marycatelli (marycatelli) wrote,

tidbits cross time

The island of Lemnos had a periodic ritual by which all the fires were put out, rites were performed to propitiate the dead, and the fires, especially of those people whose professions needed fire, were relit with fire that was brought from Delos. In event that the fire reached Lemnos early, they would wait on the high seas.

Captain Cook got his crew to eat sauerkraut against scurvy by having plates of it prepared for the officers' mess, but not the sailors', who had to explicitly ask for it. They quickly picked up the practice.

The Ocean of Mercury, a Hindu alchemical text, warns that whoever disparages mercury will lose its protection for a billion rebirths -- whether among the thousand as a dog, or thirty thousand as a cat, a vulture for a hundred thousand, and many other animals.

Sign language among the Australian Aboriginals was most developed in tribes where there were taboos after speaking for weeks or months -- often while in mourning.

The Quaker George Fox objected to the Puritans for their "ribbons and lace and costly apparel," and also "sporting and feasting."

The peacock was known as the k'ung sparrow in China. (Then, the ostrich was known as the camel-sparrow in Libya.) The peahen was said to conceive when their voices or shadows touched, or else when it thundered.

At the Battle of the Pyramids, the Mamluks were slaughtered. Napoleon had told his troops that the reason they were so shiny was that they wore treasure and that, just for once, he would let his troops loot.

Berengaria of Portugal, having become queen of Denmark, was the first queen of that kingdom to wear a crown. (She was much less popular than her predecessor, Queen Dagmar. Legends had Dagmar, dying, beg her husband to marry a different woman.)

The Naskapi would determine where to hunt caribou by heating the shoulder blade of caribou until they cracked, and then reading them like a map.

The British sent rebels from India to the Cellular Jail, which not only let them be imprisoned but because they were on an island, threatened them with loss of caste.

T'ang China issued proclamations against women who rode -- even wearing the barbarian curtain hat which could expose their faces -- instead of being properly concealed in carriages.

When Captain Cook reach Tasmania, the Tasmanians rejected offers of fish, though they would accept bread -- and this despite an archaeological record that indicated they fished at one time.

The Durga Puja -- a festival in honor of Durga -- included not only images but a bundle of nine different plants, wrapped in a sari, for worship.

In ancient Corinth they would intern seven boys and seven girls, all dressed in black, for a year at the temple of Hera Arkaia -- which was said to have the graves of Medea's children. At the end of the year, a black she-goat would be sacrificed, which started with the goat being forced to dig up the sword that would be used. The sword was reburied for the next year, and goat.

Genghis Khan hunted with ferrets.

Kantu in Indonesia would use bird augury to determine where to put their rice plots. Not only the birds sighted but their specific cries could be favorable or unfavorable.

Broadway Tower in England was a folly constructed to determine how far the beacons on that hill could be seen. It since served as the home of the printing press, an artists' retreat, and a Cold War nuclear monitoring station.

Tenjin is the Japanese deity of scholarship -- and natural disaster. (Stems from being a scholar sent unjustly into exile. Disasters in the wake of his death were interpreted as his angry ghost.)

The Scandinavian term for "water lily" is "nix rose" after the water fairy nix. Red water lilies are said to stem from a man who promised his daughter in return for fine catches of fish, but when he brought her, she stabbed herself and fell into the lake dead, staining the flowers.

The term "feather-clothed" is used for Daoist masters who are -- so to speak -- fully fledged, especially those who had transformed to an ethereal condition. But there are also many records of Daoists wearing actual feathered garments.

When Canadian and American lumberjacks were facing off in disputed territory in what was to be Caribou Maine, coincidentally, the Canadians were attacked by a black bear. Their shots, killing it, were taken by the Americans as an attack; they returned fire. No one was actually injured in the Battle of Caribou except the bear.
Tags: historical tidbits

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