The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, commonly known as the United Kingdom or Britain, is a sovereign country in western Europe. Lying off the north-western coast of the European mainland, the United Kingdom includes the island of Great Britain, Northern Ireland is the only part of the United Kingdom that shares a land border with another sovereign state—the Republic of Ireland. The Irish Sea lies between Great Britain and Ireland, with an area of 242,500 square kilometres, the United Kingdom is the 78th-largest sovereign state in the world and the 11th-largest in Europe. It is the 21st-most populous country, with an estimated 65.1 million inhabitants, this makes it the fourth-most densely populated country in the European Union. The United Kingdom is a monarchy with a parliamentary system of governance. The monarch is Queen Elizabeth II, who has reigned since 6 February 1952, other major urban areas in the United Kingdom include the regions of Birmingham, Glasgow and Manchester.
The United Kingdom consists of four countries—England, Wales, the last three have devolved administrations, each with varying powers, based in their capitals, Edinburgh and Belfast, respectively. The relationships among the countries of the UK have changed over time, Wales was annexed by the Kingdom of England under the Laws in Wales Acts 1535 and 1542. A treaty between England and Scotland resulted in 1707 in a unified Kingdom of Great Britain, which merged in 1801 with the Kingdom of Ireland to form the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland. Five-sixths of Ireland seceded from the UK in 1922, leaving the present formulation of the United Kingdom of Great Britain, there are fourteen British Overseas Territories. These are the remnants of the British Empire which, at its height in the 1920s, British influence can be observed in the language and legal systems of many of its former colonies. The United Kingdom is a country and has the worlds fifth-largest economy by nominal GDP. The UK is considered to have an economy and is categorised as very high in the Human Development Index.
It was the worlds first industrialised country and the worlds foremost power during the 19th, the UK remains a great power with considerable economic, military and political influence internationally. It is a nuclear weapons state and its military expenditure ranks fourth or fifth in the world. The UK has been a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council since its first session in 1946 and it has been a leading member state of the EU and its predecessor, the European Economic Community, since 1973. However, on 23 June 2016, a referendum on the UKs membership of the EU resulted in a decision to leave. The Acts of Union 1800 united the Kingdom of Great Britain, Scotland and Northern Ireland have devolved self-government
Quintus Horatius Flaccus, known in the English-speaking world as Horace, was the leading Roman lyric poet during the time of Augustus. Horace crafted elegant hexameter verses and caustic iambic poetry and his career coincided with Romes momentous change from a republic to an empire. An officer in the army defeated at the Battle of Philippi in 42 BC, he was befriended by Octavians right-hand man in civil affairs, Maecenas. Some of the writings contained in his writings can be supplemented from the short. He was born on 8 December 65 BC in the Samnite south of Italy and his home town, lay on a trade route in the border region between Apulia and Lucania. Various Italic dialects were spoken in the area and this perhaps enriched his feeling for language and he could have been familiar with Greek words even as a young boy and he poked fun at the jargon of mixed Greek and Oscan spoken in neighbouring Canusium. Literary Latin must have sounded to him like a semi-foreign language, one of the works he probably studied in school was the Odyssia of Livius Andronicus, crammed into Italian boys with threats and floggings by teachers like the Orbilius mentioned in one of his poems.
School was made particularly irksome by a number of his fellow pupils, the army veterans could have been settled there at the expense of local families uprooted by Rome as punishment for their part in the Social War. Such state-sponsored migration must have added still more variety to the area. According to a tradition reported by Horace, a colony of Romans or Latins had been installed in Venusia after the Samnites had been driven out early in the third century. In that case, young Horace could have felt himself to be a Roman though there are indications that he regarded himself as a Samnite or Sabellus by birth. Italians in modern and ancient times have always been devoted to their towns, even after success in the wider world. Images of his setting and references to it are found throughout his poems. Horaces father was probably a Venutian taken captive by Romans in the Social War, either way, he was a slave for at least part of his life. He was evidently a man of strong abilities however and managed to gain his freedom, thus Horace claimed to be the free-born son of a prosperous coactor.
The father spent a fortune on his sons education, eventually accompanying him to Rome to oversee his schooling. The poet paid tribute to him in a poem that one scholar considers the best memorial by any son to his father. As it is now, he deserves from me unstinting gratitude, I could never be ashamed of such a father, nor do I feel any need, as many people do, to apologize for being a freedmans son
A tyrant, in its modern English usage, is an absolute ruler unrestrained by law or person, or one who has usurped legitimate sovereignty. Often described as a character, a tyrant defends his position by oppressive means. The original Greek term, merely meant an authoritarian sovereign without reference to character, bearing no pejorative connotation during the Archaic and Aristotle define a tyrant as one who rules without law, and uses extreme and cruel tactics–against his own people as well as others. It is defined further in the Encyclopédie as a usurper of sovereign power who makes his subjects the victims of his passions and unjust desires, which he substitutes for laws. During the seventh and sixth centuries BC, tyranny was often looked upon as a stage between narrow oligarchy and more democratic forms of polity. However, in the fifth and fourth centuries BC, a new kind of tyrant. Tyranny includes a variety of types of government – by a tyrant. The definition is extended to other leadership and to oppressive policies.
For example, a teacher may find the school administration, the textbook or standardized tests to be oppressive, the English noun tyrant appears in Middle English use, via Old French, from the 1290s. The final -t arises in Old French by association with the present participles in -ant, the word tyranny is used with many meanings, not only by the Greeks, but throughout the tradition of the great books. The Oxford English Dictionary offers alternative definitions, a ruler, an illegitimate ruler, the term is usually applied to vicious dictators who achieve bad results for the governed. The definition of a tyrant is cursed by subjectivity, oppression and cruelty do not have standardized measurements or thresholds. The Greeks defined both usurpers and those inheriting rule from usurpers as tyrants, Old words are defined by their historical usage. It is difficult to determine characteristics of tyrants were defining rather than descriptive. Biblical quotations do not use the word tyrant, but express opinions very similar to those of the Greek philosophers, citing the wickedness, like a roaring lion or a charging bear is a wicked ruler over a poor people.
A ruler who lacks understanding is a cruel oppressor, but one who hates unjust gain will enjoy a long life, proverbs 28, 15–16 By justice a king gives stability to the land, but one who makes heavy extractions ruins it. Proverbs 29,4 The Greek philosophers stressed the quality of rule rather than legitimacy or absolutism, both Plato and Aristotle speak of the king as a good monarch and the tyrant as a bad one. Both say that monarchy, or rule by a man, is royal when it is for the welfare of the ruled
A courtier is a person who is often in attendance at the court of a king or other royal personage. The earliest historical examples of courtiers were part of the retinues of rulers, historically the court was the centre of government as well as the residence of the monarch, and the social and political life were often completely mixed together. Monarchs very often expected the more important nobles to spend much of the year in attendance on them at court, not all courtiers were noble, as they included clergy, clerks and agents and middlemen of all sorts with regular business at court. All those who held a court appointment could be called courtiers and those personal favorites without business around the monarch, sometimes called the camarilla, were considered courtiers. Promotion to important positions could be very rapid at court, the key commodities for a courtier were access and information, and a large court operated at many levels - many successful careers at court involved no direct contact with the monarch.
The largest and most famous European court was that of the Palace of Versailles at its peak, although the Forbidden City of Beijing was even larger and more isolated from national life. Very similar features marked the courts of all very large monarchies, whether in Delhi, Topkapı Palace in Istanbul, Ancient Rome, early medieval European courts frequently traveled from place to place following the monarch as he traveled. This was particularly the case in the early French court, the European nobility generally had independent power and was less controlled by the monarch until roughly the 18th century, which gave European court life a more complex flavour. The earliest courtiers coincide with the development of definable courts beyond the rudimentary entourages or retinues of rulers, two of the earliest titles referring to the general concept of a courtier were likely the ša rēsi and mazzāz pāni of the Neo-Assyrian Empire. The imperial court of the Byzantine Empire at Constantinople would eventually contain at least a thousand courtiers, the courts systems became prevalent in other courts such as those in the Balkan states, the Ottoman Empire, and Russia.
Byzantinism is a term that was coined for this spread of the Byzantine system in the 19th century, in modern literature, courtiers are often depicted as insincere, skilled at flattery and intrigue and lacking regard for the national interest. More positive representations of the stereotype might include the role played by members of the court in the development of politeness, in modern English, the term is often used metaphorically for contemporary political favourites or hangers-on. Rosencrantz and Guildenstern from William Shakespeares Hamlet Sir Lancelot from Arthurian legend Gríma Wormtongue from J. R. R, Sir Nicholas de Mimsy-Porpington from J. K.36, No
Václav Hollar, was a Czech etcher from Kingdom of Bohemia, known in England as Wenceslaus or Wenceslas and in Germany as Wenzel Hollar. He was born in Prague, and died in London, being buried at St Margarets Church, after his family was ruined by the Sack of Prague in the Thirty Years War, the young Hollar, who had been destined for the law, determined to become an artist. In 1627 he was in Frankfurt where he was apprenticed to the renowned engraver Matthäus Merian, in 1630 he lived in Strasbourg and Koblenz, where Hollar portrayed the towns and landscapes of the Middle Rhine Valley. In 1633 he moved to Cologne and it was in 1636 that he attracted the notice of the famous nobleman and art collector Thomas Howard, 21st Earl of Arundel, on an embassy to the imperial court of Emperor Ferdinand II. Employed as a draftsman he travelled with Arundel to Vienna and Prague, in Cologne in 1635, Hollar published his first book. In 1637 he returned him to England where he remained in the Earls household for many years.
In around 1650, probably at the request of Hendrik van der Borcht, he etched a commemorative print done after a design by Cornelius Schut in Arundels honour and dedicated to his widow, Aletheia. Arundel is seated in melancholy mode on his tomb in front of an obelisk, in 1745, George Vertue paid homage to their association in the vignette he published on page one of his Description of the Works of the Ingenious Delineator and Engraver Wenceslaus Hollar. It featured a bust of Arundel in front of a pyramid, symbolizing immortality, surrounded by illustrated books, during his first year in England he created View of Greenwich, issued by Peter Stent, the print-seller. Nearly 3 feet long, he received thirty shillings for the plate, afterwards he fixed the price of his work at fourpence an hour, and measured his time by a sand-glass. On July 4,1641 Hollar married a servant of the Countess of Norfolk and her name was Tracy, they had two children. Lord Arundel left England in 1642, and Hollar passed into the service of the Duke of York and he continued to produce works prolifically throughout the English Civil War, but it adversely affected his income.
Hollar took his setting, presumably symbolizing longer term values, directly from an engraving published in George Sandys Relation of a Journey begun An, Hollar joined the Royalist Regiment and was captured by parliamentary forces in 1645 during the siege of Basing House. After a short time he managed to escape, in Antwerp in 1646, he again met with the Earl of Arundel. In 1652 he returned to London, and lived for a time with Faithorne the engraver near Temple Bar, during the following years many books were published which he illustrated, Ogilbys Virgil and Homer, Stapyltons Juvenal, and Dugdales Warwickshire, St Pauls and Monasticon. His income fell as booksellers continued to decline his work, during this time he lost his young son, reputed to have artistic ability, to the plague. He lived eight years after his return, still working for the booksellers and he died in extreme poverty, his last recorded words being a request to the bailiffs that they would not carry away the bed on which he was dying.
Hollar is interred in St Margarets Church in Westminster and he was one of the best and most prolific artists of his time
Nikita Sergeyevich Khrushchev was a politician who led the Soviet Union during part of the Cold War. He served as First Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union from 1953 to 1964, Khrushchevs party colleagues removed him from power in 1964, replacing him with Leonid Brezhnev as First Secretary and Alexei Kosygin as Premier. Khrushchev was born in the village of Kalinovka in 1894, close to the border between Russia and Ukraine. He was employed as a metalworker in his youth, and during the Russian Civil War was a political commissar, with the help of Lazar Kaganovich, he worked his way up the Soviet hierarchy. He supported Joseph Stalins purges, and approved thousands of arrests, in 1938, Stalin sent him to govern Ukraine, and he continued the purges there. During what was known in the Soviet Union as the Great Patriotic War, Khrushchev was again a commissar, Khrushchev was present at the bloody defense of Stalingrad, a fact he took great pride in throughout his life. After the war, he returned to Ukraine before being recalled to Moscow as one of Stalins close advisers, in the power struggle triggered by Stalins death in 1953, after several years, emerged victorious.
On 25 February 1956, at the 20th Party Congress, he delivered the Secret Speech, denouncing Stalins purges and his domestic policies, aimed at bettering the lives of ordinary citizens, were often ineffective, especially in agriculture. Hoping eventually to rely on missiles for defense, Khrushchev ordered major cuts in conventional forces. Despite the cuts, Khrushchevs rule saw the most tense years of the Cold War, flaws in Khrushchevs policies eroded his popularity and emboldened potential opponents, who quietly rose in strength and deposed the premier in October 1964. However, he did not suffer the fate of previous losers of Soviet power struggles, and was pensioned off with an apartment in Moscow. His lengthy memoirs were smuggled to the West and published in part in 1970, Khrushchev died in 1971 of heart disease. Khrushchev was born on 15 April 1894, in Kalinovka, a village in what is now Russias Kursk Oblast and his parents, Sergei Khrushchev and Ksenia Khrushcheva, were poor peasants of Russian origin, and had a daughter two years Nikitas junior, Irina.
Sergei Khrushchev was employed in a number of positions in the Donbas area of far eastern Ukraine, working as a railwayman, as a miner, and laboring in a brick factory. Wages were much higher in the Donbas than in the Kursk region, Kalinovka was a peasant village, Khrushchevs teacher, Lydia Shevchenko, stated that she had never seen a village as poor as Kalinovka had been. Nikita worked as a herdsboy from an early age and he was schooled for a total of four years, part in the village parochial school and part under Shevchenkos tutelage in Kalinovkas state school. She urged Nikita to seek education, but family finances did not permit this. In 1908, Sergei Khrushchev moved to the Donbas city of Yuzovka, fourteen-year-old Nikita followed that year, while Ksenia Khrushcheva and her daughter came after
The hilt of a sword is its handle, consisting of a guard and pommel. The guard may contain a crossguard or quillons, a ricasso may be present, but this is rarely the case. A tassel or sword knot may be attached to the guard or pommel, the pommel is an enlarged fitting at the top of the handle. They were originally developed to prevent the sword slipping from the hand, from around the 11th century in Europe they became heavy enough to be a counterweight to the blade. This gave the sword a point of not too far from the hilt allowing a more fluid fighting style. Depending on sword design and swordsmanship style, the pommel may be used to strike the opponent, pommels have appeared in a wide variety of shapes, including oblate spheroids, disks and animal or bird heads. They are often engraved or inlayed with various designs and occasionally gilt, ewart Oakeshott introduced a system of classification of medieval pommel forms in his The Sword in the Age of Chivalry to stand alongside his blade typology.
Oakeshott pommel types are enumerated with capital letters A–Z, with subtypes indicated by numerals, one of the most common forms, found throughout the 10th to 15th centuries. I, a disk with wide chamfered edges, the disk being much smaller than in H. I1 is a hexagonal variant J, as I. T1 to T5 are variants of this basic type U, key-shaped type of the half of the 15th century V. W, a wheel shape Z, square shape, with its sub-types used to closely define the area and age, Z1 and Z2b, Z3. The grip is the handle of the sword and it was usually of wood or metal, and often covered with shagreen. Shark skin proved to be the most durable in temperate climates but deteriorated in hot climates, many sword types opt for ray skin instead, referred to in katana construction as the same. Whatever material covered the grip, it was usually glued on and held on with wire wrapped around it in a helix. It is a misconception that the cross-guard protects the users entire hand from the opponents sword. Only with the abandonment of the shield and the armoured gauntlet did a full hand guard become necessary, the crossguard still protected the user from a blade that was deliberately slid down the length of the blade to cut off or injure the hand.
Early swords do not have true guards but simply a form of stop to prevent the hand slipping up the blade when thrusting as they were used in conjunction with a shield. From the 11th century, European sword guards took the form of a straight crossbar perpendicular to the blade, beginning in the 16th century in Europe, guards became more and more elaborate, with additional loops and curved bars or branches to protect the hand
John F. Kennedy
Kennedy was a member of the Democratic Party, and his New Frontier domestic program was largely enacted as a memorial to him after his death. Kennedy established the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1963, Kennedys time in office was marked by high tensions with Communist states. He increased the number of American military advisers in South Vietnam by a factor of 18 over President Dwight D. Eisenhower, in Cuba, a failed attempt was made at the Bay of Pigs to overthrow the government of Fidel Castro in April 1961. He subsequently rejected plans by the Joint Chiefs of Staff to orchestrate false-flag attacks on American soil in order to gain approval for a war against Cuba. After military service in the United States Naval Reserve in World War II and he was elected subsequently to the U. S. Senate and served as the junior Senator from Massachusetts from 1953 until 1960. Kennedy defeated Vice President, and Republican presidential candidate, Richard Nixon in the 1960 U. S, at age 43, he became the youngest elected president and the second-youngest president.
Kennedy was the first person born in the 20th century to serve as president, to date, Kennedy has been the only Roman Catholic president and the only president to have won a Pulitzer Prize. Kennedy was assassinated in Dallas, Texas, on November 22,1963, Lee Harvey Oswald was arrested that afternoon and determined to have fired the shots that hit the President from a sixth floor window of the Texas School Book Depository. Dallas nightclub owner Jack Ruby fatally shot Oswald two days in a jail corridor, then-Vice President Lyndon B. Johnson succeeded Kennedy after he died in the hospital. The FBI and the Warren Commission officially concluded that Oswald was the lone assassin, the majority of Americans alive at the time of the assassination, and continuing through 2013, believed that there was a conspiracy and that Oswald was not the only shooter. Since the 1960s, information concerning Kennedys private life has come to light, including his health problems, Kennedy continues to rank highly in historians polls of U. S. presidents and with the general public.
His average approval rating of 70% is the highest of any president in Gallups history of systematically measuring job approval and his grandfathers P. J. Kennedy and Boston Mayor John F. Fitzgerald were both Massachusetts politicians. All four of his grandparents were the children of Irish immigrants, Kennedy had an elder brother, Joseph Jr. and seven younger siblings, Kathleen, Patricia, Robert and Ted. Kennedy lived in Brookline for ten years and attended the Edward Devotion School, the Noble and Greenough Lower School, and the Dexter School through 4th grade. In 1927, the Kennedy family moved to a stately twenty-room, Georgian-style mansion at 5040 Independence Avenue in the Hudson Hill neighborhood of Riverdale, Bronx and he attended the lower campus of Riverdale Country School, a private school for boys, from 5th to 7th grade. Two years later, the moved to 294 Pondfield Road in the New York City suburb of Bronxville, New York. The Kennedy family spent summers at their home in Hyannis Port, Massachusetts, in September 1930, Kennedy—then 13 years old—attended the Canterbury School in New Milford, Connecticut.
In late April 1931, he required an appendectomy, after which he withdrew from Canterbury, in September 1931, Kennedy attended Choate, a boarding school in Wallingford, for 9th through 12th grade
The Canterbury Tales
The Canterbury Tales is a collection of 24 stories that runs to over 17,000 lines written in Middle English by Geoffrey Chaucer between 1387–1400. In 1386, Chaucer became Controller of Customs and Justice of Peace and and it was during these years that Chaucer began working on his most famous text, The Canterbury Tales. The prize for this contest is a meal at the Tabard Inn at Southwark on their return. He uses the tales and descriptions of its characters to paint an ironic and critical portrait of English society at the time, Chaucers use of such a wide range of classes and types of people was without precedent in English. Although the characters are fictional, they offer a variety of insights into customs. Often, such insight leads to a variety of discussions and disagreements among people in the 14th century, the collection resembles The Decameron, which Chaucer may have read during his first diplomatic mission to Italy in 1372. It is unclear to what extent Chaucer was seminal in this evolution of literary preference, while Chaucer clearly states the addressees of many of his poems, the intended audience of The Canterbury Tales is more difficult to determine.
Chaucer was a courtier, leading some to believe that he was mainly a court poet who wrote exclusively for nobility, the Canterbury Tales is generally thought to have been incomplete at the end of Chaucers life. In the General Prologue, some thirty pilgrims are introduced, according to the Prologue, Chaucers intention was to write two stories from the perspective of each pilgrim on the way to and from their ultimate destination, St. Thomas Beckets shrine. Although perhaps incomplete, The Canterbury Tales is revered as one of the most important works in English literature, not only do readers find it entertaining, but it is open to a wide range of interpretations. The question of whether The Canterbury Tales is finished has not yet been answered, there are 83 known manuscripts of the work from the late medieval and early Renaissance periods, more than any other vernacular literary text with the exception of The Prick of Conscience. This is taken as evidence of the popularity during the century after Chaucers death.
Fifty-five of these manuscripts are thought to have been complete at one time, even the earliest surviving manuscripts are not Chaucers originals, the oldest being MS Peniarth 392 D, compiled by a scribe shortly after Chaucers death. The most beautiful of the manuscripts of the tales is the Ellesmere Manuscript, the first version of The Canterbury Tales to be published in print was William Caxtons 1478 edition. Only 10 copies of this edition are known to exist, including one held by the British Library, since this print edition was created from a now-lost manuscript, it is counted as among the 83 manuscripts. In 2004, Professor Linne Mooney claimed that she was able to identify the scrivener who worked for Chaucer as an Adam Pinkhurst. No authorial, arguably complete version of the Tales exists and no consensus has been reached regarding the order in which Chaucer intended the stories to be placed and manuscript clues have been adduced to support the two most popular modern methods of ordering the tales.
Some scholarly editions divide the Tales into ten Fragments, between Fragments, the connection is less obvious
Bohumil Hrabal was a Czech writer, regarded by many Czechs as one of the best writers of the 20th century. Hrabal was born in the city of Brno on 28 March 1914, in what was the province of Moravia within Austria-Hungary, to an unmarried mother, Marie Božena Kiliánová. According to the organisers of a 2009 Hrabal exhibition in Brno, his father was probably Bohumil Blecha, a teachers son a year older than Marie. Marie’s parents opposed the idea of their daughter marrying Blecha, as he was about to serve in the Austro-Hungarian Army, four months after Hrabals birth World War I started, and Blecha was sent to the Italian front, before being invalided out of service. Blecha’s daughter, Drahomíra Blechová-Kalvodová, says her father told her when she was 18 that Hrabal was her half-brother and his biological father never met formally, according to Blechová-Kalvodová. Hrabal and Blechová-Kalvodová met twice, a dedication in a picture from 1994 says, To sister Drahomíra, Hrabal was baptised Bohumil František Kilián.
Until the age of three, he lived mainly with his grandparents, Kateřina Kiliánová and Tomáš Kilián, in Brno while his mother worked in Polná as an assistant book-keeper in the towns brewery. František Hrabal, Hrabal’s stepfather, was a friend of Hrabal’s probable biological father and František married in February 1917, shortly before Bohumils second birthday. Hrabals half-brother, Břetislav Josef Hrabal, was that year. The family moved in August 1919 to Nymburk, a town on the banks of the Labe. Both of Hrabals parents were active in amateur dramatics, Hrabal’s uncle was Bohuslav Kilián, a lawyer and publisher of the cultural magazines Salon and Měsíc. In 1920, Hrabal began at the school in Nymburk. In September 1925, he spent one year at a school in Brno. He failed the first year, he attended a technical secondary school in Nymburk. There too he struggled to concentrate on his studies, despite extra classes given to him by his uncle, in June 1934 Hrabal left school with a certificate that said he could be considered for a place at university on a technical course.
Hrabal took private classes in Latin for a year, passing the exam in the town of Český Brod with an adequate grade on 3 October 1935. Four days later, on 7 October 1935, he registered at the Charles University in Prague to study for a law degree and he graduated only in March 1946 as Czech universities had been shut down in November 1939 and remained so until the end of Nazi occupation. During the war, he worked as a labourer and dispatcher in Kostomlaty, near Nymburk
Gaius Cilnius Maecenas was an ally and political advisor to Octavian as well as an important patron for the new generation of Augustan poets, including both Horace and Virgil. During the reign of Augustus, Maecenas served as a minister to the Emperor but in spite of his wealth and power he chose not to enter the Senate. His name has become a byword for a wealthy, expressions in Propertius seem to imply that Maecenas had taken some part in the campaigns of Mutina and Perugia. Horace makes reference to this in his address to Maecenas at the opening of his first books of Odes with the expression atavis edite regibus. Tacitus refers to him as Cilnius Maecenas, it is possible that Cilnius was his mothers nomen - or that Maecenas was in fact a cognomen. The Gaius Maecenas mentioned in Cicero as a member of the equestrian order in 91 BC may have been his grandfather. The testimony of Horace and Maecenass own literary tastes imply that he had profited from the highest education of his time and his great wealth may have been in part hereditary, but he owed his position and influence to his close connection with the Emperor Augustus.
As a close friend and advisor he had acted as deputy for Augustus when he was abroad. It was in 39 BC that Horace was introduced to Maecenas, during the Sicilian war against Sextus Pompeius in 36, Maecenas was sent back to Rome, and was entrusted with supreme administrative control in the city and in Italy. During the latter years of his life he fell out of favour with his master. Maecenas died in 8 BC, leaving the sole heir to his wealth. Opinions were much divided in ancient times as to his personal character and he enjoyed the credit of sharing largely in the establishment of the new order of things, of reconciling parties, and of carrying the new empire safely through many dangers. To his influence especially was attributed the more humane policy of Octavian after his first alliance with Antony, expressions in the Odes of Horace seem to imply that Maecenas was deficient in the robustness of fibre which Romans liked to imagine was characteristic of their city. Maecenas is most famous for his support of poets, hence his name has become the eponym for a patron of arts.
He supported Virgil who wrote the Georgics in his honour and it was Virgil, impressed with examples of Horaces poetry, who introduced Horace to Maecenas. Indeed, Horace begins the first poem of his Odes by addressing his new patron, Maecenas gave him full financial support as well as an estate in the Sabine mountains. Propertius and the minor poets Varius Rufus, Plotius Tucca, Valgius Rufus and Domitius Marsus were his protégés and his patronage was exercised, not from vanity or a mere dilettante love of letters, but with a view to the higher interest of the state. The change in seriousness of purpose between the Eclogues and the Georgics of Virgil was in a measure the result of the direction given by the statesman to the poets genius
Geoffrey Chaucer, known as the Father of English literature, is widely considered the greatest English poet of the Middle Ages. He was the first poet to be buried in Poets Corner of Westminster Abbey, among his many works are The Book of the Duchess, The House of Fame, The Legend of Good Women and Troilus and Criseyde. He is best known today for The Canterbury Tales, Chaucers work was crucial in legitimizing the literary use of the Middle English vernacular at a time when the dominant literary languages in England were French and Latin. Geoffrey Chaucer was born in London sometime around 1343, though the precise date and his father and grandfather were both London vintners, several previous generations had been merchants in Ipswich. In 1324 John Chaucer, Geoffreys father, was kidnapped by an aunt in the hope of marrying the boy to her daughter in an attempt to keep property in Ipswich. The aunt was imprisoned and the fine levied suggests that the family was financially secure. In the City Hustings Roll 110,5, Ric II, dated June 1380, Geoffrey Chaucer refers to himself as me Galfridum Chaucer, filium Johannis Chaucer, Londonie.
He worked as a courtier, a diplomat, and a civil servant, as well as working for the king from 1389 to 1391 as Clerk of the Kings Works. In 1359, in the stages of the Hundred Years War, Edward III invaded France and Chaucer travelled with Lionel of Antwerp, 1st Duke of Clarence, Elizabeths husband. In 1360, he was captured during the siege of Rheims, Edward paid £16 for his ransom, a considerable sum, and Chaucer was released. After this, Chaucers life is uncertain, but he seems to have travelled in France, around 1366, Chaucer married Philippa Roet. She was a lady-in-waiting to Edward IIIs queen, Philippa of Hainault, and a sister of Katherine Swynford and it is uncertain how many children Chaucer and Philippa had, but three or four are most commonly cited. His son, Thomas Chaucer, had a career, as chief butler to four kings, envoy to France. Thomass daughter, married the Duke of Suffolk, thomass great-grandson, John de la Pole, Earl of Lincoln, was the heir to the throne designated by Richard III before he was deposed.
Geoffreys other children probably included Elizabeth Chaucy, a nun at Barking Abbey, Agnes, an attendant at Henry IVs coronation, Chaucers Treatise on the Astrolabe was written for Lewis. According to tradition, Chaucer studied law in the Inner Temple at this time and he became a member of the royal court of Edward III as a valet de chambre, yeoman, or esquire on 20 June 1367, a position which could entail a wide variety of tasks. His wife received a pension for court employment and he travelled abroad many times, at least some of them in his role as a valet. In 1368, he may have attended the wedding of Lionel of Antwerp to Violante Visconti, daughter of Galeazzo II Visconti, two other literary stars of the era were in attendance, Jean Froissart and Petrarch