Santa Croce, Florence

The Basilica di Santa Croce is the principal Franciscan church in Florence, a minor basilica of the Roman Catholic Church. It is situated on about 800 meters south-east of the Duomo; the site, when first chosen, was in marshland outside the city walls. It is the burial place of some of the most illustrious Italians, such as Michelangelo, Machiavelli, the poet Foscolo, the philosopher Gentile and the composer Rossini, thus it is known as the Temple of the Italian Glories; the Basilica is the largest Franciscan church in the world. Its most notable features are its sixteen chapels, many of them decorated with frescoes by Giotto and his pupils, its tombs and cenotaphs. Legend says; the construction of the current church, to replace an older building, was begun on 12 May 1294 by Arnolfo di Cambio, paid for by some of the city's wealthiest families. It was consecrated in 1442 by Pope Eugene IV; the building's design reflects the austere approach of the Franciscans. The floorplan is an Egyptian or Tau cross, 115 metres in length with a nave and two aisles separated by lines of octagonal columns.

To the south of the church was a convent, some of whose buildings remain. The Primo Chiostro, the main cloister, houses the Cappella dei Pazzi, built as the chapter house, completed in the 1470s. Filippo Brunelleschi was involved in its design which has remained rigorously unadorned. In 1560, the choir screen was removed as part of changes arising from the Counter-Reformation and the interior rebuilt by Giorgio Vasari; as a result, there was damage to the church's decoration and most of the altars located on the screen were lost. At the behest of Cosimo I, Vasari placed some new altars; the bell tower was built in 1842. The neo-Gothic marble façade dates from 1857-1863; the Jewish architect Niccolo Matas from Ancona, designed the church's façade, working a prominent Star of David into the composition. Matas had wanted to be buried with his peers but because he was Jewish, he was buried under the threshold and honored with an inscription. In 1866, the complex became public property, as a part of government suppression of most religious houses, following the wars that gained Italian independence and unity.

The Museo dell'Opera di Santa Croce is housed in the refectory off the cloister. A monument to Florence Nightingale stands in the cloister, in the city in which she was born and after which she was named. Brunelleschi built the inner cloister, completed in 1453. In 1940, during the safe hiding of various works during World War II, Ugo Procacci noticed the Badia Polyptych being carried out of the church, he reasoned that this had been removed from the Badia Fiorentina during the Napoleonic occupation and accidentally re-installed in Santa Croce. Between 1958 and 1961, Leonetto Tintori removed layers of whitewash and overpaint from Giotto's Peruzzi Chapel scenes to reveal his original work. In 1966, the Arno River flooded much of Florence, including Santa Croce; the water entered the church bringing mud and heating oil. The damage to buildings and art treasures was severe. Today the former dormitory of the Franciscan friars houses the Scuola del Cuoio. Visitors can watch as artisans craft purses and other leather goods which are sold in the adjacent shop.

The basilica has been undergoing a multi-year restoration program with assistance from Italy’s civil protection agency. On 20 October 2017, the property was closed to visitors due to falling masonry which caused the death of a tourist from Spain; the basilica was closed temporarily during a survey of the stability of the church. The Italian Ministry of Culture said that "there will be an investigation by magistrates to understand how this dramatic fact happened and whether there are responsibilities over maintenance." Artists whose work is present in the church include: Benedetto da Maiano Antonio Canova Cimabue Andrea della Robbia Luca della Robbia Desiderio da Settignano Donatello Agnolo Gaddi Taddeo Gaddi Giotto Giovanni da Milano with Scenes of the Life of the Virgin and the Magdalen Maso di Banco depicting Scenes from the life of St. Sylvester. Henry Moore Andrea Orcagna Antonio Rossellino Bernardo Rossellino Santi di Tito Giorgio Vasari with sculpture by Valerio Cioli, Iovanni Bandini, Battista Lorenzi.

Way to Calvary painted by Vas

Robert Ogle (MP)

Sir Robert Ogle of Ogle, Northumberland was an English landowner, Member of Parliament and administrator. He was born the eldest son of Sir Robert Ogle and his wife Joan and coheiress of Sir Alan Heton of Ingram, his career began with his appointment for life in 1403 by Walter Skirlaw, Bishop of Durham to several offices in the bishop's liberty of Norhamshire and Islandshire. Knighted in 1410, he was sent by the king on a number of missions to Scotland as a diplomatic envoy, he inherited a number of estates and properties from his father on the latter's death in 1409, but the one he coveted, Bothal Castle, had gone to his younger brother. Robert, managed to obtain possession of it by a combination of force and cunning, he was elected to Parliament as knight of the shire to represent Northumberland in March 1416, 1419, 1420, December 1421, 1425 and 1435 and was pricked High Sheriff of Northumberland for 1417–18. He was appointed Constable of Wark Castle, Northumberland by 1419, of Berwick-upon-Tweed by 1423 to 1426, Roxburgh by 1425 to his death in 1426.

He married in the daughter of Sir Thomas Gray, with whom he had 3 sons and 4 daughters. He was succeeded by his eldest son Robert, created a baron


Machairodontinae is an extinct subfamily of carnivoran mammals of the family Felidae. They were found in Asia, North America, South America, Europe from the Miocene to Pleistocene living from about 16 million until about 11,000 years ago; the Machairodontinae contain many of the extinct predators known as "saber-toothed cats", including the famed genus Smilodon, as well as other cats with only minor increases in the size and length of their maxillary canines. The name means "dagger-tooth", from Greek μάχαιρα, dagger. Sometimes, other carnivorous mammals with elongated teeth are called saber-toothed cats, although they do not belong to the felids. Besides the machairodonts, saber-toothed predators arose in nimravids, Machaeroidinae, Hyaenodonta and in two groups of metatherians; the Machairodontinae originated in the middle Miocene of Africa. The early felid Pseudaelurus quadridentatus showed a trend towards elongated upper canines, is believed to be at the base of the machairodontine evolution.

The earliest known machairodont genus is the middle Miocene Miomachairodus from Turkey. Until the late Miocene, machairodontines co-existed at several places together with barbourofelids, archaic large carnivores that bore long sabre-teeth. Traditionally, three different tribes of machairodontines were recognized, the Smilodontini with typical dirk-toothed forms, such as Megantereon and Smilodon, the Machairodontini or Homotherini with scimitar-toothed cats, such as Machairodus or Homotherium, the Metailurini, containing genera such as Dinofelis and Metailurus. However, some have regrouped the Metailurini within the other felid subfamily, the Felinae, along with all modern cats; the last machairodontine genera and Homotherium, did not disappear until late in the Pleistocene 10,000 years ago in the Americas. Based on mitochondrial DNA sequences extracted from fossils, the lineages of Homotherium and Smilodon are estimated to have diverged about 18 Ma ago; the name'saber-toothed tigers' is misleading.

Machairodonts were not in the same subfamily as tigers, there is no evidence that they had tiger-like coat patterns, this broad group of animals did not all live or hunt in the same manner as the modern tiger. DNA analysis published in 2005 confirmed and clarified cladistic analysis in showing that the Machairodontinae diverged early from the ancestors of modern cats and are not related to any living feline species. Saber-tooths coexisted in many places with conical-toothed cats. In Africa and Eurasia, sabertooth cats competed with several pantherines and cheetahs until the early or middle Pleistocene. Homotherium survived in northern Europe until the late Pleistocene. In the Americas, they coexisted with the cougar, American lion, American cheetah, jaguar until the late Pleistocene. Saber-toothed and conical-toothed cats competed with each other for food resources, until the last of the former became extinct. All recent felids have less conical-shaped upper canines; the phylogenetic relationships of Machairodontinae are shown in the following cladogram: Until the recent discovery of the Late Miocene fossil depository known as Batallones-1 in the 1990s, specimens of Smilodontini and Homotheriini ancestors were rare and fragmentary, so the evolutionary history of the saber-toothed phenotype, a phenotype affecting craniomandibular, cervical forelimb and forelimb anatomy, was unknown.

Prior to the excavation of Batallones-1, the predominating hypothesis was that the derived saber-toothed phenotype arose through pleiotropic evolution. Batollnes-1 unearthed new specimens of Promegantereon ogygia, a Smilodontini ancestor, Machairodus aphanistus, a Homotheriini ancestor, shedding light on evolutionary history.. The leopard-sized P. ogygia inhabited Spain, its most studied descendants, the members of the tiger-sized genus Smilodon, lived up to 10,000 years ago in the Americas. The lion-sized M. aphanistus roamed Eurasia, as did its most studied descendants, members of the lion-sized genus Homotherium. The current hypothesis for the evolution of the saber-toothed phenotype, made possible by Batollnes-1, is that this phenotype arose over time through mosaic evolution. Although the exact cause is uncertain, current findings have supported the hypothesis that a need for the rapid killing of prey was the principle pressure driving the development of the phenotype over evolutionary time.

As indicated by high instances of broken teeth, the biotic environment of saber-toothed cats was one marked by intense competition. Broken teeth indicate the frequency. Increased teeth-bone contact suggests either increased consumption of carcasses, rapid consumption of prey, or increased aggression over kills – all three of which point to decreased prey availability, heightening competition between predators; such a competitive environment would favor the faster killing of prey, because if prey is taken away before consumption the energetic cost of capturing that prey is not reimbursed, and, if this occurs enough in the lifetime of a predator, death by exhaustion or starvation would result. The earliest adaptations improving the speed at which prey was killed are present in the skull and mandible of P. ogygia and of M. aphanistus, in the cervical vertebrae and forelimb of P. ogygia. They provide further morphological evidence for the importance of speed in the evolution of the saber-toothed