Episode 11 of 57weeks.COM pOdcast. Coffee Episode

A brief review of the “explosive” events that lead to the unconditional surrender of Japan in World War II.

Japan Surrenders, WW II

This episode includes a brief review of the “explosive” events that lead to the unconditional surrender of Japan in World War II.
Episode available on 57Weeks.Com or Spotify.

Episode #002 of 57Weeks pOdcast is now online

Episode highlights: Still looking for a motto; a woman caught in the act; the differences in generations.

Henry VIII — A summary of his sordid life

King Henry VIII
King Henry VIII of England, by Workshop of Hans Holbein the Younger 1497/8Ss

Here are the quick facts on King Henry VIII 1

  • Born: 28 June 1491
  • Died:  28 January 1547
  • Married 6 times (see list below)
  • Children:
    • Elizabeth I
    • Mary I
    • Edward IV
  • Broke with the Roman Catholic Church
  • His first marriage, to Catherine of Aragon, had failed
    to produce a son and male heir to the throne.
  • Henry asked Pope Clement VII to grant him a divorce from Catherine. He argued that the marriage was against God’s will, due to the fact that she had briefly been married to Henry’s late brother, Arthur.
  • Divorce wasn’t really a Catholic option, so the real relief sought was annulment — as if the marriage had never taken place.
    • Henry claimed the marriage was never valid because of Catherine’s marriage to his brother.  See Leviticus 20:21:

      And if a man shall take his brother’s wife, it is an unclean thing: he hath uncovered his brother’s nakedness; they shall be childless.

    • However most people know this verse applies to living brothers, not a deceased brother.
    • Catherine’s nephew, Charles V, the Holy Roman Emperor,  had sieged Rome and had virtually surrounded the pope.
    • Henry asked and received the Pope’s blessing to go ahead with the marriage in 1509.


  1. Catherine of Aragon, Married 11 June 1509 – 23 May 1533 (23 years, 11 months and 12 days) . Annulled Died 7 January 1536. Mother of Queen Mary I.
  2. Anne Boleyn, m. 28 May 1533 – 17 May 1536 (2 years, 11 months and 19 days). Annulled, then beheaded. Died 19 May 1536. Beheaded at the Tower of London. Mother of Queen Elizabeth I.
  3. Jane Seymour, m. 30 May 1536 – 24 October 1537 (1 year, 4 months and 24 days). Died 24 October 1537, twelve days after giving birth due to complications. Mother of King Edward VI.
  4. Anne of Cleves, m. 6 January 1540 – 9 July 1540 (6 months and 3 days). Annulled. Died 16 July 1557.
  5. Catherine Howard, m. 28 July 1540 – 23 November 1541 (1 year, 3 months and 26 days). Beheaded. Died 13 February 1542. Beheaded at the Tower of London.
  6. Catherine Parr, 12 July 1543 – 28 January 1547 (3 years, 6 months and 16 days) . Survived Henry VIII. Later remarried to Thomas Seymour. Died 5 September 1548.

  1. SOURCES:  C N Trueman “Henry’s Divorce from Catherine,” historylearningsite.co.uk; “How Henry VIII’s Divorce Led to Reformation,” History.com; Modern World History, Houghton, Mifflin, Harcourt, (2018) []

Seven Wonders of Ancient World #2 — Hanging Gardens of Babylon


Hanging Gardens of Babylon
Hanging Gardens of Babylon, by Ferdinand Knab, 1886

According to ancient Greek poets, the Hanging Gardens of Babylon were built near the Euphrates River in modern-day Iraq by the Babylonian king Nebuchadnezzar II around 600 B.C. The gardens were said to have been planted as high as 75 feet in the air on a huge square brick terrace that was laid out in steps like a theater. The king allegedly built the towering gardens to ease his lover Amytis’ homesickness for the natural beauty of her home in Media (the northwestern part of modern-day Iran). Later writers described how people could walk underneath the beautiful gardens, which rested on tall stone columns. Most modern scholars believe that the existence of the gardens was part of an inspired and widely believed but still fictional tale.

New 7 Wonders of the World, #5

Statue of Christ the Redeemer, Rio de Janeiro
Statue of Christ the Redeemer, Rio de Janeiro

5.  Statue of Christ the Redeemer, Rio de Janeiro.  In 1921 the Roman Catholic archdiocese of Rio de Janeiro proposed that a statue of Christ be built on the 2,310-foot summit, which, because of its commanding height, would make it visible from anywhere in Rio. Citizens petitioned Pres. Epitácio Pessoa to allow the construction of the statue on Mount Corcovado.

Permission was granted, and the foundation stone of the base was ceremonially laid on April 4, 1922—to commemorate the centennial on that day of Brazil’s independence from Portugal—although the monument’s final design had not yet been chosen. That same year a competition was held to find a designer, and the Brazilian engineer Heitor da Silva Costa was chosen. Funds were raised privately, principally by the church. Under Silva Costa’s supervision, construction began in 1926 and continued for five years. During that time materials and workers were transported to the summit via railway.

Seven Wonders of the Ancient World #3 — Statue of Zeus at Olympia

Statue of Zeus at Olympia
Statue of Zeus at Olympia

3. The Statue of Zeus at Olympia was created by Greek sculptor Phidias. The statue depicted the god Zeus seated on his throne, his skin of ivory and robes of hammered gold, and was 40 feet tall, designed to inspire awe in the worshipers who came to the Temple of Zeus at Olympia.  The Temple at Olympia fell into ruin after the rise of Christianity. The statue was carried off to Constantinople where it was later destroyed, sometime in either the 5th or 6th centuries CE, by an earthquake.

Seven Wonders of the Ancient World #1 — The Great Pyramid of Giza

Great Pyramid of Gaza1. The Great Pyramid, located at Giza on the west bank of the Nile River north of Cairo in Egypt, is the only one of these seven wonders of the ancient world that has lasted to the present day.   It was build about 2584–2561 BC.