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The Great Fire of Rome. July 19, 64 AD.

The apocryphal image of Nero fiddling as Rome burned has long been burned into our minds, as well, but the lack of historical eyewitnesses has always made this event a controversial matter. The Great Fire of Rome took place, according to Tacitus, on the night of the 18th to the 19th of July 64 AD (he was only at the time seven years old at the time, but the date is not in dispute). What is known is the fire started in the Circus Maximus in the shops that sold flammable goods like ointments, spreading quickly, and burned for six days. The only living historiographer of that time who recorded the incident was Pliny the Elder, although he only mentioned it briefly, probably because he considered it “one of many” fires that blighted the city. Other contemporary writers, included the philosophe...

El Álamo. February 23, 1836.

The Battle of El Álamo (that took place from February 23 to March 6, 1836) was a major military conflict in the Texan Revolution. It started with a 13-days siege that ended with the final confrontation between the parts on March 6. It confronted the Mexican army, led by General Antonio López de Santana, against a Texan secessionist militia, formed in its majority by American colonists. It took place in San Antonio de Béxar, that was at that time part of the Mexican province of Coahuila y Texas (today, US state of Texas). All the combatants for the Republic of Texas died, except for two of them, which inspired a lot of Texan colonists as well as American mavericks to join the Texan army. Heated by the desire of vengeance because of the cruelty shown by General Santana during the siege, Texa...

Life and death of a criminal. June 22, 1903.

John Herbert Dillinger was born on June 22, 1903 in the Oak Hill section of Indianapolis, a middle-class residential neighborhood. His father, a hardworking grocer, raised him in an atmosphere of disciplinary extremes (“spare the rod and spoil the child”), harsh and repressive on some occasions. John’s mother died when he was three, and John was taken care of by his elder sister and her husband until his father remarried six years later. John resented his stepmother, although later they fell in love and had a three-years long relationship. In adolescence, his bewildering personality became evident, and he was frequently in trouble. Finally, he quit school and got a job in a machine shop in Indianapolis. Although intelligent and a good worker, he soon became bored and often stay...

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