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Gold medal

Go for the Gold: The Strange History of Olympic Medals

At the first Olympic Games back in 776 BCE, competitors did not receive medals. Instead the top athletes were crowned with wreaths made of olive leaves. This tradition continued until Roman emperor Theodosius I (or perhaps his son) abolished the Olympics around the year 400 CE. The revival of the Olympics dates from the late [...]

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  • Place de la Bastille

    What is a Bastille?

    On Bastille Day, the world parties in the name of France. But do you know what makes Bastille Day so important not just for France but the history of all democracies? The occasion is typically honored with military parades and copious consumption of libations. This mix of weapons and wooziness arguably sums up the legacy of July 14, 1789. [...]

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  • star-spangled banner 2

    The Forgotten Verses of “The Star-Spangled Banner”

    Do you know all the words to “The Star-Spangled Banner”? Many people have difficulty memorizing the lyrics of the first verse of this song, which is commonly performed at sports events and other public gatherings. But did you know that there are three additional verses that we almost never hear? In 1814, the poet and [...]

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