" Discretion of speech is more than eloquence, and to speak agreeably to him with whom we deal is more than to speak in good words, or in good order. "
Francis Bacon

Back in the day


The Granada Massacre

When Rabbi Samuel ha-Nagid died around the year 1055, his son Joseph succeeded him as leader of the Jewish community of Granada and vizier to the Berber king. At the time, figures in the Muslim community were unhappy with what they believed to be inordinate Jewish political power. Joseph, who was said to be arrogant and ostentatious, in contrast with his father, was eventually assassinated by a Muslim mob in a siege that also claimed 4,000 Jews of Granada. How was Joseph killed?



Sino-Roman Relations

Indirect contact between the Roman and Chinese empires began around the 2nd century BCE, when the Han Dynasty undertook westward expeditions and found other cultures. By 100 CE, Han ambassadors had tried to reach Rome itself. Ptolemy's Geographia, written circa 150 CE, contains references to China. In 166, Roman ambassadors finally made direct contact with China, and Roman soldiers are rumored to have settled there. Why did the Roman Senate try to prohibit the wearing of Chinese silk?

Born on a day like today


Simon Forman

Forman was arguably the most popular occultist, astrologer, and herbalist in Elizabethan London, despite not possessing a medical degree. He kept detailed records of his unorthodox practice, and his diaries have yielded a wealth of historical information—including contemporary accounts of Shakespeare's plays. He was posthumously implicated in a murder plot that tarnished his reputation and has been characterized as either evil or a quack. What 1611 event is he said to have accurately predicted?

Last updated on Sunday, 30th December 2012

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