Theramenes was an Athenian statesman, prominent in the final decade of the Peloponnesian War. He was particularly active during the two periods of oligarchic government at Athens, as well as in the trial of the generals who had commanded at Arginusae in 406 BC. A moderate oligarch, he often found himself caught between the democrats on the one hand and the extreme oligarchs on the other. Successful in replacing a narrow oligarchy with a broader one in 411 BC, he failed to achieve the same end in 404 BC, and was executed by the extremists whose policies he had opposed. Theramenes remained a controversial figure after his death; Lysias vigorously denounced him while prosecuting several of his former political allies, but others defended his actions. Modern historical assessments have shifted over time; in the 19th century, Theramenes was almost universally condemned, but recent scholarship has produced more positive assessments. Some historians have found in Theramenes a selfish opportunist, others a principled moderate. The details of his actions, his motivations, and the nature of his character continue to be debated down to the present day.

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Today's selected anniversaries:


Italian philosopher Giordano Bruno, best-known as a proponent of heliocentrism and the infinity of the universe, was burned at the stake as a heretic by the Roman Inquisition.


The U.S. House of Representatives elected Thomas Jefferson as President and Aaron Burr as Vice President, resolving an electoral tie in the 1800 U.S. presidential election.


Italian composer Giacomo Puccini's Madama Butterfly premiered at La Scala in Milan, generating negative reviews that forced him to rewrite the opera.


The Phantom, one of the first modern comic book superheroes with the hallmark skintight costume and a mask with no visible pupils, made his first appearance in a daily newspaper comic strip.


The London congestion charge, a fee that is levied on motorists travelling within designated parts of London, came into operation.

Wiktionary's word of the day:

Ishikawa diagram (n):
A diagram used in quality management to display a detailed list of causes and effects of a problem and thus to decipher the root cause of a problem

Wikiquote quote of the day:

A voiceless song in an ageless light
 Sings at the coming dawn
 Birds in flight are calling there
 Where the heart moves the stones
 It's there that my heart is calling
 All for the love of you.   --Loreena McKennitt