Entries 1501 to 2000
Reference Material of the Quatrains, Sixains, Presages of
Michel de Nostredame1501 / castle, a fortified defensive building.
CASTLE, the early medieval motte and bailey plan gave way to the massive fortifications of the 14th and 15th centuries, which were in turn superseded by the artillery fort with its low walls and sweeping lines of fire.
1502 / celestial sphere, the imaginary sphere, of immense size, at the center of which lies the earth and on the inner surface of which can he projected the stars and other celestial bodies. The directions of these bodies, as seen from earth, are measured in terms of their angular distances from certain points and circles on the celestial sphere. These circles include the ecliptic, the observer’s horizon, and the celestial equator, where the earth’s equatorial plane meets the celestial sphere. The reference points include the equinoxes, the zenith, and the celestial poles, where the earth’s axis meets the celestial sphere. The earth’s daily rotation causes an apparent and opposite rotation of the celestial sphere.
1503 / Caratacus (1st century). King of the Catuvellauni, a Celtic tribe or state of south-eastern Britain before the Roman conquest. He organized resistance to the Roman invasion of 43 AD.
1504 / Carnac megaliths. A village in Brittany (NW France). with the megalithic monuments. Monoliths set upright in parallel rows run continuously for hundreds of yards. The groups have had both ritual and astronomical significance.
1505 / Camelot, the legendary capital of King Arthur’s kingdom.
1506 / Bute, John Stuart, 3rd Earl of (17l3-92) British statesman; prime minister. A close friend of George III and extremely unpopular.
1507 / buttercup, an annual or perennial herbaceous plant of the worldwide genus Ranunculus (about 300 species), usually with much divided leaves. The flowers are usually yellow, with spirally arranged petals and stamens. The fruit is a head of small nutlets (achenes). A common Eurasian species, widely introduced, is the perennial meadow buttercup (R. acris), up to 28 in (70 cm) high. The genus, which is poisonous to livestock, also includes the crowfoots. Family: Ranunculaceae.
1508 / butterflies and moths, insects that all undergo a complete metamorphosis comprising a four-stage life cycle: egg, larva (or caterpillar), pupa (chrysalis), and adult (imago).
1509 / butterwort, a carnivorous plant, a rosette of yellow-green leaves covered with sticky glands on which insects are trapped. The single spurred funnel-shaped violet or pink flower arises on a slender stalk. Family: Lentibulariaceae.
1510 / button quail, a small ground-dwelling bird.
1511 / buttress, flying buttress developed to support the upper walls of large churches.
1512 / butyl rubber, a synthetic rubber made by copolymerization of isobutylene with small amounts of isoprene. It is less permeable to gas than natural rubbers and is used in tire inner tubes.
1513 / bushbuck, a small antelope, also called harnessed antelope.
1514 / bush cricket, having a green or brown body and short tail appendages (cerci). Bush crickets rarely fly or jump, but crawl among bushes and trees in fields and meadows. The swordlike ovipositor with which the female inserts eggs into plant tissues can cause considerable damage. Many species are carnivorous, usually eating small insects.
1515 / Bushido, the military and ethical code of the Japanese samurai class, or martial arts. It originated in about the 13th century. although the term was not used until the 17th. Obedience to one’s lord and fearlessness were its main virtues, along with austerity, honesty, and kindness. In the 13th-14th centuries it was influenced by Zen Buddhism and in the l7th-l9th centuries, by Confucianism. In the mid-19th century it became the basis of Japanese emperor worship and nationalism.
1516 / buzzard, hunt in open country for small mammals, reptiles, insects, and carrion and soar gracefully at great heights.
1517 / Byrd, Harry Flood (1887-1966) US politician, chairman of the Senate Finance Committee.
1518 / Byrd, Richard Evelyn (1888-1957) US explorer. A naval pilot, he served in World War I and in 1926 began a series of record-breaking flights over the two Poles and the Atlantic Ocean. In 1928 he set out on the first of several expeditions to explore Antarctica from the air. In 1934-35, he spent five months alone in a hut at Bolling Advance Base, describing his experience in Alone.
1519 / Byron, George Gordon (1788-1824) British poet,
1520 / Bytom, a town in SW Poland, heavy-industry center in a coal, zinc, and lead mining area.
1521 / Byzantine art and architecture, the painting, architecture, and decoration that developed in the ancient city of Constantinople (formerly Byzantium; modern Istanbul) after 330, when it became the new Roman imperial capital, until 1453, when Constantinople fell to the Turks. Primarily religious and often symbolic or didactic, Byzantine art suppressed both realistic portrayal and opportunities for individual artistic expression. Owing to Constantinople’s position as a meeting point of Asia and Europe, the bright colors and intricacy of oriental design mingle in Byzantine mosaics and icons with Christian symbolism.
1522 / Byzantine art, three main phases of Byzantine art succeeded one another between 330 and 1453. The first phase (330-726) came to an end with the Iconoclastic controversy (726-843), which resulted in the destruction of many works of art. During the second (843-1204) and the final phase (1204-1453) a complicated iconography of religious pictures was evolved, wherein each divine person, prophet, saint, angel, and apostle was allocated their strict position on the wall, apse, or dome of the church. This was possible because of the design of the Byzantine basilica with its characteristic dome rising from a square base—an innovation that greatly extended the versatility of the Roman dome, which was restricted to circular buildings.
1523 / Byzantine art, the Church of Holy Wisdom (or Hagia Sophia) in Constantinople, built between 532 and 537, is the outstanding example of a Byzantine basilica with a central dome (in this case buttressed by semidomes), The characteristic brickwork, pillars, and internal mosaics of Byzantine buildings also had a profound effect on western architecture, from the spectacular St Mark’s (11th century) in Venice to the somewhat surprising Westminster Cathedral in London in the 20th century.
1524 / Byzantine Empire (or Eastern Roman Empire). The Roman territories E of the Balkans separated from the western Roman Empire by Diocletian in 293 AD. An eastern emperor and magistrates coexisted with their western counterparts at Rome under Constantine the Great the Empire became Christian. Constantinople (previously Byzantium, now Istanbul) was inaugurated as the New Rome in 330. The Byzantine Empire survived until the fall of Constantinople to the Ottoman Turks in 1453—almost a millennium after the western empire.
1525 / Cabal, five ministers of Charles II of England who dominated politics from 1667 to about 1674. It was not a united body: the king played one minister off against another to retain control of policy. A secret pro-Catholic policy of friendship with France, which, owing to parliamentary opposition, cost them their offices in 1673-74.
1526 / cabbage root fly, a plant-eating fly.
1527 / cabbage white butterfly, white, whose caterpillars eat cabbages and related vegetables. Large white (P. brarsicae), the green-veined white (P. napi), and the small white (P rapae).
1528 / Kabinda, a district of Angola, forming an enclave between the Congo and Zaïre on the Atlantic coast. Extensive oil deposits were discovered offshore in 1968 and led to the expansion of the chief town, Cabinda. The area also produces coffee, palm oil, timber, and cocoa.
1529 / Cable, George Washington (1844-1925), US author and reformer. Writings gave a feeling for the southern life, especially that of his native New Orleans. He was a strong advocate for the rights of the newly freed Negroids and published many essays on the subject. The Silent South,The Negro Question, Old Creole Days.
1530 / Cabot, John (c. 1450-1499), Italian explorer.
1531 / Cabral, Pedro Álvares (c.1467-l520), Portuguese navigator.
1532 / Cabrini, St Frances Xavier (1850-1917), Italian founder of the Missionary Sisters of the Sacred Heart, known as Mother Cabrini. She worked mainly among poor Italian immigrants in the US.
1533 / cactus, a flowering plant belonging to the family Cactaceae (over 2000 species). These perennial herbs and shrubs grow chiefly in the drier regions of tropical America and the West Indies. Plant size and shape varies widely; the larger species may grow to a height of 33 ft (10 m) or more. Cacti show pronounced modifications to prevent water loss—their leaves or shoots are reduced to spines, thick waxy outer layers, and many possess succulent water storing stems. The flowers, borne singly, are large and brightly colored, Some genera are cultivated for their soft timber or alkaloid content, and the fruits of many species are edible (see prickly pear). Cacti are grown as ornamentals in many regions of the world.
1534 / cactus moth, a South American cactus-boring pyralid moth, that was introduced into Australia in 1925 as a means of biologically controlling the prickly pear cactus, which had ruined large areas.
1535 / caddis fly, a mothlike insect.
1536 / Caddo, a North American Indian language spoken by a confederation of related tribes formerly inhabiting areas in Arkansas, Louisiana, Oklahoma, and Texas. The present Caddoan population, numbering approximately 1000 members of the various member tribes, is now settled primarily in the Wichita Reservation in Oklahoma.
1537 / cade, a Juniper tree or. Oil of cade is distilled from the wood and used in medicine and veterinary work.
1538 / Cade, Jack (d. 1450), English rebel, who led a rebellion in 1450 against Henry VI. The rebels, who were chiefly opposing high taxes and court corruption, demanded the recall of the Duke of York, from Ireland. In spite of initial successes in Kent and London, the rebellion was soon quelled and Cade was killed.
1539 / Cádiz, city and seaport in SW Spain. The harbor was burned by Sir Francis Drake in 1587, destroying many ships.
1540 / cadmium, a soft dense metal, discovered in 1817 by Friedrich Strohmeyer (1776-1835). Cadmium occurs naturally as the mineral greenockite and in zinc, copper, and lead sulfide ores. It is chemically similar to lead and is a component of low-melting-point alloys. It is used in the control rods of nuclear reactors, in light meters, television-tube phosphors, batteries, solders, and in special low-friction alloys for bearings. Cadmium and its compounds are poisonous and care should be taken in working with solders (e.g. silver solder) that contain cadmium. Compounds include several salts, the yellow sulfide and the oxide.
1541 / Cadmus, a legendary Greek hero. Obeying the oracle of Delphi, he followed a cow into Boeotia and founded the city of Thebes where it lay down. A race of fierce warriors is said to have emerged from the teeth of a dragon he had killed. He married Harmonia, and is reputed to have introduced the alphabet into Greece from Phoenicia.
1542 / caecilian, a limbless burrowing amphibian, found in tropical and warn temperate regions of the world. Resembling earthworms, caecilians are 4-42 in (11-140 cm) long and feed on termites and earthworms.
1543 / Caedmon, (died c, 680 AD). English poet, known only from the account given by in his EcclesiasticalHistory. He was an illiterate herdsman who in his old age was suddenly divinely inspired to compose a hymn on the Creation. The Hymn is a typical example of Old English oral verse. Caedmon later entered the monastery of Whitby, where he composed many poems on biblical themes.
1544 / Caen, city and port in NW France, its university was established in 1432 (reorganized in 1970). It has many fine churches. It became a Huguenot stronghold in the 17th century. Caen was badly damaged during the Normandy campaign (1944) of World War II.
1545 / Caesar, (Gaius) Julius (100-14 BC). Roman general and statesman, whose career marked the end of the Roman Republic. Caesar, born of a patrician family, allied himself with the popular party by his marriage in 84 to Cinna’s daughter Cornelia. After her death in 68,. he married Pompeia, whom he divorced in 62, and in 59 he married Calpurnia.
During the 60s Caesar ascended the political ladder, joining Pompey and Crassus in the first Triumvirate (60) and becoming consul (59) and then governor of Gaul. Caesar’s subjugation of Gaul (58-50), and his brief campaigns in Britain (55, 54), confirmed his military reputation and made him a popular hero. Crassus’s death (53) and Pompey’s developing association with Caesar’s opponents in the Senate brought the Triumvirate to an end (50) and the Senate, with Pompey’s support, asked Caesar to resign his armies. He refused and, crossing the Rubicon River into Italy (49), initiated the civil war. Caesar defeated Pompey at Pharsalus (48) and spent the following winter in Alexandria with Cleopatra, who became his lover. She is reputed to have had a son, Caesarion, by him. Caesar then campaigned in NE Anatolia, defeating Pharnaces II at Zela, the victory provoking his comment “veni, vidi, vici” (“l came, I saw, I conquered”). He went on to defeat the remnants of Pompey’s party at Thapsus (46) and Munda (45), after which he returned to Rome as dictator. There, he introduced many reforms, including the sponsorship of a revised (Julian) calendar, but on the Ides of March (Mar 15, 44) Caesar was assassinated in the Senate House by republicans, including Brutus and Cassius, who feared his monarchical aspirations. A distinguished prose stylist, Caesar wrote outstanding accounts of his campaigns in Gaul (De bello gallico) and the civil war (De bello civili).
1546 / Caesarean section, a surgical operation in which a baby is delivered through an incision made in the abdominal wall and the womb, so called be cause Julius Caesar was said to have been born in this way. Caesarean section is employed when a baby cannot be delivered through the vagina; for instance, because it is abnormally positioned in the womb or is too large to pass through the birth canal.
1547 / Caetano, Marcello José (1906-80). Portuguese statesman prime minister (1968-74).
1548 / Caffagglolo majolica, an important category of Italian pottery mainly produced from about 1504 to 1540 under Medici patronage. Its main characteristic is bold bright decoration in orange, yellow, red, and green, on a cobalt-blue background.
1549 / caffeine, the substance in coffee and tea that acts as a stimulant. In its pure form it is white and crystalline.
1550 / Cage, John (1912-92), avant-garde US composer, Sonatas and Interludes (1946-48) philosophy of indeterminism.
1551 / Cagliari, a seaport in Italy, in Sardinia. It has Roman remains, a 14th-century cathedral, and a university (1606). There are milling, tanning, and fishing industries. Lead, salt, and zinc are exported.
1552 / Cagliostro, Alessandro, Conte di (1743-95) Italian adventurer. His pretended skills in alchemy and magic gained him fame throughout Europe, especially in Paris. He was arrested for promoting freemasonry and died in prison in Italy.
1553 / Cagney, James (1899-1986). US actor. His films include PublicEnemy,The Roaring Twenties, Ragtime Yankee Doodle Dandy.
1554 / Caillaux, Joseph (1863-1944). French statesman; prime minister (1911-12), He was finance minister three times before World War I. Arrested in 1917 on a charge of dealing with the enemy. His civil rights were restored in 1925.
1555 / Cain, in the Old Testament, the elder son of Adam and Eve. He became jealous of his younger brother Abel, a shepherd whose burnt offerings were accepted by God in preference to his own. He murdered Abel and was banished, marked as the world’s first murderer.
1556 / Cain, James Mallahan (1892-1977) US novelist. The Postman Always Rings Twice, Mildred Pierce.
1557 / Cainozoic era. Or Cenozoic era.
1558 / Cairns, a port in Australia, in NE Queensland on Trinity Bay. It is the commercial center for an agricultural, mining, and timber region; sugar is exported.
1559 / calm terrier, a breed of small dog originating in the Scottish Highlands.
1560 / Cairo, the capital of Egypt, situated in the N of the county on the E bank of the Nile River. It is the largest city in Africa and the cultural and commercial center of Egypt. Industry has developed dramatically since the 1920s and in particular since the revolution of 1952, with traditional textile manufacturing and food processing retaining importance alongside newer industries, such as metallurgy and plastics. Its many mosques include the Mosque of Omar. Cairo’s earliest remaining Arabic building, and the Mohammed Ali Mosque, housed in the 12th-century citadel. The Mosque mid University of El Azhar was founded in 970; three other universities were established in the 20th century. History: the Arabic city of El Fustat was founded in 641, and from the 9th century, as El Qahira, it was successively the capital of the Fatimid, Ayyubite, and Mameluke dynasties. It was under the Mamelukes that the city enjoyed the period of its greatest prosperity, Following its conquest by the Turks in the 16th century, it declined in power, but in the 19th century its prosperity was restored under Mehemet Ali and his successors. During World War II it as the seat of the Allied headquarters in the Middle East.
1561 / caisson, a large cylindrical or box-shaped structure sunk into the ground during excavation work. Caissons aid construction of underwater foundations, for example in the construction of piers for bridges, and may become part of the permanent structure.
1562 / Caithness, a former county of NE Scotland. Under local government reorganization in 1975 its boundaries were adjusted to form a district of the same name, in the Highlands Region.
1563 / cakewalk, a ballroom dance popular in the early l900s, originally performed by slaves satirizing the elegance of plantation society. Couples walked around in a square, being judged for the grace and inventiveness of their movements. The winners were awarded a cake, from which the expression “to take the cake” derives.
1564 / Calabar, a port in SE Nigeria. It was a center of the slave trade in the 18th and 19th centuries.
1565 / calabash, a tree, 25-49 ft (7.5-15 m) tall, native to tropical America (particularly Brazil). Funnel-shaped flowers are borne on the old stems and produce gourdlike fruits, up to 20 in (50 cm) long.
1566 / Calabria, a mountainous region occupying the southern “toe” of Italy. It is basically a poor agricultural region, producing olives, with the lowest per capita income of any Italian region.
1567 / Calais, a port in N France, in the Pas-de-Calais department. Its prosperity lies in being on the shortest sea route to England. It produces lace, tulle, and other textiles. History: besieged and captured by the English under Edward III in 1346, Calais remained in English hands until 1558. In World War II it was the target of savage bombardment and was heroically defended in support of the withdrawal from Dunkirk.