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Claudio Monteverdi

Claudio Giovanni Antonio Monteverdi was an Italian composer, string player and priest. A composer of both secular and sacred music, a pioneer in the development of opera, he is considered a crucial transitional figure between the Renaissance and the Baroque periods of music history. Born in Cremona, where he undertook his first musical studies and compositions, Monteverdi developed his career first at the court of Mantua and until his death in the Republic of Venice where he was maestro di cappella at the basilica of San Marco, his surviving letters give insight into the life of a professional musician in Italy of the period, including problems of income and politics. Much of Monteverdi's output, including many stage works, has been lost, his surviving music includes nine books of madrigals, large-scale sacred works such as his Vespro della Beata Vergine of 1610, three complete operas. His opera L'Orfeo is the earliest of the genre still performed. While he worked extensively in the tradition of earlier Renaissance polyphony, as evidenced in his madrigals, he undertook great developments in form and melody, began to employ the basso continuo technique, distinctive of the Baroque.

No stranger to controversy, he defended his sometimes novel techniques as elements of a seconda pratica, contrasting with the more orthodox earlier style which he termed the prima pratica. Forgotten during the eighteenth and much of the nineteenth centuries, his works enjoyed a rediscovery around the beginning of the twentieth century, he is now established both as a significant influence in European musical history and as a composer whose works are performed and recorded. Monteverdi is described as an "Italian" composer though in his lifetime the concept of "Italy" existed only as a geographical entity. Although the inhabitants of the peninsula shared much in common in terms of history and language, in political terms the people experienced various layers of authority and jurisdiction. In the first instance they were subject to the local rulers of their city-states, powerful families such as the Gonzagas and the Medicis. Above them were the imperial powers – in the sixteenth century Spain – and the authority of the Habsburgs of Vienna, in their role as Holy Roman Emperors, guardians of the Catholic faith.

Monteverdi was baptised in the church of SS Nazaro e Celso, Cremona, on 15 May 1567. The register records his name as "Claudio Zuan Antonio" the son of "Messer Baldasar Mondeverdo", he was the first child of his first wife Maddalena. Claudio's brother Giulio Cesare Monteverdi was to become a musician. Cremona lay under the jurisdiction of Milan, a Spanish possession, so that Monteverdi was technically born a Spanish subject. Cremona was close to the border of the Republic of Venice, not far from the lands controlled by Mantua, in both of which states Monteverdi was to establish his career. There is no clear record of Monteverdi's early musical training, or evidence that he was a member of the Cathedral choir or studied at Cremona University. Monteverdi's first published work, a set of motets, Sacrae cantiunculae for three voices, was issued in Venice in 1582, when he was only fifteen years old. In this, his other initial publications, he describes himself as the pupil of Marc'Antonio Ingegneri, from 1581 to 1592 the maestro di cappella at Cremona Cathedral.

The musicologist Tim Carter deduces that Ingegneri "gave him a solid grounding in counterpoint and composition", that Monteverdi would have studied playing instruments of the viol family and singing. Monteverdi's first publications give evidence of his connections beyond Cremona in his early years, his second published work, Madrigali spirituali, was printed at Brescia. His next works were sets of five-part madrigals, according to his biographer Paolo Fabbri "the inevitable proving ground for any composer of the second half of the sixteenth century... the secular genre par excellence". The first book of madrigals was dedicated to Count Marco Verità of Verona. In the dedication of his second book of madrigals, Monteverdi had described himself as a player of the vivuola. In 1590 or 1591 he entered the service of Duke Vincenzo I Gonzaga of Mantua. In the same dedication he compares his instrumental playing to "flowers" and his compositions as "fruit" which as it matures "can more worthily and more serve you", indicating his intentions to establish himself as a composer.

Duke Vincenzo was keen to establish his court as a musical centre, sought to recruit leading musicians. When Monteverdi arrived in Mantua, the maestro di capella at the court was the Flemish musician Giaches de Wert. Other notable musicians at the court during this period incl

Edmund C. Weeks

Edmund Cottle Weeks was an American politician who served as the third Lieutenant Governor of Florida. A Massachusetts native, Weeks was born in the town of Tisbury, on Martha's Vineyard, to Captain Hiram Weeks and Margaret D. Cottle, a relative of New York Senator Thomas C. Platt. After accompanying his father on a voyage to South America, Weeks studied medicine for three years at the College of Physicians and Surgeons in New York City. However, his love for the sea compelled him to become a sailor and a partner in a boat operating firm. During the American Civil War, he volunteered for the Union Navy in the Battle of New Orleans, he headed the Union Army's 2nd Florida Cavalry with the rank of major. After the war, he settled in Florida. Weeks was appointed to the office of Lieutenant Governor of Florida by Governor Harrison Reed on January 24, 1870, to fill the vacancy left after the dismissal of William H. Gleason, he took the oath of office that same day. However, his appointment was controversial.

State Comptroller Robert H. Gamble, claiming that the Governor could not make an appointment to an elected position, refused to pay Weeks his salary until Weeks took the case to the Florida Supreme Court. On his first day presiding over the Senate, a majority of the senators walked out on the session. At the next day's meeting, another senator occupied his seat. After a motion was proposed to arrest him, he left early; as Weeks's term was intended to be temporary, Governor Reed called for an election to be held on November 8. Samuel T. Day was elected Lieutenant Governor, when the legislature met on January 3, 1871, Day took office as prescribed by the state constitution. On January 12, Weeks again appealed to the Supreme Court, accusing Day of "usurping" his office, which he believed should last for two additional years, the remainder of his predecessor's term. However, the court ruled that Governor Reed had the power to call the election and that Weeks's appointment had expired on December 27, 1870, when the election results were certified.

Weeks represented Leon County in the Florida Legislature, in the Florida House of Representatives. And served as the Leon County sheriff. A Republican, he ran unsuccessfully for the House of Representatives against incumbent Robert H. M. Davidson in 1878. In 1890, President Benjamin Harrison appointed him U. S. Marshal for the Northern District of Florida. Weeks married twice: first to Mary Jones in London, to Elizabeth Hunt Crafts in Tallahassee on June 6, 1890, he died in Tallahassee in 1907 at the age of 78. State Archives of Florida Online Catalog: Edmund Cottle Weeks

Serapeum of Alexandria

The Serapeum of Alexandria in the Ptolemaic Kingdom was an ancient Greek temple built by Ptolemy III Euergetes and dedicated to Serapis, made the protector of Alexandria. There are signs of Harpocrates, it has been referred to as the daughter of the Library of Alexandria. The site has been plundered; the site is located on a rocky plateau, overlooking sea. By all detailed accounts, the Serapeum was the largest and most magnificent of all temples in the Greek quarter of Alexandria. Besides the image of the god, the temple precinct housed an offshoot collection of the great Library of Alexandria; the geographer Strabo tells. Nothing now remains above ground, except the enormous Pompey's Pillar. According to Rowe and Rees 1956, an Aphthonius, the Greek rhetorician of Antioch visited Serapeum about 315 AD; the Serapeum of Alexandria was closed in July of 325 AD on the orders of the Christian Emperor Constantine during the persecution of pagans in the late Roman Empire. In 391 AD, religious riots broke out, according to Wace: The Serapeum was the last stronghold of the pagans who fortified themselves in the temple and its enclosure.

The sanctuary was stormed by the Christians. The pagans were driven out, the temple was sacked, its contents were destroyed. In this struggle the Library perished also; the Serapeum in Alexandria was destroyed by a Christian mob or Roman soldiers in 391. Several conflicting accounts for the context of the destruction of the Serapeum exist. Whichever the cause, the destruction of the Serapeum, described by Christian writers Tyrannius Rufinus and Sozomen, was but the most spectacular of such conflicts, according to Peter Brown. Several other ancient and modern authors, have interpreted the destruction of the Serapeum in Alexandria as representative of the triumph of Christianity and an example of the attitude of the Christians towards pagans. However, Peter Brown frames it against a long-term backdrop of frequent mob violence in the city, where the Greek and Jewish quarters had fought during four hundred years, since the 1st century BCE. Eusebius mentions street-fighting in Alexandria between Christians and non-Christians, occurring as early as 249.

There is evidence that non-Christians had taken part in citywide struggles both for and against Athanasius of Alexandria in 341 and 356. Similar accounts are found in the writings of Socrates of Constantinople. R. McMullan further reports that, in 363, George of Cappadocia was killed for his repeated acts of pointed outrage and pillage of the most sacred treasures of the city. Whatever the prior events, the Serapeum of Alexandria was not rebuilt. After the destruction a monastery was established, a church was built for St. John the Baptist, known as Angelium or Evangelium. However, the church fell to ruins around 600 AD, restored by patriarch Isaac, destroyed in the 10th Century. More a Bab Sidra Moslem cemetery was located at the site. According to early Christian sources, bishop Pope Theophilus of Alexandria was the Nicene patriarch when the decrees of emperor Theodosius I forbade public observances of any rites but Christian. Theodosius I had made the sacred feasts of other faiths into workdays, forbidden public sacrifices, closed temples, colluded in acts of local violence by Christians against major cult sites.

The decree promulgated in 391 that "no one is to go to the sanctuaries, walk through the temples" resulted in the abandonment of many temples throughout the Empire, which set the stage for widespread practice of converting or replacing these sites with Christian churches. In Alexandria, Bishop Theophilus obtained legal authority over one such forcibly abandoned temple of Dionysus, which he intended to turn into a church. During the renovations, the contents of subterranean spaces were uncovered and profaned, which incited crowds of non-Christians to seek revenge; the Christians retaliated, as Theophilus withdrew, causing the pagans to retreat into the Serapeum, still the most imposing of the city's remaining sanctuaries, to barricade themselves inside, taking captured Christians with them. These sources report that the captives were forced to offer sacrifices to the banned deities, that those who refused were tortured and cast into caves, built for blood sacrifices; the trapped pagans plundered the Serapeum.

A letter was sent by Theodosius to Theophilus, asking him to grant the offending pagans pardon and calling for the destruction of all pagan images, suggesting that these were at the origin of the commotion. The Serapeum was levelled by Roman soldiers and monks called in from the desert, as were the buildings dedicated to the Egyptian god Canopus; the wave of destruction of non-Christian idols spread throughout Egypt in the following weeks, as documented by a marginal illustration on papyrus from a world chronicle written in Alexandria in the early 5th century, which shows Theophilus in triumph. An alternate account of the incident is found in Lives of the Philosophers and Sophists by Eunapius, the pagan historian of Neoplatonism. Here, an unprovoked Christian mob used military-like tactics to destroy the Serapeum and steal anything that may have survived the attack. According to Eunapius, the remains of criminals and slaves, occupying the Serapeum at the time of th