The Tang Dynasty was an imperial dynasty of China that lasted from 618 to
907. It was founded by the Li family, who seized power during the decline
and collapse of the Sui Empire. The Tang Dynasty, with its capital at
Chang'an, the most populous city in the world at the time, is regarded by
historians as a high point in Chinese civilization—equal to or surpassing
that of the earlier Han Dynasty—as well as a golden age of cosmopolitan
culture. In Chinese history, the Tang Dynasty was largely a period of
progress and stability, except during the An Shi Rebellion and the decline
of central authority in the latter half of the dynasty. Like the previous
Sui Dynasty, the Tang Dynasty maintained a civil service system by drafting
officials through standardized examinations and recommendations to office.
Two of China's most famous historical poets, Du Fu and Li Bai, belonged to
this age, as well as the poets Meng Haoran, Du Mu, and Bai Juyi. Many famous
visual artists lived during this era, such as the renowned painters Han Gan,
Zhang Xuan, and Zhou Fang. There was a rich variety of historical literature
compiled by scholars, as well as encyclopedias and books on geography. There
were many notable innovations during the dynasty, including the development
of woodblock printing, the escapement mechanism in horology, the government
compilations of materia medicas, and improvements in cartography.
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Today's selected anniversaries:
Conradin, the last Duke of Swabia, was beheaded in Naples after failing to
reclaim Sicily for the House of Hohenstaufen from Charles of Anjou.
The opera Don Giovanni, based on the legendary fictional libertine Don Juan
and composed by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, premiered in the Estates Theatre in
Mustafa Kemal Atatürk became the first President of the Republic of Turkey,
a new nation founded from remnants of the Ottoman Empire.
A catastrophic downturn in the New York Stock Exchange on "Black Tuesday"
set off the Great Depression, triggering a chain of bankruptcies and a
worldwide economic depression.
After more than three decades, 77-year old John Glenn returned to space
aboard the Space Shuttle Discovery on STS-95, to study the effects of space
flight on the elderly.
Wiktionary's word of the day:
withhold: (v) 1. To keep (a physical object that one has obtained) to
oneself rather than giving back to its owner.
2. To keep (information, etc.) to oneself rather than revealing.
3. To retain or keep back; not to grant.
Wikiquote quote of the day:
Books won't stay banned. They won't burn. Ideas won't go to jail. In the
long run of history, the censor and the inquisitor have always lost. The
only sure weapon against bad ideas is better ideas. The source of better
ideas is wisdom. The surest path to wisdom is a liberal education.
--Alfred Whitney Griswold