193 — The House of Severus becomes Rome’s rulers

Septimius Severus was the fifth and final Emperor of the infamous “Year of the Five Emperors” – and as that suggests, also the most successful. He reigned as the Roman Emperor for eighteen years, and founded a dynasty that would last for another 24 years beyond him.

Aside from Septimius himself, the best known of the Severans is probably Elagabalus (a.k.a. Heliogabalus). The dynasty’s record is mixed: although Septimius Severus successfully restored peace following the civil war of the late 2nd century, the dynasty was disturbed by highly unstable family relationships, and constant political turmoil. It was the last Imperial Roman dynasty of the Principiate (i.e. the Emperorship as founded by Augustus).

Referenced in:

Imperial Rome — Aska

1890 – Joseph Merrick, the Elephant Man, dies

Joseph Merrick (often incorrectly called John) was one of the most notoriously deformed human beings ever to live. Among other unusual features, he had thick, lumpy skin with enlarged lips, and a bony lump growing from his forehead. One of his arms and both of his feet became enlarged, and at some point during his childhood he fell and damaged his hip, resulting in Merrick becoming perpetually lame.

He made a living (of sorts) as a circus freak for many years (about the only work he could get – Merrick had no illusions about how others regarded his appearance, although those able to look beyond that generally reported him to be friendly and well-mannered, if understandably shy), until a Dr Frederick Treves arranged for him to reside in a hospital in London. It was here that Merrick spent the last six years of his life, being examined by the finest medical minds that the Victorian Era had to offer, and remaining (even to this day) enigmatically undiagnosable. Merrick was only 27 when he died, apparently from injuries caused in his sleep by his enlarged head bones. Most of what is known about him today comes from the writings of Treves, which were unfortunately rather subjective.

Referenced in:
If I Had A Million Dollars — Bare Naked Ladies

1980 – “Fridays” premieres

A short-lived competitor to “Saturday Night Live”, “Fridays” ran for three seasons on ABC from 1980 to 1982. It had a similar format to SNL – sketches, a guest host and musical guests – but was generally noted for having a sharper satirical edge to its politics. While it did not pull in the ratings ABC hoped, it did well enough to last three years.

It also launched a few careers, notably those of Larry David and Michael Richards, both of whom would go on to much greater success with “Seinfeld” a decade later – and almost all the regular cast members of “Fridays” have popped up on “Seinfeld”, sometimes as recurring characters.

Referenced in:
TV Party — Black Flag