" There's nothing new under the sun, but there are lots of old things we don't know. "
Ambrose Bierce

Back in the day


Krak des Chevaliers Conquered

One of the most important preserved medieval military castles in the world, the Krak des Chevaliers in Syria was the headquarters of the Knights Hospitaller during the Crusades. The largest Crusader fortress in the Holy Land, it could hold up to 2,000 soldiers and included a chapel, a storage facility, and two stables that could accommodate up to 1,000 horses. Though it is estimated that the Hospitallers could have withstood a siege for five years, the fortress was captured in 1271. How?



Lion Baiting

Baiting is a blood sport that involves setting game dogs upon an often chained up animal for the purpose of subduing it by incapacitating or killing it. In 1610, during the reign of James I of England, the first recorded lion-baiting event was staged for the amusement of his court. The practice continued in the UK until the early 19th century, when public outrage brought the issue to the attention of parliament. What became of the one dog that survived the 1610 event?

Born on a day like today


David Rittenhouse

Rittenhouse was a renowned American astronomer, inventor, mathematician, surveyor, and the first director of the US Mint. A clockmaker by trade, he developed many mathematical instruments, including perhaps the first telescope in the US. He later used tools he created to establish several state lines as well as part of the boundary known as the Mason-Dixon Line. What is said to have happened to Rittenhouse in 1769 as he observed the rare transit of Venus for which he had spent a year preparing?

Last updated on Thursday, 8th April 2010

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