This Day in History (11-06-1397)
Today is Sunday; 11th of the Iranian month of Shahrivar 1397 solar hijri; corresponding to 21st of the Islamic month of Zil-Hijjah 1439 lunar hijri; and September 2, 2018, of the Christian Gregorian Calendar.
2508 solar years ago, on this day in 490 BC, Pheidippides, supposed to be a Greek runner and inspiration for the modern marathon sporting event, is said to have run from Marathon to Athens in under 36 hours to deliver news of a brief military setback of the Persian fleet sent by Iran’s Achaemenid emperor, Darius I to capture Athens. It is claimed that he was sent to Sparta to request help when the Persians landed at Marathon. He supposedly ran the 40 km distance from the battlefield to Athens to announce news of the outcome of the Battle of Marathon, and then collapsed and died. There is debate about the historical accuracy of this legend. It first appears in the Roman literary figure Plutarch's work “On the Glory of Athens” in the 1st century AD which quotes from Heraclides Ponticus's lost work. Herodotus says that the Athenian army, having managed to hold back the Persian fleet and fearing a naval raid by the Iranians on undefended Athens, marched quickly back from the battle to Athens, arriving the same day. Ten years later in 480 BC, the Persians under Emperor Xerxes captured and destroyed Athens when Iran conquered the whole of Greece. The marathon legend was revived last century as part of the West’s bid to impose the Greco-Roman culture on the world, when a running event with a distance of 42.195 km (26 miles and 385 yards) was named “marathon” and included in the Olympics and other sporting events as a road race.
2062 solar years ago, on this day in 44 BC, Cicero, considered to be ancient Rome’s greatest orator and prose stylist, launched the first of his ‘Philippics’ (oratorical attacks) on Mark Antony. He made 14 of them over the following months, modeling his condemnations on the speeches of the Greek philosopher Demosthenes denunciations of Macedonia’s Phillip II (hence Philippics).Cicero's attacks on Antony were neither forgiven nor forgotten, with the result that he was proscribed and killed in 43 BC. His head and hands were publicly displayed in the Roman Forum to discourage anyone who would oppose the new Triumvirate of Octavian, Mark Antony and Lepidus.
2049 solar years ago, on this day in 31 BC, the Battle of Actium as the Final War of the Roman Republic was fought off the western coast of Greece, in the Ionian Sea near the city of Actium by forces of Octavian (the future Augustus Caesar) to defeat troops under Mark Antony and his mistress the Egyptian queen Cleopatra. Octavian's victory enabled him to consolidate his power over Rome and its dominions. He adopted the title of “Princeps” (first citizen) and some years later was awarded the title of “Augustus” (revered) by the Roman Senate, which fully supported his wars against Antony, who came to be viewed as a rebel, especially after the disastrous war (funded by Cleopatra and without Rome’s permission) against Iran’s Parthian Empire in what are now Armenia, Turkey and Syria. Historians regard the ascension of Augustus (grandnephew of the dictator Julius Caesar) as end of the Roman Republic and the beginning of the Roman Empire.
871 lunar years ago, on this day in 568 AH, the historian Jamal od-Din Abu’l-Hassan Ali ibn Yousuf ash-Shaybani, known popularly as Ibn Qifti, was born in the small Egyptian village of Qift. He studied in Cairo, and moved to Bayt al-Moqaddas and later to Aleppo in Syria, where he compiled most of his works. Some 26 of his works are known by their titles, of which only two survive. The first one is “Tarikh al-Hukama” (The History of Learned Men), which contains biographies of 414 physicians, philosophers and astronomers. The second extant work is a biography of about a thousand Muslim scholars. His lost works dealt mostly with historiography, including the “History of Cairo”; “History of the Seljuqs of Iran, Iraq, Syria & Anatolia”; “History of the Mirdasids of Syria”; “History of the Buwayhids of Iraq-Iran”; “History of Sultan Mahmoud Ghaznawi”, and separate histories of the Maghreb, and of Yemen.
826 solar years ago, on this day in 1192 AD, the Treaty of Jaffa was signed between the Kurdish ruler of Egypt and Syria, Salah od-Din Ayyubi and Richard I of England, leading to the end of the Third Crusade launched on Palestine and Syria by European Christian invaders. The treaty guaranteed safe passage of Christians and Muslims through Palestine whilst also stating that the Christians would hold the coast from Tyre to Jaffa. However Asqalon's fortifications were to be demolished and the town returned to Salah od-din. The battle was a decisive encounter, in that it forced Salah od-Din to negotiate an end to the immediate hostilities.
641 lunar years ago, on this day in 798 AH, the Ottoman army led by Sultan Bayezid I “Yildrim” (Thunderbolt), inflicted a crushing defeat on an alliance of Christian powers led by Hungary’s King Sigmund I with as many as 130,000 of Europe 's best trained soldiers. In the Battle of Nicopolis, near River Danube, the European army lost 100,000 soldiers, while 20,000 Christian troops fled the battlefield leaving behind as captives about ten thousand of their co-religionists, many of whom became Muslim.
352 solar years ago, on this day in 1666 AD, the Great Fire of London burned for three days, destroying 10,000 buildings, including St Paul's Cathedral.
227 lunar years ago, on this day in 1212 AH, the 2nd Qajarid king of Iran, Fath-Ali Shah, assumed power following the death of his childless uncle, Agha Mohammad Khan Qajar. During his 37-year misrule, Iran lost extensive territories in the Caucasus to the Russians, in Khorasan to the Afghans, and in Baluchestan to the British. Bahrain in the Persian Gulf was seized by pirates, who set up the Aal-e Khalifa minority regime on this island. The pleasure-loving Fath Ali Shah did not even provide military aid to his energetic son, Crown Prince Abbas Mirza, who after retaking from the Russians what is now known as the Republic of Azerbaijan, was badly defeated and forced to concede more parts of Iran.
217 solar years ago, on this day in 1801 AD, a joint Ottoman-British force succeeded in defeating and forcing to withdraw from Egypt, the French occupation army left behind by Emperor Napoleon Bonaparte.
153 solar years ago, on this day in 1865 AD, William Rowan Hamilton, Irish mathematician in the fields of optics, geometrics, and classical mechanics, died at the age of 60. By age 12, Hamilton had already learned fourteen languages when he met the American, Zerah Colburn, who could perform amazing mental arithmetical feats, and they joined in competitions. At 15, he began to study the works of La Place and Isaac Newton, and by 17 had become a mathematician par-excellence. He contributed to the development of optics, dynamics, and algebra. His invention of the calculus of quaternions enabled a three-dimensional algebra or geometry which provided a basis for the later development of quantum mechanics.
120 solar years ago, on this day in 1898 AD, the Battle of Omdurman was fought near Khartoum by a joint British-Egyptian army to defeat Sudanese tribesmen led by the self-styled Mahdi and establish Britain’s dominance in Sudan. Anglo-Egyptian lines under General Kitchener were charged by 50,000 poorly-armed Dervishes, who were mowed down by howitzers, machine guns and rifles, resulting in 11,000 dead and 16,000 injured. Winston Churchill, the future prime minister of Britain during World War 2, then serving as a young lieutenant, led one of the last and most useless cavalry charges in history.
81 solar years ago, on this day in 1937 AD, Pierre de Coubertin, French educator and historian, and founder of the International Olympic Committee, died in Geneva at the age of 74. In 1896, he launched the Olympic Games in Athens on the pattern of the ancient Greek games.
73 solar years ago, on this day in 1945 AD, following Japan's defeat in World War 2, Vietnam led by Ho Chi Minh, declared independence from France. The French attacked Vietnam in 1946 in a bid to re-impose their colonial rule, but after eight years of fighting were forced to withdraw. The US now interfered, occupied southern Vietnam and set up a puppet regime in Saigon for terrorizing the country on the pretext of stopping the spread of communism. In 1975 after their failure to crush the resistance of the Vietnamese people, despite massive bombing and use of internationally banned chemical weapons, American forces humiliatingly fled Vietnam. Vietnam was united once again. Vietnam covers an area of 329,566 sq km and shares borders with China, Laos, and Cambodia.
73 solar years ago, on this day in 1945 AD, upon the unconditional surrender of Japan, World War II ended, and the Americans occupied this country imposing humiliating terms on the Japanese people. Although Japan was freed of US hegemony, American troops have refused to vacate Okinawa Island.
49 solar years ago, on this day in 1969 AD, Ho Chi Minh, Vietnamese freedom fighter and 1st President of Vietnam, died at the age of 79 from heart failure in Hanoi in the midst of the US-imposed war. Named Nguyen Sinh Cung at birth, after mastering Chinese language, which was a prerequisite to the study of Confucianism, he studied French and departed for France to enroll at the French Colonial Administrative School, but was rejected. He decided to travel around the world by working on ships and visited many countries from 1911 to 1917, including the US, where he worked for some years, before returning to France after World War I. From 1919 to1923 he stayed in Paris, where he joined a group of Vietnamese nationalists, whose petition for recognition of the civil rights of the Vietnamese people in French Indochina to the Western powers at the Versailles Peace Talks, was ignored. The group, citing the language and spirit of the US Declaration of Independence, expected US President Woodrow Wilson to help end French colonial rule in Vietnam and ensure the formation of a nationalist government, but were given a cold shoulder. This rejection radicalized Nguyen, while making him a symbol of the anti-colonial movement in Vietnam and forcing him to turn to Moscow where he joined the communists. He made frequent trips to China, forging ties with the communists, travelling to Hong Kong, Thailand, and India, before returning to Moscow. In 1940, he took the name Ho Chi Minh, meaning “He Who has been enlightened”, and the next year returned to Vietnam to lead the Viet Minh independence movement. His guerrilla forces saw many successful military actions against the French and against the Japanese occupation of Vietnam during World War II. Following the August Revolution (1945) organized by the Viet Minh, he became Premier of the provisional government and issued declaration for independence of Vietnam. Although he convinced Vietnamese Emperor Bao Dai to abdicate, and petitioned US President Harry S. Truman to support Vietnam’s bid for independence, citing the Atlantic Charter, he was ignored. He resolved to fight France’s bid to re-impose colonial rule, and following the decisive defeat of the French at the Battle of Dien Bien Phu, the Geneva Conference on July 21, 1954, made a provisional division of Vietnam at the 17th parallel, with control of the north given to the Viet Minh as the Democratic Republic of Vietnam under Ho Chi Minh, and the south becoming the State of Vietnam under Emperor Bao Dai, who was soon ousted. The refusal of the South to enter into negotiations with North Vietnam about holding nationwide elections in 1956, as had been stipulated by the Geneva Conference, eventually led to war breaking out again in 1959. This time, the US intervened and started the catastrophic Vietnam War, in which hundreds of thousands of innocent people were massacred by the Americans, who had to finally withdraw in humiliation in 1975, as the two parts of Vietnam became united once again into a single country.
22 solar years ago, on this day in 1996 AD, in the Philippines, an accord was signed between President Ramos and Moro Muslim Leader, Noor Misuari, to end a quarter century of warfare during which some 120,000 people were killed. The Muslims who make up the majority in the southern parts have been marginalized by the successive regimes in Manila, and continue to be deprived of their birthrights. Islam was brought to these islands in the 1300s by traders, who succeeded in converting the local rulers and establishing the Sultanate of Sulu, long before the arrival of the Spanish in the 16th century and the forced conversion of the people to the Catholic sect of Christianity.