click links in text for more info

Sigismund, Archduke of Austria

Sigismund, a member of the House of Habsburg, was Duke of Austria from 1439 until his death. As a scion of the Habsburg Leopoldian line, he ruled over Further Austria and the County of Tyrol from 1446 until his resignation in 1490. Sigismund was born at the Tyrolean court in Innsbruck. A minor upon his father's death in 1439, the Inner Austrian duke Frederick V, Sigismund's first cousin, acted as regent until 1446. Frederick, elected King of the Romans in February 1440, exploited all opportunities to extend his influence over the Further Austrian lands, he interfered in the Old Zürich War in order to regain the former Habsburg territories lost to the Swiss Confederacy, while the Tyrolean nobles urged him to cede the rule to Sigismund. The mines of Tyrol remained an important source of revenue for Frederick and not until 1446, upon the end of his regency, Sigismund could accede to rulership over the Further Austrian possessions, which included the Swabian territories of the Sundgau in southern Alsace, the Breisgau, numerous smaller estates.

His cousin had planned to marry him off to the French princess Radegonde, a daughter of King Charles VII the Victorious, she died in 1444 and Sigismund married Princess Eleanor of Scotland, the daughter of the Stewart king James I, in 1449. Sigismund was able to acquire large parts of the former County of Bregenz in 1451 and further estates in the Großwalsertal and Kleinwalsertal, he had to cope with claims raised by Frederick's brother, Archduke Albert VI of Austria, temporarily had to cede the rule over several Further Austrian territories to him. For much of his reign, he was engaged in disputes with Nicholas of Cusa Prince-bishop of Brixen and raised to Cardinal in 1449, for the control of the Tyrolean Eisack and Inn valleys. Sigismund sided with Nicholas' opponent Gregory of Heimburg and in 1460, when he marched against the bishop's residence at Bruneck Castle, he was excommunicated by Pope Pius II. Nicholas fled to Todi in the Papal States, but fell ill and died in 1464, before the archduke surrendered in order to receive the papal pardon.

In 1469, Sigismund sold several of his Swabian lands on the Rhine river, including the Alsace landgraviate, the County of Pfirt, the Breisgau and further cities, to the Burgundian Duke Charles the Bold. Sources are unclear, whether he sold them due to his debts he had accumulated owing to his luxurious lifestyle, or just "rented" them because he wanted to have them protected better against the expansion of the Swiss Confederacy. In turn, he extended his Vorarlberg possessions, purchasing the County of Sonnenberg in 1474 and, together with the Swiss and the Alsatian cities, he sided against Duke Charles of Burgundy in the Battle of Héricourt. In 1477, his cousin Frederick, crowned Holy Roman Emperor in 1452, elevated him to Archduke. Three years Princess Eleanor died, 1484, Sigismund married the 16-year-old Catherine of Saxony, daughter of the Wettin duke Albert III of Saxony, he had no offspring from either marriage. In the years of the 1470s and early 1480s Sigismund issued a decree that instituted a radical coinage reformation that led up to the creation of the world's first large and heavy silver coin in nearly a millennium, the guldengroschen, which the Habsburgs in Bohemia developed into the thaler.

This coin was the ancestor of many of the major European coin denominations to come and of the US dollar. Using new mining methods and technology, the quiescent silver mines in Tirol were brought back into production and soon numerous surrounding states were re-opening old mines and minting similar coins; this production of large coinage exploded as silver from Spain's colonies in the Americas flooded the European economy. It is from these reforms in part that Sigismund acquired the nickname of der Münzreiche, or "rich in coin". Sigismund was swayed by the bad advice of his council and in March 1487 entered into a pointless war with the Republic of Venice, sometimes called the War of Rovereto. Tyrolean forces seized silver mines in the Valsugana valley owned by Venice, in April 1487 Sigismund outraged Venice further when he imprisoned 130 Venetian merchants traveling to the fair at Bozen and confiscated their goods. Tyrol stormed the Pass of Calliano and besieged the castle at Rovereto using a massive bombard, one of the earliest times such a large piece had been used in warfare.

The war ended with no decisive victory for either side. One notable casualty of the conflict was the condottiero Roberto Sanseverino d'Aragona. By 1490 the opposition of Tyrolean nobles compelled Sigismund to hand over the rulership to Frederick's son Archduke Maximilian I, who succeeded his father as Holy Roman Emperor. Whether Sigismund voluntarily handed over power to Maximilian or was coerced by the latter is not clear. With Sigismund's death in 1496, the Tyrolean branch of the Habsburg Leopoldian line became extinct, leaving Archduke Maximilian as sole heir to all the dynasty's possessions. Burgundy Wars Sigmundskron Castle Baillie-Grohnman, William Adolph; the Land in the Mountains. Philadelphia: J. B. Lippincott Company. Pp. 93–96. Coxe, William. History of the House of Austria. London: Henry G. Bohn, New York Street, Covent Garden. Van Dyke, Paul. Renaissance Portraits. New York: Charles Scribn

John Edmund Bentley

John Edmund Bentley was an English sportsman who played in the first international rugby football match in 1871, representing England as a halfback. John Edmund Bentley was born in Calver, the second son of Alfred Crompton, an industrialist and Charlotte Selina Wilson. Alfred Compton Bentley was the son of John Bentley and Martha Chetham, younger brother to the wealthy John Wansey Nathaniel Bentley, he had married Charlotte Selina Wilson on 28 April 1842. He became an industrialist and at the time of John's birth had moved his family to Calver, where was managing a cotton spinning business at Calver Mills, near Bakewell, along with Robert Philips Greg. John attended Merchant Taylors School in Middlesex, where the sport of rugby was in its infancy. After leaving school he stayed in London and joined the civil service; some time after his father's death in 1857 the family moved to London and by 1861 were resident in the London parish of Kensington St Mary Abbott. Here John resided with his mother, his older sister Charlotte, older brother Alfred, younger siblings, Eleanor and Arthur.

The family were still living in Kensington in 1871 Bentley, having played at school, did not play for the school's well known old boys side, Old Merchant Taylors, because his playing years pre-dated its formation. Old boys from the school had been instrumental in the founding of Wasps, but, an open club based in north London and Bentley was based south of the river Thames, his club of choice was the once famous Gipsies Football Club, based in Peckham, that would afterwards become a founding member of the Rugby Football Union in 1871. His performances for the Gipsies produced an invitation to represent England in the first international in 1871 at Raeburn Place in Scotland. England were to lose this encounter, but Bentley was involved in the return match the following year at The Oval where England were the victors. Arthur Guillemard of the Chislehurst-based West Kent Football Club, who played in those first two international games, said of Bentley that he was fast and much helped by his weight and strength, "which on one occasion at Chislehurst enabled him to run-in carrying two of his opponents on his back as if they were rag dolls", Bentley continued to watch international rugby right up to his last years.

His obituary in his old school's magazine, The Taylorian of 1914, recalled that "he appeared at the South Africa v. England Match last year wearing in his button·hole the old English rose that had figured on his jersey in his International Matches." John Edmund Bentley married Margaret Richardson, eldest daughter of George Clerihew, MD Inspector-General of Hospitals, on 23 April 1874 at St Barnabas, Kensington The couple had two children, Edmund Clerihew Bentley and Margaret Helen Elizabeth Bentley. The family lived in Hammersmith and John's occupation was a professional clerk, by 1881 being a Clerk In General Office of the Supreme Court Of Judicature. John and Margaret had at least two more children, Francis Bernard Bentley and Walter Basil Bentley and by 1891 were residing with John's uncle John Nathaniel Bentley. In 1901 John was still practicing as a clerk, being a civil service clerk 2nd class. John's eldest son, Edmund Clerihew Bentley became a famous writer and was renowned as the inventor of the'clerihew', a form of poetry.

John Edmund Bentley died on 12 December 1913

Tarek El Kazzaz

Tarek El Kazzaz is an Egyptian digital entertainment expert, the CEO and founder of QSoft Holding, one of the leading new media companies in the Middle East. El Kazzaz is best known for creating and producing Al-Bernameg with Bassem Youssef, the first and top political satire program in the Middle East. After graduating from the American University in Cairo with a bachelor's degree in construction engineering, El Kazzaz became determined to create a market for online digital entertainment in Egypt, he started working on several self-funded startups in the media production and digital media field, but none of them achieved the success he sought or the vision that he had in mind, a vision that would change the media production industry in Egypt and the Middle East. In 2007, El Kazzaz founded Qsoft Ltd. the first company specialized in managing and monetizing online content in Egypt. Although YouTube was not operating in Egypt yet, El Kazzaz was determined to become the first YouTube partner in Egypt.

In 2008, he partnered with Ossama Youssef to grow their online videos business, within two months, they landed more than 30 content partners for their online channel. The company expanded its YouTube operations in 2010 by introducing Diwan Videos. Within five years, El Kazzaz's leadership had grown the company to become one of the top professional producers of commercial online video and TV content in the Middle East. After the tremendous success of managing and monetizing content on the internet, El Kazzaz decided to move a step further into the digital media industry, namely by creating his own online content, his objective was to create content that would succeed online and move on to TV, reaching the largest possible number of viewers. Being lifetime friends with Bassem Youssef, El Kazzaz realized the talent Youssef had and decided to combine that talent with his expertise in digital entertainment to produce compelling content addressing the young Egyptian online community. Late in 2010, El Kazzaz and Youssef created a program discussing the different religious cults around the world.

However, the project was never uploaded on YouTube due to the 2011 Alexandria bombings, that took place at the same time of the video production, making the topic too sensitive to address at the time. After the Egyptian Revolution of 2011, El Kazzaz and his selected team of young professionals started executing a strategic plan to produce the number one entertainment show in the Middle East, namely Al-Bernameg with Bassem Youssef; the company started by producing the B+ Show on YouTube, gaining more than five million views in the first three months. In a few months, the team became the Executive Producers of Al-Bernameg with Bassem Youssef, making the show the first Internet to TV conversion in the Middle East. After leading an ambitious renovation project of Cairo’s glamorous Radio Theatre in 2012, the program became the first show of its kind in the Middle East with a live audience, recording one of the highest ratings on TV with more than 40 million viewers every week and more than two million subscribers on its YouTube channel.

Being a principal contributor to the success of a number of productions, such as “America Bel ‘Arabi” by Bassem Youssef and “Thawra ‘Ala Al Nafs” by Moez Massoud, El Kazzaz decided to unleash the potential of his team by co-founding “BIG Productions”, a specialized production company. He is embarking on a new project under the name Tube Star Network that aims not only to create successful productions, but to create an online platform for any talent in the region to be developed and professionally produced, to reach the highest number of audience through the different entertainment channels. QSoft has now expanded into a holding company, employing more than 250 young professionals, with offices in Cairo and Abu Dhabi. El Kazzaz remains CEO, leading the company’s corporate strategy, business growth plans, contract negotiations, new accounts acquisitions, promoting corporate brand and relations, online campaigns design and management

Henry Gerbault

Henri Gerbault, Henry Gerbault, or Jean Louis Armand Henri Gerbault was a French illustrator, water color painter, poster artist. He was born in Châtenay, Paris and was the nephew of the poet Sully Prudhomme. Henri studied at the École des Beaux-Arts in Paris to be a painter. Unsuccessful, he began submitting satirical cartoons to various newspaper and magazines, his work was published in magazines such as La Vie Parisienne, Fantasio, Le Rire, L'Art et la Mode and La Vie Moderne. During his years his wife was diagnosed with a chronic illness and they relocated to Roscoff, Brittany in 1919. Henri Gerbault died on 19 October 1930, several years after his wife, they are both buried in the cemetery at Roscoff. Http://

Stephen H. Webb

Stephen H. Webb was a theologian and philosopher of religion. Webb graduated from Wabash College in 1983, earned his Ph. D. at the University of Chicago, taught at Wabash College as Professor of Religion and Philosophy from 1988 to 2012. Born in 1961 and reared in Indianapolis, Indiana, he grew up at Englewood Christian Church, an evangelical church in the Restoration Movement, he recounts his experiences there in Taking Religion to School and in an essay, "Recalling: A Theologian Remembers His Church," in Falling Toward Grace: Images of Religion and Culture from the Heartland, ed. Kent Calder and Susan Neville, he joined the Disciples of Christ during graduate school but soon became disenchanted with their theological direction. He was a Lutheran, on Easter Sunday, 2007, he came into full communion with the Roman Catholic Church, he was known for his scholarship and journalism on animals and diet. He co-founded the Christian Vegetarian Association, but was removed from his position as co-chairman in 2006 after writing several articles in which he admitted to eating meat while promoting vegetarianism.

He defended the value of animals by reaffirming traditional notions of human uniqueness and human responsibility for nature. Many animal rights arguments are influenced by a leveling of the differences between humans and animals as well as a leveling of the differences between God and the world; this vision of a non-dogmatic and non-legalistic vegetarianism linked to traditional biblical principles rather than the pantheism of the New Age movement or the abdication of human uniqueness entailed in animal rights legislation has been controversial in both theological and philosophical circles. For an example of his work, see his essays, "Theology from the Pet Side Up: A Christian Agenda for NOT Saving the World" and "Against the Gourmands: In Praise of Fast Food as a Form of Fasting," both published in the online journal The Other Journal. Webb's critique of what he calls the "animal eliminationist" wing of the animal rights movement was presented at the 2008 American Academy of Religion conference in Chicago.

Several books have extensively analyzed and criticized his position, including Laura Hobgood-Oster, Holy Dogs and Asses and Stephen M. Vantassel, Dominion over Wildlife?. The Encyclopedia of Christianity, ed. John Bowden lists him as one of the leaders of the animal theology movement. In his career, Webb turned his attention to politics, popular culture, liberal advocacy. Within this field, Webb generated positive and negative reviews with his book American Providence in which he defended the idea that the doctrine of providence has been a crucial ingredient in American history and American identity. Providential interpretations of American national aspirations went into decline after the Vietnam War, but with President Bush's openness regarding the role of faith in his presidency, providence has returned to the public square. Webb argued that anti-Americanism is dependent upon providential logic, because conspiracy theories about how evil America is grant America a special role in world history.

He argued that the future belongs to the triad of capitalism and various forms of evangelical Christianity, not limited to explicitly evangelical churches. One of his controversial essays on politics is “On the True Globalism and the False, or Why Christians Should Not Worry So Much about American Imperialism,” in Anxious About Empire: Theological Essays on the New Global Realities, ed. Wes Avram, pp. 119–128. William T. Cavanaugh has criticized Webb's connection of providence and politics. Webb is known for his work in what he called theo-acoustics, or a theology of sound, he wrote a comprehensive history of Christianity and sound in The Divine Voice: Christian Proclamation and the Theology of Sound. This book, named the Religious Communication Association's Book of the Year for 2005 and a Christianity Today Top Ten Book of 2004, is divided into three parts; the first part surveys the biblical tradition on the importance of the human voice as a medium of revelation in the Bible. The second part focuses on the Protestant Reformation as the revival of that tradition.

The third part discusses the transformations of that tradition in contemporary culture, oriented toward the visual over the auditory. He discusses the role of deafness in Christian history and various theological debates over the question of how God created the world through sound. In this discussion he reveals his battle with hearing loss and how that has affected his theological work, he ends that book talking about wordless music and the decline of authentic vocalization in rock and roll, so it was a natural progression to turn to Bob Dylan in his next book, Dylan Redeemed: From Highway 61 to Saved. This book, written about in many Dylan blogs, is a reassessment of Bob Dylan's musical career that focuses on Dylan's mid-life conversion to Christianity. Webb wrote about C. S. Lewis in The Chronicles of Narnia and Philosophy, Indiana small town basketball in Basketball and Philosophy, eschatology and politics in The Oxford Handbook of Eschatology, he wrote the commendation for John Updike for the Presentation of the Christianity and Literature Lifetime Achievemen

South Saqqara Stone

The South Saqqara Stone is the lid of the sarcophagus of the ancient Egyptian queen Ankhenespepi, inscribed with a list for the reigns of the pharaohs of the 6th dynasty from Teti, Pepi I, Merenre to the early years of Pepi II under whom the document was created. It is an annal document which records events in each year of a king's reign; the South Saqqara Stone was discovered in 1932-33 by Gustave Jéquier in the westernmost of five storerooms south of the pyramid of Queen Iput II, within the pyramid complex of Pepi II at Saqqara. Made of basalt, it is 20 centimetres thick, it is inscribed on both sides. The recto appears to list events of the reigns of Teti, Pepi I and Merenre, the verso describes the second part of the reign of Merenra and part of Pepi II's; the importance of the South Saqqara Stone stems from its inscription: a list of a number of pharaohs, along with details of annual or biannual cattle counts which confirm details in other sources, allow archaeologists to estimate the length of their reigns.

Michel Baud and Vassil Dobrev estimate at least 12 years of reign for Teti, 2-4 years for Userkare, 49-50 years for Pepi I and, at least, 11-13 years for Merenre based on an estimate on the size of the preserved year the size of each year blocks and the location of certain cattle counts within this document. The Stone is considered one of the earliest historical documents in existence, as it is not a list of dynastic ancestors for the ruling pharaoh, but includes the names of all preceding pharaohs known to the artefact's creators, including such known usurpers as Userkare. Saqqara King List Francesco Raffaele: "The South Saqqara Stone" Michel Baud, Vassil Dobrev, De nouvelles annales de l'Ancien Empire égyptien. Une "Pierre de Palerme" pour la VIe dynastie, BIFAO 95, pp.23-92