" It does make a difference what you call things. "
Kate Wiggin

Back in the day


Caesar Crosses the Rubicon

When it appeared that the Roman Senate would replace him as governor of the province of Cisalpine Gaul, the increasingly powerful Julius Caesar set out for Rome with an army. By law, he was allowed to command troops only within his own province, so by crossing the Rubicon River into Italy proper, he committed an act of war. The phrase "crossing the Rubicon" has thus come to refer to passing the point of no return. According to legend, what famous remark did Caesar make about his risky decision?




According to the Hebrew Scriptures, God sent poisonous serpents to bite the Israelites for speaking against him and Moses. When Moses prayed for help on the people's behalf, God advised him make the Nehushtan—a bronze serpent set upon a pole—which would cure the snakebites of anyone who looked upon it. The Talmud asserts that it was not the act of looking up at the snake that cured victims but of looking up at God. Eventually, however, the Nehushtan became an object of worship. Who destroyed it?

Born on a day like today


John Emerich Edward Dalberg Acton, 1st Baron Acton

Denied admission to Cambridge University because of his Roman Catholicism, Acton studied instead in Munich. He went on to become a noted historian and member of English Parliament. Outspoken against arbitrary power, he was also an editor of a Catholic monthly but resigned due to papal criticism of his scientific approach to history. He coined the saying "Power tends to corrupt; absolute power corrupts absolutely." Another of Acton's sayings is that a strong man with a dagger is followed by whom?

Last updated on Thursday, 10th January 2013

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