Monday, August 15, 2011

August 15, 778 The Battle of Roncevaux Pass (Pyrenees on the border between France and Spain), at which Roland (commander of the rear guard of Charlemagne's army) was killed. The battle was romanticized by oral tradition into a major conflict between Christians and Muslims, when in fact both sides in the battle were Christian. The legend is recounted in 11th century The Song of Roland, which is the oldest surviving major work of French literature, and in Orlando Furioso, which is one of the most celebrated works of Italian literature. 982 Holy Roman Emperor Otto II was defeated by the Saracens in the battle of Capo Colonna, in Calabria. 1057 King Macbeth was killed at the Battle of Lumphanan by the forces of Máel Coluim mac Donnchada. 1248 The foundation stone of Cologne Cathedral, built to house the relics of the Three Wise Men, was laid. 1261 Michael VIII Palaeologus was crowned Byzantine emperor in Constantinople. 1309 The city of Rhodes surrendered to the forces of the Knights of St. John, completing their conquest of Rhodes. The knights established their headquarters on the island and renamed themselves the Knights of Rhodes. 1483 Pope Sixtus IV consecrated the Sistine Chapel.

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