A famed military commander of the Ming Dynasty in the final years before it was toppled by the Manchurians, Yuan Chonghuan excelled in the use of artillery and brilliantly incorporated Western tactics into his battles. Despite being vastly outnumbered in the 1626 Battle of Ningyuan, his forces defeated those of Manchurian general Nurhaci. Still, rumors that he had collaborated with the enemy spread after he repelled an attack on Beijing in 1629, and he was executed. Who was behind the rumors?
Back in the day
Misattributed to an assistant of Baroque painter Peter Paul Rubens until 2002, when an expert from Sotheby's auction house identified it as the work of the master himself, Massacre of the Innocents is an early 17th-century painting depicting Herod's slaughter of the infants of Bethlehem. One of two paintings Rubens made of the Biblical scene, it fetched £49.5 million ($76 million) at auction and is one of the priciest paintings ever sold. Its style is reminiscent of which Italian painter?
Born on a day like today
Tesla was an inventor and engineer known for his revolutionary contributions to the fields of electricity and magnetism. His inventions made possible the production of alternating-current electric power, and his Tesla coil is still used in radio technology. In 1912, he refused a Nobel Prize because he felt his co-recipient, Thomas Edison, was undeserving of the honor. He spent his final years caring for pigeons. What strange habits earned him a reputation as the quintessential "mad scientist"?