Monthly Archives: August 2018

Ouroboros

One of the oldest mystical symbols in the world, the ouroboros, Greek for “tail-devourer,” is an ancient representation of a serpent or dragon swallowing its own tail and forming a circle. It is important in the religious and mythological symbolism of many cultures and generally represents cyclicality, unity, or infinity. In Gnosticism, it symbolizes the soul of the world. How is the ouroboros related to alchemy? Discuss

Source: The Free Dictionary

Brazilian Runner Attacked by Spectator during Olympic Marathon (2004)

At the 2004 Summer Olympics in Athens, Greece, Vanderlei de Lima was on track to become the first Brazilian to win an Olympic gold medal in the marathon, leading the pack in the last miles of the race, when he was pushed into the crowd by a spectator named Cornelius Horan, a defrocked Irish priest. De Lima lost about 10 seconds in the incident and finished third. Brazil appealed for de Lima to be awarded a gold medal but was denied. What other sporting event had Horan previously disrupted? Discuss

Source: The Free Dictionary

Martyrdom of St. John the Baptist

St. John the Baptist was beheaded by King Herod because he had denounced Herod’s marriage to Herodias, the wife of his half-brother Philip. Herodias’ daughter by a former marriage, by legend called Salome, pleased Herod so much with her dancing that he swore to give her whatever she wanted. At her mother’s urging she asked for the head of John the Baptist on a platter. The Martyrdom of St. John the Baptist has been celebrated by Christians since the fourth century. The observance started at Sebaste (Samaria), where the Baptist was believed to have been buried. Discuss

Source: The Free Dictionary

Vivien Theodore Thomas (1910)

When the Great Depression hit, Thomas was forced to set aside his dreams of becoming a doctor and instead found work as a laboratory assistant to American surgeon Alfred Blalock. He spent the next 34 years working with Blalock and was instrumental in developing a pioneering surgical treatment for tetralogy of Fallot, a congenital heart malformation. Despite his groundbreaking work, he went unrecognized for many years due to racial prejudices. What honorary degree was conferred upon him in 1976? Discuss

Source: The Free Dictionary

Sigiriya

Towering above the surrounding plains, Sigiriya is an ancient Sri Lankan rock fortress noted for its unique frescoes and landscaped gardens. Likely built in the fifth century, the site includes the remains of an upper palace on the flat top of the rock, a middle terrace featuring a polished porcelain “mirror wall,” a lower palace, and a surrounding moat system. An important example of urban planning in the first millennium, the fortress contains sophisticated engineering features, such as what? Discuss

Source: The Free Dictionary

Lynching of 14-Year-Old Boy Helps Inspire US Civil Rights Movement (1955)

At age 14, African-American Emmett Till was murdered in Mississippi after reportedly whistling at a white woman, Carolyn Bryant, in a grocery store. Her husband and his half-brother beat Till, shot him in the head, and dumped his body in the Tallahatchie River, weighing it down by tying a metal fan around his neck with barbed wire. Till’s body was pulled from the river three days later. What decision made by Till’s mother about her son’s funeral helped bring attention to his brutal murder? Discuss

Source: The Free Dictionary