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Selected biography 1

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epiction of Ælle from John Speed's 1611 "Saxon Heptarchy"
Ælle is recorded in early sources as the first king of the South Saxons, reigning in what is now Sussex, England from 477 to perhaps as late as 514. The information about him is so limited that it cannot be said with certainty that Ælle even existed. Ælle and three of his sons are reported to have landed near what is now Selsey Bill—the exact location is under the sea, and is probably what is now a sandbank known as the Owers—and fought with the British. A victory in 491 at what is now Pevensey is reported to have ended with the Saxons slaughtering their opponents to the last man. Although the details of these traditions cannot be verified, evidence from the place names of Sussex does make it clear that it was an area with extensive and early settlement by the Saxons, supporting the idea that this was one of their early conquests. Ælle was the first king recorded by the eighth century chronicler Bede to have held "imperium", or overlordship, over other Anglo-Saxon kingdoms. In the late ninth century Anglo-Saxon Chronicle (around four hundred years after his time) Ælle is recorded as being the first bretwalda, or "Britain-ruler", though there is no evidence that this was a contemporary title. Ælle's death is not recorded, and it is not known who succeeded him as king of the South Saxons.
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Selected biography 2

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Stained glass window of Æthelred in St John's Chester
Æthelred was King of Mercia from 675 until 704. He was the son of Penda of Mercia and came to the throne in 675, when his brother, Wulfhere of Mercia, died. Within a year of his accession he invaded Kent, where his armies destroyed the city of Rochester. In 679 he defeated his brother-in-law, Ecgfrith of Northumbria, at the Battle of the Trent: the battle was a major setback for the Northumbrians, and effectively ended their military involvement in English affairs south of the Humber. It also permanently returned the kingdom of Lindsey to Mercia's possession. However, Æthelred was unable to re-establish his predecessors' domination of southern Britain. He was known as a pious and religious king, and made many grants of land to the church. It was during his reign that Theodore, the Archbishop of Canterbury, reorganized the church's diocesan structure, creating several new sees in Mercia and Northumbria. Æthelred befriended Bishop Wilfrid of York when Wilfrid was expelled from his see in Northumbria; Æthelred made Wilfrid Bishop of the Middle Angles during his exile, and supported him at the synod of Austerfield in about 702, when Wilfrid argued his case for the return of the ecclesiastical lands he had been deprived of in Northumbria.
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Selected biography 3

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Áedán mac Gabráin was king of Dál Riata, the approximate area of the kingdom is shown in this satellite image of northern Britain and Ireland
Áedán mac Gabráin was a king of Dál Riata from circa 574 until his death, perhaps on 17 April 609. The kingdom of Dál Riata was situated in modern Argyll and Bute, Scotland, and parts of County Antrim, Ireland. Genealogies record that Áedán was a son of Gabrán mac Domangairt. He was a contemporary of Saint Columba, and much that is recorded of his life and career comes from hagiography such as Adomnán of Iona's Life of Saint Columba. Áedán appears as a character in Old Irish and Middle Irish language works of prose and verse, some now lost. The Irish annals record Áedán's campaigns against his neighbours, in Ireland, and in northern Britain, including expeditions to the Orkney Islands, the Isle of Man, and the east coast of Scotland. As recorded by Bede, Áedán was decisively defeated by Æthelfrith of Bernicia at the Battle of Degsastan. Áedán may have been deposed, or have abdicated, following this defeat.
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Selected biography 4

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Albert Kesselring
Albert Kesselring (1885–1960) was a Luftwaffe Generalfeldmarschall during World War II. In a military career that spanned both World Wars, Kesselring became one of Nazi Germany's most skillful commanders, being one of 27 soldiers awarded the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross with Oak Leaves, Swords and Diamonds. Kesselring joined the German Army as an officer cadet in 1904, and served in the artillery branch. During World War I, he served on both the Western and Eastern fronts and was posted to the General Staff, despite not having attended the War Academy. During World War II he commanded air forces in the invasions of Poland and France, the Battle of Britain, and Operation Barbarossa. As Commander-in-Chief South, he was overall German commander in the Mediterranean theatre, which included the operations in North Africa. Kesselring conducted a stubborn defensive campaign against the Allied forces in Italy until he was injured in an accident in October 1944. He won the respect of his Allied opponents for his military accomplishments, but his record was marred by massacres committed by troops under his command in Italy. After the war, Kesselring was tried for war crimes and sentenced to death. The sentence was subsequently commuted to life imprisonment.
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Selected biography 5

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Albert Speer at the Nuremberg trials, 1946
Albert Speer was a German architect who was, for part of World War II, Minister of Armaments and War Production for the Third Reich. Hitler commissioned Speer to design and construct a number of structures, including the Reich Chancellery and the Zeppelinfeld stadium in Nuremberg where Nazi Party rallies were held. Speer also made plans to reconstruct Berlin on a grand scale, with huge buildings, wide boulevards, and a reorganized transportation system. As Hitler's Minister of Armaments and War Production, Speer's reforms were so successful that Germany's war production continued to increase despite massive and devastating Allied bombing. As "the Nazi who said sorry", he accepted responsibility at the Nuremberg trials after the war and was sentenced to twenty years in prison for his role in the Nazi regime, principally for the use of forced labor. He served most of his sentence at Spandau Prison in West Berlin. Following his release from Spandau in 1966, Speer published two bestselling autobiographical works, Inside the Third Reich and Spandau: The Secret Diaries, detailing his often close personal relationship with Hitler, and providing readers and historians with a unique perspective inside the workings of the Nazi regime.
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Selected biography 6

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Portrait of Alboin from the Nuremberg Chronicle
Alboin (530s–572) was king of the Lombards from about 560 until 572. During his reign the Lombards ended their migrations by settling in Italy. He had a lasting impact on Italy and the Pannonian Basin. The period of Alboin's reign as king in Pannonia following the death of his father, Audoin, was one of confrontation and conflict between the Lombards and their main neighbours, the Gepids. The Gepids initially gained the upper hand, but in 567, thanks to his alliance with the Avars, Alboin inflicted a decisive defeat on his enemies, whose lands the Avars subsequently occupied. The increasing power of his new neighbours caused Alboin some unease however, and he therefore decided to leave Pannonia for Italy, hoping to take advantage of the Byzantine Empire's reduced ability to defend its territory in the wake of the Gothic War. After succeeding in gathering together a large coalition of peoples, Alboin began his trek in 568. After crossing the Julian Alps he entered an almost undefended Italy, and rapidly took control of most of Venetia and Liguria. In 569, unopposed, he took northern Italy's main city, Milan. Pavia offered stiff resistance however, and was only taken after a siege lasting three years. During that time Alboin turned his attention to Tuscany, but signs of factionalism among his supporters and Alboin's diminishing control over his army increasingly began to manifest themselves. Alboin was assassinated on June 28, 572, in a coup d'état instigated by the Byzantines.
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Selected biography 7

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Bust of Alcibiades
Alcibiades was a prominent Athenian statesman, orator, and general. The last famous member of an aristocratic family that fell from prominence after the Peloponnesian War, he played a major role in the second half of that conflict as a strategic advisor, military commander, and politician. During the course of the Peloponnesian War, Alcibiades changed his allegiance on several occasions. In his native Athens in the early 410s BC, he advocated for an aggressive foreign policy, and was a prominent proponent of the Sicilian Expedition, but fled to Sparta after his political enemies brought charges of sacrilege against him. In the years that he served Sparta, Alcibiades played a crucial role in Athens' undoing; the capture of Decelea and the revolts of several critical Athenian subjects occurred either at his suggestion or under his supervision. Once restored to his native city, however, he played a crucial role in a string of Athenian victories that eventually brought Sparta to seek a peace with Athens. He favored unconventional tactics, frequently winning cities over by treachery or negotiation rather than by siege. Alcibiades' military and political talents frequently proved valuable to whichever state currently held his allegiance, but his capacity for making powerful enemies ensured that he never remained in one place for long, and, by the end of the war that he had helped rekindle in the early 410s, his days of political relevance were a bygone memory.
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Selected biography 8

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The kingdom of East Anglia during the reign of Anna
Anna of East Anglia was King of East Anglia from the early 640s until his death. Anna was a member of the Wuffingas family, the ruling dynasty of the East Angles. He was praised by Bede for his devotion to Christianity and was renowned for the saintliness of his family: his son Jurmin and all his daughters – Seaxburh, Æthelthryth, Æthelburh and possibly a fourth, Wihtburh – were canonised. Little is known of Anna's life or his reign, as few records have survived from this period. Following the attack in 651 by Penda on the monastery at Cnobheresburg, which Anna richly endowed, he was forced by Penda to flee into exile. He may have travelled to the western kingdom of the Magonsæte and returned in about 653, but East Anglia was attacked again by Penda soon afterwards and at the Battle of Bulcamp the East Anglian army, led by Anna, was defeated by the Mercians, and Anna and his son Jurmin were both killed. He was succeeded by his brother, Æthelhere. Botolph's monastery at Iken may have been built in commemoration of the king. After Anna's reign, East Anglia seems to have been eclipsed by its more powerful neighbour, Mercia.
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Selected biography 9

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Andrew Cunningham, 1st Viscount Cunningham of Hyndhope
Andrew Cunningham was a British admiral of the Second World War. He attended several schools and colleges before he was enrolled at a Naval Academy, at the age of 10, where his association with the Navy started. After passing out of Britannia Royal Naval College, Dartmouth, in 1898, he progressed rapidly in rank. He commanded a destroyer during the First World War and through most of the interwar period. For his performance during this time he was awarded the Distinguished Service Order and two Bars, specifically for his actions in the Dardanelles and in the Baltics. In the Second World War, as Commander-in-Chief, Mediterranean Fleet, Cunningham led British naval forces in several critical Mediterranean naval battles. These included the attack on Taranto in 1940, the first all-aircraft naval attack in history, and the Battle of Cape Matapan in 1941. Cunningham was also responsible for the on-going struggle to supply Malta and oversight of the naval support for the various major Allied landings in the Mediterranean littoral. In 1943, Cunningham was promoted to First Sea Lord, a position he held until his retirement in 1946.
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Selected biography 10

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Arthur Ernest Percival in December 1941
Arthur Percival was a British Army officer and World War I hero. He built a successful military career during the interwar period but is most noted for his involvement in World War II, when he commanded the forces of the British Commonwealth during the Battle of Malaya and the subsequent Battle of Singapore. Percival's surrender to a smaller invading Imperial Japanese Army force was and remains the largest capitulation in British military history, and it fatally undermined Britain's prestige as an imperial power in the Far East. However, years of under-funding of Malaya's defences combined with the inexperienced, under-equipped nature of the Commonwealth army make it possible to hold a more sympathetic view of his command.
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Selected biography 11

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Bust of Attalus I
Attalus I ruled Pergamon, a Greek city-state in present-day Turkey, from 241 BCE to 197 BCE. He was the second cousin and the adoptive son of Eumenes I, whom he succeeded, and was the first of the Attalid dynasty to assume the title of king. He won an important victory over the Galatians, newly arrived Celtic tribes from Thrace, who had been, for more than a generation, plundering and exacting tribute throughout most of Asia Minor without any serious check. This victory, celebrated by the triumphal monument at Pergamon, famous for its Dying Gaul, and the liberation from the Gallic "terror" which it represented, earned for Attalus the name of "Soter," and the title of "king." A courageous and capable general and loyal ally of Rome, he played a significant role in the first and second Macedonian Wars, waged against Philip V of Macedon. He conducted numerous naval operations, harassing Macedonian interests throughout the Aegean, winning honors, collecting spoils, and gaining for Pergamon possession of the Greek islands of Aegina during the first war, and Andros during the second, twice narrowly escaping capture at the hands of Philip. He died in 197 BCE, shortly before the end of the second war, at the age of 72, having suffered an apparent stroke while addressing a Boeotian war council some months before.
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Selected biography 12

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Augustus
Augustus (63 BC – 14 AD) was the first emperor of the Roman Empire, who ruled from 27 BC until his death in AD 14. Known as Octavian before becoming emperor, he was adopted by his great uncle Julius Caesar in 44 BC. In 43 BC, Octavian joined forces with Mark Antony and Marcus Aemilius Lepidus in a military dictatorship known as the Second Triumvirate. After the demise of the Second Triumvirate, Octavian restored the outward facade of the Roman Republic, with governmental power vested in the Roman Senate and which became known as the Roman Empire. Augustus' control over the majority of Rome's legions established an armed threat that could be used against the Senate, allowing him to coerce the Senate's decisions. The rule of Augustus initiated an era of relative peace known as the Pax Romana. Augustus expanded the boundaries of the Roman Empire, secured the Empire's borders with client states, and made peace with Parthia through diplomacy. He reformed the Roman system of taxation, developed networks of roads with an official courier system, established a standing army (and a small navy), established the Praetorian Guard, and created official police and fire-fighting forces for Rome. Upon his death in AD 14, Augustus was declared a god by the Senate. The month of Sextilis was officially renamed August in his honour.
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Selected biography 13

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Solidus celebrating Basiliscus
Basiliscus was a Byzantine Emperor of the House of Leo, who ruled briefly (9 January 475-August 476), when Emperor Zeno had been forced out of Constantinople by a revolt. Basiliscus was the brother of Empress Aelia Verina, the wife of Emperor Leo I. His relationship with the emperor allowed him to pursue a military career that, after minor initial successes, ended in 468, when he led the disastrous Byzantine invasion of Vandal Africa, in one of the largest military operations of Late Antiquity. Basiliscus succeeded in seizing power in 475, exploiting the unpopularity of Emperor Zeno, the "barbarian" successor to Leo, and a plot organized by Verina that had caused Zeno to flee Constantinople. However, during his short rule, Basiliscus alienated the fundamental support of the Church and the people of Constantinople, promoting the Monophysite christological position in opposition to the widely accepted Chalcedonian faith. So, when Zeno tried to regain his empire, he found virtually no opposition, triumphally entering Constantinople, and capturing and killing Basiliscus and his family. The struggle between Basiliscus and Zeno impeded the intervention of the Eastern Empire in the fall of the Western Roman Empire, which happened in early September 476.
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Selected biography 14

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Brian Horrocks
Brian Horrocks (7 September 1895 – 4 January 1985) was a British Army officer. He is chiefly remembered as the commander of XXX Corps in Operation Market Garden and other operations during the Second World War. He also served in the First World War and the Russian Civil War, was a prisoner of war twice, and competed in the 1924 Paris Olympics. Later he was a television presenter, authored books on military history, and was Black Rod in the House of Lords for 14 years. In 1940 Horrocks commanded a battalion during the Battle of France, the first time he served under Bernard Montgomery, the most prominent British commander of the war. Montgomery later identified Horrocks as one of his most able officers, appointing him to corps commands in both North Africa and Europe. In 1943, Horrocks was seriously wounded and took more than a year to recover before returning to command a corps in Europe. It is likely that this period out of action meant he missed out on promotion; his contemporary corps commanders in North Africa, Leese and Dempsey, went on to command at army level and above. Horrocks' wound caused continuing health problems and led to his early retirement from the army after the war.
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Selected biography 15

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Imaginary depiction of Cædwalla by Lambert Barnard
Cædwalla (659–689) was the King of Wessex from about 685 until 688, when he abdicated. His name is derived from the British Cadwallon. He was exiled as a youth, and during this time attacked the South Saxons, in what is now Sussex, killing their king, Æthelwealh, but he was unable to hold the territory and was driven out by Æthelwealh's ealdormen. In either 685 or 686 he became king of Wessex. He may have been involved in suppressing rival dynasties at this time, as an early source records that Wessex was ruled by underkings until Cædwalla. After his accession Cædwalla returned to Sussex and won the territory again, and also conquered the Isle of Wight, extinguishing the ruling dynasty there. He gained control of Surrey and the kingdom of Kent, and in 686 he installed his brother, Mul, as king of Kent. Mul was burned in a Kentish revolt a year later, and Cædwalla returned, possibly ruling Kent directly for a period. Cædwalla was wounded during the conquest of the Isle of Wight, and perhaps for this reason he abdicated in 688 to travel to Rome for baptism. He reached Rome in April of 689, and was baptised on the Saturday before Easter, dying ten days later on 20 April 689. He was succeeded by Ine.
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Selected biography 16

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=Ceawlin's name appears in the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, as Ceaulin
Ceawlin was a King of Wessex. He may have been the son of Cynric of Wessex and the grandson of Cerdic of Wessex, whom the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle represents as the leader of the first group of Saxons to come to the land which later became Wessex. Ceawlin was active at a time when the Anglo-Saxon invasion was being completed; by the time he died, little of southern England remained in the control of the native Britons. The chronology of Ceawlin's life is highly uncertain: his reign is variously listed as lasting seven, seventeen, or thirty-two years, and the historical accuracy and dating of many of the events in the later Anglo-Saxon Chronicle have been called into question. The Chronicle records several battles of Ceawlin's between the years 556 and 592, including the first record of a battle between different groups of Anglo-Saxons, and indicates that under Ceawlin Wessex acquired significant territory, some of which was later to be lost to other Anglo-Saxon kingdoms. Ceawlin is also named as one of the eight "bretwaldas": this was a title given in the Chronicle to eight rulers who had overlordship over southern Britain, although the actual extent of Ceawlin’s control is not known. Ceawlin died in 593, having been deposed the year before, possibly by his successor, Ceol. He is recorded in various sources as having two sons, Cutha and Cuthwine, but the genealogies in which this information is found are known to be unreliable.
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Selected biography 17

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The Hoche, on which Domery was captured
Charles Domery (c. 1778 – after 1800) was a Polish soldier, noted for his unusually large appetite. Serving in the Prussian Army against France during the War of the First Coalition, he found that the rations of the Prussians were insufficient and deserted to the French Revolutionary Army in return for food. Although generally healthy, he was voraciously hungry during his time in the French army, and ate any available food. While stationed near Paris, he was recorded as having eaten 174 cats in a year, and although he disliked vegetables, he would eat 4 to 5 pounds (1.8 to 2.3 kg) of grass each day if he could not find other food. During service on the French frigate Hoche, he attempted to eat the severed leg of a crew member hit by cannon fire, before other members of the crew wrestled it from him. In February 1799, the Hoche was captured by British forces and the crew, including Domery, were interned in Liverpool. Domery shocked his captors with his voracious appetite, and despite being put on ten times the rations of other inmates remained ravenous, eating the prison cat, at least 20 rats which had come into his cell, and regularly eating the prison candles. Domery's case was brought to the attention of The Commissioners for taking Care of Sick and Wounded Seamen and for the Care and Treatment of Prisoners of War, who performed an experiment to test his eating capacity. Over the course of a day, Domery was fed a total of 16 pounds (7.3 kg) of raw cow's udder, raw beef and tallow candles and four bottles of porter, all of which he ate and drank without defecating, urinating, or vomiting at any point.
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Selected biography 18

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Constantine II of Scotland
Constantine II of Scotland was an early King of Scotland, known then by the Gaelic name Alba. His reign, like those of his predecessors, was dominated by the actions of Viking rulers in Britain and Ireland, particularly the Uí Ímair. During Constantine's reign, the rulers of the southern kingdoms of Wessex and Mercia, later the kingdom of England, extended their authority northwards into the disputed kingdoms of Northumbria. At first allied with the southern rulers against the Vikings, Constantine in time came into conflict with them. King Æthelstan secured Constantine's submission in 927 and 934, but the two again fought when Constantine, allied with the Strathclyde Britons and the Viking king of Dublin, invaded Æthelstan's kingdom in 937, only to be defeated at the great battle of Brunanburh. In 943 Constantine abdicated the throne and retired to the Céli Dé monastery of St Andrews where he died in 952. His reign of 43 years, exceeded in Scotland only by that of King William the Lion before the Union of the Crowns in 1603, is believed to have played a defining part in the gaelicisation of Pictland in which his patronage of the Irish Céli Dé monastic reformers was a significant factor. During his reign the words "Scots" and "Scotland" (Old English: Scottas, Scotland) were first used to mean part of what is now Scotland. .
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Selected biography 19

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David I of Scotland
David I (1083–1153) was a 12th-century ruler who was Prince of the Cumbrians and later King of the Scots. The youngest son of Máel Coluim mac Donnchada and Margaret, David spent most of his childhood in Scotland, but was exiled to England in 1093. At some point, perhaps after 1100, he became a hanger-on at the court of King Henry I and experienced long exposure to Norman and Anglo-French culture. When David's brother Alexander I of Scotland died in 1124, David chose, with the backing of Henry I, to take the Kingdom of Scotland (Alba) for himself. He was forced to engage in warfare against his rival and nephew, Máel Coluim mac Alaxandair. Subduing the latter took David ten years, and involved the destruction of Óengus, Mormaer of Moray. David's victory allowed him to expand his control over more distant regions theoretically part of his Kingdom. After the death of his former patron Henry I, David supported the claims of Henry's daughter and his own niece, the former Empress-consort, Matilda, to the throne of England; in the process, he came into conflict with King Stephen and was able to expand his power in northern England, despite his defeat at the Battle of the Standard in 1138. The term "Davidian Revolution" is used by many scholars to summarise the changes which took place in the Kingdom of Scotland during his reign.
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Selected biography 20

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Seal Of Domenico Selvo
Domenico Selvo was the 31st Doge of Venice, serving from 1071 to 1084. During his reign as Doge, his domestic policies, the alliances that he forged, and the battles that the Venetian military won and lost laid the foundations for much of the subsequent foreign and domestic policy of the Republic of Venice. He avoided confrontations with the Byzantine Empire, the Holy Roman Empire, and the Roman Catholic Church at a time in European history when conflict threatened to upset the balance of power. At the same time, he forged new agreements with the major nations that would set up a long period of prosperity for the Republic of Venice. Through his military alliance with the Byzantine Empire, Emperor Alexios I Komnenos awarded Venice economic favors with the declaration of a Golden Bull that would allow for the development of the republic's international trade over the next few centuries. Within the city itself, he supervised a longer period of the construction of the modern St Mark's Basilica than any other Doge. The basilica's complex architecture and expensive decorations stand as a testament to the prosperity of Venetian traders during this period. The essentially democratic way in which he not only was elected but also removed from power was part of an important transition of Venetian political philosophy. The overthrow of his rule in 1084 was one of many forced abdications in the early history of the republic that further blurred the lines between the powers of the Doge, the common electorate, and the nobility.
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Selected biography 21

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Bust of Domitian
Domitian (51–96) was a Roman Emperor who reigned from 14 September 81 until his death. The third and last emperor of the Flavian dynasty, Domitian's youth and early career were largely spent in the shadow of his elder brother Titus, who gained military renown during the First Jewish–Roman War. Domitian's father Vespasian died on 23 June 79 and was succeeded by Titus, whose own reign came to an unexpected end when he was struck by a fatal illness on 13 September 81. The following day Domitian was declared emperor by the Praetorian Guard. As emperor, Domitian strengthened the economy by revaluing the Roman coinage, expanded the border defenses of the Empire, and initiated a massive building programme to restore the damaged city of Rome. Religious, military and cultural propaganda fostered a cult of personality, and by nominating himself perpetual censor, he sought to control public and private morals. As a consequence, Domitian was popular with the people and the army but despised by members of the Roman Senate as a tyrant. Domitian's reign came to an end on 18 September 96 when he was assassinated by court officials. The same day he was succeeded by his friend and advisor Nerva, who founded the long-lasting Nerva-Antonine dynasty. After his death, Domitian's memory was condemned to oblivion by the Roman Senate.
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Selected biography 22

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Portrait of King Edward III, by an unknown artist
Edward III (1312–1377) was king of England from 1327 until his death, and is noted for his military success. Restoring royal authority after the disastrous reign of his father, Edward II, Edward III went on to transform the Kingdom of England into one of the most formidable military powers in Europe. His reign saw vital developments in legislation and government—in particular the evolution of the English parliament—as well as the ravages of the Black Death. Edward was crowned at the age of fourteen, following the deposition of his father. When he was only seventeen years old, he led a coup against his regent, Roger Mortimer, and began his personal reign. After a successful campaign in Scotland in 1333, he declared himself rightful heir to the French throne in 1337, starting what would become known as the Hundred Years' War. Following some initial setbacks, the war went exceptionally well for England; the victories of Crécy and Poitiers led up to the highly favourable Treaty of Brétigny. Edward’s later years, however, were marked by international failure and domestic strife, largely as a result of his inertia and eventual bad health. Highly revered in his own time and for centuries after, Edward was denounced as an irresponsible adventurer by later Whig historians. This view has turned, and modern historiography credits him with many significant achievements
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Selected biography 23

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Edward VIII
Edward VIII (1894–1972) was King of Great Britain, Ireland, the British Dominions beyond the Seas, and Emperor of India from the death of his father, George V, on 20 January 1936, until his abdication on 11 December 1936. As a young man he served in World War I, undertook several foreign tours on behalf of his father, and was associated with a succession of older married women. Only months into his reign, Edward forced a constitutional crisis by proposing marriage to the American divorcée Wallis Simpson. Although legally Edward could have married Mrs. Simpson and remained king, his various prime ministers opposed the marriage, arguing that the people would never accept her as queen. Edward knew that the ministry of British Prime Minister Stanley Baldwin would resign if the marriage went ahead; this could have dragged the King into a general election thus ruining irreparably his status as a politically neutral constitutional monarch. Rather than give up Mrs. Simpson, Edward chose to abdicate. He is one of the shortest-reigning monarchs in British history, and was never crowned.
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Selected biography 24

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Egbert's name from a 9th-century manuscript
Egbert (c. 770 – 839) was King of Wessex from 802 until his death in 839. Little is known of the first 20 years of Egbert's reign, but it is thought that he was able to maintain Wessex's independence against the kingdom of Mercia, which at that time dominated the other southern English kingdoms. In 825 Egbert defeated Beornwulf of Mercia and ended Mercia's supremacy at the Battle of Ellandun, and proceeded to take control of the Mercian dependencies in southeastern England. In 829 Egbert defeated Wiglaf of Mercia and drove him out of his kingdom, temporarily ruling Mercia directly. Later that year Egbert received the submission of the Northumbrian king at Dore, near present-day Sheffield. The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle subsequently described Egbert as a bretwalda, or "Ruler of Britain". Egbert was unable to maintain this dominant position, and within a year Wiglaf regained the throne of Mercia. However, Wessex did retain control of Kent, Sussex and Surrey; these territories were given to Egbert's son Æthelwulf to rule as a subking under Egbert. When Egbert died in 839, Æthelwulf succeeded him; the southeastern kingdoms were finally absorbed into the kingdom of Wessex after Æthelwulf's death in 858.
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Selected biography 25

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Epaminondas
Epaminondas was a Theban general and statesman who transformed Thebes, leading it out of Spartan subjugation into a preeminent position in Greek geopolitics. In the process he broke Spartan military power with his victory at Leuctra and liberated the Messenian helotsPeloponnesian Greeks who had been enslaved under Spartan rule for some 200 years. Epaminondas reshaped the political map of Greece, fragmented old alliances, created new ones, and supervised the construction of entire cities. He was militarily influential as well; he invented several major battlefield tactics. Cicero once called him "the first man of Greece", but Epaminondas has fallen into relative obscurity in modern times. The changes he wrought on the Greek political order did not long outlive him, as the cycle of shifting hegemonies and alliances continued unabated. Just 27 years after his death, a recalcitrant Thebes was obliterated by Alexander the Great. Thus Epaminondas—who had been praised in his time as an idealist and liberator—is today largely remembered for a decade (371 to 362 BC) of campaigning that sapped the strength of the great land powers of Greece and paved the way for the Macedonian conquest.
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Portrait of Ernest Augustus I by George Dawe, 1828
Ernest Augustus I of Hanover (1771–1851) was King of Hanover from 20 June 1837 until his death. He was the fifth son and eighth child of George III, who reigned in both the United Kingdom and Hanover. As a fifth son, initially Ernest seemed unlikely to become a monarch, but Salic Law, which debarred women from the succession, applied in Hanover and none of his older brothers had legitimate male issue. Ernest was born in Britain, but was sent to Hanover in his adolescence for his education and military training. While serving with Hanoverian forces in Wallonia against Napoleon, he received a disfiguring facial wound. In 1799, he was created Duke of Cumberland and Teviotdale. Although his 1815 marriage to the twice-widowed Frederica of Mecklenburg-Strelitz met with the disapproval of his mother, Queen Charlotte, it proved a happy relationship. Ernest was active in the House of Lords, where he maintained an extremely conservative record. There were persistent allegations (reportedly spread by his political foes) that he had murdered his valet and had fathered a son by his sister. Before Victoria succeeded to the British Throne, it was rumoured that Ernest intended to murder her and take the Throne himself. When King William IV died on 20 June 1837, Ernest ascended the Hanoverian Throne. Hanover's first ruler to reside in the kingdom since George I, he had a generally successful fourteen-year reign, but excited controversy when he dismissed the Göttingen Seven for agitating against his policies.
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Ernst Lindemann
Ernst Lindemann (1894–1941) was a German naval captain and the only commander of the battleship Bismarck during its eight months of service in World War II. Lindemann joined the German Imperial Navy (German: Kaiserliche Marine) in 1913, and after his basic military training, served on a number of warships during World War I as a wireless telegraphy officer. After World War I, he served in various staff as well as naval gunnery training positions. In May 1941, Lindemann commanded Bismarck during Operation Rheinübung. The German task force, under the command of Admiral Günther Lütjens, consisted of the battleship Bismarck and the heavy cruiser Prinz Eugen. It was to break out of its base in German occupied Norway and attack British merchant shipping lanes in the Atlantic Ocean. The force's first major engagement was the Battle of the Denmark Strait which resulted in the sinking of HMS Hood. Less than a week later, on 27 May, Lindemann and most of his crew lost their lives during Bismarck's last battle. He was posthumously awarded the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross ([Ritterkreuz des Eisernes Kreuzes] error: {{lang}}: text has italic markup (help)), which recognized extreme bravery on the battlefield or outstanding military leadership.
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Francis Harvey, VC
Major Francis Harvey (29 April 1873 – 31 May 1916) was an officer of the British Royal Marine Light Infantry during the First World War. Harvey was posthumously awarded the Victoria Cross, the highest military award for gallantry in the face of the enemy given to British and Commonwealth forces, for his actions at the height of the Battle of Jutland. A long serving Royal Marine officer descended of a military family, during his career Harvey became a specialist in naval artillery, serving on many large warships as gunnery training officer and gun commander. Specially requested for HMS Lion, the flagship of the British battlecruiser fleet, Harvey fought at the battles of Heligoland Bight, Dogger Bank and Jutland. At Jutland, Harvey, although mortally wounded by German shellfire, ordered the magazine of Q turret on the battlecruiser Lion to be flooded. This action prevented the tons of cordite stored there from catastrophically detonating in an explosion that would have destroyed the vessel and all aboard her. Although he succumbed to his injuries seconds later, his dying act may have saved over a thousand lives.
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Portrait of Sir Francis Walsingham, attributed to John de Critz the Elder
Francis Walsingham (c.1532–1590) was principal secretary to Queen Elizabeth I of England from 20 December 1573 until his death, and is popularly remembered as her "spymaster". A committed Protestant, during the reign of the Catholic Queen Mary I of England he joined other expatriates in exile in Switzerland and northern Italy until Mary's death and the accession of her Protestant half-sister, Elizabeth. Walsingham rose from relative obscurity to become one of the small coterie who directed the Elizabethan state, overseeing foreign, domestic and religious policy. He served as English ambassador to France in the early 1570s, and witnessed the St. Bartholomew's Day massacre. As principal secretary, he was a supporter of exploration, colonization, the use of England's maritime power, and the plantation of Ireland. He worked to bring Scotland and England together. Overall, his foreign policy demonstrated a new understanding of the role of England as a maritime, Protestant power in an increasingly global economy. He oversaw operations that penetrated the heart of Spanish military preparation, gathered intelligence from across Europe, disrupted a range of plots against Elizabeth, and secured the execution of Mary, Queen of Scots.
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Emperor Frederick III
Frederick III (1831–1888) was German Emperor and King of Prussia for 99 days in 1888, the Year of the Three Emperors. Following the unification of Germany in 1871 his father, William I, then King of Prussia, became the German Emperor, and on William's death at the age of 90 on 9 March 1888, the throne passed to Frederick, having by then been the Crown Prince for 27 years. Frederick was suffering from cancer of the larynx and died on 15 June 1888, aged 56, following unsuccessful medical treatments for his condition. The timing of Frederick's death, and the length of his reign, are important topics among historians. The reign of Frederick III is considered a potential turning point in German history; many historians believe that if Frederick had succeeded to the throne sooner, he would have transformed Germany into a liberal state. They argue this would have averted the events preceding World War I. Other historians contend that Frederick's influence and political leanings were greatly exaggerated, noting that he tended to defer to his father and Bismarck when confronted, and would not have dared to challenge their conservatism even as ruler.
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George II
George II (1683–1760) was King of Great Britain and Ireland, Duke of Brunswick-Lüneburg (Hanover) and Archtreasurer and Prince-elector of the Holy Roman Empire. His grandmother, Sophia of Hanover, became second in line to the British throne after about fifty Catholics higher in line were excluded by the Act of Settlement, which restricted the succession to Protestants. After the deaths of Sophia and Queen Anne, his father, George I, inherited the throne. As king from 1727, George II exercised little control over British domestic policy, which was largely controlled by parliament. He had a difficult relationship with his eldest son, Frederick, who supported the parliamentary opposition. George became the last British monarch to lead an army in battle when he participated in the Battle of Dettingen in 1743. In 1745, supporters of the Catholic claimant to the throne, James Francis Edward Stuart, led by James's son Charles Edward Stuart, attempted and failed to depose George. Frederick died unexpectedly in 1751, and George's grandson, George III, became king on George II's death in 1760. Historians initially tended to view George II with disdain, but more recently, some scholars have re-assessed his legacy and conclude that he held and exercised influence in foreign policy and military appointments.
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George VI of the United Kingdom
George VI was the King of the United Kingdom and each of the British Dominions from 11 December 1936 until his death on 6 February 1952. He was the last Emperor of India (until 1947) and the last King of Ireland (until 1949). As the second son of his father, King George V, he was not expected to inherit the throne, and he spent his early life in the shadow of his elder brother, Edward. After the death of his father in 1936, his brother ascended the throne as Edward VIII. Less than a year later, Edward VIII unexpectedly abdicated in order to marry the twice-divorced American socialite Wallis Simpson. By reason of this unforeseen abdication, unique in British history, George VI ascended the throne. In the first 24 hours of the accession, the Irish parliament passed the External Relations Act, which essentially removed the power of the monarch in Ireland. Within three years of his accession, the British Empire was at war with Nazi Germany, within four years with Italy and within five years with the Empire of Japan. With the independence of India and Pakistan, and the foundation of the Republic of Ireland, his later reign saw the acceleration of the break-up of the Empire, and foreshadowed its eventual transformation from Empire to Commonwealth.
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Hastings Ismay
Hastings Ismay (1887–1965) was a British soldier and diplomat, remembered primarily for his role as Winston Churchill's chief military assistant during World War II and his service as the head of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) in the 1950s. After serving with the Camel Corps during World War I, Ismay became an Assistant Secretary of the Committee of Imperial Defence. Shortly before the outbreak of World War II, he became the Secretary of the Committee of Imperial Defence and began planning for the impending war. In May 1940, when Churchill became Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, he selected Ismay as his chief military assistant and staff officer. In that capacity, Ismay served as the principal link between Churchill and the Chiefs of Staff Committee. He also accompanied Churchill to many of the Allied war conferences. After the war, Ismay remained in the British Armed Forces and helped reorganise the Ministry of Defence. When Churchill again became Prime Minister in 1951, he appointed Ismay Secretary of State for Commonwealth Relations. Six months later, Ismay resigned to become the first Secretary General of NATO. He served as Secretary General from 1952 to 1957. After retiring from NATO, Ismay wrote his memoirs, The Memoirs of General Lord Ismay. (more...)
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Heinrich Bär
Heinrich Bär (25 May 1913 – 28 April 1957) was a German Luftwaffe flying ace who served throughout World War II in Europe. Bär flew more than one thousand combat missions, and fought in all major German theatres of the war, including the Western, Eastern and Mediterranean fronts. On 18 occasions he survived being shot down, and he was credited with 220 aerial victories, around 16 of which were in a jet fighter. Bär, a Saxon with a strong accent, joined the Reichswehr in 1934 and transferred to the Luftwaffe in 1935. Serving first as a mechanic, then as a pilot on transport aircraft, he was informally trained as a fighter pilot. He claimed his first aerial victory in September 1939 on the French border. By the end of the Battle of Britain, his tally of victories had increased to 17. Transferred to the Eastern front to participate in Operation Barbarossa, he quickly accumulated further kills, a feat that earned him the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross with Oak Leaves and Swords for 90 aerial victories in February 1942. During the remainder of World War II, Bär was credited with 130 other aerial victories, including 16 while flying one of the first jet fighters, the Me 262, an achievement which would normally have earned him the coveted Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross with Oak Leaves, Swords and Diamonds.
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Helmut Lent
Helmut Lent (1918–1944) was a German night fighter ace in World War II who shot down 110 aircraft, 103 of them at night. Lent claimed his first aerial victories at the outset of World War II in the invasion of Poland and over the German Bight. During the invasion of Norway he flew ground support missions before he was transferred to the newly established Nachtjagdgeschwader 1 (NJG 1), a night fighter wing. Lent claimed his first nocturnal aerial victory on 12 May 1941 and on 30 August 1941 was awarded the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross. His steady accumulation of aerial victories resulted in regular promotions and awards. On the night of 15 June 1944, Major Lent was the first night fighter pilot to claim 100 nocturnal aerial victories, a feat which earned him the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross with Oak Leaves, Swords and Diamonds on 31 July 1944. On 5 October 1944, Lent flew a Junkers Ju 88 on a routine transit flight from Stade to Nordborchen, 5 kilometres (3.1 mi) south of Paderborn. On the landing approach one of the engines cut out, stalling the aircraft. All four members of the crew were mortally injured. Three men died shortly after the crash and Lent succumbed to his injuries two days later on 7 October 1944.
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The initial page of Corpus Christi College Cambridge MS 173, the Peterborough Chronicle which contains the oldest surviving copy of Ine's laws.
Ine was King of Wessex from 688 to 726. He was unable to retain the territorial gains of his predecessor, Cædwalla, who had brought much of southern England under his control and expanded West Saxon territory substantially. By the end of Ine's reign the kingdoms of Kent, Sussex and Essex were no longer under West Saxon domination; however, Ine maintained control of what is now Hampshire, and consolidated and extended Wessex's territory in the western peninsula. Ine is noted for his code of laws (Ine’s laws or laws of Ine), which he issued in about 694. These laws were the first issued by an Anglo-Saxon king outside Kent. They shed much light on the history of Anglo-Saxon society, and reveal Ine's Christian convictions. Trade increased significantly during Ine's reign, with the town of Hamwic (now Southampton) becoming prominent. It was probably during Ine's reign that the West Saxons began to mint coins, though none have been found that bear his name. Ine abdicated in 726 to go to Rome, leaving the kingdom to "younger men", in the words of the contemporary chronicler Bede. He was succeeded by Æthelheard.
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Portrait of Isaac Brock
Isaac Brock was a British major-general and administrator, who served in various parts of the Empire for nearly thirty years, serving in the Caribbean, Denmark, and elsewhere. During that time he challenged duelists, nearly died from fever, was injured in battle, faced both desertions and near mutinies, and also had the privilege of serving alongside Lord Nelson. However, he is best remembered for his actions while assigned to the Canadian colonies. Brock was assigned to Canada in 1802, eventually reaching the rank of Major-General. In this capacity, he was responsible for defending Canada from the United States during the War of 1812. While many in Canada and in England believed war could be averted, Brock began preparing the army, the militia, and the populace for what was to come. Thus, when war broke out, Canada was prepared, and quick victories at Fort Mackinac and in the Battle of Detroit crippled American invasion efforts, securing Brock's reputation as a brilliant leader and strategist. His death in the Battle of Queenston Heights was a crushing blow to British leadership. Brock's efforts earned him accolades, a knighthood, and the moniker "The Hero of Upper Canada".
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Portrait of the tsar from the Tetraevangelia of Ivan Alexander
Ivan Alexander ruled as Emperor (Tsar) of Bulgaria from 1331 to 1371, during the Second Bulgarian Empire. The date of his birth is unknown. He died on February 17, 1371. The long reign of Ivan Alexander is considered a transitional period in Bulgarian medieval history. Ivan Alexander began his rule by dealing with internal problems and external threats from Bulgaria's neighbours, the Byzantine Empire and Serbia, as well as leading his empire into a period of economic recovery and cultural and religious renaissance. However, the emperor was later unable to cope with the mounting incursions of Ottoman forces, Hungarian invasions from the northwest and the Black Death. In an ill-fated attempt to combat these problems, he divided the country between his two sons, thus forcing it to face the imminent Ottoman conquest weakened and divided.
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Bagramyan in 1938
Hovhannes Bagramyan was a Soviet Armenian military commander and Marshal of the Soviet Union. During World War II, Bagramyan became the first non-Slavic military officer to become a commander of a Front. Bagramyan's previous experience in military planning as a chief of staff officer allowed him to distinguish himself as a capable commander during the war in the early stages of the Soviet counter-offensives against Nazi Germany. He was given his first command of a unit in 1942 and in November 1943, received his most prestigious command as the head of the First Baltic Front. As head of the Baltic Front, he participated in the offensives which moved westwards to push German forces out of the occupied Soviet Union and the recapturing of the Baltic republics. After the war, he served as a deputy member of the Supreme Soviets of the Latvian Soviet Socialist Republic and Armenian Soviet Socialist Republic and was a regular attendant of the Party Congresses. In 1952, he became a candidate for entry into the Central Committee and, in 1961, was inducted as a full member. For his contributions during the war, he was widely regarded as a national hero in the Soviet Union, and continues to hold such esteemed status among many Armenians today.
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James II of England
James II became King of England, King of Scots, and King of Ireland on 6 February 1685. He was the last Roman Catholic monarch to reign over the Kingdom of England, Kingdom of Scotland, and Kingdom of Ireland. Some of his subjects distrusted his religious policies and alleged despotism, leading a group of them to depose him in the Revolution of 1688 (the "Glorious Revolution"). He was replaced not by his Roman Catholic son, James Francis Edward, but by his Protestant daughter and son-in-law, Mary II and William III, who became joint rulers in 1689. The belief that James—not William III or Mary II—was the legitimate ruler became known as Jacobitism. James did not himself attempt to return to the Throne, instead living the rest of his life under the protection of King Louis XIV of France. His son James Francis Edward Stuart and his grandson Charles Edward Stuart (Bonnie Prince Charlie) attempted to restore the Jacobite line after James's death, but failed.
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Joan of Arc, c. 1485
Joan of Arc is a national heroine of France and a saint of the Roman Catholic Church. She had visions, believed to be from God, which led to the liberation of her homeland from English dominance in the Hundred Years' War. The then-uncrowned King Charles VII sent her to the siege of Orléans as part of a relief mission. She gained prominence when she overcame the disregard of veteran commanders and ended the siege in only nine days. Several more swift victories led to Charles VII's coronation at Rheims and settled the disputed succession to the throne. The renewed French confidence outlasted Joan of Arc's own brief career. She refused to leave the field when she was wounded during an attempt to recapture Paris that fall. Hampered by court intrigues, she led only minor companies from then on, and fell prisoner during a skirmish near Compiègne the following spring. A politically-motivated trial convicted her of heresy. The English regent, John, Duke of Bedford, had her burnt at the stake in Rouen. Pope Callixtus III reopened Joan's case; a new finding overturned the original conviction. Her piety to the end impressed the retrial court. Pope Benedict XV canonized her on 16 May 1920.
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Presumed image of Jogaila, painted around 1475–1480, Kraków, Poland
Władysław II Jagiełło (Jogaila) was a Grand Duke of Lithuania and King of Poland. He ruled in Lithuania from 1377, at first with his uncle, Kęstutis. In 1386, he converted to Christianity, was baptized as Władysław, married the eleven-year-old Queen Jadwiga of Poland, and was crowned Polish king as Władysław Jagiełło. His reign in Poland lasted a further forty-eight years and laid the foundation for the centuries long Polish–Lithuanian union. He gave his name to the Jagiellon branch of the Gediminids dynasty which ruled both states until 1572, and became one of the most influential dynasties in medieval Europe. Jogaila was the last pagan ruler of medieval Lithuania. He held the title Didysis Kunigaikštis. As King of Poland, he pursued a policy of close alliances with Lithuania against the Teutonic Order. The allied victory at the Battle of Grunwald in 1410, followed by the First Peace of Toruń, secured the Polish and Lithuanian borders and marked the emergence of the Polish–Lithuanian alliance as a major European force. The reign of Władysław II Jagiełło extended Polish frontiers and is often considered the beginning of Poland's "Golden Age".
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Johann, Count von Klenau, 1801.
Johann von Klenau (13 April 1758 – 6 October 1819), the son of a Bohemian noble, was a field marshal in the Habsburg army. Klenau joined the Habsburg military as a teenager and fought in Austria's wars with the Ottoman Empire, the French Revolutionary Wars, and commanded a corps in several important battles of the Napoleonic Wars. In the early years of the French Revolutionary Wars, Klenau distinguished himself at the Wissembourg lines, and led a battle-winning charge at Handschuhsheim in 1795. As commander of the Coalition's left flank in the Adige campaign in northern Italy in 1799, he was instrumental in isolating the French-held fortresses on the Po River by organizing and supporting a peasant uprising in the countryside. Afterward, Klenau became the youngest lieutenant field marshal[1] in the history of the Habsburg military. As a corps commander, Klenau led key elements of the Austrian army at the Austrian victory at Aspern-Esslingen and its defeat at Wagram, where his troops covered the retreat of the main Austrian force. He commanded the IV Corps at the 1813 Battle of Dresden and again at the Battle of Nations at Leipzig, where he prevented the French from outflanking the main Austrian force on the first day of the engagement. After the Battle of Nations, Klenau organized and implemented the successful Dresden blockade and negotiated the French capitulation there. In the 1814–15 campaign, he commanded the Corps Klenau of the Army of Italy. After the war in 1815, Klenau was appointed commanding general in Moravia and Silesia.
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John Churchill, 1st Duke of Marlborough
John Churchill, 1st Duke of Marlborough (1650–1722) was a prominent English soldier and statesman whose career spanned the reigns of five monarchs throughout the late 17th and early 18th centuries. Churchill's role in defeating the Monmouth Rebellion in 1685 helped secure James, the Duke of York on the throne, yet just three years later he abandoned his Catholic mentor for the Protestant Dutchman, William of Orange. Churchill served with distinction in the early years of the Nine Years' War, but persistent charges of Jacobitism brought about his fall from office and temporary imprisonment in the Tower. His marriage to Sarah Jennings – Queen Anne's friend – ensured Marlborough's rise to a dukedom. Becoming de facto leader of Allied forces during the War of the Spanish Succession, his victories in battles ensured his place in history as one of Europe's great generals. But his wife's stormy relationship with the Queen, and her subsequent dismissal from court, was central to his being forced from office and into self-imposed exile. He returned to England and to influence under the House of Hanover with the accession of George I to the British throne in 1714, but his health gradually deteriorated, and he died on 16 June 1722 (O.S).
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A drawing of the effigy of King John in Worcester Cathedral.
John (24 December 1166 – 18/19 October 1216) was King of England from 6 April 1199 until his death. During John's reign, England lost the duchy of Normandy to King Philip II of France, which resulted in the collapse of most of the Angevin Empire and contributed to the subsequent growth in power of the Capetian dynasty during the 13th century. The baronial revolt at the end of John's reign led to the sealing of the Magna Carta, a document often considered to be an early step in the evolution of the constitution of the United Kingdom. Contemporary chroniclers were mostly critical of John's performance as king, and his reign has since been the subject of significant debate and periodic revision by historians from the 16th century onwards. Modern historians agree that he also had many faults as king, including what historian Ralph Turner describes as "distasteful, even dangerous personality traits", such as pettiness, spitefulness and cruelty.
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A Serbian Orthodox icon of Prince Jovan Vladimir
Jovan Vladimir (died 1016) was ruler of Duklja, the most powerful Serbian principality of the time, from around 1000 to 1016. He ruled during the protracted war between the Byzantine Empire and the First Bulgarian Empire. His close relationship with Byzantium did not save Duklja from the expansionist Tsar Samuel of Bulgaria, who conquered the principality in around 1010 and took Jovan Vladimir prisoner. A medieval chronicle asserts that Samuel's daughter, Theodora Kosara, fell in love with Vladimir and begged her father for his hand. The tsar allowed the marriage and returned Duklja to Vladimir, who ruled as his vassal. Vladimir was acknowledged as a pious, just, and peaceful ruler. He took no part in his father-in-law's war efforts. The warfare culminated with Samuel's defeat by the Byzantines in 1014; the tsar died soon afterward. In 1016 Vladimir fell victim to a plot by Ivan Vladislav, the last ruler of the First Bulgarian Empire. He was beheaded in front of a church in Prespa, the empire's capital, and was buried there. He was soon recognized as a martyr and saint; his feast day is celebrated on 22 May.
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Józef Klemens Piłsudski
Józef Piłsudski (1867–1935) was Chief of State (1918–22), "First Marshal", and authoritarian leader of the Second Polish Republic. From mid-World War I he was a major influence in Poland's politics, and an important figure on the European political scene. He is considered largely responsible for Poland regaining independence in 1918, after 123 years of partitions. Early in his political career, Piłsudski became a leader of the Polish Socialist Party. Concluding, however, that Poland's independence would have to be won by force of arms, he created the Polish Legions. In 1914 he anticipated the outbreak of a European war, the Russian Empire's defeat by the Central Powers, and the Central Powers' defeat by the western powers. When World War I broke out, he and his Legions fought alongside the Austro-Hungarian and German Empires to ensure Russia's defeat. In 1917, with Russia faring badly in the war, he withdrew his support from the Central Powers. From November 1918, when Poland regained independence, until 1922, Piłsudski was Poland's Chief of State. In 1919–21 he commanded Poland's forces in the Polish–Soviet War. In 1923, with the Polish government dominated by his opponents, particularly the National Democrats, he withdrew from active politics. Three years later he returned to power with the May 1926 coup d'état, and became the de facto dictator of Poland. From then until his death in 1935, he concerned himself primarily with militar] and foreign policy. (more...)
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Karl Aloys
Karl Aloys zu Fürstenberg (1760–1799) was a soldier in the Austrian service. He achieved the rank of Field Marshal, and died at the Battle of Stockach. The third son of a cadet branch of the Fürstenberg, at his birth his chances of inheriting the family title of Fürst zu Fürstenberg were slight; he was prepared instead for a military career, and a tutor was hired to teach him the military sciences. He entered Habsburg military in 1777, at the age of seventeen years, and was a member of the field army in the short War of the Bavarian Succession. His career progressed steadily during the Habsburg War with the Ottoman Empire. During the French Revolutionary Wars, he fought with distinction again for the First Coalition, particularly at Ketsch and Frœschwiller. He was stationed at key points to protect the movements of the Austrian army. With a force of 10,000, he defended the German Rhineland at Kehl, and reversed a bayonet assault by French troops at Bellheim; his troops also overran Speyer without any losses. By the end of the War of the First Coalition, at the age of 35, he had achieved the rank of Field Marshal. During the War of the Second Coalition, he fought in the first two battles of the German campaign, at Ostrach, 21 March 1799, and at the Battle of Stockach, 25 March 1799. At the latter, while leading a regiment of grenadiers, he was hit with French case shot and knocked off his horse. He died shortly afterward.
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Lazare Ponticelli in 2006
Lazare Ponticelli (1897–2008) was the longest-surviving officially recognized veteran of the First World War from France and the last poilu of its trenches to die. Born in Italy, he moved to France in 1906, and lied about his age to join the French Army in 1914. Italy entered the War in 1915, and subsequently Ponticelli was transferred to its army when authorities discovered his true ancestry. After the War, he and his brothers founded the piping and metal work company "Ponticelli Frères" ("Ponticelli Brothers"), which produced supplies for the Second World War effort and as of 2009 is still in business. Ponticelli was the oldest living man of Italian birth and the oldest man living in France. Every Armistice Day until 2007, he attended ceremonies honoring deceased veterans. In his later years, he criticized war and stored his bravery awards from the First World War in a shoe box. While he felt unworthy of the state funeral the French government offered him, he eventually accepted one. However he asked for the emphasis of the procession to be on the common soldiers who died on the battlefield.
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Mosaic of Manuel I
Manuel I Comnenus was a Byzantine Emperor of the 12th century who presided over a crucial turning point in the history of Byzantium and the Mediterranean. Eager to restore his empire to its past glories as the superpower of the Mediterranean world, Manuel pursued an energetic and ambitious foreign policy. In the process he made alliances with the Pope and the resurgent west, invaded Italy, successfully handled the passage of the dangerous Second Crusade through his empire, and established a Byzantine protectorate over the Crusader kingdoms of Outremer. Facing the Islamic jihad in the Holy Land, he made common cause with the Kingdom of Jerusalem and participated in a combined invasion of Fatimid Egypt. Manuel reshaped the political map of the Balkans and the east Mediterranean, placing the kingdoms of Hungary and Outremer under Byzantine hegemony and campaigning aggressively against his neighbours both in the west and in the east. However, towards the end of his reign Manuel's achievements in the east were compromised by an embarrassing defeat at Myriokephalon, which in large part resulted from his arrogance in attacking a well-defended Turkish position.
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Mary, Queen of Scots
Mary, Queen of Scots (1542–1587) was queen regnant of Scotland from 14 December 1542 to 24 July 1567 and queen consort of France from 10 July 1559 to 5 December 1560. The only surviving legitimate child of King James V of Scotland, she was six days old when her father died. She was crowned on 9 September 1543. In 1558, she married Francis, Dauphin of France. Mary was briefly queen consort of France, until she was widowed on 5 December 1560. Mary then returned to Scotland. Four years later, she married her first cousin, Henry Stuart, Lord Darnley, but in February 1567, he was found murdered in his garden. Following an uprising against Mary and her third husband, James Hepburn, 4th Earl of Bothwell, Mary was imprisoned in Loch Leven Castle. On 24 July 1567, she was forced to abdicate in favour of her one-year-old son, James.
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Bust of emperor Maximian
Maximian (c. 250 – 310) was Roman Emperor from 285 to 305. He was Caesar from 285 to 286, then Augustus from 286 to 305. He shared the latter title with his co-emperor and superior, Diocletian, whose political brain complemented Maximian's military brawn. Maximian established his residence at Trier but spent most of his time on campaign. From 285 to 288, he fought against Germanic tribes along the Rhine frontier. After Carausius's rebellion in Northern Gaul was put down in 296, Maximian moved south to combat piracy near Hispania and Berber incursions in Mauretania. When these campaigns concluded, he returned to Rome in 299 to receive a triumph. After several years of leisure, he retired as Augustus at Diocletian's request in 305. However, he took up the title once again the following year, joining his son Maxentius in rebellion. After a failed leadership challenge in 307, Maximian fled to the court of Constantine in Trier. At the Council of Carnuntum in November 308, Diocletian forced Maximian to once again renounce his imperial claim. In early 310, Maximian attempted to seize Constantine's title while the emperor was on campaign on the Rhine. Few supported him, and he was captured by Constantine. He committed suicide later that year on Constantine's orders.
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Sir Mike Jackson
General Sir Michael David Jackson (born 21 March 1944) is a retired British Army officer and one of its most high-profile generals since the Second World War. Originally commissioned into the Intelligence Corps in 1963, he transferred to the Parachute Regiment, with which he served two of his three tours of duty in Northern Ireland. In 1994, Jackson served his first tour in the Balkans, where he commanded a multi-national division of the Implementation Force. Following a staff job back in the UK, he was appointed commander of NATO's Allied Rapid Reaction Corps (ARRC) in 1997. He returned to the Balkans with the ARRC during the Kosovo War, during which he famously refused to obey an order from American General Wesley Clark. Upon his return to the UK, Jackson was promoted to full general and appointed Commander-in-Chief, Land Command, the second-most senior position in the British Army. After three years as Commander-in-Chief, Jackson was appointed Chief of the General Staff (CGS), the professional head of the British Army, in 2003. He was succeeded as Chief of the General Staff by Sir Richard Dannatt in 2006, and retired from the Army after serving for almost 45 years.
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Murray Maxwell
Murray Maxwell (1775–1831) was a British Royal Navy officer who served with distinction in the late 18th and early 19th centuries, particularly during the French Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars. Maxwell first gained recognition as one of the British captains involved in the successful Adriatic campaign of 1807–1814, during which he was responsible for the destruction of a French armaments convoy at the Action of 29 November 1811. As a result of further success in the Mediterranean, Maxwell was given increasingly important commissions and, despite the loss of his ship HMS Daedalus off Ceylon in 1813, was specially selected to escort the British Ambassador to China in 1816. The voyage to China subsequently became famous when Maxwell's ship HMS Alceste was wrecked in the Gaspar Strait, and he and his crew became stranded on a nearby island. The marooned sailors suffered from shortages of food and were repeatedly attacked by Malay pirates, but thanks to Maxwell's leadership no lives were lost. Eventually rescued by an Honourable East India Company ship, the party returned to Britain as popular heroes, Maxwell being especially commended. He was knighted for his services, and made a brief and unsuccessful foray into politics before resuming his naval career. In 1831 Maxwell was appointed Lieutenant Governor of Prince Edward Island, but fell ill and died before he could take up the post.
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Nikita Khrushchev
Nikita Khrushchev (1894–1971) led the Soviet Union during the Cold War. He served as First Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union from 1953 to 1964, and as Chairman of the Council of Ministers, or Premier, from 1958 to 1964. Khrushchev was responsible for the partial de-Stalinization of the Soviet Union, for backing the progress of the world's early space program, and for several relatively liberal reforms in areas of domestic policy. Khrushchev was born in the Russian village of Kalinovka in 1894. With the help of Lazar Kaganovich, he worked his way up the Soviet hierarchy. He supported Stalin's purges, and approved thousands of arrests. Stalin's political heirs fought for power after his death in 1953, a struggle in which Khrushchev, after several years, emerged triumphant. On February 25, 1956, at the Twentieth Party Congress, he delivered the "Secret Speech", vilifying Stalin and ushering in a less repressive era in the Soviet Union. Hoping eventually to rely on missiles for national defense, Khrushchev ordered major cuts in conventional forces. Despite the cuts, Khrushchev's rule saw the tensest years of the Cold War, culminating in the Cuban Missile Crisis.
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King Óengus as depicted as Old Testament King David shown killing a lion on the St Andrews Sarcophagus
Óengus I was king of the Picts from 732 until his death in 761. His reign can be reconstructed in some detail from a variety of sources. Óengus became the chief king in Pictland following a period of civil war in the late 720s. During his reign, the neighbouring kingdom of Dál Riata was subjugated and the kingdom of Strathclyde was attacked with less success. The most powerful ruler in Scotland for over two decades, he was involved in wars in Ireland and England. Kings from Óengus's family dominated Pictland until 839 when a disastrous defeat at the hands of Vikings began a new period of instability, which ended with the coming to power of Cináed mac Ailpín.
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A coin depicting Offa of Mercia
Offa was the King of Mercia from 757 until his death in July 796. The son of Thingfrith and a descendant of Eowa, Offa came to the throne after a period of civil war. In the early years of Offa's reign it is likely that he consolidated his control of midland peoples such as the Hwicce and the Magonsæte. Taking advantage of instability in the kingdom of Kent to establish himself as overlord, Offa was also in control of Sussex by 771, though his authority did not remain unchallenged in either territory. He extended Mercian supremacy over most of southern England and regained complete control of the southeast. Offa was a Christian king but came into conflict with the Church, and had long-running disputes with both the Archbishop of Canterbury and the Bishop of Worcester. Many historians regard Offa as the most powerful Anglo-Saxon king before Alfred the Great. His reign was once seen by historians as part of a process leading to a unified England, but this is no longer the majority view. Offa died in 796 and was succeeded by his son, Ecgfrith, who reigned for less than five months before Coenwulf of Mercia took the throne.
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Penda of Mercia.jpg
Penda was a 7th-century King of Mercia, a kingdom in what is today the English Midlands. A pagan at a time when Christianity was taking hold in many of the Anglo-Saxon kingdoms, Penda participated in the defeat of the powerful Northumbrian king Edwin at the Battle of Hatfield Chase in 633; nine years later, he defeated and killed Edwin's eventual successor, Oswald, at the Battle of Maserfield. From this point he was probably the most powerful of the Anglo-Saxon rulers of the time; he defeated the East Angles, drove the king of Wessex into exile for three years, and continued to wage war against the Bernicians of Northumbria. Thirteen years after Maserfield, he suffered a crushing defeat at the Battle of the Winwaed in the course of a final campaign against the Bernicians and was killed.
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Bust of Pericles
Pericles was a prominent and influential statesman, orator, and general of Athens in the city's Golden Age (specifically, between the Persian and Peloponnesian wars). He was descended, through his mother, from the Alcmaeonid family. Pericles had such a profound influence on Athenian society that Thucydides, his contemporary historian, acclaimed him as "the first citizen of Athens". Pericles turned the Delian League into an Athenian empire and led his countrymen during the first two years of the Peloponnesian War. The period during which he led Athens, roughly from 461 BC to 429 BC, is sometimes known as the "Age of Pericles", though the period thus denoted can include times as early as the Persian Wars, or as late as the next century. Pericles promoted the arts and literature; this was a chief reason Athens holds the reputation of being the educational and cultural centre of the ancient Greek world. He started an ambitious project that built most of the surviving structures on the Acropolis (including the Parthenon). This program beautified the city, exhibited its glory, and gave work to the people. Furthermore, Pericles fostered the Athenian democracy, to such an extent that critics call him a populist.
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Peter Heywood
Peter Heywood (1772–1831) was a British naval officer who was aboard HMS Bounty during the mutiny of 28 April 1789. Bounty had left England in 1787 on a mission to collect breadfruit from the Pacific. Shortly after the ship began its homeward voyage, discontented crew members led by Fletcher Christian seized its captain, William Bligh, and took control of the vessel. Bligh and 19 loyalists were set adrift in an open boat; Heywood remained aboard Bounty. He and 15 others settled in Tahiti, while Bounty sailed on to Pitcairn Island. Bligh eventually reached England, where he implicated Heywood in the mutiny. In 1791 Heywood and his companions were captured and brought back to England. Heywood was court-martialed and sentenced to hang, but was subsequently pardoned by King George III. During his trial powerful family connections worked on his behalf, and the extent of his guilt was clouded by contradictory statements and possible false testimony. Heywood's career subsequently prospered; he was given his first command at the age of 27, and made a post-captain at 31. After leaving the navy in 1816 he enjoyed a long and peaceful retirement.
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Prince Louis Alexander of Battenberg prior to 1915
Prince Louis of Battenberg (1854–1921) was a German prince related to the British Royal Family. After a career in the United Kingdom's Royal Navy lasting over forty years, in 1912 he was appointed First Sea Lord, the professional head of the British naval service. He took steps to ready the British fleet for combat as World War I began, but his background as a German prince forced his retirement at the start of the war when anti-German feeling was running high. Queen Victoria and her son King Edward VII, when Prince of Wales, occasionally intervened in his career—the Queen thought that there was "a belief that the Admiralty are afraid of promoting Officers who are Princes on account of the radical attacks of low papers and scurrilous ones". However, Louis welcomed battle assignments that provided opportunities for him to acquire the skills of war and to demonstrate to his superiors that he was serious about his naval career. Posts on royal yachts and tours arranged by the Queen and Edward actually impeded his progress, as his promotions were perceived as royal favours rather than deserved. He married a granddaughter of Queen Victoria, and was the father of Earl Mountbatten, who also served as First Sea Lord from 1954 to 1959. Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, consort of Queen Elizabeth II, is his grandson.
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William as depicted in the Bayeux Tapestry during the Battle of Hastings
William I (circa 1028 – 9 September 1087), usually known as William the Conqueror, was the first Norman King of England, reigning from 1066 until his death in 1087. Descended from Viking raiders, he had been Duke of Normandy since 1035 under the title of William II. After a long struggle to establish his power, by 1060 his hold on Normandy was secure, and he launched the Norman conquest of England in 1066. The rest of his life was marked by struggles to consolidate his hold over England and his continental lands and by difficulties with his eldest son. In 1086 William ordered the compilation of the Domesday Book, a survey listing all the landholders in England along with their holdings. William died in September 1087 while leading a campaign in northern France, and was buried in Caen. His reign in England was marked by the construction of castles, the settling of a new Norman nobility on the land, and change in the composition of the English clergy. He did not try to integrate his various domains into one empire, but instead continued to administer each part separately.
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Effigy of Rhys ap Gruffydd at St. Davids Cathedral
Rhys ap Gruffydd (1132 – 28 April 1197) was the ruler of the kingdom of Deheubarth in south Wales. Rhys was one of the most successful and powerful Welsh princes, and after the death of Owain Gwynedd of Gwynedd in 1170 was the dominant power in Wales. Rhys became ruler of Deheubarth in 1155. He was forced to submit to King Henry II of England in 1158. Henry invaded Deheubarth in 1163, stripped Rhys of all his lands and took him prisoner. A few weeks later he was released and given back a small part of his holdings. Rhys made an alliance with Owain Gwynedd and after the failure of another invasion of Wales by Henry in 1165 was able to win back most of his lands. In 1171 Rhys made peace with King Henry and was confirmed in possession of his recent conquests as well as being named Justiciar of South Wales. He maintained good relations with King Henry until the latter's death in 1189. Following Henry's death Rhys revolted against Richard I and attacked the Norman lordships surrounding his territory, capturing a number of castles. In his later years Rhys had trouble keeping control of his sons, particularly Maelgwn and Gruffydd, who maintained a feud with each other. Rhys launched his last campaign against the Normans in 1196 and captured a number of castles. The following year he died unexpectedly and was buried in St David's Cathedral.
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Robert Baden-Powell
Robert Baden-Powell was a lieutenant-general in the British Army, writer, and founder of the Scout Movement. After having been educated at Charterhouse School, Baden-Powell served in the British Army from 1876 until 1910 in India and Africa. In 1899, during the Second Boer War in South Africa, Baden-Powell successfully defended the city in the Siege of Mafeking. Several of his military books, written for military reconnaissance and scout training in his African years, were also read by boys. Based on those earlier books, he wrote Scouting for Boys, published in 1908 by Pearson, for youth readership. During writing, he tested his ideas through a camping trip on Brownsea Island that began on August 1, 1907, which is now seen as the beginning of Scouting. After his marriage with Olave St Clair Soames, Baden-Powell, his sister Agnes Baden-Powell and notably his wife actively gave guidance to the Scouting Movement and the Girl Guides Movement. Baden-Powell lived his last years in Nyeri, Kenya, where he died in 1941.
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Robert Falcon Scott in 1912
Robert Falcon Scott (1868–1912) was a Royal Navy officer and explorer who led two expeditions to the Antarctic regions: the Discovery Expedition, 1901–04, and the ill-fated Terra Nova Expedition, 1910–13. During this second venture, Scott led a party of five which reached the South Pole on 17 January 1912, only to find that they had been preceded by Roald Amundsen's Norwegian expedition. On their return journey, Scott and his four comrades all perished from a combination of exhaustion, starvation and extreme cold. Following the news of his death, Scott became an iconic British hero, a status maintained for more than 50 years and reflected by the many permanent memorials erected across the nation. In the closing decades of the 20th century, however, in a more sceptical age, the legend was reassessed as attention focused on the causes of the disaster and the extent of Scott's personal culpability. From a previously unassailable position, Scott became a figure of controversy, with questions raised about his competence and character. Commentators in the 21st century have on the whole regarded Scott more positively, emphasising his personal bravery and stoicism while acknowledging his errors, but ascribing his expedition's fate primarily to misfortune.
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Ronald Niel Stuart
Ronald Niel Stuart (1886–1954) was a British Merchant Navy commodore and Royal Navy captain who was highly commended following extensive and distinguished service at sea over a period of more than 35 years. During World War I he received the Victoria Cross, the Distinguished Service Order, the French Croix de Guerre avec Palmes and the United States' Navy Cross for a series of daring operations he conducted while serving in the Royal Navy during the First Battle of the Atlantic. Stuart's Victoria Cross was awarded following a ballot by the men under his command. This unusual method of selection was used after the Admiralty Board was unable to choose which members of the crew deserved the honour after a desperate engagement between a Q-ship and a German submarine off the Irish coast. His later career included command of the liner RMS Empress of Britain and the management of the London office of a major transatlantic shipping company. Following his retirement in 1951, Stuart moved into his sister's cottage in Kent and died three years later. A sometimes irascible man, he was reportedly embarrassed by any fuss surrounding his celebrity and was known to exclaim "Mush!" at any demonstration of strong emotion.
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"Anonymous" seal of Simeon I
Simeon I ruled over Bulgaria from 893 to 927, during the First Bulgarian Empire. Simeon's successful campaigns against the Byzantines, Magyars and Serbs led Bulgaria to its greatest territorial expansion ever, making it the most powerful state in contemporary Eastern Europe. His reign was also a period of unmatched cultural prosperity and enlightenment later deemed the Golden Age of Bulgarian culture. During Simeon's rule, Bulgaria spread over a territory between the Aegean, the Adriatic and the Black Sea, and the new Bulgarian capital Preslav was said to rival Constantinople. The newly-independent Bulgarian Orthodox Church became the first new patriarchate besides the Pentarchy and Bulgarian Glagolitic translations of Christian texts spread all over the Slavic world of the time. Halfway through his reign, Simeon assumed the title of Emperor (Tsar), having prior to that been styled Prince (Knyaz).
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Sviatoslav's meeting with Emperor John by Klavdiy Lebedev
Sviatoslav I of Kiev was the warrior prince (or konung) of Kievan Rus'. The son of Igor of Kiev and Olga, Sviatoslav is famous for his incessant campaigns in the east and south, which precipitated the collapse of two great powers of Eastern Europe — Khazaria and the First Bulgarian Empire; he also subdued the Volga Bulgars, the Alans, and numerous East Slavic tribes, and at times was allied with the Pechenegs and Magyars. His decade-long reign over Rus was marked by rapid expansion into the Volga River valley, the Pontic steppe and the Balkans. By the end of his short life, Sviatoslav carved out for himself the largest state in Europe, eventually moving his capital from Kiev to Pereyaslavets on the Danube in 969. In contrast with his mother's conversion to Christianity, Sviatoslav remained a staunch pagan all of his life. Due to his abrupt death in combat, Sviatoslav's conquests, for the most part, were not consolidated into a functioning empire, while his failure to establish a stable succession led to civil war among his successors.
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The Pnyx with speaker's platform in Athens, upon which Theramenes and other politicians stood while speaking.
Theramenes was an Athenian statesman, prominent in the final decade of the Peloponnesian War. He was particularly active during the two periods of oligarchic government at Athens, as well as in the trial of the generals who had commanded at Arginusae in 406 BC. A moderate oligarch, he often found himself caught between the democrats on the one hand and the extreme oligarchs on the other. Successful in replacing a narrow oligarchy with a broader one in 411 BC, he failed to achieve the same end in 404 BC, and was executed by the extremists whose policies he had opposed. Theramenes remained a controversial figure after his death; Lysias vigorously denounced him while prosecuting several of his former political allies, but others defended his actions. Modern historical assessments have shifted over time; in the 19th century, Theramenes was almost universally condemned, but recent scholarship has produced more positive assessments. Some historians have found in Theramenes a selfish opportunist, others a principled moderate. The details of his actions, his motivations, and the nature of his character continue to be debated down to the present day.
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Thomas Crisp, VC
Skipper Thomas Crisp VC, DSC, RNR (28 April 1876 – 15 August 1917) was an English recipient of the Victoria Cross, the highest and most prestigious award for gallantry in the face of the enemy that can be awarded to British and Commonwealth forces. Crisp earned his award during the defence of his vessel, the armed naval smack HMS Nelson, in the North Sea against an attack from a German submarine in 1917. Thomas Crisp's self–sacrifice in the face of this "unequal struggle" was used by the government to bolster morale during some of the toughest days of the First World War for Britain, the summer and autumn of 1917, during which Britain was suffering heavy losses at the Battle of Passchendaele. His exploit was read aloud by David Lloyd George in the Houses of Parliament and made headline news for nearly a week.
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Thomas the Slav negotiates with the Arabs.
Thomas the Slav (c. 760 – 823 AD) was a 9th-century Byzantine military commander, most notable for leading a wide-scale revolt against Emperor Michael II the Amorian in 820–823. An army officer of Slavic origin from the Pontus region, Thomas rose to prominence under the protection of general Bardanes Tourkos. After Bardanes's failed rebellion in 803, Thomas fell into obscurity until Leo V's rise to the throne, when Thomas was raised to a senior military command. After the murder of Leo and usurpation of the throne by Michael the Amorian, Thomas revolted, claiming the throne for himself. Thomas quickly secured support from most of the themes (provinces) and troops in Asia Minor, and concluded an alliance with the Abbasid Caliphate. He sailed with his army to besiege Constantinople. Michael II called for help from the Bulgar ruler Omurtag, whose troops attacked Thomas's army. Although repelled, the Bulgars inflicted heavy casualties on Thomas's men, who broke and fled when Michael took to the field a few months later. Thomas sought refuge in Arcadiopolis, where he was soon seized by Michael's troops and executed
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Thrasybulus receiving an olive crown for his campaign against the Thirty Tyrants
Thrasybulus was an Athenian general and democratic leader. In 411 BC, in the wake of an oligarchic coup at Athens, the pro-democracy sailors at Samos elected him as a general, making him a primary leader of the successful democratic resistance to that coup. As general, he was responsible for recalling the controversial nobleman Alcibiades from exile, and the two worked together extensively over the next several years. In 411 and 410, Thrasybulus commanded several critical Athenian naval victories, along with Alcibiades and others. After Athens' defeat in the Peloponnesian War, Thrasybulus led the democratic resistance to the new oligarchic government, known as the Thirty Tyrants, that the victorious Spartans imposed on Athens. In 404 BC, he commanded a small force of exiles that invaded Attica and, in successive battles, defeated first a Spartan garrison and then the forces of the oligarchics. In the wake of these victories, democracy was reestablished in Athens. As a leader of this revived democracy in the 4th century BC, Thrasybulus advocated a policy of resistance to Sparta and sought to restore Athens' imperial power. He was killed in 388 BC while leading an Athenian naval force in the Corinthian War.
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Hanoverae MDCCCLXXVII simply Hangover 1878.PNG
Thurisind was king of the Gepids, an East Germanic Gothic people, from c. 548 to 560. He was the penultimate Gepid king, and succeeded King Elemund by staging a coup d'état and forcing the king's son into exile. Thurisind's kingdom, known as Gepidia, was located in Central Europe and had its centre in Sirmium, a former Roman city on the Danube River. His reign was marked by multiple wars with the Lombards, a Germanic people who had arrived in the former Roman province of Pannonia under the leadership of their king, Audoin. Thurisind also had to face the hostility of the Byzantine Empire, which was resentful of the Gepid takeover of Sirmium and anxious to diminish Gepid power in the Pannonian Basin, a plain covering most of modern Hungary and partly including the bordering states. The Byzantines' plans to reduce the Gepids' power took effect when Audoin decisively defeated Thurisind in 551 or 552. The Byzantine Emperor Justinian forced a peace accord on both leaders so that equilibrium in the Pannonian Basin could be sustained. Thurisind lost his eldest son, Turismod, in the Battle of Asfeld, where the prince was killed by Alboin, son of Audoin. In about 560, Thurisind died and was succeeded by his remaining son Cunimund, who was killed by Alboin in 567. Cunimund's death marked the end of the Gepid Kingdom and the beginning of the conquest of their territories by the Lombards' allies, the Avars, a nomadic people migrating from the Eurasian Steppe.
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Tom Crean
Tom Crean (1877–1938) was an Irish seaman and Antarctic explorer from County Kerry. He left the family farm near Annascaul to enlist in the Royal Navy at the age of fifteen. In 1901, while serving on HMS Ringarooma in New Zealand, he volunteered to join Scott's 1901–04 British National Antarctic Expedition on Discovery, thus beginning a distinguished career as an explorer during the Heroic Age of Antarctic Exploration. After the Discovery Expedition, he joined Scott's 1911–13 Terra Nova Expedition, which saw the race to reach the South Pole lost to Roald Amundsen, and ended in the deaths of Scott and his polar party. During this expedition, Crean's 56 km solo walk across the Ross Ice Shelf to save the life of Edward Evans led to him receiving the Albert Medal. His third Antarctic venture was the Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition on Endurance led by Ernest Shackleton, in which he served as Second Officer. His contributions to these expeditions earned him three Polar Medals, and a reputation as a tough and dependable polar traveller.
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Photograph of Vidkun Quisling in 1942
Vidkun Quisling (1887–1945) was a Norwegian politician. On 9 April 1940, with the German invasion of Norway in progress, he seized power in a Nazi-backed coup d'etat. From 1942 to 1945 he served as Minister-President, working with the occupying forces. His collaborationist government, known as the Quisling regime, was dominated by ministers from Nasjonal Samling, the party he had founded in 1933. Among other things, it participated – wittingly or unwittingly – in Germany's Final Solution. Quisling was put on trial during the post-war legal purge in Norway and found guilty of charges including embezzlement, murder and high treason. He was executed by firing squad at Akershus Fortress, Oslo, on 24 October 1945. During World War II, quisling became a synonym for traitor.
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  1. ^ The youngest lieutenant field marshal not of the House of Habsburg. At age 20, Archduke Charles, Duke of Teschen, was the youngest.