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Births: Roger II, King of Sicily, 1095; Hermann Samuel Reimarus, theologian and philosopher, 1694; James Edward Oglethorpe, colonist and founder of Georgia, 1696; Jean-Etienne Liotard, painter, 1702; Carl Friedrich Abel, composer, 1723; John Crome ("Old Crome"), landscape painter, 1768; Franz Abt, composer and conductor, 1819; Jean-Henri Fabre, naturalist, 1823; Charles Stuart Calverley, poet and parodist, 1831; William Hale White ("Mark Rutherford"), novelist, 1831; John Nevil Maskelyne, stage magician, 1839; Teresa Carreno, pianist, 1853; Giacomo Antonio Domenico Michele Secondo Maria Puccini, operatic composer, 1858; Edwin Arlington Robinson, poet, 1869; Franz Schmidt, composer, 1874; Edgard (Edgar Victor Achille-Charles) Varese, composer, 1883; Deems Taylor, composer, 1885; Alan Dudley Bush, composer, conductor and pianist, 1900; Pierre Brasseur (Pierre-Albert Espinasse), actor, 1905.

Deaths: Aulus Vitellius, Roman emperor, beheaded AD 69; Francois Clouet (Janet), miniature painter, 1572; Maximilien de Bethune, Duc de Sully, soldier and statesman, 1641; Giovanni Francesco Barbieri (Guercino), painter, 1666; Richard Alleine, religious writer, 1681; Michel Baron (Michel Boyron), actor and playwright, 1729; Jan Dismas Zelenka, composer, 1745; Simon Mathurin Lantara, landscape painter, 1778; James Harris, grammarian, 1780; Sir Philip Francis, civil servant and writer, 1818; The Rev Martin Joseph Routh, scholar, 1854; George Eliot (Mary Ann Evans), novelist, 1880; Henry Watterson, journalist and politician, 1921; Dwight Lyman Moody, evangelist, 1899; Baron Richard von Krafft-Ebing, psychiatrist, 1902; Nathanael West (Nathan Wallenstein Weinstein), novelist, 1940; Franz Boas, anthropologist, 1942; Helen Beatrix Potter, writer and artist, 1943; Harry Langdon, silent film comedian, 1944; Richard Frederick Dimbleby, television commentator, 1965; Josef von Sternberg, film director, 1969; Darryl Francis Zanuck, film producer, 1979; William Henry Pilkington, Baron Pilkington, 1983; David Penhaligon MP, killed in a car accident 1986; Lord (Ted) Willis, playwright, politician and writer, 1992.

On this day: the Gregorian calendar was introduced into Germany and Switzerland, 1583; James Stuart, the Old Pretender, landed at Peterhead, 1715; the first pantomime in England was staged at the Lincoln's Inn Theatre, 1716; Beethoven's 5th and 6th (Pastoral) symphonies were first played in Vienna, 1808; Alfred Dreyfus was convicted and sentenced to imprisonment on Devil's Island, 1895; the Ministry of Pensions was first set up, 1916; the musical show Lilac Time was first produced in London, 1922; in Java, the Merapi volcano erupted, causing over 700 deaths, 1930; the musical show High Button Shoes was first produced in London, 1948; the withdrawal of British and French forces from Port Said was completed, 1956; Southern Rhodesia left the Commonwealth, 1966; Kurt Waldheim was elected Secretary- General of the United Nations, 1971; a violent earthquake in Guinea resulted in over 400 deaths, 1983; a Pan American jumbo jet crashed on to the town of Lockerbie in Scotland, killing all 259 passengers and crew, and 11 people on the ground, 1988.

Today is the Feast Day of St Chaeremon and Others, St Flavian of Tuscany, St Ischyrion and St Zeno.