On This Day
1265 – Second Barons’ War: Battle of Evesham: The army of Prince Edward (the future king Edward I of England) defeats the forces of rebellious barons led by Simon de Montfort, 6th Earl of Leicester, killing de Montfort and many of his allies.
The Battle of Evesham (4 August 1265) was one of the two main battles of 13th century England’s Second Barons’ War. It marked the defeat of Simon de Montfort, Earl of Leicester, and the rebellious barons by the future King Edward I, who led the forces of his father, King Henry III. It took place on 4 August 1265, near the town of Evesham, Worcestershire.
With the Battle of Lewes, de Montfort had won control of royal government, but after the defection of several close allies and the escape from captivity of Prince Edward, he found himself on the defensive. Forced to engage the royalists at Evesham, he faced an army twice the size of his own. The battle soon turned into a massacre; de Montfort himself was killed and his body mutilated. It was described by the contemporary historian Robert of Gloucester as the “murder of Evesham, for battle it was none”. Though the battle effectively restored royal authority, scattered resistance remained until the Dictum of Kenilworth was signed in 1267.
1068 – Byzantine–Norman wars: Italo-Normans begin a nearly-three-year siege of Bari.
Wars between the Normans and the Byzantine Empire were fought from c. 1040 until 1185, when the last Norman invasion of the Byzantine Empire was defeated. At the end of the conflict, neither the Normans nor the Byzantines could boast much power as by the mid-13th century, exhaustive fighting with other powers had weakened both, leading to the Byzantines losing Asia Minor to the Ottoman Empire in the 14th century, and the Normans losing Sicily to the Hohenstaufen.
1777 – American Revolutionary War: The bloody Battle of Oriskany prevents American relief of the Siege of Fort Stanwix.
The Battle of Oriskany (/ɔːrˈɪskəniː/ or /əˈrɪskəniː/) was a significant engagement of the Saratoga campaign of the American Revolutionary War, and one of the bloodiest battles in the conflict between the Colonials and Great Britain. On August 6, 1777, a party of Loyalists and several hundred Indian allies across several nations ambushed an American military party that was marching to relieve the siege of Fort Stanwix. This was one of the few battles in which the majority of the participants were Americans; Rebels and allied Oneidas fought against Loyalists and allied Iroquois in the absence of British regular soldiers. There was also a detachment of Hessians in the British force, as well as Western Indians including members of the Mississaugas people.
The Patriot relief force came up the Mohawk Valley under the command of General Nicholas Herkimer and numbered about 800 men of the Tryon County militia plus a party of approximately 60 Oneida warriors. British commander Barry St. Leger authorized an intercepting force consisting of a Hanau Jäger (light infantry) detachment, Sir John Johnson’s King’s Royal Regiment of New York, Indian allies from the Six Nations, particularly Mohawks and Senecas and other tribes to the north and west, and Indian Department Rangers, totaling at least 450 men.
The Loyalist and Indians force ambushed Herkimer’s force in a small valley about six miles (10 km) east of Fort Stanwix, near the Oneida village of Oriskany, New York. Herkimer was mortally wounded, and the battle cost the Patriots approximately 451 casualties, while the Loyalists and Indians lost approximately 150 dead and wounded. The result of the battle remains ambiguous. The apparent Loyalist victory was significantly affected by a sortie from Fort Stanwix in which the Loyalist camps were sacked, damaging morale among the allied Indians.
The battle also marked the beginning of a war among the Iroquois, as Oneida warriors under Colonel Louis and Han Yerry allied with the American cause. Most of the other Iroquois tribes allied with the British, especially the Mohawks and Senecas. Each tribe was highly decentralized, and there were internal divisions among bands of the Oneida, some of whom also migrated to Canada as allies of the British. The site is known in Iroquois oral histories as “A Place of Great Sadness.” The site has been designated a National Historic Landmark; it is marked by a battle monument at the Oriskany Battlefield State Historic Site.
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461 – Roman Emperor Majorian is beheaded near the river Iria in north-west Italy following his arrest and deposition by the magister militum Ricimer.
Majorian (Latin: Iulius Valerius Maiorianus; c. 420 – 7 August 461) was the western Roman emperor from 457 to 461. A prominent general of the Roman army, Majorian deposed Emperor Avitus in 457 and succeeded him. Majorian was the last emperor to make a concerted effort to restore the Western Roman Empire with its own forces. Possessing little more than Italy, Dalmatia, and some territory in northern Gaul, Majorian campaigned rigorously for three years against the Empire’s enemies. His successors until the fall of the Empire, in 476–480, were actually instruments of their barbarian generals, or emperors chosen and controlled by the Eastern Roman court.
After defeating a Vandal attack on Italy, Majorian launched a campaign against the Visigothic Kingdom in southern Gaul. Defeating king Theodoric II at the Battle of Arelate, Majorian forced the Goths to abandon their possessions in Septimania and Hispania and return to federate status. Majorian then attacked the Burgundian Kingdom, defeating them at the Siege of Lugdunum, expelling them from the Rhone valley and reducing them to federate status.
In 460, Majorian left Gaul to consolidate his hold on Hispania. His generals launched a campaign against the Suebic Kingdom in northwest Hispania, defeating them at the battles of Lucus Augusti and Scallabis and reducing them to federate status as well. His fleet for his planned campaign to recover Africa from the Vandals was destroyed due to treachery.
Majorian sought to reform the imperial administration in order to make it more efficient and just. The powerful general Ricimer deposed and killed Majorian, who had become unpopular with the senatorial aristocracy because of his reforms.
To historian Edward Gibbon, Majorian “presents the welcome discovery of a great and heroic character, such as sometimes arise, in a degenerate age, to vindicate the honour of the human species”.
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685 BC – Spring and Autumn period: Battle of Qianshi: Upon the death of the previous Duke of Qi, Gongsun Wuzhi, Duke Zhuang of Lu sends an army into the Duchy of Qi to install the exiled Qi prince Gongzi Jiu as the new Duke of Qi — but is defeated at Qianshi by Jiu’s brother and rival claimant, the newly inaugurated Duke Huan of Qi.
The Battle of Qianshi (simplified Chinese: 干时之战; traditional Chinese: 乾時之戰; pinyin: Qiánshí zhī zhàn) was a military conflict between the armies of Qi and Lu that occurred in 685 BCE when Duke Zhuang of Lu (魯莊公) invaded Qi over a succession dispute.
In the year 685 BCE, the minister Yong Lin (雍廩) murdered the new Duke of Qi, Gongsun Wuzhi. Gongzi Xiaobai, one of the sons of Duke Xi of Qi, had long been on friendly terms with the Prime Minister of Qi, Gao Xi (高傒), so when Gao heard that Yong Lin had killed Wuzhi, he secretly invited Gongzi Xiaobai to return to Qi from his exile in the state of Ju (莒). When Duke Zhuang of Lu heard that Wuzhi had been killed, he analogously sent for his troops to escort Xiaobai’s older brother, Gongzi Jiu (公子糾), who had been hiding in Lu, back to Qi to assume the position of Duke. Moreover, the Lu side dispatched Jiu’s tutor, Guan Zhong, to lead troops to intercept Xiaobai along the road from Ju to Qi. Although Guan Zhong managed to hit Xiaobai with an arrow, it only pierced his belt buckle, allowing Xiaobai to fake his death by biting his tongue and escape while Guan Zhong was reporting back to Lu. When the Lu escort forces eventually reached Qi after six days, Xiaobai had already made his way back into the state and ascended to the Qi throne as the new Duke (posthumously known as Duke Huan).
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1897 – The first International Congress of Mathematicians is held in Zürich, Switzerland.
The International Congress of Mathematicians (ICM) is the largest conference for the topic of mathematics. It meets once every four years, hosted by the International Mathematical Union (IMU).
The Fields Medals, the Nevanlinna Prize (to be renamed as the IMU Abacus Medal), the Gauss Prize, and the Chern Medal are awarded during the congress’s opening ceremony. Each congress is memorialized by a printed set of Proceedings recording academic papers based on invited talks intended to be relevant to current topics of general interest. Being invited to talk at the ICM has been called “the equivalent … of an induction to a hall of fame”.
Born On This Day
1281 – Külüg Khan, Emperor Wuzong of Yuan (d. 1311)
Külüg Khan (Mongolian:ᠬᠥᠯᠥᠭ;Mongolian:Хүлэг Chinese: 曲律汗; ), born Khayishan (Mongolian: ᠬᠠᠶᠢᠰᠠᠩ; Mongolian: Хайсан; Chinese: 海山, Mongolian: Хайсан, meaning “wall”[note 1]), also known by the temple name Wuzong (Emperor Wuzong of Yuan; Chinese: 元武宗; pinyin: Yuán Wǔzōng; Wade–Giles: Wu-Tsung) (August 4, 1281 – January 27, 1311), Prince of Huaining (懷寧王) in 1304-1307, was an emperor of the Yuan dynasty of China. Apart from Emperor of China, he is regarded as the seventh Great Khan of the Mongol Empire, although it was only nominal due to the division of the empire. His name means “warrior Khan” or “fine horse Khan” in the Mongolian language.
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1262 – Ladislaus IV of Hungary (d. 1290)
Ladislaus IV (Hungarian: IV. (Kun) László, Croatian: Ladislav IV. Kumanac, Slovak: Ladislav IV. Kumánsky; 5 August 1262 – 10 July 1290), also known as Ladislas the Cuman, was king of Hungary and Croatia from 1272 to 1290. His mother, Elizabeth, was the daughter of a chieftain from the pagan Cumans who had settled in Hungary. At the age of seven, he married Elisabeth (or Isabella), a daughter of King Charles I of Sicily. Ladislaus was only 10 when a rebellious lord, Joachim Gutkeled, kidnapped and imprisoned him.
Ladislaus was still a prisoner when his father Stephen V died on 6 August 1272. During his minority, many groupings of barons — primarily the Abas, Csáks, Kőszegis, and Gutkeleds — fought against each other for supreme power. Ladislaus was declared to be of age at an assembly of the prelates, barons, noblemen, and Cumans in 1277. He allied himself with Rudolf I of Germany against Ottokar II of Bohemia. His forces had a preeminent role in Rudolf’s victory over Ottokar in the Battle on the Marchfeld on 26 August 1278.
However, Ladislaus could not restore royal power in Hungary. A papal legate, Philip, bishop of Fermo, came to Hungary to help Ladislaus consolidate his authority, but the prelate was shocked at the presence of thousands of pagan Cumans in Hungary. Ladislaus promised that he would force them to adopt a Christian lifestyle, but they refused to obey the legate’s demands. Ladislaus decided to support the Cumans, for which Philip of Fermo excommunicated him. The Cumans imprisoned the legate, and the legate’s partisans captured Ladislaus. In early 1280, Ladislaus agreed to persuade the Cumans to submit to the legate, but many Cumans preferred to leave Hungary.
Ladislaus vanquished a Cuman army that invaded Hungary in 1282. Hungary also survived a Mongol invasion in 1285. Ladislaus had, by that time, become so unpopular that many of his subjects accused him of inciting the Mongols to invade Hungary. After he imprisoned his wife in 1286, he lived with his Cuman mistresses. During the last years of his life, he wandered throughout the country with his Cuman allies, but he was unable to control the most powerful lords and bishops any more. Pope Nicholas IV planned to declare a crusade against him, but three Cuman assassins murdered Ladislaus.
1504 – Matthew Parker, English archbishop (d. 1575)
Matthew Parker (6 August 1504 – 17 May 1575) was an English bishop. He was the Archbishop of Canterbury in the Church of England from 1559 until his death in 1575. He was also an influential theologian and arguably the co-founder (with a previous Archbishop of Canterbury, Thomas Cranmer, and the theologian Richard Hooker) of a distinctive tradition of Anglican theological thought.
Parker was one of the primary architects of the Thirty-nine Articles, the defining statements of Anglican doctrine. The Parker collection of early English manuscripts, including the book of St Augustine Gospels and “Version A” of the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, was created as part of his efforts to demonstrate that the English Church was historically independent from Rome, creating one of the world’s most important collections of ancient manuscripts. Along with the pioneering scholar Lawrence Nowell, Parker’s work concerning the Old English literature laid the foundation for Anglo-Saxon studies.
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1571 – Thomas Lupo, English viol player and composer (d. 1627)
Thomas Lupo (baptised 7 August 1571 – probably December 1627) was an English composer and viol player of the late Elizabethan and Jacobean eras. Along with Orlando Gibbons, John Coprario, and Alfonso Ferrabosco, he was one of the principal developers of the repertory for viol consort.
1492 – Matteo Tafuri, Italian alchemist (d. 1582)
Matteo Tafuri (8 August 1492 – 13 June 1582) was an Italian philosopher, astrologer and physician, who was famed for his divination, but also was reputed to be a magician who practiced demonic arts.
Matteo Tafuri was born in Soleto, a small village in the south of Apulia, on 8 August 1492. In his early years he studied the Hellenic culture through the teachings of Sergio Stiso, a famous hellenist from Zollino, and later he devoted himself to philosophy and medicine in Naples. In 1525 in Padua he met Zimaria, an Aristotelian disciple of Pietro Pomponazzi and in Venice he proved his ability of divination to King Francis I of France.
In the same year he went to England where he met Thomas More and the Archbishop Thomas Wolsey but there he was inquired for heresy. Then he studied philosophy and medicine in Paris at the Sorbonne, he attended the University of Salamanca in Spain and travelled through Africa, Poland and Greece. Finally he came back to his native village, Soleto, where in 1569 he was accused of witchcraft and satanic powers by the Inquisition, was imprisoned for 15 months, and later acquitted. In 1571 he received a visit from Juan of Austria, a commander of the fleet of the Holy League that won the Battle of Lepanto, who wanted to meet the “old Matteo”.
He lived his last years in poverty in Soleto, feared and disliked by the people, receiving a pension from the Archbishop of Capua and a support from the “Universitas” of Soleto, which wanted to reward him for his contribution to the education of the citizens. He died in Soleto on 13 June 1582.
Matteo Tafuri was one of the most eminent personalities of Apulia in the 16th century and he remained in the popular culture as a sorcerer and a practitioner of the “demonic religion”. The magic of Tafuri must be understood as knowledge of natural mysteries through astrology, alchemy and medicine, which could break the “spell of evil.” He was defended by Father Stanislao, who said, in his “critical propositio”, that Tafuri never practiced the demonic magic and that many powerful and wise men came from everywhere attracted by his wide culture.
Works and culture
Matteo Tafuri wrote many works but they were lost by his relatives in the course of the years, and what survives, except for the Pronostico, is only a list of titles. He was known as a great astrologer and an expert of physiognomy. According to his contemporaries, he based himself on somatic characteristics to know the future events about a person. He was also an expert in herbs and medical plants and studied the properties of mandrake to cause apparent death, he studied anesthetic substances and methods of inducing sleep (contained in the “somnibus” and “de insomniandi artificial”) and he has likely used the “treacle”, an alchemical medicine, to cure sick people when the plague spread throughout the area of Soleto in 1571.
In his work Pronostico, dated 1571, Tafuri suggested to the Marquis Giovanni Del Tufo to stick on the shoulders of his sick child some pieces of paper with a psalm of death written on, in order to drive away bad luck and evil forces, a typically ecclesiastical remedy.
1201 – Arnold Fitz Thedmar, English historian and merchant (d. 1274)
Arnold Fitz Thedmar (August 9, 1201 – 1274 or 1275) was a London chronicler and merchant.
Because of his habits as an historian, Arnold Fitz Thedmar provided autobiographical information unusual for his time – including a precise birth date. Arnold was born in London to parents of German origin. The family of his mother Juliana migrated to the Kingdom of England from Cologne in the reign of Henry II of England – apparently after visiting the shrine of Thomas Becket. His father, Thedmar, was a citizen of Bremen who had been attracted to London by the privileges which the Plantagenets conferred upon the Teutonic Hanse.
Arnold was the only boy to survive childhood; four of his sisters survived, and they married into London society. Arnold succeeded his father in business and status, becoming ‘alderman of the Germans’ (Hanseatic merchants) by 1251. He was also, by his own account, alderman of Billingsgate from the 1240s, and an active partisan in municipal politics. Arnold was one of several London citizens to come into conflict with Henry III over City privileges in 1258; he was sacked from office that year, but restored in 1259. He was also an opponent of the mayoralty of Thomas FitzThomas. His opposition nearly cost him his life: the populist mayor and his associates proposed a trial before the folkmoot – but, luckily, news of the battle of Evesham came just in time to save Arnold and his colleagues. Even after the triumph of Henry III of England, Arnold suffered from the malice of his enemies, who contrived that he should be unfairly assessed for the tallages imposed upon the city. He appealed for help to Henry III, and again to his son and successor Edward I, with the result that his liability was diminished.
In 1270, he became keeper of the chest of city archives, something which must have brought him particular satisfaction, given his literary bent. In his leisure, Arnold compiled a chronicle, now known as the Liber de antiquis legibus (Book of ancient laws). This was based on the annals of Southwark Priory and Ralph de Diceto’s Opuscula.  The chronicle begins at the year 1188 and is continued to 1274. From 1239 onwards this work is a mine of curious information. Though municipal in its outlook, it is valuable for the general history of the kingdom, owing to the important part which London played in the agitation against the misrule of Henry III. We have the king’s word for the fact that Arnold was a consistent royalist; but this is apparent from the whole tenor of the chronicle. Arnold was by no means blind to the faults of Henry’s government, but preferred an autocracy to the mob rule which Simon de Montfort, 6th Earl of Leicester countenanced in London. Arnold died in 1274; the last fact recorded of him is that, in this year, he joined in a successful appeal to the king against the illegal grants which had been made by the mayor, Walter Hervey.
Arnold had a hall, messuage, tenements and a wharf next the Steelyard. He was married to a Dionysia (she outlived him by a couple of decades, and married, secondly, Adam the Tailor). Arnold’s will was enrolled on 10 February 1275. Arnold and Dionysia perhaps had a daughter (Margery), although she is not named in his will. His cousin Stephen Eswy inherited part of Arnold’s property. Arnold left a bequest to Bermondsey Abbey, whose chronicles share a common ancestor to Southwark’s.