November 9th is a momentous day to Germans. Many major events in German history occurred on that day: Robert Blum’s death in 1848, Kaiser Wilhelm’s abdication in 1918, Einstein’s Nobel Prize win in 1922, the failed Munich Putsch/Beer Hall Putsch in 1923, Kristallnacht in 1938, and the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989.

Since shortly after World War II, November 9th was nicknamed Schicksalstag (“Day of Fate”) by some media members. But its current widespread use in Germany started after the fall of the Berlin Wall.

“Kaiunbashi Bridge (First National Bank in Snow)” by Kobayashi Kiyochika. It comes from a series of prints “Pictures of Famous Places in Tokyo” (1876–81) where the artist focused on how light, from the new technologies that were being introduced, were transforming Tokyo.

The Meiji Restoration had just occurred and industrialization and westernization being rushed in by the new government. The artist’s presentations of dawn, dusk, and night evoked a pensive mood suggesting a personal uncertainty in a moment of major societal change.


THE Tower of London is a castle located in London alongside the River Thames which was first built by William the Conqueror from c. 1077 CE and significantly added to over the centuries. Often referred to in England as simply ‘the Tower’, it has served as a fortress, palace, prison, treasury, arsenal, and zoo. Fallen kings, queens, and traitors were amongst those sent to the Tower, although surprisingly few inmates were executed within the castle’s grounds. Today, it is a major tourist attraction with visitors eager to experience for themselves a place steeped in the history of England like no other, to admire the picturesque Beefeaters, and be dazzled by the fabulous Crown Jewels.  

When William the Conqueror, Duke of Normandy won the Battle of Hastings in 1066 CE and embarked on the Norman Conquest of England, the new king sought to make his realm secure by building motte and bailey castles at strategically important locations. London was an obvious choice for a new castle and so work began on what would become the Tower of London around 1077 CE. The castle was one of the first in England to have a free-standing tower keep or donjon. 

Work continued until c. 1100 CE using Kentish ragstone with details using dressed limestone from Caen in Normandy, and by the time it was finished, the two-storey rectangular tower was so impressive it gave its name to the whole castle: the Tower of London. The keep only received its now-famous name, the White Tower, thanks to a whitewashing project in 1240 CE using white lime.

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THE Ten Thousand Immortals were the elite force of the Persian army of the Achaemenid Empire (c. 550-330 BCE). They formed the king’s personal bodyguard and were also considered the shock troops of the infantry in Persian warfare. Their name comes from the policy of always keeping their number at exactly 10,000; if one of their number were killed or could not otherwise fulfill his responsibilities, another was chosen to replace him, thus giving the impression that they could not be killed and so were immortal and invincible.

They are first mentioned by Herodotus (l. c. 484-425/413 BCE) in his Histories (VII.83.1, VII.211.1, VIII.113.2), and later writers who mention them such as Heracleides of Cumae (c. 350 BCE) or Athenaeus of Naucratis (l. 2nd/early 3rd century CE) and others are thought to have drawn on Herodotus’ work. Whether writers such as Xenophon (l. 430 – c. 354 BCE) or Polyaenus (l. 2nd century CE) who also mention them drew on Herodotus as well seems unlikely since they both provide information not found in Herodotus’ Histories. Xenophon, who fought as a mercenary in Persia for Cyrus the Younger (d. 401 BCE) would have no doubt heard stories of the Immortals.

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Lapis lazuli enjoyed great popularity in the late Roman and Early Byzantine
periods; its rich purple-blue color was associated with royalty. From
the 200s on, coins and medallions  often showed the emperor
carrying a scepter topped with an eagle, emblem of victory and authority.

This particular lapis lazuli eagle was found in Italy and dates to the 300s or 400s CE, meaning it may very well have once perched
on a Roman emperor’s scepter.

alexander of yugoslavia (1888-1934)

he was formerly the king of yugoslavia from 1929(?) to 1934, and was the king of the serbs, croatians, and slovenes from 1921 to 1934. unfortunately, he was assassinated in 1934 at marseille, france. and was succeded by his son, peter ii 

seriously, he was freaking adorable and hot at the same time. i love his glasses, they look so cute on him!!!! he also has a nice-looking uniform. i’d totally marry him! AAAAAAAAAAAA

My favorite detail is the lady sharing a smile with the child. My second favorite detail is the stuffed pig, perched in the child’s lap.

The Ability to Adapt Gave Homo Sapiens an Edge:

Humans are pretty adaptable compared to other hominin species, and other apes, which may have been key to the survival of our species. Most animals stick to particular habitats, or are wide-ranging, and based on that scientists classify species on a continuum between generalist and specialist.

But homo sapiens are unique in that they can specialize, and they can generalize. We are specialist-generalists. Some humans have adapted intensively to one ecological niche, most famously high-altitude zones, while other wander across ecological zones. Yet we are still all one species, able to intermarry, or switch regions and adapt. That makes homo sapiens unique across species.

When Ötzi the Iceman died around 5,300 years ago in the Italian Alps, he was surrounded by thousands of microscopic fragments of bryophytes, a plant group that includes mosses and the flowerless green plants known as liverworts. Now a team has analyzed bryophyte fragments recovered from Ötzi’s clothes, gastrointestinal tract, and pieces of ice around him.

Although only 23 bryophyte species currently live near the glacier where Ötzi was found, about 75 species were identified by the team. This included 10 liverwort species, which are rarely recovered from archaeological sites. The team also found that only 30% of the identified species were local to where Ötzi died. The rest came from lower elevations, helping to confirm the route Ötzi took as he journeyed to what became his final resting place more than 10,000 feet above sea level.