The catacombs—underground tunnel systems lined with recesses for bodies—of Rome date to about the 1st century and were built due to land shortages and because persecuted Christians needed a place to bury their dead. Early Christians also took refuge and occasionally worshipped in the tunnels. Thus they are unique in their abundance of Early Christian artwork and iconography. Forgotten for centuries, the catacombs were accidently rediscovered in 1578. Why is Rome uniquely suited for such tunnels?
John F. Kennedy
Back in the day
Today, the science behind parhelia—also known as "sun dogs"—is well understood, but when the huge, glowing halos and miniature suns appeared in the sky above Stockholm in 1535, it was a major event. A painting of the occurrence is the earliest color depiction of Stockholm, then a crowded cluster of stone buildings on an island. It is also the earliest depiction of sun dogs and is largely scientifically accurate. What were some of the conflicting interpretations of the omen at the time?
Born on a day like today
One of the premier composers and players of Latin music, Puente was an American bandleader, pianist, and virtuoso percussionist. He formed his own band in 1947 and rose to prominence with the salsa, mambo, merengue, and cha-cha-cha fads of the 1950s. Always experimenting, he became a pioneer of Latin-jazz fusion and recorded more than 100 albums, winning multiple Grammy awards. His compositions include "Pare Cochero" and "Oye Como Va." On what TV shows did Puente appear as a guest star?