The Imaginary Realms of
Gilbert M. Stack



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Today in History: The Canterbury Tales

Posted by Gilbert Stack on April 17, 2018 at 4:45 AM Comments comments (0)

On this day (April 17) in 1397 Geoffrey Chaucer read to the court of Richard I from his Canterbury Tales for the first time. The Canterbury Tales are one of the great works of literature to come down to us from the Middle Ages. They were revolutionary when written—depicting fictional protagonists from a wide variety of social classes and giving us insights into the very worldly society in which Chaucer lived.

Today in History: The Battle of Megiddo

Posted by Gilbert Stack on April 16, 2018 at 4:40 AM Comments comments (0)

On this day (April 16) in 1457 BCE, the Battle of Megiddo took place. This is the first battle of which a substantial and generally reliable record exists. It was fought between the Egyptians under Thutmose III and the Canaanite rebel, the King of Kadesh. Kadesh miscalculated his defense, spreading his forces out to cover two major passes but leaving the third essentially unwatched. Thutmose took advantage of this to crush his forces, but then the Egyptian troops became bogged down in looting Kadesh’s baggage train permitting substantial numbers of surviving forces to escape into the city of Megiddo. It took seven more months to force the city to surrender. The Egyptian sources list substantial amounts of treasure gained by Thutmose including: 22,500 sheep, 2,041 mares, 1,929 cattle, 924 chariots, 502 bows, 340 prisoners, 200 suits of armor, 191 foals, and 6 stallions.

Today in History: The Titanic Sinks

Posted by Gilbert Stack on April 15, 2018 at 5:20 PM Comments comments (0)

On this day (April 15) in 1912, the Titanic sank in the Atlantic Ocean after striking an iceberg. The "unsinkable ship" took less than 3 hours to go down. 1517 people died.

Today in History: Jackie Robinson

Posted by Gilbert Stack on April 15, 2018 at 11:30 AM Comments comments (0)

On this day (April 15) in 1947 Jackie Robinson became the first African American to play major league baseball. He played second base for the Brooklyn Dodgers and went on to win the first MLB Rookie of the Year Award. He also played on the All Star Team for six consecutive years.

Today in History: Abraham Lincoln Dies

Posted by Gilbert Stack on April 15, 2018 at 6:00 AM Comments comments (0)

On this day (April 15) in 1865, President Abraham Lincoln died. He’d been shot the night before in the back of the head by John Wilkes Booth while watching the play, The American Cousin, at Ford’s Theater. Lincoln’s bodyguard was drinking in the saloon next door. While most of the country reacted with shock and sorrow, Lincoln haters cheered the news.

Today in History: UFOs in 16th Century Nuremberg?

Posted by Gilbert Stack on April 14, 2018 at 5:40 AM Comments comments (0)

On this day (April 14) in 1561 a bizarre celestial phenomenon occurred in the skies above Nuremberg which contemporaries described as an aerial battle. According to broadsheet printed that month the phenomenon occurred at dawn and involved hundreds of spheres and strangely shaped objects flying about the sky in combat to each other. After these crashed from the sky, a large black triangular spear appeared.

UFO enthusiasts understandably think that UFOs were being described. Skeptics tend to credit the sundog phenomenon (an optical illusion which makes it appear that more than one sun is in the sky) is to blame. Photographs of both the broadsheet and a sundogare provided on my" target="_blank"> Facebook Author Page.

Today in History: Catholics Gain the Right to Vote in the UK

Posted by Gilbert Stack on April 13, 2018 at 4:55 AM Comments comments (0)

On this day (April 13) in 1829 Great Britain passed the Roman Catholic Relief Act of 1829 granting its Roman Catholic citizens the right to vote and to serve in Parliament. Catholic emancipation was bitterly opposed by many in England, including King George IV and the House of Lords. It only passed because of the strong support of the Duke of Wellington who threatened to resign as Prime Minister if these basic rights were not given to the Catholics. (Wellington feared that a major uprising would occur in Ireland if something was not done to address the civil rights issue.) The Act also repealed the Test Act of 1672 and the remaining Penal Laws in Ireland which were designed to coercer Catholics into converting to Protestantism. As a compromise with opponents of Catholic emancipation, the property requirements for voting in Ireland were raised from two to ten pounds, disenfranchising many less wealthy Catholics and Protestants.

Today in History: Jonas Salk Conquers Polio

Posted by Gilbert Stack on April 12, 2018 at 6:30 PM Comments comments (0)

On this day (April 12) in 1955, Jonas Salk invented the polio vaccine saving some 350,000 people from contracting polio each year.

Today in History: The Fourth Crusade

Posted by Gilbert Stack on April 12, 2018 at 5:05 AM Comments comments (0)

On this day (April 12) in 1204, the knights of the Fourth Crusade breached the walls of Constantinople, leading to their conquest of another Christian power which certainly wasn’t what they had sworn to do when they took the cross. It was an important sign that there was something wrong with the crusading concept. (Another such sign would be the “successful” Sixth Crusade led by Emperor Frederick II who was suffering under the penalty of excommunication.)

Today in History: The Stone of Scone

Posted by Gilbert Stack on April 11, 2018 at 4:50 AM Comments comments (0)

On this day (April 11) in 1951, The Stone of Scone (also called The Stone of Destiny) was found on the altar of Arbroath Abbey. Various legends trace the stone back to either Ireland or biblical times, but however it came to be in Scotland, it came to be used in the coronation of Scottish Kings. In 1296, King Edward I of England captured the Stone and transported it to England where it was installed in the base of a wooden chair now known as the Coronation Chair in Westminster Abbey and became part of the English monarchy’s coronation rituals. On Christmas Day in 1950, 4 Scottish students stole the stone (accidentally breaking it in two) and eventually succeeded in returning it to Scotland where it was repaired (and no, I don’t know how you repair a broken stone). After approximately four months, they left the stone in Arbroath Abbey from which it was eventually returned to Westminster Abbey. However, in 1996 it was returned to Ireland to be stored with the Scottish Crown Jewels until it is needed for the next coronation ceremony.