Before Julius Caesar was made dictator for life, he engaged in a civil war with his rival Pompey. Caesar started the war by crossing the Rubicon River into Italy, reportedly uttering the words Iacta alea est—"the die is cast." Pompey fled and was eventually killed after Caesar pursued him to Egypt. From Egypt, Caesar went to Syria and Pontus, where in 47 BCE he defeated Pharnaces II with such ease that he reported his victory with the words Veni, vidi, vici—meaning what?
E. M. Forster
Back in the day
The Smurfs, or Les Schtroumpfs in French, are a fictional race of forest-dwelling creatures that stand just "three apples high" and have blue skin. The Belgian cartoonist Peyo introduced Smurfs to the world, but English speakers perhaps know them best from the Hanna-Barbera Productions animated television series. The Smurf franchise has spawned movies, television shows, figurines, and countless other types of merchandise. How did Peyo come up with the name for his famous creatures?
Born on a day like today
In 1999, Brazilian footballer Edson Arantes do Nascimento, better known as Pelé, was named Athlete of the Century by the International Olympic Committee. Over the course of his 21-year career from 1956 to 1977, he scored 1,281 goals, captured every scoring record in Brazil, and led his national team to three World Cup victories. After his superb first World Cup appearance in 1958, Brazilian officials feared that their star player might be poached by a European club and did what prevent this?