On This Day
1183 – Genpei War: The Battle of Mizushima takes place off the Japanese coast, where Minamoto no Yoshinaka’s invasion force is intercepted and defeated by the Taira clan.
The naval battle of Mizushima took place on 17 November 1183 during the Genpei War. One of the most important bases of the Taira was Yashima, a small island off the coast of Shikoku. In November 1183, Minamoto no Yoshinaka sent an army to cross the Inland Sea to Yashima, but they were caught by the Taira just offshore of Mizushima (水島), a small island of Bitchu Province, just off Honshū. The Taira tied their ships together and placed planks across them to form a flat fighting surface.
The battle began with Taira archers loosing a rain of arrows upon the Minamoto boats; when the boats were close enough, daggers and swords were drawn, and the two sides engaged in hand-to-hand combat. Finally, the Taira, who had brought fully equipped horses on their ships, swam to the shore with their steeds, and routed the remaining Minamoto warriors.
326 – The old St. Peter’s Basilica is consecrated by Pope Sylvester I.
Old St. Peter’s Basilica was the building that stood, from the 4th to 16th centuries, where the new St. Peter’s Basilica stands today in Vatican City. Construction of the basilica, built over the historical site of the Circus of Nero, began during the reign of Emperor Constantine I. The name “old St. Peter’s Basilica” has been used since the construction of the current basilica to distinguish the two buildings.
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461 – Libius Severus is declared emperor of the Western Roman Empire. The real power is in the hands of the magister militum Ricimer.
Libius Severus (died 465), sometimes enumerated as Severus III, was emperor of the Western Roman Empire from 461 to his death in 465. A native of Lucania, Severus was the fourth of the so-called Shadow Emperors who followed the deposition of the Valentinianic dynasty in 455. He ruled for just under four years, attaining the throne after his predecessor, Majorian, was overthrown by his magister militum, Ricimer. Severus was the first of a series of emperors who were highly dependent on the general, and it is often presumed that Ricimer held most of the de facto power during Severus’ reign: 215 ff. : 69
Severus’ reign was marked by diplomatic tension and an erosion of Rome’s control over the non-Italian provinces. Diplomatically, Severus failed to secure the eastern emperor Leo’s recognition, and the alliance Majorian had made with Vandal king Gaiseric crumbled as the Vandals raided Italy.: 435 : 227 In Gaul and Dalmatia officials loyal to Majorian refused to submit to Severus’ rule, and Northern Italy was invaded by the Alans.: 227 f. 
Severus remains an extremely obscure figure. The ancient sources are almost completely mute on his life and character.: 69 : 216 Because of the size of Ricimer’s influence, no single imperial action can be definitively attributed to Severus; thus the extent of Ricimer’s control over imperial affairs during the reign of Severus remains a point of contention among scholars.
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1194 – Palermo is conquered by Henry VI, Holy Roman Emperor.
Palermo (/pəˈlɛərmoʊ, -ˈlɜːr-/ pə-LAIR-moh, -LUR-, Italian: [paˈlɛrmo] (listen); Sicilian: Palermu [paˈlɛmmʊ], locally also Paliemmu or Palèimmu) is a city in southern Italy, the capital of both the autonomous region of Sicily and the Metropolitan City of Palermo, the city’s surrounding metropolitan province. The city is noted for its history, culture, architecture and gastronomy, playing an important role throughout much of its existence; it is over 2,700 years old. Palermo is in the northwest of the island of Sicily, by the Gulf of Palermo in the Tyrrhenian Sea.
The city was founded in 734 BC by the Phoenicians as Sis (“flower”). Palermo then became a possession of Carthage. Two Greek colonies were established, known collectively as Panormos; the Carthaginians used this name on their coins after the 5th century BC. As Panormus, the town became part of the Roman Republic and Empire for over a thousand years. From 831 to 1072 the city was under Arab rule in the Emirate of Sicily when the city became the capital of Sicily for the first time. During this time the city was known as Balarm. Following the Norman conquest, Palermo became the capital of a new kingdom, the Kingdom of Sicily, that lasted from 1130 to 1816.
The population of Palermo urban area is estimated by Eurostat to be 855,285, while its metropolitan area is the fifth most populated in Italy with around 1.2 million people. In the central area, the city has a population of around 676,000 people. The inhabitants are known as Palermitani or, poetically, panormiti. The languages spoken by its inhabitants are the Italian language and the Palermitano dialect of the Sicilian language.
Palermo is Sicily’s cultural, economic and tourism capital. It is a city rich in history, culture, art, music and food. Numerous tourists are attracted to the city for its appealing Mediterranean climate, its renowned gastronomy and restaurants, its Romanesque, Gothic, Baroque and Art Nouveau churches, palaces and buildings, and its nightlife and music. Palermo is the main Sicilian industrial and commercial center: the main industrial sectors include tourism, services, commerce and agriculture. Palermo currently has an international airport, and a significant underground economy. In fact, for cultural, artistic and economic reasons, Palermo was one of the largest cities in the Mediterranean and in Europe and is now among the top tourist destinations in both Italy and Europe. It is the main seat of the UNESCO World Heritage Site Arab-Norman Palermo and the Cathedral Churches of Cefalù and Monreale. The city is also going through careful redevelopment, preparing to become one of the major cities of the Euro-Mediterranean area.
Roman Catholicism is highly important in Palermitan culture. The Patron Saint of Palermo is Santa Rosalia whose Feast Day is celebrated on 15 July. The area attracts significant numbers of tourists each year and is widely known for its colourful fruit, vegetable and fish markets at the heart of Palermo, known as Vucciria, Ballarò and Capo.
235 – Pope Anterus succeeds Pontian as the nineteenth pope.
Pope Anterus (Latin: Anterus, Classical Greek: Ανθηρός (Antheros),) was the bishop of Rome from 21 November 235 to his death on 3 January 236.
Anterus was the son of Romulus, born in Petilia Policastro, Calabria, Italy. He is thought to have been of Greek origin, and his name may indicate that he was a freed slave. He succeeded Pope Pontian, who had been deported from Rome to Sardinia, along with the antipope Hippolytus. He created one bishop, for the city of Fondi.
Some scholars believe Anterus was martyred, because he ordered greater strictness in searching into the acts of the martyrs, exactly collected by the notaries appointed by Pope Clement I. Other scholars doubt this and believe it is more likely that he died in undramatic circumstances during the persecutions of Emperor Maximinus the Thracian.
He was buried in the papal crypt of the Catacomb of Callixtus, on the Appian Way in Rome. The site of his sepulchre was discovered by Giovanni Battista de Rossi in 1854, with some broken remnants of the Greek epitaph engraved on the narrow oblong slab that closed his tomb; only the Greek term for bishop was legible. His ashes had been removed to the Church of Saint Sylvester in the Campus Martius and were discovered on 17 November 1595, when Pope Clement VIII rebuilt that church.
Pope Anterus is remembered in the Catholic Church on 3 January and in the Russian Orthodox Church on 18 August.
1574 – Spanish navigator Juan Fernández discovers islands now known as the Juan Fernández Islands off Chile.
The Juan Fernández Islands (Spanish: Archipiélago Juan Fernández) are a sparsely inhabited series of islands in the South Pacific Ocean reliant on tourism and fishing. Situated 670 km (362 nmi; 416 mi) off the coast of Chile, they are composed of three main volcanic islands: Robinson Crusoe, Alejandro Selkirk and Santa Clara. The group is part of Insular Chile.
The islands are primarily known for having been the home to the marooned sailor Alexander Selkirk for more than four years from 1704, which may have inspired Daniel Defoe’s Robinson Crusoe. Most of the archipelago’s present-day inhabitants reside on Robinson Crusoe Island, and mainly in the capital, San Juan Bautista, located at Cumberland Bay on the island’s north coast.
The group of islands is part of Chile’s Valparaíso Region (which also includes Easter Island) and, along with the Desventuradas Islands, forms one of the nine communes of Valparaíso Province. The islands are named after Juan Fernández, the explorer who discovered them in the 1570s.
534 BC – Thespis of Icaria becomes the first recorded actor to portray a character on stage.
Thespis (/ˈθɛspɪs/; Greek: Θέσπις; fl. 6th century BC) was an Ancient Greek poet. He was born in the ancient city of Icarius (present-day Dionysos, Greece). According to certain Ancient Greek sources and especially Aristotle, he was the first person ever to appear on stage as an actor playing a character in a play (instead of speaking as themselves). In other sources, he is said to have introduced the first principal actor in addition to the chorus. He is often called the “Inventor of Tragedy”.
Thespis was a singer of dithyrambs (songs about stories from mythology with choric refrains). He is credited with introducing a new style in which one singer or actor performed the words of individual characters in the stories, distinguishing between the characters with the aid of different masks.
This new style was called tragedy, and Thespis was the most popular exponent of it. Eventually, in 534 BC competitions to find the best tragedy were instituted at the City Dionysia in Athens, and Thespis won the first documented competition. Capitalising on his success, Thespis also invented theatrical touring; he would tour various cities while carrying his costumes, masks and other props in a horse-drawn wagon.
Born On This Day
AD 9 – Vespasian, Roman emperor (d. 79)
Vespasian (/vɛˈspeɪʒ(i)ən, -ziən/; Latin: Vespasianus [wɛspasiˈaːnʊs]; 17 November AD 9 – 23/24 June 79) was a Roman emperor who reigned from AD 69 to 79. The fourth and last emperor who reigned in the Year of the Four Emperors, he founded the Flavian dynasty that ruled the Empire for 27 years. His fiscal reforms and consolidation of the empire generated political stability and a vast Roman building program.
Vespasian was the first emperor from an equestrian family and only rose later in his lifetime into the senatorial rank as the first member of his family to do so. Vespasian’s renown came from his military success; he was legate of Legio II Augusta during the Roman invasion of Britain in 43 and subjugated Judaea during the Jewish rebellion of 66.
While Vespasian besieged Jerusalem during the Jewish rebellion, emperor Nero committed suicide and plunged Rome into a year of civil war known as the Year of the Four Emperors. After Galba and Otho perished in quick succession, Vitellius became emperor in April 69. The Roman legions of Roman Egypt and Judaea reacted by declaring Vespasian, their commander, the emperor on 1 July 69.
In his bid for imperial power, Vespasian joined forces with Mucianus, the governor of Syria, and Primus, a general in Pannonia, leaving his son Titus to command the besieging forces at Jerusalem. Primus and Mucianus led the Flavian forces against Vitellius, while Vespasian took control of Egypt. On 20 December 69, Vitellius was defeated, and the following day Vespasian was declared emperor by the Senate.
Little information survives about the government during Vespasian’s ten-year rule. He reformed the financial system of Rome after the campaign against Judaea ended successfully, and initiated several ambitious construction projects, including the building of the Flavian Amphitheatre, better known today as the Roman Colosseum. Through his general Agricola, Vespasian increased imperial expansion in Britain. Vespasian is often credited with restoring political stability to Rome following the chaotic reigns of his predecessors. After he died in 79, he was succeeded by his eldest son Titus, thus becoming the first Roman emperor to be succeeded by his natural son and establishing the Flavian dynasty.
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701 – Itzam K’an Ahk II, Mayan ruler (d. 757)
Itzam Kʼan Ahk II (Mayan pronunciation: [itsam kʼan ahk], November 18, 701 – November 26, 757), also known as Ruler 4, was an ajaw of Piedras Negras, an ancient Maya settlement in Guatemala. He ruled during the Late Classic Period, from 729 to 757 AD. Itzam Kʼan Ahk II ascended to the throne following the death of Kʼinich Yoʼnal Ahk II. Itzam Kʼan Ahk II may have fathered the following three kings of Piedras Negras: Yoʼnal Ahk III, Haʼ Kʼin Xook, and Kʼinich Yat Ahk II. Following Itzam Kʼan Ahk II’s demise, he was succeeded by Yoʼnal Ahk III in 757 AD. Itzam Kʼan Ahk II left behind several monuments, including stelae at Piedras Negras and a large mortuary temple now known as Pyramid O-13. In addition, the details of his life and his Kʼatun-jubilee were commemorated on Panel 3, raised by Kʼinich Yat Ahk II several years following Itzam Kʼan Ahk II’s death.
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1417 – Frederick I, Count Palatine of Simmern (d. 1480)
Frederick I, the Hunsrücker (German: Friedrich I.; 19 November 1417 – 29 November 1480) was the Count Palatine of Simmern from 1459 until 1480.
Frederick was born in 1417 to Stephen, Count Palatine of Simmern-Zweibrücken and his wife, Anna of Veldenz. In 1444 his father partitioned his territories between Frederick and his younger brother Louis. Frederick married Margaret of Guelders, daughter of Duke Arnold, on 16 August 1454. Frederick died in Simmern in 1480 and was buried in the Augustinian Abbey of Ravengiersburg.
270 – Maximinus II, Roman emperor (d. 313)
Galerius Valerius Maximinus Daza, also known as Daza[i] (20 November c. 270 – c. July 313), was Roman emperor from 310 to 313 CE. He became embroiled in the Civil wars of the Tetrarchy between rival claimants for control of the empire, in which he was defeated by Licinius. A committed pagan, he engaged in one of the last persecutions of Christians, before issuing an edict of tolerance near his death.
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1495 – John Bale, English bishop and historian (d. 1563)
John Bale (21 November 1495 – November 1563) was an English churchman, historian and controversialist, and Bishop of Ossory in Ireland. He wrote the oldest known historical verse drama in English (on the subject of King John), and developed and published a very extensive list of the works of British authors down to his own time, just as the monastic libraries were being dispersed. His unhappy disposition and habit of quarrelling earned him the nickname “bilious Bale”.
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1329 – Elisabeth of Meissen, Burgravine of Nuremberg (d. 1375)
Elisabeth of Meissen, Burgravine of Nuremberg (22 November 1329 – 21 April 1375) was the daughter of Frederick II, Margrave of Meissen and Mathilde of Bavaria and a member of the House of Wettin.
870 – Alexander, Byzantine emperor (d. 913)
Alexander[b] Porphyrogenitus (Greek: Αλέξανδρος, Alexandros, 23 November 870 – 6 June 913) was briefly Byzantine emperor from 912 to 913, and the third emperor of the Macedonian dynasty.
NASA: Astronomy Picture of the Day
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By Krista Diamond, Long Reads: ‘That Girl is Going to Get Herself Killed’ There is risk in the wilderness — even in mild adventures — and yet we still seek to reason with it, to assign order to it, to control it, and to tempt it.
By Sarah Buder, Afar: The History Behind Some of the World’s Most Beautiful Ceilings “The Art of Looking Up” details the significant stories of spectacular ceilings, from Sweden and Las Vegas to Spain and Iran.
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By In The Kitchen With Matt: Chocolate Crackles
Just the Recipe: Paste the URL to any recipe, click submit, and it’ll return literally JUST the recipe- no ads, no life story of the writer, no nothing EXCEPT the recipe.
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