FYI January 24, 2019

On This Day

AD 41 – Roman Emperor Caligula, known for his eccentricity and sadistic despotism, is assassinated by his disgruntled Praetorian Guards. The Guard then proclaims Caligula’s uncle Claudius as Emperor.
Caligula (/kəˈlɪɡjʊlə/;[1] Latin: Gaius Julius Caesar Augustus Germanicus; 31 August 12 – 24 January 41 AD) was Roman emperor from AD 37 to AD 41. The son of the popular Roman general Germanicus and Augustus’ granddaughter Agrippina the Elder, Caligula was born into the first ruling family of the Roman Empire, conventionally known as the Julio-Claudian dynasty. Germanicus’ uncle and adoptive father, Tiberius, succeeded Augustus as emperor of Rome in AD 14.

Although he was born Gaius Caesar, after Julius Caesar, he acquired the nickname “Caligula” (meaning “little soldier’s boot”, the diminutive form of caliga) from his father’s soldiers during their campaign in Germania. When Germanicus died at Antioch in AD 19, Agrippina returned with her six children to Rome, where she became entangled in a bitter feud with Tiberius. The conflict eventually led to the destruction of her family, with Caligula as the sole male survivor. Untouched by the deadly intrigues, Caligula accepted an invitation in AD 31 to join the emperor on the island of Capri, where Tiberius had withdrawn five years earlier. Following the death of Tiberius, Caligula succeeded his adoptive grandfather as emperor in AD 37.

There are few surviving sources about the reign of Caligula, although he is described as a noble and moderate emperor during the first six months of his rule. After this, the sources focus upon his cruelty, sadism, extravagance, and sexual perversion, presenting him as an insane tyrant. While the reliability of these sources is questionable, it is known that during his brief reign, Caligula worked to increase the unconstrained personal power of the emperor, as opposed to countervailing powers within the principate. He directed much of his attention to ambitious construction projects and luxurious dwellings for himself, and initiated the construction of two aqueducts in Rome: the Aqua Claudia and the Anio Novus. During his reign, the empire annexed the client kingdom of Mauretania as a province.

In early AD 41, Caligula was assassinated as a result of a conspiracy by officers of the Praetorian Guard, senators, and courtiers. The conspirators’ attempt to use the opportunity to restore the Roman Republic was thwarted, however. On the day of the assassination of Caligula, the Praetorians declared Caligula’s uncle, Claudius, the next Roman emperor. Although the Julio-Claudian dynasty continued to rule the empire until the fall of his nephew Nero in AD 68, Caligula’s death marked the official end of the Julii Caesares in the male line.

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Born On This Day

1864 – Marguerite Durand, French actress, journalist, and activist (d. 1936)
Marguerite Durand (January 24, 1864 – March 16, 1936) was a French stage actress, journalist, and a leading suffragette. She founded her own newspaper, stood for election, had a pet lion and now has the Bibliothèque Marguerite Durand named for her.

Born to an unmarried mother into a middle-class family, Marguerite Durand was sent to study at a Roman Catholic convent. After finishing her primary education, she entered the Conservatoire de Paris before joining the Comédie Française in 1881.[1]

In 1888, she gave up her career in the theatre to marry an up-and-coming young lawyer, Georges Laguerre.[1] A friend and follower of the politically ambitious army general Georges Boulanger, her husband introduced her to the world of radical populist politics and involved her in writing pamphlets for the “Boulangists” movement. However, the marriage was short-lived and in 1891 the couple separated after which Durand took a job writing for Le Figaro, the leading newspaper of the day. In 1896, the paper sent her to cover the Congrès Féministe International (International Feminist Congress) ostensibly to write a humorous article. She came away from the event a greatly changed person, so much so that the following year on December 9, 1897 she founded a feminist daily newspaper, La Fronde to pick up where Hubertine Auclert’s La Citoyenne left off.[2]

Durand’s newspaper, run exclusively by women, advocated for women’s rights, including admission to the Bar association and the École des Beaux-Arts. As well, its editorials demanded women be allowed to be named to the Legion of Honor and to participate in parliamentary debates. This included, later in 1910, Durand’s attempt to organize female candidates for the legislative elections. At the 1900 World’s Fair in Paris, she organized the Congress For The Rights of Women. As well as establishing a summer residence for female journalists ids, Pierrefonds in the Picardy region, Durand turned to activism for working women, helping to organize several trade unions.

Marguerite Durand, consumed by a passion for the equality of women, was an attractive woman of style and elegance who was famous for walking the streets of Paris with her pet lion she named “Tiger.” Instrumental in the establishing of the zoological Cimetière des Chiens in the Parisian suburb of Asnières-sur-Seine where her lion was eventually interred, her activism raised the profile of feminism in France and Europe to an unprecedented level of respectability. Along the way, she compiled an enormous collection of papers that she gave to the government in 1931. The following year, the Bibliothèque Marguerite Durand opened in Paris. In 2006 the library was still open and researchers were working beneath a portrait of Durand.[1]



By Sam Barsanti: R.I.P. James Frawley, director of The Muppet Movie

James Frawley (September 29, 1936 – January 22, 2019) was an American director and actor. He was a member of the Actors Studio since around 1961.[1][2] He was best known for directing The Muppet Movie in 1979 and The Monkees television series.

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