" What would any of us have been, if our fathers hadn't drawed our faculties out of us? "
Charles Dickens

Back in the day


The Battle of Katzbach

During the Napoleonic Wars, France battled the shifting alliances of European powers in an attempt to affirm Napoleon's supremacy. The battle between the French and the Prussians at the Katzbach River, however, came about somewhat by accident. On a stormy August day in the Prussian province of Silesia, the two forces stumbled upon one another. The French recovered from the surprise first and attacked despite orders to defend. Their effort was met with a heavy counterattack. Who won the battle?



Brazen Head

Medieval Europe's version of the Magic 8 Ball, the legendary brazen head was a purportedly prophetic device said to be able to correctly answer any question put to it. Accounts of these devices differ—some are described as mechanical, others as magical—but they always take the form of a man's head. Brazen heads were so widely accepted that even writers, philosophers, and religious leaders allegedly made use of them. What work, often considered the first great novel, features such a head?

Born on a day like today


Peggy Guggenheim

Born to a wealthy New York City family, Guggenheim grew up in luxury, inherited a fortune in her early 20s, and became a friend, patron, and sometime lover to a number of avant-garde artists and writers. She spent the 1930s living in Paris and then London, where she opened her first gallery, Guggenheim Jeune. World War II impelled her return to New York, whereupon she married artist Max Ernst and opened a new gallery featuring her vast collection. Where did she take her collection after the war?

Last updated on Monday, 26th August 2013

More sponsors