What happened on this day in history: Marcus Junius Brutus dies by suicide in 42 B.C.E. after losing a battle to Octavian and Mark Antony, filmmaker Ang Lee is born in Taiwan in 1954, and other events on October 23rd.
42 B.C.E: Marcus Junius Brutus Dies By Suicide
Marcus Junius Brutus dies by suicide, allegedly by falling on his sword, around the age of 42 near Philippi, Macedonia. Two years earlier, Brutus had infamously betrayed Julius Caesar and orchestrated his assassination.
Though Brutus had hoped that Caesar’s death would restore the Roman Republic, it instead resulted in a string of civil wars. Brutus died by suicide after losing a battle to a force led by Caesar’s adopted son Octavian and Mark Antony. Antony would later die by suicide himself alongside his lover, the Egyptian Queen Cleopatra, paving the way for Octavian to assume the throne of the Roman Empire.
1247: Bethlem Hospital Is Founded
Bethlem Hospital is founded as a priory dedicated to St. Mary of Bethlehem in London, England. It was the first hospital of its kind dedicated specifically to caring for those who lived with mental illness or physical disability.
Over the centuries, however, it became less a rehabilitation facility than a nightmare of isolation and experimentation for people considered “mad.” Soon, Bethlem was nicknamed “Bedlam” because its patients were “stark Bedlam mad.” Many patients were subjected to treatments like blisters, bloodletting, and “rotational therapy,” in which they were suspended from the ceiling and spun around rapidly.
1954: Ang Lee Is Born
Ang Lee is born in P’ing-tung, Taiwan. A renowned filmmaker, Lee has written, directed, and produced a number of award-winning films. Lee originally wanted to be an actor, but he turned to directing once he realized his struggles with English would be difficult to overcome.
Since graduating from New York University’s film school in the 1980s, he’s been nominated for nine Academy Awards, and he won Best Director twice for Brokeback Mountain (2005) and Life of Pi (2012) as well as Best Foreign Language Film for Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (2000).
1995: Selena Quintanilla’s Killer Is Found Guilty
Yolanda Saldivar is found guilty of first-degree murder in the death of Selena Quintanilla. Six months earlier, Saldivar, the president of Quintanilla’s fan club, had shot and killed the singer at a Days Inn in Corpus Christi, Texas.
Saldivar admitted to the shooting but claimed it was an accident. Quintanilla’s family said that her relationship with the singer had soured once the family suspected Saldivar of stealing money from them.
1998: Dr. Barnett Slepian Is Killed By An Anti-Abortion Radical
Barnett Slepian is shot and killed at his Amherst, New York, home at the age of 52. One of three doctors who provided abortions in the greater Buffalo area in the 1990s, Slepian was murdered by James Charles Kopp, an anti-abortion radical.
Kopp fired a single shot through Slepian’s kitchen window that struck him in the chest, shattering his spine and tearing his aorta. He fled the United States following the murder but was arrested in France in 2001 and sentenced to life in prison.