Palace of Westminster
The Palace of Westminster serves as the meeting place of the House of Commons and the House of Lords, the two houses of the Parliament of the United Kingdom. Known as the Houses of Parliament after its occupants, the Palace lies on the north bank of the River Thames in the City of Westminster, in central London, England, its name, which derives from the neighbouring Westminster Abbey, may refer to either of two structures: the Old Palace, a medieval building-complex destroyed by fire in 1834, or its replacement, the New Palace that stands today. The palace is owned by the monarch in right of the Crown and, for ceremonial purposes, retains its original status as a royal residence. Committees appointed by both houses manage the building and report to the Speaker of the House of Commons and to the Lord Speaker; the first royal palace constructed on the site dated from the 11th century, Westminster became the primary residence of the Kings of England until fire destroyed much of the complex in 1512.
After that, it served as the home of the Parliament of England, which had met there since the 13th century, as the seat of the Royal Courts of Justice, based in and around Westminster Hall. In 1834 an greater fire ravaged the rebuilt Houses of Parliament, the only significant medieval structures to survive were Westminster Hall, the Cloisters of St Stephen's, the Chapel of St Mary Undercroft, the Jewel Tower. In the subsequent competition for the reconstruction of the Palace, the architect Charles Barry won with a design for new buildings in the Gothic Revival style inspired by the English Perpendicular Gothic style of the 14th–16th centuries; the remains of the Old Palace were incorporated into its much larger replacement, which contains over 1,100 rooms organised symmetrically around two series of courtyards and which has a floor area of 112,476 m2. Part of the New Palace's area of 3.24 hectares was reclaimed from the River Thames, the setting of its nearly 300-metre long façade, called the River Front.
Augustus Pugin, a leading authority on Gothic architecture and style, assisted Barry and designed the interior of the Palace. Construction started in 1840 and lasted for 30 years, suffering great delays and cost overruns, as well as the death of both leading architects. Major conservation work has taken place since to reverse the effects of London's air pollution, extensive repairs followed the Second World War, including the reconstruction of the Commons Chamber following its bombing in 1941; the Palace is one of the centres of political life in the United Kingdom. The Elizabeth Tower, in particular referred to by the name of its main bell, Big Ben, has become an iconic landmark of London and of the United Kingdom in general, one of the most popular tourist attractions in the city, an emblem of parliamentary democracy. Tsar Nicholas I of Russia called the new palace "a dream in stone"; the Palace of Westminster has been a Grade I listed building since 1970 and part of a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1987.
The Palace of Westminster site was strategically important during the Middle Ages, as it was located on the banks of the River Thames. Known in medieval times as Thorney Island, the site may have been first-used for a royal residence by Canute the Great during his reign from 1016 to 1035. St Edward the Confessor, the penultimate Anglo-Saxon monarch of England, built a royal palace on Thorney Island just west of the City of London at about the same time as he built Westminster Abbey. Thorney Island and the surrounding area soon became known as Westminster. Neither the buildings used by the Anglo-Saxons nor those used by William I survive; the oldest existing part of the Palace dates from the reign of William I's successor, King William II. The Palace of Westminster was the monarch's principal residence in the late Medieval period; the predecessor of Parliament, the Curia Regis, met in Westminster Hall. Simon de Montfort's parliament, the first to include representatives of the major towns, met at the Palace in 1265.
The "Model Parliament", the first official Parliament of England, met there in 1295, all subsequent English Parliaments and after 1707, all British Parliaments have met at the Palace. In 1512, during the early years of the reign of King Henry VIII, fire destroyed the royal residential area of the palace. In 1534, Henry VIII acquired York Place from Cardinal Thomas Wolsey, a powerful minister who had lost the King's favour. Renaming it the Palace of Whitehall, Henry used it as his principal residence. Although Westminster remained a royal palace, it was used by the two Houses of Parliament and by the various royal law courts; because it was a royal residence, the Palace included no purpose-built chambers for the two Houses. Important state ceremonies were held in the Painted Chamber, built in the 13th century as the main bedchamber for King Henry III; the House of Lords met in the Queen's Chamber, a modest Medieval hall towards the southern end of the complex, with the adjoining Prince's Chamber used as the robing room for peers and for the monarch during state openings.
In 1801 the Upper House moved into the larger White Chamber.
The Visigothic Kingdom or Kingdom of the Visigoths was a kingdom that occupied what is now southwestern France and the Iberian Peninsula from the 5th to the 8th centuries. One of the Germanic successor states to the Western Roman Empire, it was created by the settlement of the Visigoths under King Wallia in the province of Gallia Aquitania in southwest Gaul by the Roman government and extended by conquest over all of Hispania; the Kingdom maintained independence from the Eastern Roman or Byzantine Empire, the attempts of which to re-establish Roman authority in Hispania were only successful and short-lived. The Visigoths were romanized central Europeans; the Visigoths became Foederati of Rome, wanted to restore the Roman order against the hordes of Vandals and Suebi. The Western Roman Empire fell in 476 AD. Under King Euric—who eliminated the status of Foederati—a triumphal advance of the Visigoths began. Alarmed at Visigoth expansion from Aquitania after victory over the British army at Déols in 469, Western Emperor Anthemius sent a fresh army across the Alps against Euric, besieging Arles.
The Roman army was crushed in battle nearby and Euric captured Arles and secured much of southern Gaul. Sometimes referred to as the regnum Tolosanum or Kingdom of Toulouse after its capital Toulouse in modern historiography, the kingdom lost much of its territory in Gaul to the Franks in the early 6th century, save the narrow coastal strip of Septimania; the kingdom of the 6th and 7th centuries is sometimes called the regnum Toletanum after the new capital of Toledo. A civil war starting in 549 resulted in an invitation from the Visigoth Athanagild, who had usurped the kingship, to the Byzantine emperor Justinian I to send soldiers to his assistance. Athanagild won his war, but the Byzantines took over Cartagena and a good deal of southern Hispania and could not be dislodged. Starting in the 570s Athanagild's brother Liuvigild compensated for this loss by conquering the Kingdom of the Suebi and annexing it, by repeated campaigns against the Basques; the ethnic distinction between the indigenous Hispano-Roman population and the Visigoths had disappeared by this time.
This newfound unity found expression in severe persecution of outsiders the Jews. The Visigothic Code abolished the old tradition of having different laws for Romans and for Visigoths; the 7th century saw many civil wars between factions of the aristocracy. Despite good records left by contemporary bishops, such as Isidore and Leander of Seville, it becomes difficult to distinguish Goths from Latins, as the two became inextricably intertwined. Despite these civil wars, by 625 AD the Visigoths had succeeded in expelling the Byzantines from Hispania and had established a foothold at the port of Ceuta in Africa. Most of the Visigothic Kingdom was conquered by Umayyad troops from North Africa in 711 AD, with only the northern reaches of Hispania remaining in Christian hands; these gave birth to the medieval Kingdom of Asturias when a local landlord called Pelayo, most of Gothic origin, was elected Princeps by the Astures. The Visigoths and their early kings were Arians and came into conflict with the Catholic Church, but after they converted to Nicene Christianity, the Church exerted an enormous influence on secular affairs through the Councils of Toledo.
The Visigoths developed the influential law code known in Western Europe as the Visigothic Code, which would become the basis for Spanish law throughout the Middle Ages. From 407 to 409 AD, an alliance of Germanic Vandals, Iranian Alans and Germanic Suebi crossed the frozen Rhine and swept across modern France and into the Iberian peninsula. For their part, the Visigoths under Alaric famously sacked Rome in 410, capturing Galla Placidia, the sister of Western Roman emperor Honorius. Ataulf spent the next few years operating in the Gallic and Hispanic countrysides, diplomatically playing competing factions of Germanic and Roman commanders against one another to skillful effect, taking over cities such as Narbonne and Toulouse. After he married Placidia, the Emperor Honorius enlisted him to provide Visigothic assistance in regaining nominal Roman control of Hispania from the Vandals and Suebi. In 418, Honorius rewarded his Visigothic federates under King Wallia by giving them land in the Garonne valley of Gallia Aquitania on which to settle.
This took place under the system of hospitalitas. It seems that at first the Visigoths were not given a large amount of land estates in the region, but that they acquired the taxes of the region, with the local Gallic aristocrats now paying their taxes to the Visigoths instead of to the Roman government; the Visigoths with their capital at Toulouse, remained de facto independent, soon began expanding into Roman territory at the expense of the feeble Western empire. Under Theodoric I, the Visigoths attacked Arles and Narbonne, but were checked by Flavius Aetius using Hunnic mercenaries, Theodoric was defeated in 438. By 451, the situation had reversed and the Huns had invaded Gaul. Attila was driven back; the Vandals comp
Astrology is a pseudoscience that claims to divine information about human affairs and terrestrial events by studying the movements and relative positions of celestial objects. Astrology has been dated to at least the 2nd millennium BCE, has its roots in calendrical systems used to predict seasonal shifts and to interpret celestial cycles as signs of divine communications. Many cultures have attached importance to astronomical events, some—such as the Hindus and the Maya—developed elaborate systems for predicting terrestrial events from celestial observations. Western astrology, one of the oldest astrological systems still in use, can trace its roots to 19th–17th century BCE Mesopotamia, from which it spread to Ancient Greece, the Arab world and Central and Western Europe. Contemporary Western astrology is associated with systems of horoscopes that purport to explain aspects of a person's personality and predict significant events in their lives based on the positions of celestial objects.
Throughout most of its history, astrology was considered a scholarly tradition and was common in academic circles in close relation with astronomy, alchemy and medicine. It was present in political circles and is mentioned in various works of literature, from Dante Alighieri and Geoffrey Chaucer to William Shakespeare, Lope de Vega, Calderón de la Barca. Following the end of the 19th century and the wide-scale adoption of the scientific method, astrology has been challenged on both theoretical and experimental grounds, has been shown to have no scientific validity or explanatory power. Astrology thus lost its academic and theoretical standing, common belief in it has declined. While polls have demonstrated that one quarter of American and Canadian people say they continue to believe that star and planet positions affect their lives, astrology is now recognized as a pseudoscience—a belief, incorrectly presented as scientific; the word astrology comes from the early Latin word astrologia, which derives from the Greek ἀστρολογία—from ἄστρον astron and -λογία -logia.
Astrologia passed into meaning'star-divination' with astronomia used for the scientific term. Many cultures have attached importance to astronomical events, the Indians and Maya developed elaborate systems for predicting terrestrial events from celestial observations. In the West, astrology most consists of a system of horoscopes purporting to explain aspects of a person's personality and predict future events in their life based on the positions of the sun and other celestial objects at the time of their birth; the majority of professional astrologers rely on such systems. Astrology has been dated to at least the 2nd millennium BCE, with roots in calendrical systems used to predict seasonal shifts and to interpret celestial cycles as signs of divine communications. A form of astrology was practised in the first dynasty of Mesopotamia. Vedāṅga Jyotiṣa, is one of earliest known Hindu texts on astrology; the text is dated between 1400 BCE to final centuries BCE by various scholars according to astronomical and linguistic evidences.
Chinese astrology was elaborated in the Zhou dynasty. Hellenistic astrology after 332 BCE mixed Babylonian astrology with Egyptian Decanic astrology in Alexandria, creating horoscopic astrology. Alexander the Great's conquest of Asia allowed astrology to spread to Ancient Rome. In Rome, astrology was associated with'Chaldean wisdom'. After the conquest of Alexandria in the 7th century, astrology was taken up by Islamic scholars, Hellenistic texts were translated into Arabic and Persian. In the 12th century, Arabic texts were translated into Latin. Major astronomers including Tycho Brahe, Johannes Kepler and Galileo practised as court astrologers. Astrological references appear in literature in the works of poets such as Dante Alighieri and Geoffrey Chaucer, of playwrights such as Christopher Marlowe and William Shakespeare. Throughout most of its history, astrology was considered a scholarly tradition, it was accepted in political and academic contexts, was connected with other studies, such as astronomy, alchemy and medicine.
At the end of the 17th century, new scientific concepts in astronomy and physics called astrology into question. Astrology thus lost its academic and theoretical standing, common belief in astrology has declined. Astrology, in its broadest sense, is the search for meaning in the sky. Early evidence for humans making conscious attempts to measure and predict seasonal changes by reference to astronomical cycles, appears as markings on bones and cave walls, which show that lunar cycles were being noted as early as 25,000 years ago; this was a first step towards recording the Moon's influence upon tides and rivers, towards organising a communal calendar. Farmers addressed agricultural needs with increasing knowledge of the constellations that appear in the different seasons—and used the rising of particular star-groups to herald annual floods or seasonal activities. By the 3rd millennium BCE, civilisations had sophisticated awareness of celestial cycles, may have oriented temples in alignment with heliacal risings of the stars.
Scattered evidence suggests that the oldest known astrological references are copies of texts made in the ancient world. The Venus tablet of Ammisaduqa is thought to be compiled in Babylon around 1700 BCE. A scroll documenting an early use of electional astrology is doubtfully ascribed to the reign of the Sumerian ruler Gud
Chindasuinth (also spelled Chindaswinth, Chindasuinto, Chindasvindo, or Khindaswinth was Visigothic King of Hispania, from 642 until his death in 653. He succeeded Tulga, he was elected by the nobles and anointed by the bishops on April 30th, 642. Despite his great age, a veteran of the Leovigild campaigns and the religious rebellions after conversions from Arianism were forced, his tyrannical and cruel character made the clergy and noblesse submit to him out of fear of execution and banishment, he cemented his control by preempting an alleged revolt: in a short period of time he executed over 200 Goths of the most noble families and 500 more from the petty nobility. Additionally, he arranged for the banishment of many potential adversaries and confiscation of their property. All this took place before any rebellion occurred and without any investigation or trial or, for that matter, actual belief that a revolt was pending; the Seventh Council of Toledo, held on October 16th, 646 consented to and backed his actions, toughening the punishments applied to those who rose against the sovereign and extended them to members of the clergy.
Smothering all opposition, he brought peace to a degree of order not known previously. To continue his legacy, he had his son Recceswinth, at the urging of Braulio of Zaragoza, crowned co-king on January 20th, 649 and attempted to establish, as many had before, a hereditary monarchy, his associate-son was thence forth the true ruler of the Visigoths, presiding in the name of his father until 653, the year of the old man's passing. Despite his implacable politics, Chindasuinth is recorded in religious journals as a great benefactor of the church, donating many lands and bestowing privileges, he improved public estates with the confiscated goods of the dispossessed nobility as well as through improved taxation methods. In the military arena, he undertook campaigns against rebellious Lusitanians; as a legislator, he promulgated many laws dealing with civil matters. With the help of Braulio, bishop of Zaragoza, he began the elaboration of a territorial code of law to cover both the Gothic and Hispano-Roman populations.
A draft form of that work, the Liber Iudiciorum, was promulgated in the second year of his reign. It underwent refinement throughout the rest of his sovereignty and was finished by his son in 654. In 643 or 644 it superseded both the Breviary of Alaric used by the natives and the Code of Leovigild used by the Goths. According to Edward Gibbon, during his reign, Muslim raiders began harassing Iberia: "As early as the time of Othman, their piratical squadrons had ravaged the coast of Andalusia". However, this reading poses a problem difficult to overcome: the Muslim Rashiduns were still struggling to conquer Tripolitania in present-day Libya. Chindasuinth spent the last years of his life, as so many mediaeval monarchs did, in acts of piety for the sake of his immortal soul, he commissioned St Fructuosus to build the monastery of San Román de Hornija on the Douro, with the intention of having it house his tomb. His remains rest there next to those of Riciberga. Eugene II, bishop of Toledo, provided a judgment on the life of this king by writing the following inscription: I, Chindasuinth the friend of evil deeds: committer of crimes Chindaswinth I, obscene and wicked.
Chindasuinth had one daughter by his wife, Riciberga. The eldest, succeeded him to the throne, continued his reforms; the middle son, was blinded by Wamba and the progenitor of Roderic. The youngest son, was the ancestor of Pelayo. Collins, Roger. Visigothic Spain, 409–711. Blackwell Publishing, 2004. King, P. D. "King Chindasvind and the First Territorial Law-code of the Visiogothic Kingdom." Visigothic Spain: New Approaches. Ed. Edward James. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1980. Pp 131–157. Thompson, E. A.. The Goths in Spain. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1969. Edward Gibbon, History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire Chapter 51 Visigothic Law Code: text; the preface was written in 1908, should be read with reservations. Look at Book VI: Concerning Crimes and Tortures, under Title III: Concerning Abortion, the seventh article, not "ancient law", as so many others, but the words of Flavius Chintasvintus Rex
Edward Balliol was a pretender to the Scottish throne during the Second War of Scottish Independence. With English help, he ruled parts of the country in three periods between 1332 and 1336, he was the eldest son of John Balliol, erstwhile King of the Scots, Isabella de Warenne, daughter of John de Warenne, 6th Earl of Surrey, Alice de Lusignan. Alice was widow of John, King of England; the death of King Robert I weakened Scotland since his son and successor David II was still a child and the two most able lieutenants, the Black Douglas and Thomas Randolph, 1st Earl of Moray, both died shortly afterwards. Taking advantage of this, Edward Balliol, backed by Edward III of England, defeated the Regent, the Earl of Mar, at the Battle of Dupplin Moor in Perthshire, he was crowned at Scone in September 1332, but three months he was forced to flee half-naked back to England, following a surprise attack by nobles loyal to David II at the Battle of Annan. On his retreat from Scotland, Balliol sought refuge with the Clifford family, land owners in Westmorland, stayed in their castles at Appleby, Brougham and Pendragon.
He was restored by the English in 1333, following the siege of Berwick and the Battle of Halidon Hill. Balliol ceded the whole of the district known as Lothian to Edward and paid homage to him as liege lord. With no serious support in Scotland, he was deposed again in 1334, restored again in 1335, deposed in 1336 by those loyal to David II. All realistic hopes of Edward's restoration were lost when David II returned from France in June 1341, he returned to Scotland after the defeat of David II at Battle of Neville's Cross in 1346, raising an insurrection in Galloway, speedily penetrated to the central parts of the kingdom. However, he gained no permanent footing. On 20 January 1356, Balliol surrendered his claim to the Scottish throne to Edward III in exchange for an English pension, he spent the rest of his life living in obscurity. He died in 1367, at Wheatley, Yorkshire, England; the location of his grave is believed to be under a Doncaster Post Office. Ashley, W. J.. Edward III and His Wars, 1327–1360.
London: D. Nutt. CS1 maint: Extra text: authors list Bain, Joseph. Calendar of Documents Relating to Scotland. Edinburgh: H. M. General Register House. CS1 maint: Extra text: authors list Bower, Walter. Scotichronicon: In Latin and English. Ed. D. E. R. Watt. Aberdeen: Aberdeen University Press. Capgrave, John; the Book of the Illustrious Henries. Trans. Francis Charles Hingeston. London: Longman, Green, Longmans, & Roberts. Galbraith, V. H.. The Anonimalle Chronicle, 1333 to 1381. Manchester: Manchester University Press. ISBN 0-389-03979-9. CS1 maint: Extra text: authors list Gray, Thomas. Scalacronica: The Reigns of Edward I, Edward II and Edward III. Trans. Herbert Maxwell. Glasgow: J. Maclehose. Skene, William F.. John of Fordun's Chronicle of the Scottish Nation. Trans. Felix J. H. Skene. Edinburgh: Edmonston and Douglas. CS1 maint: Extra text: authors list Wilson, James; the Chronicle of Lanercost, 1272–1346. Trans. Herbert Maxwell. Cribyn, Wales: Llanerch Press. ISBN 1-86143-109-0. Balfour-Melville, E. M. W.. Edward III and David II.
London: G. Philip. Beam, Amanda; the Balliol Dynasty, 1210–1364. Edinburgh: John Donald. Campbell, James. "England and the Hundred Years War in the fourteenth century". In in J. R. Hale. Smalley. Europe in the Late Middle Ages. London: Faber and Faber. Dalrymple, David. Annals of Scotland: From the Accession of Malcolm III Surnamed Canmore to the Accession of Robert I. London: J. Murray. Nicholson, Ranald. Edward III and the Scots: The Formative Years of a Military Career, 1327–1335. London: Oxford University Press. Paterson, R. C. Edward Balliol, in Military History, April, 2003. Ramsay, J. H. Edward Balliol's Scottish Campaign in 1347, in English Historical Review, vol. 25 1910. Ramsay, James H.. Genesis of Lancaster. Oxford: Clarendon Press. Reid, R. C. Edward de Balliol, in Transactions of the Dumfriesshire and Galloway Antiquarian and Natural History Society, vol. 35 1956-7. Summerson, Henry. Scotland without a King, 1329–1341, in Medieval Scotland, Crown and Community, ed A. Grant and K. J. Stringer, 1993.
Webster, Bruce. "Balliol, Edward". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. Oxford University Press. Retrieved 15 April 2013. Chambers, Robert. "Baliol, Edward". A Biographical Dictionary of Eminent Scotsmen. 1. Glasgow: Blackie and Son. Pp. 121–23 – via Wikisource. "Baliol, Edward de". Dictionary of National Biography. London: Smith, Elder & Co. 1885–1900
Pope Fabian was the Bishop of Rome from 10 January 236 to his death in 250, succeeding Anterus. He is famous for the miraculous nature of his election, in which a dove is said to have descended on his head to mark him as the Holy Spirit's unexpected choice to become the next pope, he was succeeded by Cornelius. Most of his papacy was characterized by amicable relations with the imperial government, Fabian could thus bring back to Rome for Christian burial the bodies of Pope Pontian and the antipope Hippolytus, both of whom had died in exile in the Sardinian mines, it was probably during his reign that the schism between the two corresponding Roman congregations of these leaders was ended. He was esteemed by Cyprian. One authority refers to him as Flavian; the Liber Pontificalis, a fourth-century document that survives in copies, says that he divided Rome into diaconates and appointed secretaries to collect the records of the martyrs. He is said without basis, to have baptized the emperor Philip the Arab and his son.
More plausible is the report in the Liberian Catalogue that he sent out seven "apostles to the Gauls" as missionaries. He died a martyr at the beginning of the Decian persecution and is venerated as a saint by the Catholic Church. Fabian's feast day is commemorated on January 20, the same as Saint Sebastian, in whose church his sepulcher lies in Rome. According to the Liber Pontificalis, Fabian was a noble Roman by birth, his father's name was Fabius. Nothing more is known about his background; the legend concerning the circumstances of his election is preserved by the fourth-century writer Eusebius of Caesarea. After the short reign of Pope Anterus, Fabian had come to Rome from the countryside when the new papal election began. "Although present," says Eusebius, Fabian "was in the mind of none." While the names of several illustrious and noble churchmen were being considered over the course of thirteen days, a dove descended upon the head of Fabian. To the assembled electors, this strange sight recalled the gospel scene of the descent of the Holy Spirit on Jesus at the time of his baptism by John the Baptist.
The congregation took this as a sign that he was marked out for this dignity, Fabian was at once proclaimed bishop by acclamation. During Fabian's reign of 14 years, there was a lull in the storm of persecution which had resulted in the exile of both Anterus' predecessor Pontian and the antipope Hippolytus. Fabian had enough influence at court to effect the return of the bodies of both of these martyrs from Sardinia, where they had died at hard labor in the mines; the report that he baptized the emperor Philip the Arab and his son, however, is a legend, although he did seem to enjoy some connections at court, since the bodies of Pontian and Hippolytus could not have been exhumed without the emperor's approval. According to the sixth-century historian Gregory of Tours Fabian sent out the "apostles to the Gauls" to Christianise Gaul in A. D. 245. Fabian sent seven bishops from Rome to Gaul to preach the Gospel: Gatianus of Tours to Tours, Trophimus of Arles to Arles, Paul of Narbonne to Narbonne, Saturnin to Toulouse, Denis to Paris, Austromoine to Clermont, Saint Martial to Limoges.
He condemned Privatus, the originator of a new heresy in Africa. The Liber Pontificalis says that Fabian divided the Christian communities of Rome into seven districts, each supervised by a deacon. Eusebius adds that he appointed seven subdeacons to help collect the acta of the martyrs—the reports of the court proceedings on the occasion of their trials. There is a tradition that he instituted the four minor clerical orders: porter, lector and acolyte; however most scholars believe these offices evolved and were formally instituted at a date. His deeds are thus described in the Liber Pontificalis: Hic regiones dividit diaconibus et fecit vii subdiacones, qui vii notariis imminerent, Ut gestas martyrum integro fideliter colligerent, et multas fabricas per cymiteria fieri praecepit; the Liberian Catalogue of the popes reports that Fabian initiated considerable work on the catacombs, where honored Christians were buried, where he caused the body of Pope Pontian to be entombed at the catacomb of Saint Callixtus.
With the advent of Emperor Decius, the Roman government's tolerant policy toward Christianity temporarily ended. Decius ordered leading Christians to demonstrate their loyalty to Rome by offering incense to the cult images of deities which represented the Roman state; this was unacceptable to many Christians, while no longer holding most of the laws of the Old Testament to apply to them, took the commandment against idolatry with deadly seriousness. Fabian was thus one of the earliest victims of Decius, dying as a martyr on 20 January 250, at the beginning of the Decian persecution in prison rather than by execution. Fabian was buried in the catacomb of Callixtus in Rome; the Greek inscription on his tomb has survived, bears the words: Fabian, Martyr. His remains were reinterred at San Sebastiano fuori le mura by Pope Clement XI where the Albani Chapel is dedicated in his honour. Hippolytus of Rome List of Catholic saints List of Christian martyrs List of popes Catholic Encyclopedia: Pope St. Fabian Colonnade Statue in St Peter's Square
History of Poland during the Piast dynasty
The period of rule by the Piast dynasty between the 10th and 14th centuries is the first major stage of the history of the Polish nation. The dynasty was founded by a series of dukes listed by the chronicler Gallus Anonymous in the early 12th century: Siemowit and Siemomysł, it was Mieszko I, the son of Siemomysł, now considered the proper founder of the Polish state at about 960 AD. The ruling house remained in power in the Polish lands until 1370. Mieszko converted to Christianity of the Western Latin Rite in an event known as the Baptism of Poland in 966, which established a major cultural boundary in Europe based on religion, he completed a unification of the West Slavic tribal lands, fundamental to the existence of the new country of Poland. Following the emergence of the Polish state, a series of rulers converted the population to Christianity, created a kingdom of Poland in 1025 and integrated Poland into the prevailing culture of Europe. Mieszko's son Bolesław I the Brave established a Roman Catholic Archdiocese in Gniezno, pursued territorial conquests and was crowned in 1025 as the first king of Poland.
The first Piast monarchy collapsed with the death of Mieszko II Lambert in 1034, followed by its restoration under Casimir I in 1042. In the process, the royal dignity for Polish rulers was forfeited, the state reverted to the status of a duchy. Duke Casimir's son Bolesław II the Bold revived the military assertiveness of Bolesław I, but became fatally involved in a conflict with Bishop Stanislaus of Szczepanów and was expelled from the country. Bolesław III, the last duke of the early period, succeeded in defending his country and recovering territories lost. Upon his death in 1138, Poland was divided among his sons; the resulting internal fragmentation eroded the initial Piast monarchical structure in the 12th and 13th centuries and caused fundamental and lasting changes. Konrad I of Masovia invited the Teutonic Knights to help him fight the Baltic Prussian pagans, which led to centuries of Poland's warfare with the Knights and the German Prussian state. In 1320, the kingdom was restored under Władysław I the Elbow-high strengthened and expanded by his son Casimir III the Great.
The western provinces of Silesia and Pomerania were lost after the fragmentation, Poland began expanding to the east. The period ended with the reigns of two members of the Capetian House of Anjou between 1370 and 1384; the consolidation in the 14th century laid the base for the new powerful kingdom of Poland, to follow. The tribe of the Polans in what is now Greater Poland gave rise to a tribal predecessor of the Polish state in the early part of the 10th century, with the Polans settling in the flatlands around the emerging strongholds of Giecz, Poznań, Gniezno and Ostrów Lednicki. Accelerated rebuilding of old tribal fortified settlements, construction of massive new ones and territorial expansion took place during the period ca. 920–950. The Polish state developed from these tribal roots in the second half of the century. According to the 12th-century chronicler Gallus Anonymus, the Polans were ruled at this time by the Piast dynasty. In existing sources from the 10th century, Piast ruler Mieszko I was first mentioned by Widukind of Corvey in his Res gestae saxonicae, a chronicle of events in Germany.
Widukind reported that Mieszko's forces were twice defeated in 963 by the Veleti tribes acting in cooperation with the Saxon exile Wichmann the Younger. Under Mieszko's rule, his tribal state became the Polish state; the viability of the Mieszko's emerging state was assured by the persistent territorial expansion of the early Piast rulers. Beginning with a small area around Gniezno, the Piast expansion lasted throughout most of the 10th century and resulted in a territory approximating that of present-day Poland; the Polanie tribe conquered and merged with other Slavic tribes and first formed a tribal federation later a centralized state. After the addition of Lesser Poland, the country of the Vistulans, of Silesia, Mieszko's state reached its mature form, including the main regions regarded as ethnically Polish; the Piast lands totaled about 250,000 km2 in area, with an approximate population of under one million. A pagan, Mieszko I was the first ruler of the Polans tribal union known from contemporary written sources.
A detailed account of aspects of Mieszko's early reign was given by Ibrâhîm ibn Ya`qûb, a Jewish traveler, according to whom Mieszko was one of four Slavic "kings" established in central and southern Europe in the 960s. In 965, allied with Boleslaus I, Duke of Bohemia at the time, married the duke's daughter Doubravka, a Christian princess. Mieszko's conversion to Christianity in its Western Latin Rite followed on 14 April 966, an event known as the Baptism of Poland, considered to be the founding event of the Polish state. In the aftermath of Mieszko's victory over a force of the Velunzani in 967, led by Wichmann, the first missionary bishop was appointed: Jordan, bishop of Poland; the action counteracted the intended eastern expansion of the Magdeburg Archdiocese, established at about the same time. Mieszko's state had a complex political relationship with the German Holy Roman Empire, as Mieszko was a "friend", ally and vassal of Holy Roman Emperor Otto I and paid him tribute from the western part of his lands.
Mieszko fought wars with the Polabian Slavs, the Czechs, Margrave Gero of the Saxon Eastern March in 963–964 and Margrave Odo I of the Saxon Eastern March in 972 in the Battle of Cedynia. The victories over Wichmann an