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TODAY: Births: Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio, painter, 1573; John ''Gentleman'' Jackson, pugilist, 1768; Richard Bright, discoverer of ''Bright's disease'', 1789; Prosper Merimee, playwright and novelist, 1803; Francis Turner Palgrave, poet and editor, 1824; Georges Clemenceau, statesman, 1841; Peter Finch, actor, 1916. Deaths: Andrea del Sarto, painter, 1530; Herman Melville, novelist, 1891; Louis Pasteur, chemist, 1895; Emile- Edouard Charles- Antoine Zola, novelist, 1902; Gerard Hoffnung, humorist, artist and musician, 1959; Estelle Sylvia Pankhurst, feminist, 1960; Arthur ''Harpo'' Marx, comedian, 1964; Andre Breton, pioneer of Surrealism, 1966; Gamal Abdel Nasser, statesman, 1970; Wystan Hugh Auden, poet, 1973; Pope John Paul I, 1978; Sir Robert Helpmann, dancer, 1986; The Hon William Douglas-Home, playwright, 1992. On this day: the Persians were defeated by the Greeks at the Battle of Marathon, 490 BC; Calais surrendered to the English, 1347; Elizabeth Garrett Anderson was admitted to the register as the first qualified woman physician and surgeon in Britain, 1865; Marks and Spencer's first shop opened, 1894. Today is the Feast Day of St Annemund or Chamond, St Eustochium of Bethlehem, St Exuperius or Soupire of Toulouse, St Faustus of Riez, St Ferreolus of Vienne, St Lioba and St Wenceslaus of Bohemia.

TOMORROW: Births: Tintoretto (Jacopo Robusti), painter, 1518; Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra, playwright and novelist, 1547; Francois Boucher, painter, 1703; Horatio, Viscount Nelson, admiral, 1758; Mrs Elizabeth Cleghorn Gaskell, novelist, 1810; Sir Billy Butlin, holiday-camp pioneer, 1899. Deaths: Carson McCullers, novelist, 1967; Wystan Hugh Auden, poet, 1973. On this day: a British Mandate was proclaimed over Palestine, 1923; the BBC Third Programme started, 1946. Tomorrow is the Feast Day of St Gabriel, St Michael and St Raphael, archangels, Saints Rhipsime, Gaiana and Companions and St Theodota of Philippolis.