Roger Mickelson’s History Today 4/23/14

In 1014, Brian, High King of the Irish, was killed following the decisive battle at Clontarf, near Dublin. Brian, now 73, was too old to take active part, and the victory was won by his son Murchad who defeated an army led by the King of Leinster. A little group of Northmen, flying from the battlefield, stumbled on Brian’s tent, overcame his bodyguard, and hacked the aged Brian to death. His fame was so great that the princes descended from him, the O’Briens, subsequently ranked as one of the chief dynastic families of the country.

View From Clontarf

View From Clontarf (Photo credit: infomatique)


In 1016, on the death of King Ethelred II (the Unready) of England, his son claimed the throne as Edmund II. Ethelred had been an ineffectual ruler who failed to prevent the Danes from overrunning England. The epithet “unready” is derived from unraed, meaning “bad counsel” or “no counsel,” and puns on his name, which means “noble counsel.”At the time of Ethelred’s death, Danish King of England Sweyn’s son Canute was ravaging England.


Ethelred the Unready, circa 968-1016. Detail o...

Ethelred the Unready, circa 968-1016. Detail of illuminated manuscript, The Chronicle of Abindon, c.1220. MS Cott. Claude B.VI folio 87, verso, The British Library. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

He is a writer of great intellectual rapidity, perceptiveness, and poetic power. Other writers have had these qualities, but with Shakespeare the keenness of mind was applied not to abstruse or remote subjects but to human beings and their complete range of emotions and conflicts. Other writers have applied their keenness of mind in this way, but Shakespeare is astonishingly clever with words and images, so that his mental energy, when applied to intelligible human situations, finds full and memorable expression, convincing and imaginatively stimulating.


Shakespeare's words

Shakespeare’s words (Photo credit: Calamity Meg)

In 1906, Russian Tsar Nicholas II promulgated the Fundamental Laws, which marked the end of unlimited autocracy but fell short of the reforms promised in the October Manifesto. The Duma that was created had two houses rather than one, however, and members of only one of them were to be popularly elected. Further, the Duma had only limited control over the budget and none at all over the executive branch of the government. In addition, the civil rights and suffrage rights granted by the Fundamental Laws were far more limited than those promised by the manifesto.


Russian tsar Nicholas II of Russia with the or...

Russian tsar Nicholas II of Russia with the order of St. Vladimir. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In 1993, after a long history of foreign rule and decades of war, the small East African country of Eritrea began three days of voting on a referendum to make official its independence from Ethiopia.


Eritrea after the independence in 1993

Eritrea after the independence in 1993 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Regards, Roger Mickelson
Source material includes Associated Press International and Encyclopædia Britannica.
“After ‘a certain age,’ if you don’t wake up aching in every joint…you’re probably dead.”


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