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The History Channel - Encyclopedia
Category: History and Culture > History
Date & country: 02/12/2007, UK
Words: 25871


Aldhelm, St
(c. 640-709) English prelate and scholar. He was abbot of Malmesbury from 673 and bishop of Sherborne from 705. Of his poems and treatises in Latin, some survive, notably his Riddles in hexameters, but his...

Aldington, Richard
(1892-1962) English poet, novelist, and critic. A leading Imagist (see Imagism), he published the collection Images (1915). He wrote biographies of the English writers D H Lawrence and T E Lawrence and his...

Aldiss, Brian W(ilson)
(1925) English novelist, science-fiction writer, anthologist, and critic. His futuristic novels include Non-Stop (1958), Barefoot in the Head (1969), the `Helliconia` trilogy (1982-85), and...

Aldred (or Ealdred)
(died 1069) English monk. He became abbot of Tavistock about 1027, bishop of Worcester 1044, and archbishop of York 1060. He negotiated with the Holy Roman Emperor Henry III for the return to England of Edmund...

Aldrich, Henry
(1648-1710) English ecclesiastic. He wrote A Compendium of Logic 1691, used at Oxford for a long time; he also composed church music. He designed Peckwater Quadrangle (Christ Church College) and possibly All...

Aldrich, Larry
(1906-2001) US entrepreneur and art collector. Having made his fortune in the garment industry, Aldrich became a benefactor of contemporary art, bestowing his extensive art collection and donating funds to many...

Aldrich, Nelson (Wilmarth)
(1841-1915) US representative and senator. Elected to the House of Representatives in 1879 and the US Senate in 1881, Aldrich was a friend of business interests and...

Aldrich, Thomas Bailey
(1836-1907) US poet and editor. The Story of a Bad Boy (1870), which is partly autobiographical, was followed by the novels Prudence Palfrey (1874), The Queen of Sheba (1877), and The Stillwater Tragedy (1880)....

ale conner (or ale kenner)
One who knows what good ale is. In medieval times ale conners or ale tasters (called gustatores cervisiae) were appointed annually in the court-leet of each manor, in boroughs, and in corporate...

Aleandro, Girolamo
(1480-1542) Italian humanist and diplomat. One of the leading scholars of his day, he taught Latin, Greek and Hebrew in Paris. He was also a papal envoy, and was one of the leading adversaries of Martin Luther...

Aleardi, Aleardo
(1812-1878) Italian poet and patriot. His poems are full of passionate hopes for the liberation of Italy. They include `Il Monte Circello/Mount Circello` (1852), `Le città italiane marinare e...

Alebua, Ezekiel
(1947) Solomon Islands right-of-centre politician, prime minister 1986-89. He rose from the ranks of the right-of-centre Solomon Islands United Party (SIUPA) to become deputy prime minister in...

Alecsandri, Vasile
(1821-1890) Romanian poet and dramatist. As a director of the new National Theatre in Iasi from 1840, he wrote Chirita in Iasi (1850) and Chirita in provincie (1852). Later he turned to historical drama. His...

alehouse
Formerly a house, or tavern, where ale was sold. In 1496 an act passed against `vacabounds and beggers` contained a clause regulating alehouses, and various acts were subsequently passed for...

Aleijadinho
(c. 1738-1814) Brazilian artist. He is generally considered to be the greatest Brazilian sculptor. Having lost the use of his hands, he sculpted with his tools strapped to them, hence his name which means...

Aleixandre, Vicente
(1898-1984) Spanish lyric poet. His verse, such as the surrealist La destrucción o el amor/The Destruction of Love (1935) (translated 1976), had Republican sympathies, and his work was for a time banned by...

Alekseev, Mikhail Vasilievich
(1857-1918) Russian general. He was twice appointed Chief of Staff, under the supreme commanders in chief Nicholas II (1915) and Kerenski (1917), with a brief period inbetween as commander-in-chief of all...

Alemán Lacayo, (José Arnoldo)
(1946) Nicaraguan right-wing politician, president 1997-2002. Standing as the candidate of the right-wing Liberal Alliance, he defeated Daniel Ortega in the October 1996 presidential contest. He...

Alemán Valdés, Miguel
(1902-1983) Mexican right-wing politician, president 1946-52. Standing as candidate of the ruling National Revolutionary Party (NRP), he was elected in 1946 as the first civilian president of Mexico since...

Alemán, Mateo
(1547-post 1615) Spanish novelist. He was the author of the popular picaresque novel Guzmán de Alfarache (1599). He also published a life of St Antonio of Padua (1604) and Ortografía castellana/Castilian...

Alençon, François
(1554-1584) Fourth son of Henry II of France and Catherine de' Medici. At one time he was considered as a suitor to Elizabeth I of England. ...

Alesia, Siege of
Julius Caesar's final defeat of the Gauls 52 BC, completing the Roman conquest of Gaul. Napoleon III erected a statue of the Gallic chief Vercingetorix on the site of the battle in 1864. The town,...

Alessandri Palma, Arturo
(1868-1950) Chilean president 1920-25 and 1932-37. Social and political reforms proposed in his first presidential term were blocked by an opposition-controlled congress. Forced into exile, he returned to...

Alessi, Galeazzo
(1512-1572) Architect from Peruggia, Italy. His style was based on his enthusiasm for both classical architecture and Michelangelo's work. Among his finest works are the courtyard of the Palazzo Marino in Milan...

Aleut
Member of an Arctic people who settled the Aleutian Islands in the north Pacific, between Russia and Alaska, around 2500-1000 BC. The Aleut have two linguistic subgroups: the Atkans of the western...

Alexander
(1893-1920) King of the Hellenes (Greece), second son of King Constantine I, on whose dethronement 1917 he ascended the throne. His government, with Eleutherios Venizelos as premier, enjoyed...

Alexander `the Magnificent`
(died 1148) English cleric. He became bishop of Lincoln 1123. In the civil war over the accession to the throne he took the side of Stephen, although he had sworn allegiance to Matilda. Suspected of disloyalty,...

Alexander I
(died c. 450 BC) King of Macedonia c. 500-454 BC. He was obliged to submit to the Persians, and accompanied Xerxes in his invasion of Greece 480 BC. He was succeeded by Perdiccas II. ...

Alexander I
(died 330 BC) King of Epirus, Greece, about 342-330 BC. In 332 he crossed to Italy, to aid the Tarentines against the Samnites and other tribes, but was defeated and killed near Pandosia. He was the brother of...

Alexander I
(died 145 BC) King of Syria 150-145 BC. He was a man of low birth who pretended to be the son of Antiochus IV. He was defeated and dethroned by Demetrius II of Syria. ...

Alexander I
(c. 1078-1124) King of Scotland from 1107, known as `the Fierce`. He ruled over the area to the north of the rivers Forth and Clyde, while his brother and successor David ruled over the area to the south. He...

Alexander I
(1857-1893) Prince of Bulgaria (Alexander Joseph of Battenberg; Prince Alexander of Hesse). A nephew of Tsar Alexander II of Russia, he was, at Russia's proposal, elected first sovereign prince of autonomous...

Alexander I
(1777-1825) Tsar of Russia from 1801. Defeated by Napoleon at Austerlitz in 1805, he made peace at Tilsit in 1807, but economic crisis led to a break with Napoleon's Continental System and the opening of...

Alexander I, Karageorgevich
(1888-1934) Regent of Serbia 1912-21 and king of Yugoslavia 1921-34, as dictator from 1929. The second son of Peter I, King of Serbia, he was declared regent for his father in 1912 and on his father's death...

Alexander II
(died 122 BC) King of Syria 128-122 BC. He was a merchant set up by Ptolemy VII Physcon as pretender to the Seleucid kingdom. He was defeated and slain by Antiochus VIII Grypus. ...

Alexander II
(died 1075) Pope 1061-73. He was the nominee of Hildebrand, whose policy he carried out in preparation for the accession of Hildebrand himself (Gregory VII). Alexander sanctioned the...

Alexander II
(1818-1881) Tsar of Russia from 1855. He embarked on reforms of the army, the government, and education, and is remembered as `the Liberator` for his emancipation of the serfs in 1861, but he lacked the...

Alexander II
(1198-1249) King of Scotland from 1214, when he succeeded his father, William the Lion. Alexander supported the English barons in their struggle with King John after Magna Carta. The accession of Henry III of...

Alexander II
King of Epirus, son of Pyrrhus, whom he succeeded 272 BC. He was driven from the kingdom by the king of Macedonia Demetrius II (lived about 276-229 BC), son of Antigonus Gonatas,...

Alexander III
(died 1181) Pope 1159-81. His authority was opposed by Frederick I Barbarossa, but Alexander eventually compelled him to render homage in 1178. He held the third Lateran Council in 1179. He supported Henry II...

Alexander III
(1845-1894) Tsar of Russia from 1881, when he succeeded his father, Alexander II. He pursued a reactionary policy, promoting Russification and persecuting the Jews. He married Dagmar (1847-1928), daughter of...

Alexander III
(1241-1286) King of Scotland from 1249, son of Alexander II. After defeating the Norwegian forces in 1263, he was able to extend his authority over the Western Isles, which had been dependent on Norway. The...

Alexander IV
(323-310 BC) King of Macedonia 323-317 BC. He was acknowledged as partner in the empire with his uncle Philip Arrhidaeus under the regency of the generals Antipater and Craterus. Alexander and his mother were...

Alexander Nevski, St
(1220-1263) Russian military leader, ruler of Novgorod in 1236, and Grand Prince of Vladimir in 1252. He survived Mongol attacks in 1237-40, which enabled him to defeat...

Alexander Obrenovich
(1876-1903) King of Serbia from 1889 while still a minor, on the abdication of his father, King Milan I. He took power into his own hands 1893 and aroused great opposition by his marriage to Draga Mashin, a...

Alexander of Aphrodisias
Celebrated peripatetic philosopher and early commentator on Aristotle, from Caria, southwestern Asia Minor. ...

Alexander of Hales
(c. 1186-1245) English theologian. As professor of theology in Paris he taught St Bonaventure and Roger Bacon. His principal work is Summa theologica 1373, which is thought to be largely the work of his followers,...

Alexander Severus
(AD 208-235) Roman emperor from 222, when he succeeded his cousin Heliogabalus. He attempted to involve the Senate more closely in administration, and was the patron of the jurists Ulpian and Paulus, and the...

Alexander VI
(1430 or 1432-1503) Pope 1492-1503. Of Spanish origin, he bribed his way to the papacy, where he furthered the advancement of his illegitimate children, who included Cesare and Lucrezia Borgia. When Savonarola...

Alexander VII
(1599-1667) Pope 1655-67. He succeeded Innocent X and was a patron of the arts, which he much preferred to affairs of state - he was responsible for the colonnade of St Peter's. He supported the Society of...

Alexander, (Andrew) Lamar
(1940) US Republican governor. Alexander spent his first term as governor of Tenessee, 1979-87, dealing with the scandals created by his predecessor, Ray Blanton. He recovered some prestige with the...

Alexander, Archibald
(1772-1851) US Protestant clergyman and educator. President of Hampden-Sidney College from 1796-1807, he became a professor at the newly established Princeton Theological Seminary in 1812 and remained there...

Alexander, Boyd
(1873-1910) British explorer, born at Cranbrook, in Kent, who took part in the Alexander-Gosling expedition of 1904-07, which crossed Africa from the Niger to the Nile. In 1909 Alexander began his last...

Alexander, Clifford
(1933) US cabinet member and lawyer. He was executive director of Harlem Youth Opportunities, 1962-63, and went on to direct the National Security Council. In 1965-67 he served as special counsel to...

Alexander, De Alva Standwood
(1845-1925) US representative and historian. A member of the Ohio Volunteer Infantry during the Civil War, he was a teacher and newspaperman in Indiana before becoming a lawyer in 1877. Alexander became...

Alexander, Douglas
(1967) British Labour politician, member of Parliament from 1997 for Paisley South (and Paisley and Renfrewshire South from 2005), and secretary of state for international devlopment from 2007. A trained...

Alexander, George
(1858-1918) English actor-manager. He joined Henry Irving's company at the Lyceum as a professional actor 1881, and in 1891 became manager of the St James's Theatre, where he remained until his death. He...

Alexander, Jean
(1926-1998) English actor who played Hilda Ogden in the Independent Television (ITV) soap opera Coronation Street (1964-87). Her first appearance in Coronation Street was as landlady Mrs Webb. She received...

Alexander, John (White)
(1856-1915) US painter. Alexander was a successful portrait painter who used an art nouveau style, as seen in Isabella; or the Pot of Basil (1897). Born in Allegheny, Pennsylvania; Alexander began as an...

Alexander, Robert Jackson
(1918) US political scientist. His works on economic development and the history of labour and radical movements in Latin America include The Venezuelan Democratic Revolution (1964) and Bolivia (1982). The...

Alexander, Samuel
(1859-1938) Australian philosopher. He originated the theory of emergent evolution: that the space-time matrix evolved matter; matter evolved life; life evolved mind; and finally God emerged from mind. His...

Alexander, William
(1567-1640) Scottish poet. Besides Aurora (1604) and Recreations with the Muses (1637), he wrote the four `monarchic tragedies`Darius (1603), Croesus (1604), The Alexandraean Tragedy (1605), and Julius...

Alexandra
(1844-1925) Queen consort of Edward VII of England, whom she married in 1863. She was the eldest daughter of Christian IX of Denmark. She bore five children, two boys and three girls. The elder son, Albert...

Alexandra Feodorovna
(1872-1918) Last tsarina of Russia 1894-1917. She was the former Princess Alix of Hessen and granddaughter of Britain's Queen Victoria. She married Nicholas II and, from 1907, fell under the spell of...

Alexandria
British and Ottoman victory over French forces in Egypt on 21 March 1801. Following the breakdown of Franco-British negotiations for the evacuation of Egypt, French forces defe ...

Alexandria
City, chief port, and second-largest city of Egypt, situated between the Mediterranean and Lake Maryut; population (1996 est) 3,328,200. It is linked by canal with the Nile. There is oil refining,...

Alexandria, Library of
The world's first state-funded scientific institution, founded in 330 BC in Alexandria, Egypt, by Ptolemy I and further expanded by Ptolemy II. It comprised a museum, teaching facilities, and a...

Alexandria, school of
Group of writers and scholars of Alexandria, Egypt, who made the city the chief centre of culture in the Western world from about 331 BC to AD 642. They include the poets Callimachus, Apollonius of...

Alexandrian liturgy
Liturgy of the ancient Egyptian Church, especially the eucharistic rite ascribed traditionally to St Mark. ...

Alexandrinus, Codex
See Codex Alexandrinus. ...

Alexandros
In Greek mythology, an alternative name for Paris. ...

Alexandru, Ion
(1942) Romanian poet. His early works contain echoes of Lucian Blaga (1895-1961). Philosophical reflection and a search for moral purity and for the absolute characterize his strikingly musical verse. ...

Alexeyev, Mikhail
(1855-1918) Russian military commander during World War I, chief of staff 1915-17. In 1914 he was chief of staff to General Ivanoff on the Southeast Front, becoming chief of staff to the Russian Army 1915....

Alexi II
(1929) Estonian priest, patriarch of the Russian Orthodox Church from 1990. He was made bishop of Tallinn 1961, archbishop 1964, metropolitan 1968, and metropolitan of Leningrad (now St Petersburg) 1986....

Alexis Mikhailovich
(1629-1676) Tsar of Muscovy from 1645, second tsar of the house of Romanov, and father of Peter the Great. During his reign a code of laws was compiled which remained in force until the 19th century. A revision...

Alexis, Willibald
Pseudonym of German novelist Georg Häring. ...

Alexius I, Comnenus
(1048-1118) Byzantine emperor 1081-1118. With meagre resources, he dealt successfully with internal dissent and a series of external threats from the Turks and Normans. He managed the difficult passage of the...

Alexius III, Angelos
(died 1210) Byzantine emperor 1195-1203. He gained power by deposing and blinding his brother Isaac II, but Isaac's Venetian allies enabled him and his son Alexius IV to regain power as coemperors. ...

Alexius IV, Angelos
(1182-1204) Byzantine emperor from 1203, when, with the aid of the army of the Fourth Crusade, he deposed his uncle Alexius III. He soon lost the support of the Crusaders (by that time occupying...

Alfadir
`All-father`, the highest of Odin's many names in Snorri Sturluson's Edda. ...

Alfaro, Eloy
(1842-1912) Ecuadorean general and politician, president 1895-1901 and 1907-11. He was involved in various revolts before overthrowing President Luis Cordero in 1895, backed by the military. However, he was...

Alfieri, Vittorio
(1749-1803) Italian dramatist. The most successful of his 28 plays, most of them tragedies, are Saul (1782) and Mirra (1786). He is now best remembered for his Autobiography (1790, 1803). His works played an...

Alfonsín Foulkes, Raúl Ricardo
(1927) Argentine politician and president 1983-89. Becoming president at the time of the country's return to civilian government, after the junta's collapse after its defeat in the Falklands War, he set...

Alfonso
Kings of Portugal; see Afonso. ...

Alfonso (X), the Wise
(1221-1284) King of Castile from 1252. His reign was politically unsuccessful but he contributed to learning: he made Castilian the official language of the country and commissioned a history of Spain and an...

Alfonso (XI), the Avenger
(1311-1350) King of Castile and León from 1312. He ruled cruelly, repressed a rebellion by his nobles, and defeated the last Moorish invasion in 1340. ...

Alfonso II
(1448-1495) King of Naples 1494-95. He was the son of Ferrante I and Isabella of Naples. Widely regarded as cowardly and cruel, he was highly unpopular. He was involved in various Italian conflicts, defeating...

Alfonso V
(1395-1458) King of Aragon 1416-58 and, as Alfonso I, King of Naples 1442-58, known as `the Magnanimous`. Admired as a model prince and a devout Christian, he pursued a relentless course of territorial...

Alfonso VI
(1065-1109) King of León 1062-70 and of reunited León and Castile 1072-1109. He led organized resistance to the Moors. He was, however, defeated by the Almoravids at Zalaca 1086. ...

Alfonso VII
(c. 1107-1157) King of León and Castile from 1126 who attempted to unite Spain. Although he protected the Moors, he was killed trying to check a Moorish rising. ...

Alfonso VIII
(1155-1214) King of Castile 1158-1214. He came to power 1169, after a disputed regency. He lead the Christian coalition that broke the power of the Moors. ...

Alfonso XII
(1857-1885) King of Spain from 1875, son of Isabella II. He assumed the throne after a period of republican government following his mother's flight and effective abdication in 1868. His rule was peaceful. He...

Alfonso XIII
(1886-1941) King of Spain 1886-1931. He assumed power in 1906 and married Princess Ena, granddaughter of Queen Victoria of Great Britain, in the same year. He abdicated in 1931 soon after the fall of the...

Alford, Henry
(1810-1871) English scholar, poet, and cleric. His chief work, a critical edition of the New Testament in Greek in four volumes, was published 1849-61. His scholarly Chapters on the Poets of Ancient Greece...

Alfred the Great
(c. 849-c. 901) Anglo-Saxon king 871-899 who defended England against Danish invasion and founded the first English navy. He succeeded his brother Aethelred to the throne of Wessex in 871, and a new legal code...

Alfura
Name given by Malay speakers in Indonesia to various non-Muslim peoples, such as the Aeta and the Punans, living on the outlying islands. ...

Algardi, Alessandro
(1595-1654) Italian baroque sculptor. He was active in Bologna, Rome, and at the papal court. His major works include the above life-size Decapitation of St Paul 1641-47 in San Paolo, Bologna, and the tomb...

Algeciras Conference
International conference held Jan-April 1906 when France, Germany, Britain, Russia, and Austria-Hungary, together with the USA, Spain, the Low Countries, Portugal, and Sweden, met to settle the...

Alger, Horatio
(1832-1899) US writer of children's books. He wrote over 100 didactic moral tales in which the heroes rise from poverty to riches through hard work, luck, and good deeds, including the series `Ragged Dick`...

Alger, Russell Alexander
(1836-1907) US soldier and politician. As secretary of war, 1897-99, he was blamed for the US unpreparedness during the opening months of the Spanish-American War and was forced to resign. Alger was born in...