" Religious discord has lost her sting; the cumbrous weapons of theological warfare are antiquated; the field of politics supplies the alchemists of our times with materials of more fatal explosion, and the butchers of mankind no longer travel to another world for instruments of cruelty and destruction. "
John Quincy Adams

Back in the day


The Hagia Sophia Is Completed

Distinguished by its size and rising succession of domes, the Hagia Sophia is the supreme masterpiece of Byzantine architecture. First a church, later a mosque, and now a museum, it was designed under Justinian I by Anthemius of Tralles and Isidorus of Miletus and completed in less than six years. Its combination of a longitudinal basilica with a main building was wholly original in the sixth century, as was its use of pendentives. The Hagia Sophia stands on the site of what earlier structure?



Operation Ivory Coast

Operation Ivory Coast was a failed rescue mission conducted by US special forces during the Vietnam War. The goal of the mission was to rescue 61 American prisoners of war thought to be held at a prison camp in North Vietnam. After months of planning and training, an elite team of soldiers helicoptered in and stormed the compound in the early morning of November 21, 1970. The raid was executed successfully, with only a few injuries, but the mission was ultimately deemed a failure. Why?

Born on a day like today


Marlene Dietrich

Dietrich was a German actress and singer. Abandoning an early ambition to be a violinist, she turned to acting and gained international attention as a femme fatale in The Blue Angel (1930). She then moved to Hollywood, where she starred in a series of films that established her glamorous and sophisticated persona. Resisting Nazi pressure to return to Germany, she became a US citizen in 1939. During WWII, she regularly entertained Allied troops, appearing before them how many times?

Last updated on Tuesday, 27th December 2011

More sponsors