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Back in the day


Nevado del Ruiz Erupts in Colombia

When ash began to fall on the Colombian town of Armero, local authorities assured residents that it was safe to stay put, despite geologists' warnings to the contrary. It had been more than 140 years since the last serious eruption of the Nevado del Ruiz, known to residents as "the Sleeping Lion." That night, a lahar—a massive flow of mud and debris—swept down the side of the erupting volcano, destroying Armero. It was the worst natural disaster in Columbian history. How many people were killed?



Ars Amatoria

Written around the time of the birth of Christ, the Ars Amatoria, or Art of Love, is Ovid's handbook for acquiring and keeping a lover. The Roman poet offers practical yet witty advice to both men and women, at times exercising discretion. He often delves into psychology, such as when he suggests making a lover artificially jealous to keep him or her attentive. He advises a young man to gallantly brush any dust from his date's gown. What is his advice if the gown is not dusty?

Born on a day like today


Saint Augustine of Hippo

Augustine was bishop of Hippo, a Roman city that is now Annaba, Algeria. In his early 30s, he converted to Christianity, gave up his position as professor of rhetoric, became a bishop, and turned his home into a monastery. He served for more than 40 years. While he lay dying, Vandals destroyed his city but spared his library. His writings, which include Confessions and De Civitate Dei, deeply influenced Western Christianity. What now-extinct religion did he originally practice?

Last updated on Tuesday, 13th November 2012

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