venerdì 1 marzo 2013

Today in history ...

March 1st: a day of many anniversaries!

On March 1st, 1896, at least three significant occurences things occurred in the world. In Athens, the great conductor Dimitri Mitropoulos was born. In Paris, Henri Becquerel accidentally discovered radioactivity. And in Adwa, Ethiopia, was fought the decisive battle in the Abyssinian war. (Abyssinia is the ancient name of Ethiopia.) The Italian forces, commanded by Lieutenant General Oreste Baratieri, suffered a heavy defeat, halting for many years Italy's ambition to colonize the horn of Africa. The Abyssinian army of negus Menelik II successfully and definitively defended their nation's independence.

One of my great-uncles from Montefalcione (Avellino), Raffaele Ciampa, died in 1896 in the Abyssinian War. Unfortunately, further information is difficult to find. The veterans of World War I and subsequent wars are easily searchable — for example, another great-uncle from Montefalcione, Angelo Ciampa (1892-1917):

Of the March 1st births, I have a soft spot in my heart for the Roman poet Martial (a.k.a. Marcus Valerius Martialis), born in 40 AD. He was one of the first writers to recount to us about the legend of Lacryma Christi del Vesuvio.  Of the famous volcano he tells us: “Haec iuga quam Nysae colles plus Bacchus amavit.” (“Bacchus loved these hills more than his native hills of Nysa.”)

Other March 1st births (many artists and musicians, it seems to me!):

  • 1445 Sandro Botticelli, Italian painter
  • 1616 Maurizio Cazzati, Italian composer
  • 1656 Maria Caterina d’Este, Italian princess
  • 1691 Domenico Vandelli, Italian scientist, cartographer, and mathematician
  • 1779 Giuseppe Diotti, Italian painter
  • 1817 Giovanni Dupré, Italian sculptor
  • 1825 Giuseppe Ghedina, Italian painter
  • 1834 Tito Chelazzi, Italian painter
  • 1841 Romualdo Marenco, Italian composer
  • 1849 Ugo Dainelli, Italian mathematician
  • 1855 Adolfo Apolloni, Italian sculptor
  • 1863 Alberto Favara, Sicilian composer and ethnomusicologist
  • 1868 Adolfo Wildt, Italian sculptor
  • 1869 Pietro Canonica, Italian composer and sculptor
  • 1898 Umberto Lilloni, Italian painter
  • 1901 Guido Frette, Italian architect
  • 1904 Glenn Miller, American big band leader, trombonist, and composer
  • 1912 Giuseppe Anedda, Italian mandolinist
  • (the same day) Josepoh Reinhardt, Belgian guitarist and brother of Django Reinhardt
  • 1913 Max Tosi, Italian poet
  • 1914 Dario Galli, Italian poet
  • 1924 Lucine Amara, American soprano
  • (the same day) Elena Cernei, Romanian mezzo-soprano
  • 1927 Harry Belafonte, American musician and actor
  • 1930 Giuseppe Miotello, Italian painter

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