In Homer’s Odyssey, Odysseus's (Ulysses) raft is torn apart by storms and he washes up naked on Scheria, the country of the Phaeacians. The Phaeacians are blessed and god-like people. Their remarkable ships are imbued with intelligence and are able to navigate themselves anywhere, and travel to ‘the furthest of any place’ and back on the same day.
The goddess Athena contrives to get Princess Nausicaa, the daughter of King Alcinous, to go to the seashore where she meets the shipwrecked Odysseus and directs him to her father’s palace. Odysseus tells King Alcinous and his court the story of his adventures since the Trojan War. They are deeply moved by his experiences, and provide him with a swift transport home to Ithaca, thus ending his 20-year odyssey.
In Homer’s Odyssey, Odysseus lands on the Island of the Cyclopes during his journey home from the Trojan War. The Cyclopes were giants who lived in caves and kept sheep and goats for their milk and cheese.
Odysseus and his men enter the cave of the cyclopes Polyphemus. When the latter returns from the fields and finds the men in his cave, he traps them there, and over the next few days eats six of them. Odysseus and his remaining men manage to escape Polyphemus, by driving a burning stake into his eye and blinding him.
Unfortunately for Odysseus, Polyphemus asks his father Poseidon for help exacting revenge. The latter sends storms and contrary winds down on Odysseus as he sails for home, making his journey considerably more treacherous.
Despite these military successes, trouble was brewing at home, and Xerxes was forced to return with his army to prevent a revolt in Babylon. The army he left behind in Greece was attacked and defeated, and the Persians were forced to retreat.
In late 1700, an alliance comprising Russia, Denmark-Norway, and Poland-Lithuania, simultaneously attacked Sweden from several directions. Charles XII of Sweden, assisted by the Dutch Navy, won an early victory against Denmark-Norway, forcing them out of the alliance. During November, Russian troops surrounded and laid siege to the Swedish city of Narva, in Estonia. On 19 November Charles XII positioned his 8,000 men opposite the besieging Russian army of about 33,000 troops. While the Swedish army was commanded personally by Charles XII, Peter the Great of Russia had left Narva days before to return to Russia. For much of the day, a blizzard engulfed both armies, making attacks impossible. However, at midday, the winds changed and the snowstorm blew directly into the eyes of the Russians. Charles advanced on the Russian army under cover of the weather, broke through the Russian lines, and rounded them up. A bridge over the Narova river collapsed under retreating Russian troops. That and the resulting stampede led to losses of 6,000 to 18,000 Russians. The remaining troops surrendered.
Various tales circulated in the period after Villiers’ murder, that his father, Sir George Villiers, had appeared to an old servant of his, and warned him that Buckingham would be murdered. The ghost apparently appeared several times to this servant, warning that the Duke would be stabbed to death. While the Duke was probably informed of the ghost’s warning, it did nothing to prevent his murder.
These titles refer to four Roman Emperors. History records that two of them were great and wise, and two were cruel and self-indulgent.
Trajan was Roman Emperor from 98 to 117 AD, best known for his extensive public building program which reshaped the city of Rome. He annexed several countries and expanded the Roman Empire to its greatest territorial extent. Every new emperor after him was honored by the Senate with the wish felicior Augusto, melior Traiano ("luckier than Augustus and better than Trajan").
Antoninus Pius was Emperor from 138 to 161 AD. He built temples, theaters, and mausoleums, promoted the arts and sciences, and bestowed honours and financial rewards upon the teachers of rhetoric and philosophy. His reign was the most peaceful during the first period of the Roman Empire (27BC to 284 AD).
Nero was Emperor from 54 to 68 AD. He focused his attention on diplomacy, trade, and enhancing the cultural life of the Empire. But his rule is often associated with tyranny and extravagance. He ordered many executions, including his mother’s, and possibly his stepbrothers, and had Christians captured and killed in various imaginative ways. He famously ‘fiddled’ while most of Rome was destroyed in a great fire, which many Romans believed Nero himself had started in order to clear land for his planned palace complex. In 68, rebellions in Gaul and Hispania drove him from the throne. Facing assassination, he committed suicide.
Caligula was Emperor from 37 to 41 AD. He is described as a noble and moderate ruler during the first two years of his rule. After this, he seems to have descended into cruelty, extravagance, and sexual perversity. During his brief reign, he worked to increase the unconstrained personal power of the emperor. He was assassinated in 41 AD, as part of a conspiracy involving officers of the Praetorian Guard and members of the Roman Senate.
Bathos is an abrupt transition in style from the exalted to the commonplace, producing a ludicrous effect. The term was introduced by Alexander Pope in his essay Peri Bathous, Or the Art of Sinking in Poetry (1727). While contemporary writers had detailed the ways in which poetry could ascend or be awe-inspiring, Pope offered a long discussion of how authors might ‘sink’ in poetry. The work described various methods for writing poorly, but the one that is best remembered is the act of combining very serious matters with very trivial ones i.e. bathos.
Pope offered as an example Master of a Show in Smithfield, who wrote in large Letters, over the Picture of his Elephant:
"This is the greatest Elephant in the World, except Himself."
Paradise Lost, John Milton’s epic poem, describes the moon and stars as ‘bright luminaries:’
Revolved on Heaven's great axle, and her reign
With thousand lesser lights dividual holds,
With thousand thousand stars, that then appeared
Spangling the hemisphere: Then first adorned
With their bright luminaries that set and rose,
Glad evening and glad morn crowned the fourth day
The poem was originally published in 1667 in ten books. It concerns the Biblical story of the Fall of Man, which followed Satan’s temptation of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden.
He made a great deal of money from his dubious cures, which were sought after among London’s high society. His most famous patients included King George II and Horace Walpole.
Ward was extremely generous with the fortune he made from his ‘medicines.’ He bought three houses in Pimlico and converted them into a hospital for his poor patients. Large crowds resorted to him daily, and it became the habit of many ladies of fashion to sit before his doors distributing his medicine to all comers.
He was however devoid of any medical learning, and his pill and drop remedies quite likely killed as many as they cured. Nonetheless, when the 1748 apothecaries act was introduced into parliament to restrain unlicensed persons from compounding medicines, a clause was inserted specially exempting Ward by name from the restrictions imposed.
James VI, King of Scots (1566 - 1625) subsequently James I King of England and Ireland, was a vehement witch hunter.
This passion appears to have arisen from an unfortunate period of bad weather, which forced the fleet of ships carrying James’ new bride, Princess Anne, from Copenhagen to Scotland, to shelter in Norway for several weeks. The storm was blamed on witchcraft. More than a hundred suspected witches in North Berwick, Scotland, were arrested. Many confessed under torture to having met with the Devil and devoted themselves to doing evil against the King.
The North Berwick witch trial was the first major persecution of witches in Scotland under the Witchcraft Act 1563. James was actively involved in the trial, and personally supervised the torture of women accused of being witches.
In 1597 he wrote the Daemonologie, a tract opposing the practice of witchcraft and endorsing witch hunting.
Some historians have indicated that as many as 3,000 to 4,000 accused witches may have been killed in Scotland in the years 1560-1707.