November 15: Winwæd

Folio 3 versa from Bede's Ecclesiastical History, MSS Petersburgiensis.

Looking through the list of events for November 15, I ran across this one: 655 – Battle of the Winwaed: Penda of Mercia is defeated by Oswiu of Northumbria Wikipedia, November 15 entry I had not heard of the battle, or the river Winwæd, or of Penda or Oswiu, although I do have a vague… Continue reading November 15: Winwæd

November 6: SN 1572

Location of SN 1572 in Cassiopeia

Sometime between November 2 and November 11 (so traditionally the midpoint at November 6) a number of individuals recorded a “new star” in the constellation of Cassiopeia. This constellation is within 30° of the North Pole star, so that European sixteenth century observers, the new object was visible through the long November night. By November… Continue reading November 6: SN 1572

November 4: Chloroform

Effects of Chloroform on J. A. Simpson. Credit: Wellcome Library, London.

In 1847, a London obstetrician named James Simpson invited a few friends over for an experiment. He was interested in finding an anesthetic that could be used during difficult childbirth situations, especially those involving surgery. He had managed to obtain some chloroform from a local pharmacist. Sitting together in his dining room on the evening… Continue reading November 4: Chloroform