Pontius Pilate killed himself after he ordered the crucifixion. In A.D. 36, Caligula ordered Pilate to Rome to answer charges of cruelty in the massacre of a group of Samaritans. Shortly thereafter, Pilate committed suicide, possibly by order of Caligula or in anticipation of harsh treatment.
The Liberator. Simon Bolivar (1783-1830), leader in the quest for Latin American independence; also, Daniel O’Connell (1775-1847), Irish nationalist leader in the British House of Commons. The Hammer. Charles Martel (688-741?), Frankish ruler who stopped the Muslim invasion of Europe. The Upright. Abu Bakr (c. 573-634), the first Muslim caliph and successor to Muhammad. Mr. […]
She was Evelyn Nesbit Thaw, a beautiful young woman who had been seduced at age fifteen by architect Stanford White. At the time of the seduction, she was single and a showgirl in the “Floradora” company. She met White in a room with a red velvet swing. After she married, her husband Harry Thaw grew […]
Henry Morton Stanley, a journalist, was commissioned by the New York Herald in 1871 to find the explorer David Livingstone, who had been missing for two years. Stanley trekked through Africa for six months before meeting Livingstone, the only other white man within 1,000 miles.
As the subject of the first children’s book of the same name, the character Goody Two-Shoes helped to usher in the children’s book industry. Goody Two-Shoes was a poor girl, who, when given a pair of shoes, became so happy that she told everyone she met about them. The tale was written by Oliver Goldsmith […]
The earl ranks higher, but is by no means at the top. From highest to lowest, the line of peerage runs as follows: Duke and Duchess Marquess (or Marquis) and Marchioness Earl and Countess Viscount and Viscountess Baron and Baroness
Pliny the Elder (A.D. 23-79) was an encyclopedist of the Roman Empire whose reputation as an expert on scientific matters endured until the Middle Ages. Pliny was also known as Gaius Plinius Secundus. His adopted son, Pliny the Younger (c. A.D. 61–c. A.D. 113), was a lawyer and administrator known mainly for the large collection […]
Gimlet. Sir T. 0. Gimlette, a British naval surgeon who in 1890 developed the drink as a healthful cocktail. Grand Marnier. Named (in jest?) by hotel owner Cesar Ritz for a short businessman named Marnier Lapostolle, the inventor of the liqueur. Mickey Finn. A turn-of-the-century Chicago bartender who served the spiked drink to clients he […]
The doges of Venice were elected dukes who ruled the city-state of Venice and controlled much of the eastern Mediterranean coast. Their reigns tended to be short, often 1 to 10 years. Venice was an independent city-state from 697 until 1797, when Napoleon conquered it.
King Solomon, the son of and successor to David is said to have ruled during the mid-tenth century B.C.
In 1963, unemployed twenty-two-year-old Ernesto Miranda was arrested for stealing $8 from a bank employee in Phoenix, Arizona. While in custody, he was picked from a lineup by a young woman who said he had kidnapped and raped her. After two hours of interrogation, the police gained a confession from Miranda. The U.S. Supreme Court […]
Astaire’s feet, insured for $650,000, were at the top of this list. Grable’s legs were insured for only $250,000, Durante’s nose for $140,000.
The Taj Mahal was built between 1632 and 1650 in Agra, India, by Shah Jahan as a tomb for his wife. The marble structure is considered a superb representation of the Mogul style.
Mongkut of Siam, the king in The King and I, had 9,000 wives and concubines. King Solomon, by contrast, had only 700.
Yes. Guinness was head of the company that published the book when it was created by Sir Hugh Beaver, Norris McWhirter, and Ross McWhirter in September 1954. The first Guinness was published in August 1955.
The term chauvinism originally referred to Nicolas Chauvin, a French soldier of the Napoleonic era whose devotion to Napoleon was considered excessive and unreasonable. He later appeared in a number of plays and literary works, including Baroness Orczy’s Scarlet Pimpernel (1905), always representing an exaggerated patriotism. The term has since taken on a more general […]
Charles Sherwood Stratton (1838-1883) was 3 feet, 4 inches tall when he died. The star of P. T. Barnum’s circus was better known as General Tom Thumb.
Yes, Typhoid Mary’s name was Mary Mallon (1870-1938). She was an institutional and household cook who spread the disease from house to house in the New York City area in the early twentieth century.
Silent screen siren Clara Bow (1905-1965) picked up the nickname It Girl after starring as a flapper in It in 1927. Gary Cooper was briefly called by this moniker It Boy when he began dating Ms. Bow. He is said to have ended the relationship in order to get rid of the nickname.
The dog, memorialized in a bas-relief in New York’s Central Park and celebrated in dozens of Johnny Carson’s skits, actually existed and was a hero in his day. Balto led a dog-sled expedition through 600 miles of Arctic terrain to deliver an antitoxin needed to save the residents of Nome, Alaska, during a 1925 diphtheria […]
Yes, King George III really went insane. The English king (1738-1820) probably suffered from an inherited blood disorder called porphyria, which affects the nervous system. In 1788, he became violently insane and had to be put in a straitjacket. He recovered but eventually suffered a relapse. After 1811, his son, the future George IV, served […]
Born Malcolm Little, the black activist (1925-1965) took the name El-Hajj Malik El Shabazz when he joined the Black Muslims. He broke with the Black Muslims in 1964 and formed a rival group, the Organization of Afro-American Unity. The Autobiography of Malcolm X, first published in the year of his death, was ghostwritten by Alex […]
Queen Victoria, who reigned from 1837 to 1901, was the grand daughter of the King George III, who lost the American colonies. This makes Elizabeth II, Queen of England since 1952, George’s great-great-great-great grand daughter.
Hoover directed the Bureau of Investigation for 48 years, from 1924 until his death in 1972. The Bureau of Investigation was renamed the Federal Bureau of Investigation in 1935. Most know it as the FBI.
The man who ate Democrats was Alfred Packer (1842-1907). In 1873, he guided a party of 20 men into the San Juan Mountains, continued in heavy snows against advice, and returned alone, saying his companions had abandoned him. Months afterward, search parties discovered the bodies of the missing men, most stripped of flesh. Packer was […]