On This Day
250 – Emperor Decius orders everyone in the Roman Empire (except Jews) to make sacrifices to the Roman gods.
The Decian persecution of Christians occurred in 250 AD under the Roman Emperor Decius. He had issued an edict ordering everyone in the Empire to perform a sacrifice to the Roman gods and the well-being of the emperor. The sacrifices had to be performed in the presence of a Roman magistrate, and be confirmed by a signed and witnessed certificate from the magistrate. Although the text of the edict has been lost, many examples of the certificates have survived.
Decius’ edict was intended to act as an Empire-wide loyalty oath to the new emperor (who had come to power in 249 AD), sanctified through the Roman religion. Christian monotheistic beliefs did not allow them to worship any other gods, so they were forced to choose between their religious beliefs and following the decree.
An unknown number of Christians were executed or died in prison for refusing to perform the sacrifices, including Pope Fabian. Others went into hiding, whilst many apostatized and performed the ceremonies. The effects on Christians were long-lasting: it caused tension between those who had performed the sacrifices (or fled) and those who had not, and left bitter memories of persecution.
Born On This Day
1710 – Richard Gridley, American soldier and engineer (d. 1796)
Richard Gridley (3 January 1710 – 21 June 1796) was born in Boston, Massachusetts. He was a soldier and engineer who served for the British Army during the French and Indian Wars and for the Continental Army during the American Revolutionary War.
Early life and military career
Gridley married Hannah Deming 25 February 1730. They had nine children. He served as a military engineer during the French and Indian Wars from the reduction of Fortress Louisbourg in 1745 to the fall of Quebec. For his services he was awarded a captain’s commission in 65th, or Shirley’s Regiment of Foot, a grant of the Magdalen Islands, 3,000 acres (12 km2) of land in New Hampshire, and a life annuity. Placed on half-pay in 1749, he was colonel of a Massachusetts provincial regiment during William Johnson’s 1755 expedition against Fort Saint-Frédéric. In John Winslow’s failed 1756 expedition against Fort Saint-Frédéric, he served as provincial colonel of artillery and chief engineer. He vehemently supported Winslow’s resistance against a merger of the regular and provincial forces.
Gridley sided with the Thirteen Colonies during the American Revolutionary War and was made Chief Engineer in the New England Provincial Army. He laid out the defenses on Breed’s Hill and was wounded at the Battle of Bunker Hill. When the Continental Congress first created a Continental Army under command of George Washington in 1775 Gridley was named to Chief Engineer (artillery). He directed the construction of the fortifications on Dorchester Heights which forced the British to evacuate Boston in March 1776. When Washington moved his army south, Gridley remained as Chief Engineer of the Eastern Department.
Later life and death
Gridley retired in 1781 at age 70. He died from blood poisoning induced by cutting dogwood bushes, in Stoughton, Massachusetts, and is buried in Canton, Massachusetts, at the Canton Corner Cemetery. He was buried within a small enclosure near his house in what is now Canton, off Washington Street. In this spot his body rested until 28 October 1876, when a committee disinterred his remains and removed them to his final resting place in the Canton Corner Cemetery. A small queue (braided hair) was removed and pocketed during the exhumation and today is on display at the Canton Historical Society.
The monument to Gridley at Canton Corner is of Quincy Granite and the dado of Randolph Granite are faced with polished tablets bearing several inscriptions including “I shall fight for justice and my country”, “I love my God, my country, and my neighbor as myself.”, and a quote by General Washington: “I know of no man better fitted to be Chief Engineer than General Gridley.” The whole monument is surmounted by a cannon in the imitation of “Hancock” or “Adams,” – one of the guns Gridley served with his own hands at Bunker Hill.
Gridley is widely to be understood as one of the most distinguished military characters of New England, renowned for personal bravery, skilled artillerist, a scientific engineer, and a contemporary of Prescott and Putnam and Knox, of Warren and Washington.
The United States Army Corps of Engineers considers Gridley ‘America’s First Chief Engineer.
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Charles L. “Sonny” Liston (c. 1930 – December 30, 1970) was an American professional boxer who competed from 1953 to 1970.
A dominant contender of his era, he became the world heavyweight champion in 1962 after knocking out Floyd Patterson in the first round, repeating the knockout the following year in defense of the title; in the latter fight he also became the inaugural WBC heavyweight champion. Liston was particularly known for his toughness, formidable punching power, long reach, and intimidating appearance.
Although Liston was widely regarded as unbeatable, he lost the title in 1964 to Cassius Clay (Muhammad Ali), who entered as a 7–1 underdog. Liston retired in his corner due to an inflamed shoulder. Controversy followed with claims that Liston had been drinking heavily the night before the fight and had entered the bout with a lame shoulder. In his 1965 rematch with Ali, Liston suffered an unexpected first-round knockout that led to unresolved suspicions of a fix. He was still a world-ranked boxer when he died in mysterious circumstances in 1970. Underworld connections and his unrecorded dates of birth and death added to the enigma.
The Ring magazine ranks Liston as the tenth greatest heavyweight of all time, while boxing writer Herb Goldman ranked him second and Richard O’Brien, Senior Editor of Sports Illustrated, placed him third. Alfie Potts Harmer in The Sportster also ranked him the third greatest heavyweight and the sixth greatest boxer at any weight. Liston was inducted into the international Boxing Hall of Fame in 1991.
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