1902 Encyclopedia > Today in History > Death by ventriloquism, Alexander the Great, Michael the Stammerer, and more

Today in History - October 1
• Death by Ventriloquism
• Alexander the Great
• Michael the Stammerer

-- Compiled by James Finlayson-Bald

Alexander the Great image

Alexander fighting the Persian king Darius III in the Battle of Issus. (Source: Alexander Mosaic, Naples National Archaeological Museum)

On this date:

331 BC -- Alexander the Great defeated Darius and the Persians at Gaugamela.

AD 829 -- Michael "the Stammerer," East Roman Emperor, died. Starting as a common soldier he had risen in the ranks to become a common general. Sudden rank went to his head and he fomented a plot against Leo the Armenian, was detected and thrown into prison and sentenced to death. His partisans then assassinated Leo and called Michael from prison to throne.

1273 -- Rudolf of Habsburg, who, in one way or another, had managed to become the richest prince in Germany, was now elected King on promising the Pope to renounce all Imperial rights in Rome, the Papal Territory and Sicily.

1528 -- The Papal Legates arrived in England to discuss Henry Eight's divorce from Catherine of Aragon. Lucky Lady!

1529 -- The Colloquy of Marburg began in Rittersaal of the Schloss. It was a conference mainly between Luther and Zwingli on the subject of Transubstantiation, but its wider aim was that the theological feud between Zurich and Wittenberg might be abated. Nothing really came out of it except that it became one of the preliminaries of the Augsburg Confession.

1714 -- Poor Mr Thomas Britton, who had died of ventriloquism, was buried in Clerkenwall church-yard. Mr Britton occupied his mornings selling coal from premises in Clerkenwall, over which in the manner of the day, he lived. In the afternoons his house was thronged by the great and fashionable of London who attended the musical concerts he arranged. Handel was but one who attended and played at these "musical reunions." His skill as a bibliophile was also in demand, as book collecting became the passion of the age, and among those he advised were the Duke of Devonshire and the Earls of Oxford, Pembroke, Sunderland and Winchelsea. His success excited envy and a malevolent lout introduced a blacksmith named Honeyman who had the art of ventriloquism, into Mr Britton's company. Honeyman throwing his voice from a convenient etagere, intimated Mr Britton's imminent death. Terrified out of his senses, he went into a decline and in three days was dead.

1868 -- Phra Paramindr Maha Chulolongkorn became King of Siam at the moment of his birth but acceded on this day when his father King Maha Mongkut, died.

Birthdays: William Beckett, novelist (1760-1844), James Earl Carter, politician (1924- ).

Quote: "Fields and trees teach me nothing, but the people in a city do." -- Socrates.

The above article was written by James Finlayson-Bald.
Edited and illustrations added by David Paul Wagner.

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