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The History Channel - Encyclopedia
Category: History and Culture > History
Date & country: 02/12/2007, UK
Words: 28028


Achad Haam (or Ahad ha-Am)
(1858-1927) Jewish writer, philosopher, and Zionist leader. He founded the periodical Ha-Shiloa (1897), and stressed the necessity for a renewal of the Hebrew spirit. In 1907 he moved to London and in 1922 to...

Achaea (or Achaia)
Community of Greek Eastern Orthodox monks founded about the middle of the 5th century who divided among themselves their service in such a manner that it was continuous and unceasing. A Roman named...

Achaean League
Union in 280 BC of most of the cities of the northern Peloponnese, which managed to defeat Sparta, but was itself defeated...

Achaemenid dynasty
Family ruling the Persian Empire 550-330 BC, named after Achaemenes, ancestor of Cyrus the Great, founder of the empire. His successors included Cambyses, Darius I, Xerxes, and Darius III, who, as...

Achard, Marcel
(1899-1974) French dramatist. His first success was Voulez-vous jouer avec moi? 1923, followed by such popular plays as La Vie est belle 1928, Jean de la lune 1929, Auprès de ma blonde 1946, and Patate 1957....

Achates
Character in Virgil's Aeneid. Achates was the friend of the hero Aeneas. The name is proverbial for a faithful companion. ...

Acheampong, Ignatius Kutu
(1931-1979) Ghanaian army officer and politician, military ruler of Ghana 1972-78. He led the coup of January 1972 that overthrew the president, Dr Busia, and was himself replaced by his deputy, Frederick...

Achebe, Chinua
(1930) Nigerian novelist. His themes include the social and political impact of European colonialism on African people, and the problems of newly independent African nations. His best-known work is the...

Acheron
In Greek mythology, one of the rivers of the underworld. The name was taken from a river in southern Epirus that flowed through a deep gorge into the Ionian Sea. ...

Achery, Jean Luc d'
(1609-1685) French Benedictine monk. His chief work is a collection of documents concerning ecclesiastical history entitled Spicilegium 1653-77. He collaborated with the French scholar Jean Mabillon...

Acheson, Dean (Gooderham)
(1893-1971) US politician. As undersecretary of state 1945-47 in Harry Truman's Democratic administration, he was associated with George C Marshall in preparing the Marshall Plan, and succeeded him as...

Achi Baba
Barren hill ridge in Gallipoli, about 180 m/600 ft high, which forms a barrier across the western end...

achievement
In heraldry, a complete coat of arms as opposed to its component parts, such as shield, helmet, or crest. ...

Achillas
(lived 3rd century BC) Minister of the young Egyptian king Ptolemy XIII. With Lucius Septimius, he murdered Pompey and supported the king against Cleopatra. Achillas led the army against Caesar, until he was put to death...

Achilles
Greek hero of Homer's Iliad. He was the son of Peleus, King of the Myrmidons in Thessaly, and of the sea nymph Thetis who, by dipping him in the River Styx, rendered him invulnerable, except for the...

Achilles Tatius
(lived 2nd century AD) Greek writer of Alexandria. His Romance of Leucippe and Clitophon influenced the growth of the novel in Europe. ...

Achour, Habib
(1913-1999) Tunisian trade union leader and politician. He joined the nationalist Néo-Destour party in 1934 and with Farhat Hachad formed the Union Générale des Travailleurs Tunisiens (UGTT) in 1946. A...

Achse, Operation
In World War II, German disarmament of Italian forces after the Allied invasion of Italy in September 1943 and the subsequent Italian surrender. ...

Achurch, Janet
(1864-1916) English actor. Her pioneering association with the works of Henrik Ibsen included leading roles in The Doll's House in 1889 and her production of Little Eyolf in 1896. George Bernard Shaw, who wrote...

Acis
In Greek legend, a Sicilian shepherd, son of Pan and the nymph Symaethis. He was killed with a rock by Polyphemus, the Cyclops, his rival for the nymph Galatea. His blood was changed by Galatea into...

Acker, Kathy
(1944-1997) US postmodern, feminist author. One of the new wave of avant-garde writers influenced by cult figures such as William Burroughs and Georges Bataille, Acker's eclectic style attracted notoriety...

Ackerman, Bruce A(rnold)
(1943) US legal scholar. Known for his liberal views, his work concentrated on social and legal philosophy, as well as constitutional and environmental law. Ackerman taught at the University of...

Ackerman, James S(loss)
(1919) US architectural historian. A Harvard professor, 1960-90, he studied the intellectual and cultural context of Renaissance and Gothic architecture. Ackerman published The Cortile del Belvedere...

Ackermann, Rudolph
(1768-1834) German printer and engraver. He introduced steering linkage for vehicles, still the basis of modern car steering, into Britain when he took out the English patent on behalf of its inventor, his...

Ackoff, Russell L(incoln)
(1919) US systems theorist. Founder of the Institute for Interactive Management, his many publications on operations research and corporate and economic planning include The...

Ackroyd, Peter
(1949) English novelist, biographer, reviewer, and poet. His novel Hawksmoor (1985) won the Whitbread award, and T S Eliot (1984) won the Whitbread prize for biography. Ackroyd's other books include the...

Acmeist movement
Movement in early 20th-century Russian poetry reacting against Symbolism. Acmeists developed a neoclassical emphasis on clear words about demystified realities. Major figures include Osip...

Acoemetae (or Acoaemeti)
Ancient city (now Hamadan), capital of ancient Media (northwestern Iran), traditionally founded in the 8th century BC and captured 550 BC by Cyrus the Great, King of Persia. From that time it served...

Acolhua
Member of a pre-columbian people of the Nahuatl-speaking group of tribes. A peaceable people, second in greatness only to the Aztecs, they gained mastery of the present-day Valley of Mexico...

acolyte
Assistant to a bishop or priest, who ministers in the Christian sanctuary, lighting candles, serving Mass, carrying lights, and so on. Originally acolytes formed a minor order. ...

Acontius
In Greek legend, a beautiful youth of Ceos. To win the love of Cydippe, daughter of a noble Athenian, he threw before her, in the precinct of the temple of Artemis, an apple on which he had written...

Acosta, (Bertram Blanchard) Bert
(1895-1954) US aviator and aeronautical engineer. One of the best-known civil aviators in the 1920s, he helped to establish the first transcontinental mail service in North America in 1920. Acosta also set a...

Acosta, José de
(c. 1539-1600) Spanish Jesuit and writer. From 1571 to 1587 he lived in South America as a missionary and wrote a history of that continent, Historia natural y moral de las Indias/A Natural and Moral History of...

acoustic weapons
In World War II, underwater weapons fitted with a sensor which would detect the sound of a ship's propellers. The sensor would steer a torpedo towards the ship or, if fitted to a mine, detonate it...

acquittal
In law, the setting free of someone charged with a crime after a trial. In English courts it follows a verdict of `not guilty`, but in Scotland the verdict may be either...

Acre
Former name of the Israeli seaport of Akko. ...

Acre, Siege of
Siege in 1189-91 of the fortified port of Acre in the Holy Land (taken by the Muslims in 1187) by King Guy de Lusignan of the Christian Kingdom of Jerusalem, reinforced by crusaders. The Ayubbid...

Acre, Siege of
Unsuccessful French siege on 17 March-21 May 1799 of a seaport and town in Palestine, 130 km/80 mi northwest of Jerusalem, during Napoleon Bonaparte's abortive attempt to carve out a French...

acrobat
Entertainer who performs difficult feats of jumping, falling, and balancing, usually in a circus. Acrobats, or more properly contortionists, who twist their bodies into seemingly impossible...

acropolis
Citadel of an ancient Greek town. The Acropolis of Athens contains the ruins of the Parthenon and surrounding complexes, built there during the days of the Athenian empire. The term is also used for...

acrylic fibre
Synthetic fibre often used as a substitute for wool. It was first developed in the mid-1940s but was not produced in large quantities until the 1950s. Strong and warm, acrylic fibre is often used...

acrylic paint
Any of a range of synthetic substitutes for act
In drama, the principal division of a play, usually marking a change of location, time, or mood. Acts are subdivided into scenes. All Shakespeare's plays are printed in five acts. The majority of...

act of Congress
In the USA, a bill or resolution passed by both houses of Congress, the Senate and the House of Representatives, which becomes law with the signature of the president. If vetoed by the president, it...

act of God
Legal term meaning some sudden and irresistible act of nature that could not reasonably have been foreseen or prevented, such as floods or exceptionally high tides, storms, lightning, earthquakes,...

act of indemnity
In Britain, an act of Parliament relieving someone from the consequences of some action or omission that, at the time it took place, was illegal or of doubtful legality. ...

act of Parliament
In Britain, a change in the law originating in Parliament and called a statute. Before an act receives the royal assent and becomes law it is a bill. The US equivalent is an
Act of Union
The Act of Union of 1707 formally united the kingdoms of England and Scotland under Queen Anne. The two kingdoms had been united in 1603 when King James VI of Scotland succeeded Queen Elizabeth I to...

Acta Diurna
Title of an official journal published each day in Rome from 59 BC to AD 330. It was the nearest approach in ancient times to the modern newspaper. It contained court news and official decrees as...

Acta Eruditorum
Scientific and literary monthly printed in Latin, published in Leipzig, Germany, 1682-1782. The first editor, Otto Mencke (1644-1707), was a professor of the university, and his son and grandson...

Acta Sanctorum
Series of volumes, still uncompleted, recording the lives of the saints and martyrs of the Christian church. Suggested in 1607 by a Flemish Jesuit, Heribert Rosweyde, the first volumes were...

Acta Senatus
Official record of the proceedings of the Roman
Senate. Though publication was banned by the emperor Augustus, the records were preserved and remained accessible to historians with permission of the...

Actaeon
In Greek mythology, a hunter who surprised the goddess Artemis while she was bathing with her nymphs. She changed him into a stag and he was torn to pieces by his own hounds. He was the son of...

action
In law, one of the proceedings whereby a person or agency seeks to enforce rights or redress a wrong in a civil court. In the UK, civil actions (for example, the enforcement of a debt) are...

action art
Form of painting that directly uses the body to create works. Popular in the late 1960s, it was the leading forerunner to body art. In action art the artist becomes an actor and the artwork a record...

Action Française
French extreme nationalist political movement founded in 1899, first led by Charles Maurras (1868-1952). It stressed the essential unity of all French people in contrast to the socialist doctrines...

action painting
In abstract art, a form of abstract expressionism that emphasized the importance of the physical act of painting. It became widespread in the 1950s and 1960s. Jackson Pollock, the leading exponent,...

ActionAid
UK charity founded in 1972 to help people in the developing world to secure lasting improvements in the quality of their lives. It has sister organizations in other industrialized countries and by...

Actium, Battle of
Naval battle in which Octavian defeated the combined fleets of Mark Antony and ...

activism
The attempt to influence political change through direct action rather than simply by theory and debate. It is a central belief of revolutionary and radical parties. Activist methods include Acton, Harold Mario
(1904-1994) Italian-born English writer and aesthete, the latter term a description he adopted at Oxford, where he was leader of the artistic set in the early 1920s. Works include Tuscan Villas (1973), with...

Acton, John Emerich Edward Dalberg
(1834-1902) British historian and Liberal politician, leader of the liberal Catholic movement. He was a member of Parliament 1859-65, and became a friend and adviser of Prime Minister Gladstone. Appointed...

Acton, John Francis Edward
(1736-1811) English naval officer. In 1779, as minister of the navy, he reorganized the Neapolitan navy. He then became minister of finance, of war, and finally prime minister with almost absolute powers in...

Actor
In Greek mythology, son of Deion or Myrmidon, and grandfather of Patroclus, whose descendants were called Actorides. ...

actor
Performer who takes one or more role(s) in a play or film. In ancient Greece, the speaking actors were distinguished from the chorus, whereas in ancient Indian and in medieval Japanese drama,...

Actors Studio
Theatre workshop in New York City, established 1947 by Cheryl Crawford and Elia Kazan. Under Lee Strasberg, who became artistic director 1948, it became known for the study of Konstantin...

Acts of the Apostles
Fifth book of the
New Testament, attributed to Luke, which describes the history of the early Christian church. The book was written in Greek and falls into two parts, the first 12 chapters dealing...

actuary
Individual who calculates statistical risk, often using complex mathematical modelling. Actuaries are commonly employed in the insurance and pension industries where risk assumes great importance....

Acuña, Cristóval de
(1597-c. 1650) Spanish Jesuit missionary. He wrote an account of a journey of exploration down the Amazon River, which appeared 1641 as Nuevo descubrimiento del gran río de las Amazonas. ...

AD
In the Christian chronological system, abbreviation for anno Domini. ...

ad valorem
Commercial term implying that taxes or duties are calculated according to the value of a bond or commodity as opposed to its quantity. In rules and orders fixing certain duties, ad valorem duties...

Adachi, Hazato
(1890-1947) Japanese general in World War II. He became commander of the Japanese 18th Army in New Guinea November 1942. Driven out of New Guinea by the Allied advance down the Kokoda Trail, he made a stand in...

Adagia
Collection of Latin proverbs and allusions published by the Dutch humanist Erasmus in 1500. The texts and his commentaries were meant to encourage the use of a correct and elegant Latin style. The...

Adair, (Paul Neal) `Red`
(1915-2004) US oil-well problem specialist. In 1962 Adair established his worldwide reputation by extinguishing the Devil's Cigarette Lighter, a pillar of flame, fuelled by 550-million cubic feet of gas a...

Adair, James
(c. 1709-c. 1783) Irish trader and historian of the American Indians, who emigrated from County Antrim to South Carolina in 1735. His intensive dealings with the Cherokees, Chickasaws, and other American Indian...

Adalbert
(c. 1000-1072) German archbishop of Hamburg-Bremen. He declined the papacy offered by Henry III and desired to found a patriarchate in the north. He exercised great power over Henry IV, whom he educated, and...

Adam
In the Old Testament (Genesis 2, 3), the first human. Formed by God from dust and given the breath of life, Adam was placed in the Garden of Eden, where
Adam
Family of Scottish architects and designers. William Adam (1689-1748) was the leading Scottish architect of his day, and his son Robert Adam (1728-1792) is considered one of the greatest British...

Adam de la Halle
(c. 1240-c. 1290) French lyric poet, dramatist, and composer. His Jeu de la feuillée (c. 1277) is one of the earliest French comedies. His Le Jeu de Robin et Marion, written in Italy about 1282, is a theatrical work...

Adam of Bremen
(lived 11th century) German historian. In 1068 he was made canon of Bremen Cathedral and principal of the cathedral school. He wrote the Gesta Hammaburgensis Ecclesiae Pontificum 1072-76, a history of Hamburg and of...

Adam, Albrecht
(1786-1862) German lithographer and painter of battle scenes. He followed the French soldier Eugène Rose de Beauharnais in Russia and Italy, and accompanied the Austrian soldier Count Radetzky 1848. Among his...

Adam, Juliette
(1836-1936) French writer. She wrote stories as well as books on political and social subjects, and founded the Nouvelle revue 1879. Her salon was politically influential. She was born in Verberie, Oise....

Adam, Paul-Auguste-Marie
(1862-1920) French novelist. His work includes Chair molle 1885, written in the style of Emile Zola; stories of historical investigation; four romances of the Napoleonic period, including La Force (1899);...

Adamic, (Alojzij) Louis
(c. 1899-1951) Yugoslavian-born writer who emigrated to the USA in 1913. Adamic wrote many articles, stories, and books based on his experiences in the USA and his former life in Yugoslavia, the best known being...

Adamite
Member of a Gnostic sect of the 2nd century in Africa, who sought to re-establish the innocent state of humanity at the time of the creation, going naked and rejecting marriage. The doctrine was...

Adamkus, Valdas
(1926) Lithuanian-US politician and administrator, president of Lithuania from 1998. He emigrated to the USA in 1944, after fighting the Nazi German and Soviet occupations of his homeland. On his...

Adamnan, St (or St Adomnan)
(c. 625-704) Irish monk. He was the author of the Life of St Columba. In 679 he was appointed abbot of Iona. While visiting his pupil Aldfrid, King of Northumbria, he was persuaded by the Venerable Bede to...

Adamov, Arthur
(1908-1970) Russian-born French poet and dramatist. A surrealist, Adamov contributed to the Theatre of the
Absurd with his plays Professeur Taranne 1953 and Ping Pong 1955. His style, influenced by a...

Adams, Abigail Smith
(1744-1818) First lady to US president John Adams and public figure. She married lawyer John Adams of Boston 1764; one of their children, John Quincy Adams, would become the sixth US president. A strong...

Adams, Brooks
(1848-1927) US historian and lawyer. His major historical work, The Law of Civilization and Decay (1895), a cyclical view of history, influenced his brother Henry Adams. Adams was the grandson of President John...

Adams, Charles Follen
(1842-1918) US humourous dialect poet. A dry-goods dealer in Boston, he diverted himself by writing poems in Pennsylvania German dialect (or `Pennsylvania Dutch`), similar to the popular ballads of US...

Adams, Charles Francis
(1807-1886) US political leader, journalist, diplomat, and son of John Quincy Adams. He was appointed US minister to England by Abraham Lincoln and unsuccessfully sought the 1872...

Adams, Douglas (Noël)
(1952-2001) English novelist and scriptwriter, author of a series of best-selling space-fiction books which began with The Hitch-Hiker's Guide to the Galaxy (originally a radio serial in 1978 and...

Adams, Franklin Pierce
(1881-1960) US humorist and social critic. He gained fame as a columnist for the New York Evening Mail, Tribune, World, and Post. In addition to publishing books of light verse (`The Melancholy Lute` 1936)...

Adams, Gerry
(1948) Northern Irish politician, leader (president) of Sinn Fein from 1983, member of Parliament for Belfast West 1983-92 and since 1997. He has been a key figure in Irish peace negotiations. In 1994 he...

Adams, Grantley Herbert
(1898-1971) Barbadian centre-left politician, prime minister 1954-58, and West Indies' Federation prime minister 1958-62. In 1938 he formed the Barbados Labour Party (BLP), the country's first political...

Adams, Hannah
(1755-1831) US compiler of religious historical data. Adams was the first American woman to support herself by writing. Her Alphabetical Compendium of the Various Sects (1784) was well-received and went into...

Adams, Henry Brooks
(1838-1918) US historian and novelist, a grandson of President John Quincy Adams. He published the nine-volume History of the United States During the Administrations of Jefferson and Madison (1889-91), a...

Adams, Henry Cullen
(1850-1906) US representative and dairy farmer. Adams was Dairy and Food Commissioner of Wisconsin, 1895-1902, and a Democratic congressman, 1903-06. He championed the National Food and Drugs Act and Meat...

Adams, Herbert Baxter
(1850-1901) US historian and educator. Adams joined the faculty of Johns Hopkins University at its inception in 1876 and played a major role in the professionalization of the study of American history. His...