October 27, 2022

#ThrowbackThursday – 27 October

Ah, youth. For some, it marks the period between childhood and adulthood; for others, it’s a state of mind. Fleeting or eternal, there is no in-between. What you choose to do with your youth is up to you, but as those who became before us have taught us, make the best of it so that when you look back upon it, you do so not with longing, but with satisfaction and happiness.

With that being said, take a look at these three, youth-flung events that went down in history on 27 October:

312 – A Cross Path to Victory

A day before the momentous Battle of Milvian Bridge, Roman Emperor Constantine received a vision – one which, according to legend, helped him to triumph over his enemies.

A year before, Maxentius – son of the former senior emperor Maximian – declared war against 24-year-old Constantine so that he could claim total power over the Roman Empire. So, in the spring of 312, Constantine led his army towards Milvian Bridge, a vital route that led into Rome from the north. In Rome itself, Maxentius awaited with an army far larger in number than Constantine’s.

Doubtlessly, it would seem that victory would come to Maxentius. But not so.

For on the evening of 27 October, Constantine is said to have received inspiration in the form of a vision from God, He of the Christian faith which was fast becoming the most dominant religion in the empire.

Famed historian Eusebius wrote an account of Constantine’s vision: “He saw with his own eyes the trophy of a cross of light in the heavens, above the sun, and bearing the inscription, ‘In Hoc Signo Vinces’ (By this sign, you will conquer). At this sight, he himself was struck with amazement, and his whole army also, which followed him on this expedition and witnessed the miracle.”

Seeing this as a sign of impending victory (and of divine right, probably), Constantine ordered his troops to emblazon their shields with a symbol that would come to be known as the “Chi Rho” – the Greek letter Χ (Chi) with the perpendicular letter P (Rho) drawn through it and turned round, so that it resembled a cross.

The next day, Maxentius was defeated at the hands of Constantine. The former’s army attempted to retreat over the narrow Milvian Bridge, only to be trampled to death by the latter’s troops or to drown in the Tiber River. Constantine is said to have rode into Rome with the head of Maxentius and hailed as the emperor of the empire.

Winning this battle also cemented Constantine’s growing acceptance of Christianity, which at the time of his death 25 years later would become the most dominant religion in the empire and across Europe itself.

1955 – “Rebel” Without James Dean

Without a doubt, “Rebel Without a Cause”, an American drama film directed by Nicholas Ray, is one of the most iconic films to ever be made. Which is why it’s a huge shame that its leading man, James Dean, never got to see it.

Released on 27 October, “Rebel” brews with teenage angst aplenty: moving to a new town, troubled teenager Jim Stark (played by Dean) struggles to find a purpose in his life while also having to deal with his problematic home-life. As a result, he falls in with other troubled delinquents.

Critics adored Dean’s portrayal of Jim, praising him for his effective and provocative performance of a rebellious teenager. In fact, his performance is considered to be one of the highlights of the movie, which has since become a classic.

Although it would be Dean’s most celebrated role, it would unfortunately be his last: on 30 September – nearly a month before “Rebel” was released – he died at the age of 24 in a car accident in Cholame, California.

1964 – Ding Dong, The Wedding Bell(-Bottom)s are Ringing!

Most couples dream of having the perfect wedding: the venue, the catering, the outfits … everything has to be the epitome of a chef’s kiss on their special day.

But then you had couples like Sonny Bono and Cherilyn “Cher” Sarkisian, who unofficially exchanged their vows in a hotel bathroom while wearing bell-bottoms (at least, that’s how Cher was dressed anyway).

The American musical pop duo first met back in 1962: Cher was 16-years-old, freshly dropped out of high school and determined to become a star; Bono was 26-going-on-27 and already separated from his wife. Although their connection wasn’t instant, they agreed to move in together and their romantic relationship began from there.

In 1964, the same year in which they formed their musical partnership “Sonny & Cher”, the duo “tied the knot” in the bathroom of a hotel room in Tijuana, Mexico. Instead of a wedding dress, Cher reportedly wore bell-bottom jeans – a garment that she and her hubby would help make mainstream in later years.

Five years later, the “I Got You Babe” hitmakers officially got married, but their marriage disintegrated in 1975. They soon pursued their own relationships, with Cher in particular getting hitched to Gregg Allman of The Allman Brothers Band just days after her divorce was finalised.

Not quite the vision of post-wedding bliss that most couples aspire to, but hey, if it’s worth a trip to Mexico, then …

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