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marycatelli

tidbits cross time

Scandinavian names were popular with English elites right up to the Norman Conquest, but vanished quickly after. Likewise in France the Normans quickly dropped Norse names -- among the nobles, the peasants hung on for a lot longer.

Among the Delaware tribe, a fire was known as pure if it was newly kindled -- and without matches or other unclean material.

A 19th century etiquette guide gave directions for saying farewell before a North Atlantic voyage: be cheerful, and avoid saddening those who are trying to be brave themselves.

When European nobles started giving their vassals money -- as opposed to maintaining them in the household with food and lodging, or granting them land as fiefs -- the money was still called and regarded as a fief.

Galusha Pennypacker, a general during the American Civil War, attained that rank at the age of twenty, thus making him the only general in American history to be too young to vote in federal elections.

A king of Wessex granted a lease where the rent was not due unless the place still had men and cattle, and was not reduced to a desert by raids.

In medieval chess, the queen could move diagonally only, and only one square. The current move was introduced slightly before the sixteenth century and the game was called "queen's chess" -- or "mad chess."

Levi Woodbury was the thirtieth US Supreme Court Justice. Also the first to have attended a formal law school.

Late Roman nobles often had bucellarii, personal guards, who were named after biscuits because they got a better ration than ordinary soldiers.

The tribes on the east coast of the future United States preferred to farm in sandy soil, because it was so much easier to work.

Parcenary was common in medieval France both for peasants and the poorer knights: all the sons of the family inherited together, worked the land together, shared the hearth together.

Nantucket's shoals doomed its fate as a port. Deep draft ships could not enter it. Even when the ships were shallow enough, they often missed a favorable wind because the tide was out and leaving the harbor was impossible.

From 500 to 800, Europe produced no surviving work in ivory -- which, because it survives very well, means that none was made, though it was popular among both Christians and pagans earlier. Walrus ivory was popular for a time after, though it grew less so as people wanted to make larger things.

The first meeting of forces that led to the battle of Gettysburg occurred when a unit of Confederate forces went looking for shoes and collided with Union troops.

Property was so tied to family in medieval Europe that the Church would often lose court cases about donations and have to pay off quite distant relatives whose permission had not been granted.

Harvard for its first two centuries had the rule that you had to know Greek and Latin to be admitted. And if you knew them, you would be admitted.

The first Christian crosses appear in Scandinavian graves about 900. The last Thor's Hammer appear about 1100.

American sailing ships were, unlike European ones, generally liners -- that was, they left when scheduled. It was quite common for European ships to delay for weeks, until their holds were full.

When, in medieval Europe, the bond between a lord and a vassal was broken through the lord's fault -- one law said that a vassal could not leave a lord who had given him a shilling's worth of gifts unless the lord had beaten him -- the final rule worked out was that he still held the fief, but as a vassal of whomever the lord was vassal of. (Didn't work with the king, but then, you couldn't really break the bond there.)

Accounts of King Phillip's War, in New England, were chock-full of special providences -- overwhelmingly, and at first exclusively, punishments and retributions. Only at later time were they peppered with accounts of protection.
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