Today in Christian History

February 2

February 2, 767: Alcuin, the academic who would later play a large role in establishing schools under Charlemagne, becomes headmaster of York Cathedral School, where he once studied. Alcuin's curriculum was built on the seven liberal arts: the elementary Trivium (grammar, rhetoric, and dialectic) and the more advanced Quadrivium (music, arithmetic, geometry, and astronomy).

February 2, 1594: Giovanni F. da Palestrina, the most gifted composer of Renaissance church music, dies.

February 2, 1745: Popular British poet and dramatist Hannah More is born. She renounced the social life and concentrated on religious efforts, such as setting up Sunday schools. For her work with the Clapham Sect of British social reformers, she was once derisively called "a bishop in petticoats" (see issue 53: William Wilberforce).

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October 18, 1405: Enea Silvio Piccolomini (a.k.a. Pope Pius II) is born at Corsignano, Italy. Though faulted for taking radical and sometimes contradictory positions on issues, he was one of the best popes of his age: he wrote an important study of geography and ethnography, a popular love story, and an autobiography. He died in 1464 while planning a battle against the Turks, who controlled Constantinople.

October 18, 1685: French King Louis XIV issues the Edict of Fontainebleu, which revokes the ...

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