000 die 410 👉🏼 Rome overrun by Visigoths under Alaric I for the first time in nearly 800 years, seen as the fall of the Western Roman Empire. The fall and collapse of the…

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#TodayInHistory – August 23

August 23 – Some important events on this day. 79 👉🏼 Mount Vesuvius begins stirring, on feast day of Vulcan, Roman god of fire (goes on to destroy Pompeii) 476 👉🏼 Odoacer proclaimed King of Italy by his troops, 1st barbarian King of Italy 1305 👉🏼 William Wallace, Scottish patriot, is executed for high treason by Edward I of England. One of the great heroes of Scotland, William Wallace was one of the main leaders of the First War of Scottish Independence. In September 1297 he defeated the English army…

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#TodayInHistory – August 22

August 22 – Some important events on this day. 565 👉🏼 St Columba reports seeing monster in Loch Ness 1454 👉🏼 Jews are expelled from Brunn Moravia by order of King Ladislaus 1485 👉🏼 Battle of Bosworth Field: Henry Tudor’s forces defeat English King Richard III during last battle in the Wars of the Roses. Richard is killed, the last English monarch to die in battle. 1603 👉🏼 1st stones laid in Zuiderkerk, Amsterdam 1639 👉🏼 Madras (now Chennai), India, founded by the British East India Company on sliver of…

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#TodayInHistory – August 21

August 21 – Some important events on this day. 1192 👉🏼 Minamoto Yoritomo becomes Seii Tai Shōgun and the de facto ruler of Japan. (Traditional Japanese date: July 12, 1192) 1264 👉🏼 Kublai Khan accepts the surrender of his younger brother Ariq Böke at Xanadu, at the end of the Mongol civil war 1321 👉🏼 160 Jews of Chincon France, burned at stake 1541 👉🏼 Ottoman Turks under Suleiman the Magnificent capture Buda, the capital of the Hungarian Kingdom and go on to dominate central Hungary for 150 years 1703…

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#TodayInHistory – August 20

August 20 – Some important events on this day. 2 👉🏼 Venus and Jupiter in conjunction – possible astrological explanation for Star of Bethlehem 1000 👉🏼 The foundation of the Hungarian state, Hungary is established as a Christian kingdom by Stephen I of Hungary. 1597 👉🏼 1st Dutch East India Company ships return from the Far East 1612 👉🏼 9 Pendle witches hanged at Gallows Hill in Lancaster, England 1619 👉🏼 1st known African Americans in English North America (approx. 20) land at Point Comfort (Fort Monroe), Virginia. They are…

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#TodayInHistory – August 19

August 19 – Some important events on this day. 43 BC 👉🏼 Octavian, later known as Augustus, compels the Roman Senate to elect him Consul 1274 👉🏼 Edward I is crowned King of England at Westminster Abbey after returning from the Ninth Crusade 1692 👉🏼 Five more people hanged for witchcraft (20 in all) in Salem, Massachusetts. Perhaps the most notorious case of mass hysteria in colonial America, the Salem witch trials saw around 200 people accused of witchcraft, with 19 found guilty and executed. Another man was crushed to…

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#TodayInHistory – August 18

August 18 – Some important events on this day. 293 BC 👉🏼 The oldest known Roman temple to Venus is founded, starting the institution of Vinalia Rustica (grape harvest festival) 1201 👉🏼 The city of Riga is founded 1737 👉🏼 First public admittance to the Salon de Paris art exhibition at the Louvre in Paris 1817 👉🏼 60-70ft (18-21 meters) sea serpent sightings reported offshore in Gloucester, Massachusetts 1838 👉🏼 United States Exploring Expedition headed by Charles Wilkes departs for the Pacific Ocean and Antarctica 1868 👉🏼 French Astronomer Pierre…

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#TodayInHistory – August 17

August 17 – Some important events on this day. 1585 👉🏼 Antwerp surrenders after 8 months siege by Duke of Parma 1590 👉🏼 Governor of Roanoke Island colony, John White, returns from England to find no trace of the colonists he had left there 3 years earlier 1858 👉🏼 1st bank in Hawaii opens 1891 👉🏼 1st public bathhouse with showers opens in NYC (People’s Bath) 1891 👉🏼 Electric self-starter for automobile patented 1903 👉🏼 Joe Pulitzer donates $1 million to Columbia University & begins the Pulitzer Prizes in America…

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#TodayInHistory – August 16

August 16 – Some important events on this day. 1384 👉🏼 Hongwu Emperor of Ming China, Emperor Dong, hears case of couple who tore money bills while fighting over them (equal to act of destroying stamped government documents – law necessitated 100 floggings). Hongwu Emperor decides to pardon them. 1819 👉🏼 Peterloo Massacre, Manchester, England: cavalry charges demonstrators, 15 people killed and 400–700 injured 1896 👉🏼 Gold first discovered in Klondike, found at Bonanza Creek, Alaska by George Carmack 1930 👉🏼 I British Empire Games open in Hamilton, Canada 1945…

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Ferragosto: history, traditions (and curses) of one of the most beloved holidays in Italy

Celebrated on August 15, the so called Ferragosto may well be considered the height of the Italian summer: many Italians still take their summer vacation around this time, with the cities traditionally emptying and the beaches filling up (at least, until few years ago). Ferragosto, which today coincides with the Catholic feast of the Assumption of Mary (a Catholic dogma established in 1950 by Pope Pius XII), is a holiday that goes back to Roman emperor Augustus’ times. Several festivals took place during the month of August to celebrate the…

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#TodayInHistory – August 15

August 15 – Some important events on this day. 778 👉🏼 Battle of Roncevaux Pass: Roland, commander of the rearguard of Charlemagne’s army is defeated by the Basques 1248 👉🏼 Construction of Cologne Cathedral begun 1461 👉🏼 Empire of Trebizond surrenders to forces of Sultan Mehmet II – last Byzantine Empire remnant to fall. Emperor David exiled and later murdered. 1519 👉🏼 Panama City founded by Spanish conquistador Pedro Arias Dávila 1534 👉🏼 Ignatius of Loyola forms society of Jesus/Jesuits 1537 👉🏼 Asunción, Paraguay, is founded. 1540 👉🏼 Arequipa, Peru,…

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#August 14, 1936: America’s Last Public Hanging

On this day, August 14, 1936 a crowd estimated at 10,000 to 20,000 gathered at Owensboro, Kentucky, to watch the last ever public hanging in the United States. The fact that the prisoner was a young black man and that the sheriff overseeing the execution was a white woman intensified the interest of both the public and the Press and, as a result, reporters from across the country arrived to cover the event. In details, a certain black guy named Rainey Bethea, 22, had been found guilty of raping a…

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#TodayInHistory – August 14

August 14 – Some important events on this day. 554 👉🏼 Ravenna becomes seat of Byzantine military governor in Italy 1040 👉🏼 King Duncan I of Scotland killed in battle against his first cousin and rival Macbeth (not murdered in his sleep as in Shakespeare’s play). The latter does succeed him as King. 1281 👉🏼 During Kublai Khan’s second Mongol invasion of Japan his invading Chinese fleet of 3,500 vessels disappears in a typhoon near Japan. In 1274 the Mongol Empire under Kublai Khan launched the first of two failed…

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#TodayInHistory – August 13

August 13 – Some important events on this day. 3114 BC 👉🏼 According to the Lounsbury correlation, the start of the Mayan calendar 1326 👉🏼 Aradia de Toscano, according to legend/folklore, is initiated into a Dianic witchcraft cult and subsequently founds the tradition of Stregheria, later known as the Malandanti. 1521 👉🏼 Spanish conquistadors under Hernán Cortés capture Aztec Emperor Cuauhtémoc in Tenochtitlan marking the end of the Aztec Empire 1536 👉🏼 Buddhist monks from Kyōto’s Enryaku Temple set fire to 21 Nichiren temples throughout Kyoto in the Tenbun Hokke…

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The unsolved mystery of Madagascar, the gold ship vanished in 1853

The frigate Madagascar left Melbourne for London on this day, August 12, 1853 with more than 150 passengers and its crew…but also nearly three tons of gold on board. It was never seen again. The Madagascar was a sturdy British merchant vessel built in 1837, used for carrying soldiers to India as well as passengers looking for an exotic vacation on the Indian sub-continent. However, by the 1850s, Victoria was in the grip of a gold rush and the ship found it had a new role in its life: instead…

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#TodayInHistory – August 12

August 12 – Some important events on this day. 3 👉🏼 Venus-Jupiter in conjunction-Star of Bethlehem 1121 👉🏼 Battle of Didgori: the Georgian army under King David the Builder wins a decisive victory over the famous Seljuk commander Ilghazi 1323 👉🏼 Treaty of Nöteborg between Sweden and Novgorod (Russia) regulates the border for the first time 1480 👉🏼 Battle of Otranto: Ottoman troops behead 800 Christians for refusing to convert to Islam 1851 👉🏼 American inventor Isaac Singer patents the sewing machine 1853 👉🏼 The frigate Madagascar left Melbourne for…

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#TodayInHistory – August 11

August 11 – Some important events on this day. 3114 BC 👉🏼 The Mesoamerican Long Count calendar, used by several pre-Columbian Mesoamerican civilizations, notably the Mayans, begins. 2492 BC 👉🏼 Traditional date of the defeat of Bel by Hayk, progenitor and founder of the Armenian nation. 480 BC 👉🏼 Greco-Persian Wars: Battle of Artemisium – Persian naval victory over the Greeks in an engagement fought off north coast of Euboea. 1863 👉🏼 Cambodia becomes French protectorate 1919 👉🏼 Weimar Constitution adopted in Germany. On this day, Friedrich Ebert, a member…

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August 10th: the tears of Saint Lawrence and the night of the shooting stars

In August, as Earth’s orbit crosses the dust ejected by the comet Swift-Tuttle (the largest object known to repeatedly pass by Earth) provides a fabulous spectacle for viewers on Earth. It is a regular event every year and, as usual, it will reach its peak between the 10th of August (St. Lawrence) and the 12th. Despite talk of “shooting stars”, the Perseids are actually debris (dust and ice) left behind by the comet Swift-Tuttle as it goes around the Sun. The comet last reached perihelion, the closest point to the…

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#TodayInHistory – August 10

August 10 – Some important events on this day. 612 BC 👉🏼 Killing of Sinsharishkun, King of Assyrian Empire. Destruction of Nineveh. 70 👉🏼 Second Temple in Jerusalem set on fire by Roman army under Titus during the capture of the city 258 👉🏼 St. Lawrence was burned alive on a blazing gridiron. Due to this legendary coincidence, the shooting stars that occur on the night of St. Lawrence are said to represent the tears shed by the Saint during his torture, that drift eternally in heaven only to descend…

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#TodayInHistory – August 9

August 9 – Some important events on this day. 48 BC 👉🏼 Caesar’s civil war: Battle of Pharsalus – Julius Caesar decisively defeats Pompey at Pharsalus and Pompey flees to Egypt. 378 👉🏼 Battle of Adrianople: Goth army defeats Roman forces under Emperor Valens 681 👉🏼 Bulgaria is founded as a Khanate on the south bank of the Danube, after defeating the Byzantine armies of Emperor Constantine IV south of the Danube delta. 1173 👉🏼 Construction of the Tower of Pisa begins, and it takes two centuries to complete. 1483…

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