" Boredom is a vital problem for the moralist, since at least half of the sins of mankind are caused by the fear of it. "
Bertrand Russell

Back in the day


King Louis XVI of France Tried for Treason

Louis XVI was King of France from 1774 to 1792. As king, one of his greatest responsibilities was to deal with the country's enormous debt, but his indecisiveness and conservatism led the people to reject him. During the uprising that led to the French Revolution, he attempted to flee the country, but was caught when a store clerk supposedly recognized his face from the country's coinage. Tried for treason and found guilty, he was guillotined on January 21, 1793. Who was Louis' infamous wife?



Water Music

The Water Music is a set of instrumental pieces by George Frideric Handel, first performed in London in 1717, on a boat following the royal barge on the Thames. The concert was performed by 50 musicians and featured all the instruments in the Baroque orchestra except the harpsichord, due to its size. Legend has it that Handel composed the Water Music to regain the favor of King George I. What movement from the piece has been frequently used in TV commercials?

Born on a day like today


Pope Leo X

During his papacy from 1513 to 1521, Leo X, born Giovanni of the important Medici family, patronized the arts, was accused of having a lavish lifestyle, and made enemies with France. It was during his papacy that Martin Luther nailed his 95 Theses to the church door at Wittenberg, and Leo X's subsequent excommunication of Luther did nothing to stem the tide of the Reformation. What was "Exsurge Domine," and what did it say?

Last updated on Monday, 11th December 2006

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