On This Day
527 – Justinian I becomes the sole ruler of the Byzantine Empire.
Justinian I (/dʒʌˈstɪniən/; Latin: Flavius Petrus Sabbatius Iustinianus; Greek: Ἰουστινιανός Ioustinianos; 482 – 14 November 565), also known as Justinian the Great, was the Eastern Roman emperor from 527 to 565.
His reign is marked by the ambitious but only partly realized renovatio imperii, or “restoration of the Empire”. This ambition was expressed by the partial recovery of the territories of the defunct Western Roman Empire. His general, Belisarius, swiftly conquered the Vandal Kingdom in North Africa. Subsequently, Belisarius, Narses, and other generals conquered the Ostrogothic kingdom, restoring Dalmatia, Sicily, Italy, and Rome to the empire after more than half a century of rule by the Ostrogoths. The praetorian prefect Liberius reclaimed the south of the Iberian peninsula, establishing the province of Spania. These campaigns re-established Roman control over the western Mediterranean, increasing the Empire’s annual revenue by over a million solidi. During his reign, Justinian also subdued the Tzani, a people on the east coast of the Black Sea that had never been under Roman rule before. He engaged the Sasanian Empire in the east during Kavad I’s reign, and later again during Khosrow I’s reign; this second conflict was partially initiated due to his ambitions in the west.
A still more resonant aspect of his legacy was the uniform rewriting of Roman law, the Corpus Juris Civilis, which is still the basis of civil law in many modern states. His reign also marked a blossoming of Byzantine culture, and his building program yielded works such as the Hagia Sophia. He is called “Saint Justinian the Emperor” in the Eastern Orthodox Church. Because of his restoration activities, Justinian has sometimes been known as the “Last Roman” in mid-20th century historiography.
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338 BC – A Macedonian army led by Philip II defeated the combined forces of Athens and Thebes in the Battle of Chaeronea, securing Macedonian hegemony in Greece and the Aegean.
The Battle of Chaeronea was fought in 338 BC, near the city of Chaeronea in Boeotia, between Macedonia under Philip II and an alliance of the Greek city-states led by Athens and Thebes. The battle was the culmination of Philip’s final campaigns in 339–338 BC and resulted in a decisive victory for the Macedonians and their allies.
Philip had brought peace to a war-torn Greece in 346 BC, by ending the Third Sacred War, and concluding his ten-year conflict with Athens for supremacy in the north Aegean, by making a separate peace. Philip’s much expanded kingdom, powerful army and plentiful resources now made him the de facto leader of Greece. To many of the fiercely independent city-states, Philip’s power after 346 BC was perceived as a threat, especially in Athens, where the politician Demosthenes led efforts to break away from Philip’s influence. In 340 BC Demosthenes convinced the Athenian assembly to sanction action against Philip’s territories and to ally with the Achaemenids in Byzantium, which Philip was besieging. These actions were against the terms of their treaty oaths and amounted to a declaration of war. In summer 339 BC, Philip therefore led his army towards South Greece, prompting the formation of an alliance of a few southern Greek states opposed to him, led by Athens and Thebes.
After several months of stalemate, Philip finally advanced into Boeotia in an attempt to march on Thebes and Athens. Opposing him, and blocking the road near Chaeronea, was the allied army, similar in size and occupying a strong position. Details of the ensuing battle are scarce, but after a long fight the Macedonians crushed both flanks of the allied line, which then dissolved into a rout.
The battle has been described as one of the most decisive of the ancient world. The forces of Athens and Thebes were destroyed, and continued resistance was impossible; the war therefore came to an abrupt end. Philip was able to impose a settlement upon southern Greece, which all states accepted, with the exception of Sparta. The League of Corinth, formed as a result, made all participants allies of Macedon and each other, with Philip as the guarantor of the peace. In turn, Philip was voted as strategos (general) for a pan-Hellenic war against the Achaemenid Empire, which he had long planned. However, before he was able to take charge of the campaign, Philip was assassinated, and the Kingdom of Macedon and responsibility for the war with Persia passed instead to his son Alexander.
Born On This Day
126 – Pertinax, Roman emperor (d. 193)
Publius Helvius Pertinax (/ˈpɜːrtɪnæks/; 1 August 126 – 28 March 193) was Roman emperor for the first three months of 193. He succeeded Commodus to become the first emperor during the tumultuous Year of the Five Emperors.
Born the son of a freed slave, Pertinax became an officer in the army. He fought in the Roman–Parthian War of 161–166, where his success led him to be promoted to higher positions in both the military and political spheres. He achieved the rank of provincial governor and urban prefect. He was a member of the Roman Senate, serving at the same time as the historian Cassius Dio.
Following the death of Commodus, Pertinax was proclaimed emperor. He attempted to institute several reform measures, although the short duration of his reign as emperor prevented the success of those attempts. One of those reforms, the restoration of discipline among the Praetorian Guard, led to conflict that eventually culminated in Pertinax’s assassination by the Guard. Pertinax would be deified by the emperor Septimius Severus. His historical reputation has largely been a positive one, in line with Cassius Dio’s assessment.
1260 – Kyawswa of Pagan, last ruler of the Pagan Kingdom (d. 1299)
Kyawswa (Burmese: ကျော်စွာ, pronounced [tɕɔ̀zwà]; 2 August 1260 – 10 May 1299) was king of the Pagan dynasty of Burma (Myanmar) from 1289 to 1297. Son of the last sovereign king of Pagan Narathihapate, Kyawswa was one of many “kings” that emerged after the collapse of the Pagan Empire in 1287. Though still styled as King of Pagan, Kyawswa’s effective rule amounted to just the area around Pagan city. Felt threatened by the three brothers of Myinsaing, who were nominally his viceroys, Kyawswa decided to become a vassal of the Yuan dynasty, and received such recognition from the Yuan in March 1297. He was ousted by the brothers in December 1297 and killed, along with his son, Theingapati, on 10 May 1299.
By Richard Goldstein, The New York Times: Bill Russell, Who Transformed Pro Basketball, Dies at 88 A Hall of Famer who led the Celtics to 11 championships, he was “the single most devastating force in the history of the game,” his coach Red Auerbach said.
William Felton Russell (February 12, 1934 – July 31, 2022) was an American professional basketball player who played as a center for the Boston Celtics of the National Basketball Association (NBA) from 1956 to 1969. A five-time NBA Most Valuable Player (MVP) and a 12-time NBA All-Star, he was the centerpiece of the Celtics dynasty that won 11 NBA championships during his 13-year career. Russell and Henri Richard of the National Hockey League are tied for the record of the most championships won by an athlete in a North American sports league. Russell is widely considered to be one of the greatest basketball players of all time. He led the San Francisco Dons to two consecutive NCAA championships in 1955 and 1956, and he captained the gold-medal winning U.S. national basketball team at the 1956 Summer Olympics.
Despite his limitations on offense, as Russell averaged 15.1 points per game, his rebounding, defense, and leadership made him one of the dominant players of his era.  Standing at 6 ft 10 in (2.08 m) tall, with a 7 ft 4 in (2.24 m) arm span, his shot-blocking and man-to-man defense were major reasons for the Celtics’ dominance during his career. Russell was equally notable for his rebounding abilities, and he led the NBA in rebounds four times, had a dozen consecutive seasons of 1,000 or more rebounds, and remains second all time in both total rebounds and rebounds per game. He is one of just two NBA players (the other being prominent rival Wilt Chamberlain) to have grabbed more than 50 rebounds in a game.
Russell played in the wake of black pioneers Earl Lloyd, Chuck Cooper, and Sweetwater Clifton, and he was the first black player to achieve superstar status in the NBA. He also served a three-season (1966–69) stint as player-coach for the Celtics, becoming the first black coach in the NBA and the first to win a championship. In 2011, Barack Obama awarded Russell the Presidential Medal of Freedom for his accomplishments on the court and in the civil rights movement.
Russell was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 1975, was one of the founding inductees into the National Collegiate Basketball Hall of Fame in 2006, and was enshrined in the FIBA Hall of Fame in 2007. He was selected into the NBA 25th Anniversary Team in 1971 and the NBA 35th Anniversary Team in 1980, named as one of the 50 Greatest Players in NBA History in 1996, one of only four players to receive all three honors, and selected into the NBA 75th Anniversary Team in 2021. In 2009, the NBA renamed the NBA Finals MVP Award in his honor. In 2021, he was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame a second time for his coaching career.
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ILSR’s Community Broadband Initiative: Recently in Community Networks… Week of 8/1
The Conversation: Debunking stereotypes about mobile homes could make them a new face of affordable housing
Story by Karla Cripps, CNN. Videos by Hazel Pfeifer and Nicolas Axelrod, CNN Travel: Tourism killed Thailand’s most famous bay. Here’s how it was brought back to life
Reuters: Hot dogs – and cats – get wearable fans to beat Japan’s scorching summer
By Marlen Komar, Smithsonian Magazine: How 19th-Century Activists Ditched Corsets for One-Piece Long Underwear Before it was embraced by men, the union suit, or ‘emancipation suit,’ was worn by women pushing for dress reform.
Lucia Johnson, Massena, New York, Taste of Home: Zucchini Onion Pie
I Wash You Dry: Slow Cooker Baked Ziti
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