" In individuals, insanity is rare; but in groups, parties, nations, and epochs it is the rule. "
Friedrich Nietzsche

Back in the day


Maximilien Robespierre Guillotined

A disciple of Jean-Jacques Rousseau and a capable articulator of the beliefs of the left-wing bourgeois, Robespierre was known to his contemporaries as "The Incorruptible" because of his selfless devotion to the French Revolution. He was an influential member of the Committee of Public Safety, the political body that controlled France during the bloody revolutionary period known as the "Reign of Terror." What famous statement did Robespierre make regarding the execution of Louis XVI?



The Derveni Papyrus

The Derveni Papyrus, Europe's oldest surviving manuscript, is an ancient Greek papyrus scroll dating to approximately 340 BCE. Found in Derveni, in northern Greece, in 1962, the scroll is an allegorical commentary on a poem ascribed to the mythic poet Orpheus which discusses the birth of the gods. It begins with the words "Close the doors, you uninitiated," a famous admonition to secrecy. Why did it take 44 years from the scroll's discovery for its full text to be published?

Born on a day like today


Marcel Duchamp

Duchamp was a French-American artist often associated with the Dada and Surrealist movements of the 1920s. His paintings and sculptures served to break down prevailing notions about "fine art" and deliver poignant political and social critiques of mainstream and "highbrow" culture. He developed the term "readymade" to refer to found objects chosen by the artist as art. His most famous works include Nude Descending a Staircase and Fountain. What is featured in the latter work?

Last updated on Monday, 28th July 2008

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