Tag Archives: 17th Century

1660: Theory

The 17th century Dutch minister Johan Picard spent several years in Drenthe, where he became interested in the ancient stone structures that could still be seen in the area.  His research eventually led to the publication of his book A … Continue reading

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1620: History of Rainbows

The 1620 edition of Francis Bacon’s Novum Organum contains a plan for a collective work containing all world knowledge “made to the scale of the universe”: For the world is not to be circumscribed within the narrow confines of the … Continue reading

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1690: Dance of the Rats

Ferdinand Van Kessel: The Dance of the Rats (1690)

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340 AD: Patron Saint of Beekeepers

According to tradition, a swarm of bees settled on the face of the infant St. Ambrose, leaving a drop of honey and thus foretelling the saint’s eloquence—his honeyed tongue. He is the patron saint of bees and beekeepers. A certain … Continue reading

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1661: Elizabeth Russell

[———–] Russell, always known under the guise or habit of a woman, and answered to the name of Elizabeth, as registered in Streatham parish, Nov. 21, 1661, but at death proved to be a man. He was buried April 14th, … Continue reading

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1617: Atalanta Fugiens

Michael Maier’s Atalanta Fugiens is an alchemical “emblem book” consisting of 50 illustrations by Matthias Merian, each of which is accompanied by a epigrammatic verse, a philosophical discourse, and a musical fugue. This first emblem shows Boreas, the North Wind, … Continue reading

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1939: The History of Spitting

The pioneering sociologist Norbert Elias published The Civilizing Process in 1939 with the aim of tracing how Europeans came to imagine what it meant to be “civilized.” In the book, he argues that increasing interdependence in society—in which difference social … Continue reading

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