marycatelli (marycatelli) wrote,

tidbits cross time

On trains in India during the 19th century, first-class and second-class had things "reserved for ladies." Third-class, and later fourth, had "women only." One tea planter, arriving in India, had it impressed on him by the British whom he met, that only dire financial exigency would allow him, being British, to take a second-class ticket; if he could possibly afford a first-class, he had to take it, and of course, third was impossible.

A Chinese emperor banned Manichaeism, and then Buddhism, Christianity, and Zoroastrianism with the stated reason of increasing the supply of money: bells and statues were to be melted down for coins.

When smallpox hit the Sioux, it also hit their custom of warriors daring each other to wear dead men's clothes, to prove they were not afraid of ghosts.

In ancient times, both the Greeks and the Indians could make silk. They used the broken cocoons of wild silkworms -- meaning, of course, they didn't get the long thread that killing the worm would get you.

A Russian legend states that an excavation found the tomb of Timur the Lame with the curse that whoever broke into it would suffer an invader worse than he was -- shortly before World War II. And that the war shifted only when the body was re-interred with proper rites.

Before paper spread to the Chinese cities in Central Asia, they often used wood slips for writing. Pine was used for imperial edicts; poplar and and other woods, which warped easily, for lesser matters

The British in India preferred goats to cows for milk, because they were not tubercular, and one forestry official brought a goat along on journeys, but brought other supplies for the children in case a tiger got the goat.

The first non-religious book to be published in Yiddish was Bovo-Bukh, a version of the chivalric romance Bevis of Hampton (with the religious themes reworked).

Paper was reused in China to make such things as clothes, shoes, and statues for the dead. As a consequence, some documents have been pieced together from the paper mache.

An Englishman who ran a school in India in the 19th century did, of course, include sports into the curriculum. One Indian pupil refused to learn to swim on the grounds that he was not a coolie; when the teacher said he might need it to save his mother from drowning, the pupil said he would order a coolie to pull her out.

An excavation on the Silk Road turned up a trove of Manichean hymns, greatly increasing the number of Manichean documents.

A Navajo medicine man can only treat a known condition. If the reason for the problem is not known, they have to bring in a hand trembler, who can diagnose, but not treat.

An estimated 35,000 words were introduced into the Chinese language by the translation of Buddhist scriptures from Sanskrit -- terms such as "sagacity" and "moment."

Indian cavalry regiments during the Raj would sometimes just leave their horses when they switched posts with another cavalry regiment, even though it might mean having to retrain the horses, owning to different tactics.

An Japanese emperor must be referred to by the name of his reign posthumously only. Doing such funerary things for a living person could put a death curse on him.

The first Roman coins to be found in China were Byzantine, from the sixth century.

A British soldier remembered its being easy to get permission to go shooting in India, after you had promised not to kill peacocks and monkeys, both of which were deemed sacred in the location.

Horses from Mongolia were highly prized in China; being able to feed on pastures, they grew larger and more sturdy.
Tags: historical tidbits

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