Lilian M

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Why does the year start on January 1?

Janus 1, the new year and the consular year In ancient Rome, the Romans worshiped a god named Janus (Janus, Ianus). He was the god of doors, transitions, and endings. Janus had two faces: one looking forward and the other looking back, into the past. Emperor Julius Caesar thought it would be appropriate for January, the eponymous month of Janus, to be the gateway to a new year, and when he created the Julian calendar, he made January 1 the first day of the year. That meant that the consular year began on the same day. Thus, the new consuls also assumed office on January 1. The Julian calendar For Julius Caesar, the Julian calendar was a political tool and also a weapon. As the Roman armies conquered new lands, the Empire often gave its new subjects some freedom to retain certain religious and social customs. As we already saw…

Diego Velázquez: the personal life of genius

We inquire about the painter Diego Velázquez and his personal life and his family The painter Diego Rodríguez de Silva y Velázquez, such was his full name, is considered worldwide as one of the most important artists in all of History. And with good reason. Velázquez remains a unique reference in the history of painting, a reference that continues to fascinate anyone who contemplates his paintings more than four hundred years after his death. However, very few people know data of this very interesting character beyond his trade as a painter and the incredible paintings, made by his hand, that have reached us. But… What was Velázquez’s life, beyond his paintings? Diego Velázquez’s family Diego was born in Seville in the year 1599, when the 16th century was already lighting his last days. His parents were Juan Rodríguez de Silva and Jerónima de Velázquez, who would later have seven other…

Eugène Français Vidocq: The history of the First Detective of History

Jean Valjean, the tormented protagonist of “The Miserable” by Victor Hugo, is one of the best-known characters in universal literature. He has been the protagonist of numerous adaptations over the years, the best known being those starring Gerard Depardieu and, more recently, Hugh Jackman (in a portentous performance that has earned him an Oscar nomination). His adaptations for film, theater and television have made the characters of “Les Miserables” and, especially, his protagonist, well known even by those who have not read the immortal work of Victor Hugo. Eugène Français Vidocq, the first detective in history. But the characters of Jean Valjean and also of his antithesis, Javert are based on a historical figure whose biography would well deserve his own saga: Eugène Français Vidocq, a prisoner of France in the first half of the nineteenth century who became the First detective in history. Vidocq was born in 1775, being…

Boris Vian: books and literature. “I will spit on your grave”

Boris Vian wrote “I will spit on your grave” (J’irai cracher sur vos tombes) in 1947, and became a bestseller. Today it is still a hard and disturbing novel, perhaps not as much as it was at the time, although it was enough for the French Poster for Action Sociale et Morale (a French federation of local associations that works for the respect for what he considers “good moral”, created in 1883 by Tommy Fallot, who supports the abolition of prostitution and opposes pornography, alcohol and gambling), and that he already punishes Henry Miller with censorship , will denounce it. Vian was judged for translating “objectionable material”, since it was supposed to be just that: the translator of the literary work, and sentenced to the payment of 100,000 francs, until in the summer of 1950 the French government banned new book sales . Until then it is estimated that the…

Marco Polo: Facts about his life

When the father and the uncle undertook the first to travel through unknown lands, (as you can read in the biography of Marco Polo), who have not accompanied them, was a child of six years.  When they returned, he had turned fifteen, during those nine years, the mother died. It was because of war (conflict over the succession of the great Khan Mongke) as the father and uncle of Marco Polo were forced to vary the way back, where they had sold their jewelry in exchange for gold, until Venice home.  To avoid the danger of battle, they decided to surround the Caspian Sea to reach Persia. When in 1298 Marco Polo was detained as a frigate captain Venetian struggle with the Genoese, the number of men who accompanied him in captivity reached the figure of 7,000. The most famous book of Marco Polo, The Book of Wonderful Things of the…

Marco Polo: The Great Traveler

Marco Polo, Venice, Italy 1254 – Venice, 1338 It has been more than 750 years of the birth of Marco Polo, the adventurer who discovered the East to Western eyes, and vice versa. Marco Polo, the great traveler who gave all that he observed a remarkable descriptive detail and during the many decades he spent away from his native Venice, in the lands where they had never seen anyone of a different race. “Marco Polo” is based on the explorer’s famed adventures in the court of Kublai Khan, a world of greed, betrayal, sex and rivalry. Not that we did not know that there Tramontana towards India and China, far beyond the thirteenth century. But the vast distances, the difficult physical barriers, climatic and save every kind were many and, therefore, these remote lands won in exoticism to be as unknown or known only in a superficial or shallow, so…

Hitler and Franco meeting in Hendaye, the Full Story

On October 23, 1940, Francisco Franco, at the time, his Excellency the Caudillo, and Adolf Hitler, the Führer, Chancellor of the Third Reich, are in Hendaye. The meeting has been arranged months ago, as we will see later, and the object of it would try to elucidate the entry or absence of Spain into World War II and the conditions of such participation in the event of the Axis victory. Much has been written about what happened in that meeting, although rarely all the facts have been thoroughly analyzed… The best testimony of the encounter between Hitler and Franco The best testimony that History has left about Hitler’s and Franco’s meeting in Hendaye was provided by the transcript made by the baron de las Torres, Luís Álvarez de Estrada y Luque, Spanish translator present at the meeting. This is where we get the most important data from this historic…

Egyptian Hieroglyphics and the Rosseta stone

Egyptian Hieroglyphics The Old Egyptian Empire created codes that left embedded in the walls of their monuments. These symbols took them from reality and describe what they served to represent the object itself and the word that contained his name, although they mean different things. The Egyptians, with this symbolism, wrote names or ideas that they had no graphical representation for themselves. The dung beetle was to the Egyptians representing the sun god himself at mold beetle dung-ball, which then used to lay their eggs. It points out the fact that his progeny from inside that ball, came to mean to the Egyptians, in fact, this idea of cyclical life, civilization prone to symbolic interpretations. The beetle was used as a prized amulet. The Mummy The hieroglyph began appearing from the Twelfth Dynasty, 2000 years before Christ, although experts say that the Egyptians practiced mummification from earlier.What they wanted was…

20 19th century inventions for children

They have been incorporated into our daily lives as part of it naturally. Maybe for that reason, because they have been with us for more than a century. They are the modern inventions of the 19th century. This is the case of the stapler, the electric toothbrush, the traffic light, the Dow Jones, the dishwasher, the traveller’s checks or the contact lenses or contact lenses, for some examples. They make our lives easier and, in some cases, they made it to our grandparents’ grandparents. We collect the most modern inventions of the 19th century. Although it seems somewhat implausible, we will see that at that time they were invented… The Dow Jones invention Present in the current economic information, the Dow Jones is known as the “Daily Stock Market Index”, which was inspired by the statistical calculation invented in 1882 by Charles Henry Dow and Edward D. Jones, the first…

Isabel of France, the princess of Braveheart

For all moviegoers, Princess Isabel of France will always have the features of Sophie Marceau, the beautiful gala actress who played this role in the Mel Gibson Braveheart movie. The true story of Queen Elizabeth of France However, the historical reality of this character has little to do with the story the film tells. The princess, for example, could never meet William Wallace, because she did not arrive in England until 1308, when she was only twelve years old, three years after Wallace was executed, and she also did not meet her father-in-law (her great nemesis in the film) He married Eduardo II when his father had already died. However, the true story of Queen Elizabeth of France is also, without a doubt, worthy of film. The Wolf of France The one that would become known in England as “the wolf of France” was born in 1295. She was married…

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