" And what he greatly thought, he nobly dared. "
Homer

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Song Dynasty General Yue Fei Is Executed

One of China's greatest generals and patriotic heroes, Yue helped establish a southern foothold for the Song dynasty while preventing the advance of the Juchen, who had taken the former Song capital in the north. However, his attempt to recapture the lost territory was opposed by one of the emperor's counselors, who earned a reputation as a traitor for relinquishing the north to the Juchen and having Yue executed. According to legend, what phrase did Yue's mother tattoo across his back?

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The Dance of the Seven Veils

Though the Dance of the Seven Veils is not mentioned in the biblical account of John the Baptist's death, it has come to be associated with the event in subsequent retellings of the story. King Herod is said to have offered his stepdaughter, Salomé, anything she wanted in exchange for a dance—in which she removed seven layers of clothing. At the prompting of her mother, she demanded the head of John the Baptist after her performance. What Assyrian myth may have inspired the dance?

Born on a day like today

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Soong Ch'ing-ling

Born to an influential Chinese family, Soong was educated in the US. She returned to China, became prominent in revolutionary politics, and married Sun Yat-sen, a revolutionary 26 years her senior now known as the father of modern China. She and her sisters—along with their husbands, including Chiang Kai-shek—became some of the most significant political figures in the Communist government, with Soong becoming vice chair after Sun's death. What magazine, still in publication, did she found?

Last updated on Sunday, 27th January 2013

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