Today is Monday; 11th of the Iranian month of Dey 1396 solar hijri; corresponding to 13th of the Islamic month of Rabi as-Sani 1439 lunar hijri; and January 1, 2018, of the Christian Gregorian Calendar.

2063 solar years ago, on this day in 45 BC, the Julian calendar took effect as the civil calendar of the Roman Empire, establishing January 1 as the new date of the New Year, and thus it has no connection with either Prophet Jesus (PuH) or with Christianity. It replaced the Roman years “Ab Urbe Condita” or AUC which means “from the founding of the city (of Rome)”. In the year 709 AUC, Julius Caesar established for his empire, a calendar based on a solar year of twelve months, and a total of 365 days. The year 45 has been called the "year of confusion," because in that year Julius Caesar inserted 90 days to try to make the months of the Roman calendar conform to the seasons.  It was the predominant calendar in the Roman world, most of Europe, and later in European settlements in the Americas, until it was refined and superseded by the Gregorian calendar in 1582 on 24 February by Pope Gregory XIII, since it had become out of step with the seasons. January, which is named after “Janus”, the pagan Roman deity of doors, gateways, and openings, was no longer the first month of the year after Europe’s conversion to Christianity. It was only from the 16th century onwards that the New Year Day in European countries began to be gradually shifted to January 1, with the Republic of Venice initiating it in 1522, Britain in 1752 and Greece in 1923.   

1338 solar years ago, on this day in 680 AD, Javanshir Arran-Shah, the king of the Iranian land of Arran in what is today the Caucasus Republic of Azerbaijan was assassinated at the age of 64. Born in the Gardman region of Armenia, he reigned from 637 to 680 and was either of Parthian or Persian origin, as his family, the Mihranids, claimed descent from the Sassanid Persians. He was placed on the throne by the Sassanid Emperor in place of his father, Varaz Grigor, who had converted to Christianity from Zoroastrianism. Javanshir, who also converted secretly to Christianity, sided with the Sassanid Dynasty during the Arab invasion of Persia and was personally rewarded by Emperor Yazdegerd III two golden spears, two golden shields and a flag, probably the Derafsh Kaviani. In 636, he and his forces, alongside the Armenian prince Musel III Mamikonian, took part in the famous Battle of al-Qadisiyyah in Iraq between the Persian and Arab armies. The Sassanid defeat made Javanshir lose hope and he fled to his kingdom, from where he wrote a letter to Emperor Constans II and became an ally of the Byzantine Empire. Thereafter, he joined forces with the Iberian king Adarnase I to attack garrisons of the declining Sassanid Empire in the Caucasus, expanding his dominion from Derbend in Daghestan to Aras River on what is today Iran’s northwestern border. Soon, faced with the advancing armies of the Muslims from the south and the Khazar offensive on the north, Javanshir recognized the caliph’s suzerainty, a move that facilitated the spread of Islam in his homeland.

1221 lunar years ago, on this day in 218 AH, the biographer, Abu Muhammad Abdul-Malik Ibn Hisham, passed away. His fame rests on his editing of the supposed biography of Prophet Mohammad (SAWA) compiled earlier by Ibn Ishaq, who had collected the oral traditions in book form on the orders of the crafty Abbasid caliph, Mansur Dawaniqi, the murderer of the Prophet’s 6th Infallible Successor, Imam Ja’far Sadeq (AS). Ibn Ishaq's work is lost and is now only known in the Seerah or Biography of Ibn Hisham and the history of Tabari. Ibn Hisham grew up in Basra, Iraq, but moved afterwards to Egypt, where he gained a name as a grammarian and student of language and history. Critics note that since the bulk of the so-called biography of the Prophet was not taken from the authoritative sources of the Ahl al-Bayt, and compiled on the orders of caliphs, who were open enemies of the Prophet’s Household, so many accounts in such works are open to doubt.

950 solar years ago, on this day in 1068 AD, Romanos IV Diogenes married the widowed empress Eudokia Makrembolitissa (wife of his predecessor Constantine X) and was crowned Byzantine Emperor. Impetuous by nature, he picked up quarrel with Sultan Alp Arsalan of the Iran-based Seljuq Empire and three years later in 1071 AD was defeated and captured at the crucial Battle of Manzikert (modern Malazgirt in Turkey) in Asia Minor. The battle practically wrecked Byzantine authority in Anatolia and Armenia, and led to the gradual Turkification of Anatolia, with the Seljuqs gaining an area of 78,000 square km in the next decade, which facilitated the mass movement of Turkic Muslims into central Anatolia. Alp Arslan, whose capital was Isfahan, had initially sought a peace treaty with the Byzantines, for he regarded the Fatemid Ismaili Shi'a Muslim Caliphate of Egypt as his main enemy for control of Syria. A peace treaty was signed in 1069 and renewed in February 1071, to enable the Seljuqs to attack the Fatemid controlled city of Aleppo, but Emperor Romanus tried to distract the Sultan long enough for leading a large army into Armenia. Alp Arsalan quickly realized the plot of the Christians and met and defeated them at Manzikert. When the captured Emperor Romanos IV was conducted into his presence, the Sultan forced him to kiss the ground, and asked him what would he have done if he was captured, to which he got the reply that he would have been killed or exhibited in the streets of Constantinople. Alp Arslan said: "My punishment is far heavier. I forgive you, and set you free." Romanos, kept captive for a week, was allowed to eat at the Sultan’s table whilst conditions were worked out for his release; including 10 million gold pieces as ransom for release, which the Sultan reduced to 1.5 million gold pieces as an initial payment followed by an annual sum of 360,000 gold pieces. Alp Arsalan before returning to Isfahan gave Romanos presents and an escort of two emirs and one hundred Mamluks on his route to Constantinople, which he was not destined to enter. He was declared deposed, defeated in combat in his bid to recover the throne, captured, exiled, blinded and died a painful death 1072.

703 lunar years ago, on this day in 736 AH, the last Ilkhanid king of Iran, Iraq, Iraq and parts of Central Asia, Abu Sa’eed Bahador Khan, son of Oljeitu, died without an heir, and with him the dynasty founded by Hulagu Khan disintegrated. Although he patronized poets and religious scholars, he was a weak administrator, who during his 19-year rule committed many excesses, even executing able ministers, such as Rashid od-Din Fazlollah, the author of the famous history, “Jame’ at-Tawarikh”.

214 solar years ago, on this day in 1804 AD, Haiti gained independence as the first Caribbean country, following a major uprising of black people against the French who had enslaved them since 1677. After independence, Haiti faced unrests and several transitions of power. The US started its meddlesome policies as of 1905 and seized control of Haiti in 1915, which enraged the people and surged anti-American sentiments. In 1934, the US troops were forced to leave Haiti, but Washington continued its interference in Haiti’s domestic affairs.

200 solar years ago, on this day in 1818 AD, the novel "Frankenstein" by Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley was published anonymously. It was an attack on industrialization. She was wife of the poet Percy Shelley. This famous tale of a flawed artificial life experiment that produced a monster grew out of a visit at Lord Byron's villa with her husband. There, she shared in a discussion of galvanism, the possibility of re-animating dead matter, and even bringing life to a corpse. Byron suggested writing on the fantasy. Mary completed a full novel. Byron wrote briefly about the vampire legend he had learned about while in the Balkans, expanded by John Polidoni in “The Vampyre”. Two classic horror subjects were thus born.

124 solar years ago, on this day in 1894 AD, the German physicist and mathematician, Heinrich Rudolf Hertz, died at the age of 37. His discovery of electromagnetic waves set the stage for several other discoveries in physics and mathematics. The Hertz waves are named in his honor.

117 solar years ago, on this day in 1901 AD, Australia was allowed to manage its own affairs by Britain, though theoretically it remained under the British Crown. The first Europeans to set foot on this continent were the Dutch in 1606, and in the second half of the 18th century with the landing of Captain Cook in 1770, Britain seized this island and used it as the place of exile for convicts and criminals. In the second half of the 19th century, discovery of gold in a number of regions of Australia, led to a gold rush.

112 solar years ago, on this day in 1906 AD, in India, all the railway and telegraph clocks were put at Indian Standard Time (IST), based on the Indian Time Meridian. It was set as the meridian passing through Allahabad at 82.5° east of the Greenwich Meridian longitude. India thus fixed a single time zone, IST, at 5 hours and 30 minutes in advance of GMT. After independence in 1947, Pakistan kept IST for three years until 1951 when it introduced Pakistan Standard Time at 5 hours ahead of GMT.

106 solar years ago, on this day in 1912 AD, China formally became a republic, following the Hsin-Hai Revolution, which began with the Wuchang Uprising on 10 October 1911, replacing the Qing Dynasty to end monarchial rule.

104 solar years ago, on this day in 1914 AD, Iran, despite declaring its neutrality was invaded during the First World War by the Ottoman Empire, which occupied the northwestern border regions and marched up to Tabriz. Russia, which for over a century had been gradually encroaching upon Iranian territories, saw this as an opportunity to confront the Turks and occupy other parts of Iran, marching almost to the capital Tehran. The inefficient Qajarid dynasty was powerless to confront the aggressors and mobilize the masses for defence of the homeland. In 1917, the revolution in Russia that overthrew the Czar and abolished monarchial rule, led to the pullout of the Russian forces from Iranian provinces. The Ottoman defeat in World War 1 also saw the Turks retreat from northwestern Iran. The victory of the Allied Powers, however, made the old colonialist power, Britain, to continue its domination of Iran. 

62 solar years ago, on this day in 1956 AD, Sudan gained independence from 57 years of joint Egyptian-British rule. Sudan has been under military rule during most of its post-independence years. The British and the US have always schemed to undermine the government of Sudan and have incited separatist revolts, especially in the mostly Christian south and in the Darfur region in the west. They separated southern Sudan and declared it as independent in 2011.

59 solar years ago, on this day in 1959 AD, the Cuban Revolution succeeded, and with the escape of the dictator Fulgencio Batista; the hands of the US were cut from this island state. The victory of the guerrilla movement led by Fidel Castro in 1959 put the US in a difficult situation, since Cuba became the only communist country in Latin America and that too very near the borders of the US.

46 solar years ago, on this day in 1972 AD, Coordinated Universal Time (UTC) was adopted worldwide. UTC is determined from six primary atomic clocks that are coordinated by the International Bureau of Weights and Measures located in France. The abbreviation - UTC - was chosen as an international compromise between the initials of the English language form "coordinated universal time" and the French "temps universel coordonné." Time zone boundaries as used by nations are drawn according to political considerations. Leap seconds are added to UTC periodically, about once each 18 months, so the highly accurate atomic clock time matches the time measured by Earth's rotation, which is very slightly variable due to tidal forces with the Moon.

34 solar years ago, on this day in 1984 AD, Brunei was declared independent by Britain, although the British still hold the strings in this tiny oil rich country in Southeast Asia. The majority of people of Brunei are Muslims and they speak the Malay language like the Malaysians and Indonesians.

31 solar years ago, on this day in 1987 AD, the combatant scholar, Ayatollah Abdur-Rahman Haideri Eilami, passed away at the age of 61. Born in Eilam, he completed his higher religious studies in the holy cities of Karbala, Samarra, and Najaf in Iraq, where he was a student of the Father of the Islamic Revolution, Imam Khomeini (RA). He returned to Iran in 1976 and mobilized the Muslim masses against the repressive policies of the British-installed and US-backed Pahlavi regime. After victory of the Islamic Revolution, he was elected as the representative of the people of Eilam in the Majlis as well as the Assembly of Experts. During the 8-year war imposed on Islamic Iran by Saddam of Baghdad’s repressive Ba’th minority regime, he organized resistance against the invaders. 

25 solar years ago, on this day in 1993 AD, the Maastricht Treaty was concluded in the city of same name in the Netherlands, which led to removal of economic borders among the twelve member states of European Economic Community, which has since been called the European Union.

AS/ME

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Jan 01, 2018 07:35 UTC
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