Book Ends/Real Life

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Note that some Book Ends can be spoilers, so beware.

Examples of Book Ends in Real Life include:

  • The Eastern Roman Empire, more commonly known as Byzantium, began with an emperor called Constantine, Flavius Valerius Aurelius Constantinus, who founded the city of Constantinople in 330. It ended with an emperor called Constantine, Constantine XI Palaeologus, who died when the city fell to the Turks in 1453. Similarly, Rome itself was founded as a city by a man called Romulus, while the last Roman Emperor (in the west) was called Romulus Augustus. It gets deeper, with the first Emperor of Rome having had chosen the name Augustus. The last Western Roman Emperor shared his name with both founders.
    • Emperor Julius Nepos continued to be recognized by Odoacer as Emperor of the West for four years after Romulus Augustus, but because he didn't rule the city of Rome (his empire was limited to the province of Dalmatia), it's more romantic to ignore him and specifically invoke Book Ends on the Western Empire.
    • The Roman Republic also began and ended with a rebellion and civil war involving a man named Brutus.
    • Arguably, the Roman Empire begins with a single city (Rome) sacked by a powerful neighboring people (the Gauls, in 390 BC). The Romans declared that this must never happen again. It ends eighteen hundred years later with a single city (Constantinopel) sacked by a powerful neighboring people (the Turks, in 1453 AD).
  • Mark Twain, the author of Tom Sawyer and The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn was actually born when Halley's Comet was at its perihelion (when it is closest to the Sun), and he actually died when said comet was at its perihelion again 75 years later.
    • It was actually one of his life's goals to live between the comet's appearances.
  • The American Civil War's first major battle was The First Battle of Bull Run (July 18, 1861), and the Confederates used Wilmer McLean's house as a headquarters. During the war, Wilmer eventually moved to the quiet(er) community (one that wasn't right on the front lines), of Appomattox Courthouse Virginia. On April 8, 1865, Confederate General Robert E. Lee finally decided to surrender his forces, and he sent out a messenger to find a house to handle the surrender in. The house the messenger found was Wilmer McLean's. The war started in his yard, and ended in his parlor.
    • Also, the war began with the Union Loss of Fort Sumter. Shortly after the war, on April 14, 1865, Fort Sumter had a flag-raising ceremony where the same commander who took the flag down when the Union lost the fort raised the same flag up. While this is nice bookends for the fort itself, this ceremony of taking back the fort was on the very same day Abraham Lincoln was assassinated - the last major loss of the Civil War.
  • For many people, their life begins and ends in a hospital.
  • There's that Stephen Wright joke that he wished his first word had been "Quote", so that on his deathbed he could say "Unquote".
  • One theory about how the universe will end is that the universe will eventually stop expanding and collapse until everything explodes back into a small singularity, much like the Big Bang that created the universe, but played backwards. Averted however, by the fact that more recent studies show that the universe is still expanding, meaning that everything will ultimately fade away as the universe is one day doomed to expand forever.
    • Also averted with most stars, since they usually expand when they die. Played straight, however that most stars are born from nebulae, and some turn into nebulae when they die.
    • Also played straight with the Earth. Approximately about 1 billion years ago, it was too hot to support life due to its surface completely being covered by magma, but in another 1 billion years, the Sun's transformation into a red giant will again make it too hot to support life.
      • Also because of the Sun's gradual increase in brightness, the Earth in the distant future will actually experience the same conditions as in its distant past but in the reverse order (for example, in the past there was a supercontinent preceding a meteorite collision preceding an ice age, in the future there will be an ice age followed by a meteorite collision followed by a supercontinent). At the same time the last living things will actually die out in the reverse order of how they evolves, with the last to appear also being the first to vanish. As a result the last living things to disappear will actually be bacteria, which were also the first to appear on our planet.
    • And should humanity go extinct, then many of our iconic buildings will actually deteriorate in the reverse order of how and when they were built: the more modern skyscrapers will be among the first to crumble away, while structures lasting since the ancient times (such as the Pyramids of Egypt) will take millenia to disappear.
  • There is a joke that you begin and end your life in diapers.
  • Several people died on their birthdays. The most famous would probably be Ingrid Bergman. Tradition also holds this for William Shakespeare. (We only know when he was baptized and when he died, but the dates are such that it's certainly possible.)
  • Muammar Gaddafi - born in Sirte, killed in Sirte.
  • In general, the life cycle of any given species — many organisms don't live long after producing offspring of the same form (egg, tiny animal, what-have-you) that they entered the world in. This is most noticeable with creatures that metamorphose, such as frogs or butterflies.
    • Or species that reproduce by splitting, such as bacteria. The individual bacterium is born when its "parent" splits, and it dies when it splits into two more bacterium.
  • "What hath God wrought?" was both the very first, and the very last, telegraph transmission.
    • To be a little more specific, "What hath God wrought?" was the first electric telegram, sent in 1837. (Optical telegraphs, using smoke, mirrors, or semaphore, existed long before.) The "last telegram" mentioned above was the last telegram sent by Western Union. Telegraph is still in use in countries including Bahrain, Germany, Japan, and Sweden, mainly for formal notices (mainly funerals, weddings, and births), and for sheer novelty. It's also still in use in areas of the world without Internet access.
  • People sometimes go through these without taking much note of it. For example, you begin and end the day asleep.

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