Daily TWiP ArchivesSomething interesting has happened on (just about) every day of the year, and Daily TWiP provides the proof. An offshoot of my local events column The Week in Preview (affectionately known as TWiP), Daily TWiP was published April 2008-Aug. 2011 and is still giving readers reasons to celebrate.
More in "Daily TWiP"
- Daily TWiP - Oct. 23: National Mole Day
- Daily TWiP - June 18: International Picnic Day
- Daily TWiP - June 30, 1859: The Great Blondin crosses Niagara Falls on a tightrope
- Daily TWiP - Dec. 1, 1761: Famed wax sculptor Madame Tussaud born
- Daily TWiP - Dec. 4: National Cookie Day
- Daily TWiP - Oct. 8: National Fluffernutter Day
- Daily TWiP - Sept. 7, 1936: "Benjamin," the last thylacine, dies
- Daily TWiP - Nov. 12, 1933: First photograph of the Loch Ness Monster taken
- Daily TWiP - April 1, 1957: The BBC pulls off its infamous spaghetti tree hoax
- Daily TWiP - April 11, 1954: The most boring day of the 20th century
- Daily TWiP - May 3, 1978: The first spam email is sent
- Daily TWiP - Feb. 28, 1939: The non-word “dord” is discovered in Webster’s New International Dictionary
- Daily TWiP - March 3, 1931: "The Star-Spangled Banner," set to the tune of an English drinking song, becomes the U.S. national anthem
- Daily TWiP - May 16, 1777: The American with the most valuable autograph is fatally wounded in a duel
- Daily TWiP - May 25: Towel Day and Geek Pride Day
- Daily TWiP - June 30: National Ice Cream Soda Day
- Daily TWiP - July 22: Spoonerism Day
- Daily TWiP - Aug. 13: International Left-Handers' Day
- Daily TWiP - Aug. 23, 1784: The short-lived state of Franklin declares its independence from North Carolina
- Daily TWiP - Feb. 5, 1897: The Indiana General Assembly unanimously votes to change the value of pi
- Daily TWiP - March 10: International Day of Awesomeness and Chuck Norris' birthday
- Daily TWiP - Jan. 25: National Irish Coffee Day
- Daily TWiP - Nov. 30, 1954: Ann Hodges becomes the first person hit by a meteorite
- Daily TWiP - Oct. 6, 1582 does not happen in certain countries
- Daily TWiP - Sept. 17, 1859: Joshua A. Norton declares himself Emperor of the United States
- Daily TWiP - Sept. 30, 2004: First images of a live giant squid in its natural habitat are taken
- Daily TWiP - Aug. 27, 1896: The shortest war in recorded history is fought
- Daily TWiP - July 30, 1419: Czechs chuck politicians (literally) during the First Defenestration of Prague
- Daily TWiP - July 21, 356 B.C.: Herostratus destroys one of the Seven Wonders of the World to ensure his own fame
- Daily TWiP - May 14: National Dance Like A Chicken Day
- Daily TWiP - Jan. 26, 2004: Dead whale unexpectedly explodes in Tainan, Taiwan
- Daily TWiP - Jan. 8, 1835: U.S. national debt hits zero for the first and only time
Daily TWiP – July 21, 356 B.C.: Herostratus destroys one of the Seven Wonders of the World to ensure his own fame
Some people will try anything to get their names in the history books – even arson. That’s what was on the mind of a young man named Herostratus when he intentionally set fire to the Temple of Artemis in Ephesus today on July 21, 356 B.C.
Artemis was worshiped in Greece and Rome as the goddess of the hunt and of the moon, but in Ephesus (now in modern-day Turkey), she was venerated as a fertility goddess. Her temple had stood on or near the same site since 800 B.C. and had been subjected to several reconstructions and expansions over the centuries.
The most recent reconstruction, funded by the famously wealthy King Croesus of Lydia, was begun in 550 B.C. and finally completed 120 years later. The impressive finished product was considered one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World and attracted worshipers and visitors from near and far. The entire temple was made of marble except for the roof, which was wooden and therefore flammable.
Enter Herostratus, a young man with a burning desire for fame and no scruples as to how that fame was achieved. He decided to set fire to the Temple of Artemis in hopes that, through this act, everyone would know his name. To make sure no one took credit for his accomplishment, Herostratus publicly announced his responsibility for the fire and when questioned, freely admitted his reasons for setting it.
With their temple in ruins and the functioning of local religion and tourism completely disrupted, the Ephesians were less than impressed. Herostratus’ punishment was twofold: execution and damnatio memoriae.
Of the two punishments, Herostratus likely found the latter more appalling. The Latin phrase “damnatio memoriae” literally translates to “damnation of memory” and means that the individual in question was completely excised from history. Herostratus’ name was removed from all official records; if his likeness appeared in any paintings or statuary, it was erased or destroyed. People were forbidden to speak or write about him on pain of death.
In Herostratus’ case, damnatio memoriae served two purposes. Not only did it deny him the lasting glory he so desperately sought, it discouraged those with similar aspirations from following in his footsteps.
And yet, in spite of this, Herostratus’ name and infamous accomplishment have survived. Both were recorded by the historian Theopompus. To this day, those who seek personal glory at any cost are said to be seeking herostratic fame.
The Temple of Artemis was rebuilt several more times after the fire, meeting its final destruction in 401 A.D., when it was taken to pieces by John Chrysostom and his followers. Some of the temple columns are now part of Hagia Sophia and other bits of the temple’s architecture have been incorporated into other buildings in Constantinople.
– Teresa Santoski
Originally published July 21, 2010.