Answers and Information.
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1. Attila the Hun was Emperor of the Huns from 434 until his death in 453. He was leader of the Hunnic Empire which stretched from Germany to the Ural River and from the River Danube to the Baltic Sea. During his rule, he was one of the most fearsome of the Western and Eastern Roman Empires’ enemies: he invaded the Balkans twice and marched through Gaul (modern France) as far as Orleans before being defeated at the Battle of Chalons. He refrained from attacking either Constantinople or Rome. In much of Western Europe, he is remembered as the epitome of cruelty and rapacity. However he is regarded as a hero and his name is revered and used in Hungary, Turkey and other Turkic-speaking countries in Central Asia.
2. Aryabhata was the first of the great astronomers of the classical age of India. He was born in 476 AD in Ashmaka. Aryabhata gave the world the digit “0” (zero). His book, the Aryabhatiya, presented astronomical and mathematical theories in which the Earth was taken to be spinning on its axis and the periods of the planets were given with respect to the sun (in other words, it was heliocentric). This book is divided into four chapters: the astronomical constants and the sine table mathematics required for computations division of time and rules for computing the longitudes of planets using eccentrics and epicycles the armillary sphere, rules relating to problems of trigonometry and the computation of eclipses. Aryabhata also gave an accurate approximation for Pi. In the Aryabhatiya, he wrote: “Add four to one hundred, multiply by eight and then add sixty-two thousand. the result is approximately the circumference of a circle of diameter twenty thousand. By this rule the relation of the circumference to diameter is given.” In other words, ? = 62832/20000 = 3.1416, correct to four rounded-off decimal places.
3. Aesop is famous for his fables: short tales which illustrated truths about life and human nature. Most of his fables feature familiar animals: “The Grasshopper and the Ant” and “The Tortoise and the Hare.” Little is known about the true life of Aesop himself, and some believe that no such person ever really existed. Those who believe Aesop existed generally agree that he lived during the 6th century B.C., resided for some time on the island of Samos, and was for at least part of his life a slave. It’s also generally agreed that not all of Aesop’s fables were actually created by him; his fame grew so great that many other fables were eventually put in his name.
4. America is named after Amerigo Vespucci, who was the first European to suggest that the Americas were not the East Indies. Amerigo Vespucci was an Italian merchant and cartographer who voyaged to and wrote about the Americas. His exploratory journeys along the eastern coastline of South America convinced him that a new continent had been discovered, a bold contention in his day when everyone, including Christopher Columbus, thought the seafaring trailblazers setting out from European docks were travelling to East Asia. In 1499–1500, Vespucci joined an expedition led by Alonso de Ojeda. After reaching what is now Guyana, the two seem to have separated. Vespucci sailed southward, discovering the mouth of the Amazon River and reaching 6°S, before turning around and seeing Trinidad and the Orinoco River and returning to Spain by way of Hispaniola. Vespucci claimed, in a letter to Lorenzo di Medici, that he determined his longitude celestially on August 23, 1499, while on this voyage. But his claim is clearly fraudulent, which casts more doubt on Vespucci’s credibility.
5. Albrecht Durer was without doubt the greatest artist of the Northern Renaissance. Living in Nuremberg, half-way between the Netherlands and Italy, he found inspiration in the work of painters of both the major European artistic centres of his time. But rather than simply imitating what others were doing, Durer was very much an innovator. He is, for example, the first artist who is known to have painted a self-portrait and to have done a landscape painting of a specific scene. The range and versatility of Duerer’s work is astonishing. His woodcuts and engravings made him famous across Europe and he is still considered to be the greatest printmaker of all time. As an oil painter, Duerer was equally successful at religious and secular subjects, producing magnificent altarpieces and powerful portraits. His drawings and watercolours are impressive for their diversity of subject-matter and the varied media in which they were produced. Durer was to have a major influence on the development of European art.
6. Queen Anne became Queen of England, Scotland and Ireland on 8 March 1702, succeeding her brother-in-law, William III of England and II of Scotland. Her Catholic father, James II and VII, was deemed by the English Parliament to have abdicated when he was forced to retreat to France during the Glorious Revolution of 1688/9; her brother-in-law and her sister then became joint monarchs as William III & II and Mary II, the only such case in British history. After Mary’s death in 1694, William continued as sole monarch until his own death in 1702.
7. Alexander Pope is considered one of the greatest English poets of the eighteenth century. Born to a Roman Catholic family in 1688, Pope was educated mostly at home, in part due to laws in force at the time upholding the status of the established Church of England. From early childhood he suffered numerous health problems, including Pott’s disease (a form of tuberculosis affecting the spine) which deformed his body and stunted his growth, no doubt helping to end his life at the relatively young age of 56 in 1744. He never grew beyond 1.37m (4ft 6in).Although he had been writing poetry since the age of 12, his first major contribution to the literary world is considered to be An Essay on Criticism, which was published in 1711 when he was 23. The commercial success of his translations made Pope the first English poet who could live off the sales of his work alone, “indebted to no prince or peer alive,” as he put it. Pope also wrote the famous epitaph for Sir Isaac Newton. Pope had a friend and ally in Jonathan Swift. In about 1713, he formed the Scriblerus Club with Swift and other friends including John Gay.
8. Adam Smith moved to London in 1776, where he published “An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations,” which examined in detail the consequences of economic freedom. It covered such concepts as the role of self-interest, the division of labor, the function of markets, and the international implications of a laissez-faire economy. “Wealth of Nations” established economics as an autonomous subject and launched the economic doctrine of free enterprise. Smith laid the intellectual framework that explained the free market and still holds true today. He is most often recognized for the expression “the invisible hand,” which he used to demonstrate how self-interest guides the most efficient use of resources in a nation’s economy, with public welfare coming as a by-product. To underscore his laissez-faire convictions, Smith argued that state and personal efforts, to promote social good are ineffectual compared to unbridled market forces.
9. Marie Antoinette was Queen Consort of France. Daughter of Empress Maria Theresa of Austria of the Habsburg dynasty and her consort, the Emperor Francis I, she was married to the heir to the French throne (later Louis XVI of France) in order to confirm the alliance between Austria and France. She and her husband were executed at the height of the French Revolution.
10. Hans Christina Andersen‘s literary fame grew rapidly from the mid-1830’s, when his novels enjoyed widespread circulation in Germany. From 1839 onwards it was the fairy-tales that created his quite exceptional reputation in that country. It is from the mid-1840’s that we date the great breakthrough in England and America for both tales and novels.