Historian Nicholas Rogers on the origin of All Hallows Eve: while some folklorists have detected its origins in the Roman feast of Pomona, the goddess of fruits and seeds, or in the festival of the dead called Parentalia, it is more typically linked to the Celtic festival of Samhain, whose original spelling was Samuin. The name is derived from Old Irish and means roughly "summer's end". A similar festival was held by the ancient Britons and is known as Calan Gaeaf.
The festival of Samhain celebrates the end of the "lighter half" of the year and beginning of the "darker half", and is sometimes regarded as the "Celtic New Year".
The ancient Celts believed that the border between this world and the Otherworld became thin on Samhain, allowing spirits (both harmless and harmful) to pass through. The family's ancestors were honored and invited home while harmful spirits were warded off. It is believed that the need to ward off harmful spirits led to the wearing of costumes and masks.
Monday, October 31, 2011
October 31, 834 1st All Hallows Eve (Halloween) observed to honor the saints. 475 Romulus Augustulus was proclaimed Western Roman Emperor. His deposition by Odoacer in 476 traditionally marks the end of the Western Roman Empire, the fall of ancient Rome, and the beginning of the Middle Ages in Western Europe. 1517 Protestant Reformation: Martin Luther published his 95 theses on the door of the Castle Church in Wittenberg, sparking the Protestant Reformation.
Sunday, October 30, 2011
October 30, 852 Swithun, counselor to Kings Egbert and Aethelwulf, became Bishop of Winchester. 1270 The Eighth Crusade and siege of Tunis ended by an agreement between Charles I of Sicily (brother to King Louis IX of France, who had died months earlier) and the sultan of Tunis. 1470 Henry VI of England returned to the English throne after the Earl of Warwick defeated the Yorkists in battle. 1485 King Henry VII of England was crowned.
Saturday, October 29, 2011
October 29, 437 Valentinian III, Western Roman Emperor, married Licinia Eudoxia, daughter of his cousin Theodosius II, Eastern Roman Emperor in Constantinople unifying the two branches of the House of Theodosius. 969 Byzantine troops occupied Antioch Syria. 1268 Conradin, the last legitimate male heir of the Hohenstaufen dynasty of Kings of Germany and Holy Roman Emperors, was executed along with his companion Frederick I, Margrave of Baden by Charles I of Sicily, a political rival and ally to the hostile Roman Catholic church. 1390 First trial for witchcraft in Paris. 1618 English explorer Sir Walter Raleigh was executed for treason under a sentence passed 15 years earlier. He was a known writer, poet, soldier, courtier, spy, and explorer who was also largely known for popularizing tobacco in England. He fell out of favor with Queen Elizabeth I when his secret marriage to Bess Throckmorton was discovered. Because they were wed without the Queen's permission, they were imprisoned in the Tower of London. After being released, they retired to his estate at Sherborne, Dorset.
Friday, October 28, 2011
October 28, 306 Maxentius was proclaimed Roman Emperor. 312 Constantine I became the sole ruler of the Roman empire in the west with victory at the Milvian Bridge. 1017 Emperor Henry III was born. Holy Roman Emperor and German King, Henry was the last emperor to effectively dominate the papacy. 1216 Henry III of England was crowned. Henry was the first English monarch to be crowned while still a minor.
Thursday, October 27, 2011
October 27, 97 To placate the Praetorians of Germany, Roman emperor Nerva adopted Trajan, the Spanish-born governor of lower Germany, as his successor. 312 Constantine the Great was said to have received his famous Vision of the Cross. 625 Honorius I was elected Pope. Honorius sponsored the restoration of Roman buildings, worked to Christianize the Anglo-Saxons, and reorganized the Visigoths. He was deeply involved in the controversies over monophysitism and monothelitism. 710 Saracen invasion of Sardinia. 939 Athelstan died. Athelstan was the first West Saxon king to have effective rule over the whole of England. He was succeeded by Edmund I as King of England. 1401 Catherine of Valois was born. The neglected daughter of King Charles VI of France, Catherine married King Henry V of England and gave birth to his son, Henry VI. After her husband's untimely death, she began a relationship with Owen Tudor, and married him in secret. One of their sons was the father of King Henry VII. 1662 Charles II sold the strategic port of Dunkirk to Louis XIV of France because he needed money.
Wednesday, October 26, 2011
October 26, 899 King Alfred the Great died in Wessex. The actual year is not certain, but the year 901 as stated in the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle is suspect. How he died is unknown. He was originally buried temporarily in the Old Minster in Winchester, then moved to the New Minster. When the New Minster moved to Hyde, a little north of the city, in 1110, the monks transferred to Hyde Abbey along with Alfred's body and those of his wife and children. Soon after the dissolution of the abbey in 1539, during the reign of Henry VIII, the church was demolished, leaving the graves intact. The royal graves and many others were probably rediscovered by chance in 1788 when a prison was being constructed by convicts on the site. Coffins were stripped of lead, bones were scattered and lost, and no identifiable remains of Alfred have subsequently been found. Further excavations in 1866 and 1897 were inconclusive.
Tuesday, October 25, 2011
October 25, 1147 The Portuguese, under Afonso I, and Crusaders from England and Flanders conquered Lisbon after a four-month siege. 1154 King Stephen of Blois (grandson of William the Conqueror) died. After the death of King Henry I, Stephen took the throne, preventing Henry's daughter Matilda from ruling, and setting off a civil war. 1400 Geoffrey Chaucer died at the age of 57. He was the first poet to be buried in Westminster Abbey. 1415, in Northern France, England led by Henry V won the Battle of Agincourt over France during the Hundred Years' War. Almost 6000 Frenchmen were killed while fewer than 400 were lost by the English.
Monday, October 24, 2011
October 24, 51 Roman Emperor Domitian was born. 69 Second Battle of Bedriacum, forces under Antonius Primus, the commander of the Danube armies, loyal to Vespasian, defeated the forces of Emperor Vitellius. 439 Carthage, the leading Roman city in North Africa, fell to Genseric and the Vandals. 1147 After a siege of 4 months crusader knights led by Afonso Henriques, reconquered Lisbon. 1260 The spectacular Cathedral of Chartres was dedicated in the presence of King Louis IX of France; the cathedral is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site. 1360 The Treaty of Brétigny was ratified at Calais, marking the end of the first phase of the Hundred Years' War. 1375 King Valdemar IV died. He united Denmark after a brief period of domination by foreign rulers. 1537 Jane Seymour, the third wife of England's King Henry VIII, died after giving birth to Prince Edward. Prince Edward became King Edward VI.
Sunday, October 23, 2011
October 23, 42 BC Roman Republican civil wars: Second Battle of Philippi – Mark Antony and Octavian decisively defeated Brutus' army. Brutus committed suicide. 425 Valentinian III was elevated as Roman Emperor, at the age of 6. 502 The Synodus Palmaris, called by Theodoric the Great (king of the Ostrogoths, ruler of Italy, regent of the Visigoths , and a viceroy of the Eastern Roman Empire), discharged Pope Symmachus of all charges, thus ending the schism of Antipope Laurentius. 1456 St. John of Capistrano died. A great Franciscan preacher, St. John led an army that liberated Belgrade from a Turkish invasion. 1641 Rebellion in Ireland: Catholics, under Phelim O'Neil, rose against the Protestants and massacred men, women and children to the number of 40,000 (also reported at 100,000). 1642 Royalist forces defeated the Parliamentarians at Edgehill, the first major battle of the English Civil War.
Saturday, October 22, 2011
October 22, 362 A mysterious fire destroyed the temple of Apollo at Daphne outside Antioch. 741 King Charles Martel, the grandfather of the great emperor Charlemagne, died at age 53. 1303 Benedict XI was elected Pope. The brief pontificate of Benedict was dominated by difficulties with King Philip IV the Fair of France.
Friday, October 21, 2011
October 21, 1096 The People's Crusade (part of the First Crusade also known as the Peasants' Crusade or the Paupers' Crusade), led by Peter the Hermit, was slaughtered by Seljuk Turks at the Battle of Civetot. 1422 when Henry VI was eight months old he succeeded to the English throne, and shortly afterwards, by the death in 1422 of his maternal grandfather, Charles VI, he became titular king of France. 1529 The Pope named Henry VIII of England Defender of the Faith after he defended the seven sacraments against Luther.
Thursday, October 20, 2011
October 20, 480 BC The Greeks defeated the Persians in a naval battle at Salamis, an island in the Saronic Gulf near Athens. It marked the high-point of the second Persian invasion of Greece which had begun in 480 BC. 1097 First Crusaders arrived in Antioch. The first siege, by the crusaders against the Muslim city, lasted from October 21, 1097, to June 2, 1098. 1524 Thomas Linacre, physician and classical scholar, who founded the Royal College of Physicians in London died. 1548 The city of Nuestra Señora de La Paz (Our Lady of Peace) was founded by Alonso de Mendoza by appointment of the King of Spain and Holy Roman Emperor, Charles V.
Wednesday, October 19, 2011
October 19, 202 BC, the Romans under Scipio Africanus defeated Hannibal's army of Carthaginians and Numidians in the Battle of Sama in the Second Punic War. 439 Gaiseric, King of the Vandals, seized the Roman city of Carthage, and made it his capital. 1216 King John of England died at Newark-on-Trent and was succeeded by his nine-year-old son Henry. 1453 The French recapture of Bordeaux brought the Hundred Years' War to a close, with the English retaining only Calais on French soil. 1469 Ferdinand of Aragon married Isabella of Castile creating the alliance that unified Spain. 1512 – Martin Luther became a doctor of theology (Doctor in Biblia). 1649 New Ross town, Co. Wexford, Ireland, surrendered to Oliver Cromwell.
Tuesday, October 18, 2011
October 18, 768 Charlemagne and his brother Carloman were crowned co-rulers of the Franks, after the death of their father, Pepin the Short. 1009 The Church of the Holy Sepulcher, a Christian church in Jerusalem, was completely destroyed by the Fatimid caliph Al-Hakim bi-Amr Allah, who hacked the Church's foundations down to bedrock. 1016 Canute of Denmark became the heir of Edmund Ironside, King of England, with victory at Ashingdon, and Edmund agreed to divide England between himself and Canute. At the end of November, however, Edmund died, and Canute became king of all England. 1081 The Normans defeated the Byzantine Empire in the Battle of Dyrrhachium. 1210 Pope Innocent III excommunicated German leader Otto IV. 1529 Henry VIII ordered Cardinal Wolsey to hand over the great seal. 1541 Princess Margaret Tudor died. 1685 Louis XIV revoked the Edict of Nantes, effectively banning Protestantism in France.
Monday, October 17, 2011
October 17, 539 BC King Cyrus The Great of Persia marched into the city of Babylon, releasing the Jews from almost 70 years of exile and making the first Human Rights Declaration. 532 Pope Boniface II died. 733 Battle at Poitiers: Charles Martel (grandfather of Charlemagne) defeated Abd al-Rachmans Omajjaden, and halted a northward Islamic expansion into western Europe. 1091 A tornado struck the heart of London which destroyed the rebuilt Norman London Bridge. 1346 Battle of Neville's Cross: King David II of Scotland was captured by Edward III of England near Durham, and imprisoned in the Tower of London for eleven years. 1404 Innocent VII became Pope. During his pontificate, Innocent summoned a council in an attempt to heal the Western Schism but it never assembled.
Sunday, October 16, 2011
On October 16, 456 Magister militum (Master of the Soldiers) Flavius Ricimer defeated Emperor Avitus at Piacenza and became master of the Western Roman Empire. Ricimer was the first German who became a virtual king of Italy. 1551 Edward Seymour Duke of Somerset and Lord Protector of England during the minority reign of Edward VI was re-arrested. He was executed in January 1552 after scheming to overthrow John Dudley's (Earl of Warwick) regime. 1555 The Protestant martyrs Bishop Hugh Latimer and Bishop Nicholas Ridley were burned at the stake for heresy in England. 1793 Queen Marie Antoinette was beheaded during the French Revolution.
Saturday, October 15, 2011
October 15, 70 BC, Virgil was born. He is considered to be one of the greatest poets of the Roman Empire. 533 Byzantine general Belisarius made his formal entry into Carthage, having conquered it from the Vandals. 1389 Pope Urban VI died. The election of Urban sparked the Western Schism, which lasted nearly 40 years. 1501English crown prince Arthur married Catherine of Aragon. 1520 King Henry VIII of England ordered bowling lanes at Whitehall. 1537 Prince Edward Tudor was baptized. 1582 Pope Gregory XIII implemented the Gregorian calendar. In Italy, Poland, Portugal, and Spain, October 4 of this year is followed directly by October 15.
Friday, October 14, 2011
October 14, 222 Pope Callixtus I was killed by a mob in Rome's Trastevere (west bank of the Tiber River) after a 5-year reign in which he had stabilized the Saturday fast three times per year, with no food, oil, or wine to be consumed on those days. Callixtus was succeeded by Cardinal Urban I. 530 Boniface became sole pope. The brief schism that had resulted from both Boniface II and Dioscorus being consecrated as pope ended with Dioscorus' death. 996 Hugh Capet, the French king and founder of the Capetian line, died in Paris at age 56. 1066 Norman Conquest: Battle of Hastings – In England on Senlac Hill, seven miles from Hastings, the Norman forces of William the Conqueror defeated the English army and killed King Harold II of England. 1322 Robert the Bruce of Scotland defeated King Edward II of England at Byland, forcing Edward to accept Scotland's independence. 1586 Mary, Queen of Scots, went on trial for conspiracy against Elizabeth I of England.
Thursday, October 13, 2011
October 13, 54 Emperor Claudius died from poison given him by his physician Xenophon and his empress Agrippina, and Nero became emperor of Rome. 409 Vandals (East Germanic tribe) and Alans (group of Sarmatian tribes) crossed the Pyrenees and appear in Hispania (Iberian Peninsula, modern day Spain, Portugal, Andorra, and Gibraltar). 1307, on Friday the 13th, Hundreds of Knights Templar in France were simultaneously arrested by agents of Phillip the Fair, and were later tortured into a confession of heresy. 1399 Henry IV of England was crowned.
Wednesday, October 12, 2011
October 12, 539 BC The army of Cyrus the Great of Persia (founder of the Achaemenid Empire) seized Babylon. 1216 King John of England lost the crown jewels in The Wash, possibly near Fosdyke or near Sutton Bridge. 1428 the Siege of Orleans began which lasted until Joan of Arc persuaded King Charles VII of France to send an army to relieve the city in April. 1537 King Edward VI was born; he was the only son of Henry VIII and Jane Seymour (third wife); he became King at the age of 9 and died in his early teens.
Tuesday, October 11, 2011
October 11, 732, Charles Martel (Charles the Hammer), the great Frankish leader, defeated an army of 90,000 Saracens in the famous Battle of Tours, ending the Moorish Islamic advance into Europe. In 1303 Pope Boniface VIII died. He instituted the first Jubilee (special year of remission of sins and universal pardon). 1521 Pope Leo X granted Henry VIII the title Defender of the Faith for a tract defending Catholicism. 1542 Thomas Wyatt died. The English lyrical poet is credited with introducing the sonnet into English. 1551 John Dudley, Earl of Warwick was made the Duke of Northumberland. 1537 Lady Jane Grey, Britain's nine day queen, was born, the exact date is not known.
Interesting 20th Century fact: 1982 Henry VIII's flagship Mary Rose was raised to the surface after 437 years at the bottom of the Solent.
Interesting 20th Century fact: 1982 Henry VIII's flagship Mary Rose was raised to the surface after 437 years at the bottom of the Solent.
Monday, October 10, 2011
October 10, 732 Battle of Tours: Near Poitiers, France, the leader of the Franks, Charles Martel and his men, defeated a large army of Moors, stopping the Muslims from spreading into Western Europe. The governor of Cordoba, Abdul Rahman Al Ghafiqi, was killed during the battle. 1361 Prince Edward (Black Prince) married Joan Plantagenet. The "Fair Maid of Kent" was not considered the ideal wife for the heir of the English throne. Joan was the mother of Richard II. 1471 Battle of Brunkeberg in Stockholm: Sten Sture the Elder, the Regent of Sweden, with the help of farmers and miners, repelled an attack by Christian I, King of Denmark. 1575 Battle of Dormans (battle during the 5th war of religion in France): Roman Catholic forces under Duke Henry of Guise defeated the Protestants, capturing Philippe de Mornay among others. 1580 After a three-day siege, the English Army beheaded over 600 Irish and Papal soldiers and civilians at Dún an Óir, Ireland. 1631 During the Thirty Years War a Saxon army successfully entered Prague (capital and largest city of the Czech Republic). The war was fought primarily in what is now Germany, and at various points involved most countries in Europe, and was was one of the most destructive conflicts in European history.
Sunday, October 9, 2011
October 9, 28 BC The Temple of Apollo was dedicated on the Palatine Hill in Rome. 768 Carloman I and Charlemagne were crowned Kings of The Franks. 1000 Leif Ericson, the great Norse explorer, became the first European to land in North America, which he called Vinland. The date is celebrated as Leif Ericson Day in Norway. 1047 Pope Clement II died. 1390 King John I of Castile was killed in a fall from his horse while riding in a fantasia (equestrian performance) with some of the light horsemen known as the farfanes, who were mounted and equipped in the Arab style. 1192 Richard the Lionheart left Jerusalem in disguise. 1470 Henry VI of England restored to the throne. 1514 Marriage of Louis XII of France and Mary Tudor. 1529 Cardinal Thomas Wolsey was indicted for using his power illegally. His failure to secure the annulment of Henry VIII to Catherine of Aragon is widely perceived to have directly caused his downfall and arrest. 1536 The Pilgrimage of Grace, popular rising in York, Yorkshire, in protest against Henry VIII's break with the Roman Catholic Church and the Dissolution of the Monasteries, as well as other specific political, social and economic grievances, began.
Saturday, October 8, 2011
October 8, 314 Roman Emperor Licinius was defeated by Constantine I at the Battle of Cibalae, losing his European territories. Co-author of the Edict of Milan that granted official toleration to Christians in the Roman Empire, for the majority of his reign he was the rival of Constantine I until he was finally defeated at the Battle of Adrianople, and was executed on Constantine's orders. 451 the fourth Ecumenical Council of the Roman Catholic Church ruled that Jesus Christ is "in two natures" in opposition to the doctrine of Monophysitism. 1200 Isabella of Angoulême, second wife of King John, was crowned Queen consort of England. Isabella had five children by the king including his heir Henry who succeeded John as Henry III of England. In 1220 Isabella married Hugh X of Lusignan, Count of La Marche, by whom she had another nine children.
Friday, October 7, 2011
October 7, 336 Pope Saint Mark (Marcus) died of natural causes, ending his reign as Catholic Pope which lasted under a year. 1571 The Holy League of the Papal States, Spain and Venice routed the Ottoman navy at the Battle of Lepanto. This was the defining battle of the crusades between the Christian nations on the Mediterranean and the Muslim Turks where the outnumbered Christians were victorious.
Thursday, October 6, 2011
October 6, 105 BC Battle of Arausio: The Cimbri (tribe from Northern Europe) inflicted the heaviest defeat on the Roman army of Gnaeus Mallius Maximus. 877 Charles the Bald died. 891 Formosus was elected Pope. During his pontificate, he attempted to liberate Rome from the Spoletan Holy Roman co-emperors Guy and his son Lambert, crowned Arnulf of the East Franks emperor and requested he invade Italy which left the German states in discord.
Wednesday, October 5, 2011
October 5, 1143 King Alfonso VII of Leon and Castile (Emperor of all Spain) recognised Portugal as a Kingdom. 1518 Princess Mary Tudor and the Dauphin François were officially betrothed. 1553 Queen Mary's first Parliament met and declared Katherine of Aragon's marriage to Henry VIII legitimate, and also declared the Queen's birth legitimate.
Tuesday, October 4, 2011
October 4, 1518 A treaty was signed between France and England that included a betrothal between Princess Mary and the young dauphin François. 1535 the first English translation of the entire bible was printed, with translations by Tyndale and Coverdale.1539 Henry VIII agreed to marry Anne of Cleves 1582 the Gregorian calendar was reformed. To adjust the inaccuracy in the date caused by an extra day per century in the Julian calendar, Pope Gregory XIII ordered ten days to be subtracted from October of 1582. The calendar jumped from October 4 to October 15 and the new Gregorian calendar, used today, was devised.
Monday, October 3, 2011
October 3, 52 BC Vercingetorix, leader of the Gauls, surrendered to the Romans under Julius Caesar, ending the siege and Battle of Alesia. 42 BC First Battle of Philippi: Triumvirs Mark Antony and Octavian fought a decisive battle with Caesar's assassins Brutus and Cassius. 1187 Saladin, Sultan of Egypt and Syria, captured Jerusalem after a siege, ending 88 years of Christian rule. 1226 Saint Francis of Assisi, the great Roman Catholic churchman and founder of the Franciscan order died at his beloved Poriuncula chapel at age 44. 1283 Dafydd ap Gruffydd, prince of Gwynedd in Wales, was executed for what from that time onwards would be described as high treason against the King. King Edward I ensured that Dafydd's death was to be slow and agonizing, and also historic; he became the first prominent person in recorded history to have been hanged, drawn and quartered, preceded by a number of minor knights earlier in the thirteenth century.
Sunday, October 2, 2011
October 2, 1187 the Moslems, led by the warrior Saladin, captured Jerusalem which brought about the Third Crusade. 1263 The Battle of Largs was fought between Norwegians and Scots. It was the most important military engagement of the Scottish-Norwegian War. The Norwegian forces were led by King Håkon Håkonsson and the Scottish forces by King Alexander III. The result was inconclusive, but in the long term favored the Scots. 1264 Pope Urban IV died. His brief pontificate was largely occupied with his attempts to restore papal power in Italy. 1452 King Richard III of England was born. 1492 King Henry VII of England invaded France. This act of war was a bluff by Henry, as he had no intention of fighting over the winter. However, as France became more concerned with the Italian Wars, the French were happy to agree to the Treaty of Etaples.
Saturday, October 1, 2011
October 1, 331 BC Alexander the Great defeated Persian emperor Darius III in the Battle of Arbela in Mesopotamia in one of the fifteen decisive battles of history. 959 Edgar, King of the Mercians and Northumbrians, became King of the West Saxons and was then considered to be King of all England. 965 John XIII became Pope. 1189 Gerard de Ridefort, grandmaster of the Knights Templar since 1184, was killed in the Siege of Acre. 1207 Henry III was born. King of England 1216-1264, his 56-year reign was one of the longest in history. The building of the Westminster Abbey was his most enduring moment. 1404 Boniface IX died. The second pope in Rome during the Western Schism, Boniface was unable to end the breach and increased hostility with his attempts to raise money in order to combat the antipopes. 1553 Coronation of Queen Mary I of England.