1199 — King Richard I of England dies

Richard I of England is one of its most legendary kings – better known in those legends as either “Richard the Lionheart”, and “Richard Coeur de Lion” – but probably also one of its worst. Of his ten year reign, he spent about six months (and none at all of his last five years) in England. He also spoke no English, despite being born there. He spent most of his reign fighting in the Crusades, and most of the remainder in his assorted French domains.

His death was from a gangrenous wound taken while trying to put down a rebellion in France. He left behind no direct heir, leading to England and France each being ruled by different claimants – his brother John in England (yes, THAT King John) and his nephew (via his other brother Geoffrey) Arthur in France. His legacy was one of warfare and loss, as neither claimant could conquer the entire territory that Richard has inherited.

Referenced in:

Kings — Steely Dan

1178 BCE — Odysseus reclaims the throne of Ithaca

Tradition holds that this is the day that the Odyssey ended: that Ulysses returned to Ithaca, recruited his son and other allies, and tricked his wife’s suitors before slaughtering them all. Along the way, he was also reunited with, in order, his dog (who died of old age shortly thereafter), his father, his childhood nurse, and finally, his wife, Penelope, the most faithful woman in all of Greek Myth.

Twenty years after his departure for the ringing fields of windy Troy, the very last of the Danaans returned home. The age of myth in Greece, as we know it, ended shortly thereafter, with the final triumph of the wiliest and most determined of all the heroes of Greece.

Referenced in:

Steely Dan — Home At Last