" I don't like compliments, and I don't see why a man should think he is pleasing a woman enormously when he says to her a whole heap of things that he doesn't mean. "
Oscar Wilde

Back in the day


Sir Francis Drake Begins Circumnavigation of the Globe

Drake, an English buccaneer and navigator, set out in 1577 with five ships to raid Spanish holdings on the Pacific coast of the New World. After abandoning two ships, he navigated the Straits of Magellan with the remaining three, becoming the first Englishman to do so. Another ship was destroyed in a storm, and a fourth returned to England, but Drake continued alone up the coast of S America, crossed the Pacific, rounded the Cape of Good Hope, and arrived in England in 1580. How was he rewarded?



Russkaya Pravda

The Russkaya Pravda was the legal code that grew out of common law and the feudal regulations of the medieval state known as Kievean Rus, the earliest predecessor of modern Ukraine and Russia. Codified by Yaroslav the Wise in the 11th century, it bears a resemblance to contemporary German law but is unique in its omission of capital punishment. It originally allowed the avenging of a murder, but the penalty was later limited to a hefty fine. How was guilt established in the absence of witnesses?

Born on a day like today


Talcott Parsons

From 1927 until his retirement in 1974, Parsons, an American sociologist, trained three generations of students at Harvard University. He was known for his attempt to construct a single theoretical framework within which general and specific characteristics of societies could be systematically classified and was largely responsible for introducing the work of Émile Durkheim and Max Weber to American sociologists. Why was Parsons considered one of the most controversial sociologists in the world?

Last updated on Tuesday, 13th December 2011

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