" He who blinded by ambition, raises himself to a position whence he cannot mount higher, must thereafter fall with the greatest loss. "
Niccolo Machiavelli

Back in the day


Roger Williams Immigrates to Colonial America

An English clergyman and early espouser of Puritanism, Williams immigrated to the Massachusetts Bay colony in 1631, but it was not long before his then-unorthodox views on religious toleration, Indian rights, and the separation of church and state brought about his banishment. He headed south and in 1636 founded Providence, the first settlement of the Rhode Island colony. Under his leadership, the colony became a haven for religious dissenters. What other practice was he an early opponent of?




From the Latin word for darkening—obscurans—comes obscurantism, referring to the practice of deliberately withholding information. This may be done either by concealing facts or—in literature and art—by using an intentionally vague style. The term derives from a 16th-century satire about the dispute between Jew-turned-Dominican friar Johannes Pfefferkorn, who sought to destroy all Jewish texts, and his humanist opponent Johann Reuchlin. Who gave Pfefferkorn permission to burn the works?

Born on a day like today


Andreas Papandreou

Andreas was the second of three generations of Papandreou men to serve as Greece's head of state. While in exile after a 1967 military coup, he formed what would become the Panhellenic Socialist Movement (Pasok). He returned to Greece after the fall of the junta and in 1981 became the country's first socialist premier. He resigned in 1989 amid financial scandals and mounting budget deficits, but this did not keep him from becoming prime minister again in 1993. When did his son take the reins?

Last updated on Wednesday, 5th February 2014

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