" Eulogy, n.: Praise of a person who has either the advantages of wealth and power, or the consideration to be dead. "
Ambrose Bierce

Back in the day


Romanos Is Crowned Co-Emperor of the Byzantine Empire

Romanos advanced through the ranks of the Byzantine military to become an influential figure in the royal court. In May 919, he arranged for the marriage of his daughter to the teenage Emperor Constantine VII and was declared "Father of the Emperor." The next year, he was crowned co-emperor, and he then made his own sons co-emperors. However, in 944, Romanos's sons arrested him and made him become a monk to prevent him from naming Constantine VII his successor. What happened to them?



Pike and Shot

Though the earliest guns were developed in the 14th century, they did not immediately replace all other weapons. Rather, the armies of Europe began using combined formations in which troops armed with newfangled firearms—"shot"—fought alongside those with large, reliable spears—"pike." Known as "pike and shot," the technique represented a transitional period in the history of warfare. By the end of the 17th century, pikes had been replaced by bayonets. When did US troops carry pikes into battle?

Born on a day like today


William Safire

Safire was an American journalist and a speechwriter for US President Richard Nixon, who once ordered Safire's phone be tapped. In 1973, Safire became a syndicated political columnist for The New York Times, a post he held until 2005. A master of wordplay, he also wrote regularly on language-related topics. After Safire wrote a column in which he insulted a first lady, a White House aide remarked that if the president were not the president, he would have responded in what way?

Last updated on Monday, 17th December 2012

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