Almanac – October 13

Fontanalia.  In ancient Roman religion, Fontus or Fons (plural Fontes, “Font” or “Source”) was a god of wells and springs. A religious festival called the Fontinalia was held on October 13 in his honor. Throughout the city, fountains and wellheads were adorned with garlands.

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54 – Nero ascends to the Roman throne.

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1244 – Jaques de Molay born. The 23rd and last Grand Master of the Knights Templar, leading the Order from 20 April 1292 until it was dissolved by order of Pope Clement V in 1307. Though little is known of his actual life and deeds except for his last years as Grand Master, he is the best known Templar, along with the Order’s founder and first Grand Master, Hugues de Payens

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1307 – Hundreds of Knights Templar in France were simultaneously arrested by agents of Phillip the Fair, to be later tortured into a “confession” of heresy. It was a Friday, leading some to hypothesize this to be the origins of the unlucky Friday 13th beliefs.

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1884 – Greenwich, in London, England, is established as Universal Time meridian of longitude.

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1917 – The “Miracle of the Sun” was witnessed by an estimated 70,000  people, who were gathered near Fátima, Portugal,  and claimed to have witnessed extraordinary solar activity. According to these reports, the event lasted approximately ten minutes. Three children also reported seeing a panorama of visions, including those of Jesus, the Blessed Virgin Mary, and of Saint Joseph blessing the people.
The event was officially accepted as a miracle by the Roman Catholic Church on 13 October 1930.

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1925 – Lenny Bruce born.  American comedian, social critic and satirist. He was renowned for his open, free-style, dangerous and critical form of comedy which integrated politics, religion, and sex. His tumultuous private life marked by substance abuse, promiscuity, as well as his efforts to prevent his wife from working as a stripper, make him a compelling figure, and he paved the way for future outspoken comedians. His trial for obscenity, in which – after being forced into bankruptcy – he was eventually found not guilty is seen as a landmark trial for freedom of speech.

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1940 – Pharoah Sanders born. American jazz saxophonist, once described by Ornette Coleman  as “probably the best tenor player in the world.”  Emerging from John Coltrane’s groups of the mid-1960s Sanders is known for his overblowing, harmonic, and multiphonic techniques on the saxophone, as well as his use of “sheets of sound”, and  is an important figure in the development of free jazz.

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