marycatelli (marycatelli) wrote,
marycatelli
marycatelli

tidbits cross time

Spelling bees are, as a rule, a practice only among English speakers.

Various Scandinavian legends about trolls that threatened travelers and were tricked into being out when the sun rose end with the new stone formation being a guide to travelers as a landmark.

The Manchu, after conquering China, dropped the Chinese forces from the prestigious Eight Banners military force -- but then had to bring them back because they could handle the artillery and muskets. Second class banner men, to be sure, and they were complaining about the decline of their skills long before they complained that about Manchu banner men.

Snow drops are, in French, perce-neiges -- snow-piercers.

Ancient Greeks named types of soldier after the shields they carried.

Every year, in October, the city of London gives an axe, knife, six horseshoes and precisely sixty-one nails are given to the Queen's Remembrancer as quit-rent. These items are over 550 years old, and the Crown loans them to the city every year for the ceremony.

A Manchu garrison in China had a garrison general and his lieutenant general, in theory his aide. In reality, he did not control the man's position and could not have him removed, only petition for it. It was common for the men to inform against each other to the emperor.

Nyctography is a form of writing invented by Lewis Carroll because inventing it was easier than going to the bother of lighting a lamp when he had a brilliant idea in the night.

Roman legions were sometimes punished by being forced to eat standing, and being given barley rather than wheat.

Mansa Musa’s pilgrimage to Mecca from West Africa featured giving gold to the countries he went through. Massive inflation ensued and much wrecking of economies.

Manchus used a different verb to refer to shooting an arrow depending on whether it was from horseback or while standing.

During World War II, the Germany forces often came to oases in North Africa only to discover that the British had put up signs warning that the waters had been poisoned. After complaints about this breach of the laws and customs of war, the British observed that there was, in fact, no law prohibiting putting up false signs.

Al Capone was the first to put expiration dates on milk.

The Kermode bear is a subspecies of black bear that sometimes has creamy white individuals. It's also known as the "spirit bear."

The English first were able to get bitter or Spanish oranges, and then sweet or China oranges. Both came from China, but one arrived in England by taking the long slow route over Asia to end up in Spain, and the second arrived straight by boat from China.

A medieval Scandanavian law forbade "sitting outside to awaken trolls" -- it appears to be a form of working magic, and is listed among such serious crimes as rape and oath-breaking.

Roman soldiers had to swear the sacramentum militare to serve the consul and later the emperor. This oath had to be given one by one, no matter how many soldiers were being sworn in -- it could take all day.

Ethiopians hold that the hyenas that scavenge in the cities ward off evil genies.

During the Qing dynasty, the Manchu lived in walled off garrison sections of cities. This was adapted very early after the conquest, when the soldiers were forbidden to visit Chinese homes or even the Chinese section of the city (apparently after problems with their harassingChinese.)

The habit of flying flags of convenience in peacetime started with the Prohibition, where ships didn't want to be subject to it and so registered as Panamanian.

Ancient Norse writings referred to the land of the dead as "troll land," and killing someone could be called giving that person to the trolls.

A Chinese writer during the Qing dynasty wrote that the Manchus' first ancestor was the offspring of a cross between a red dog and a white fox.

The abuse of loopholes to circumvent the Treaty of Versailles's limits on Germany armed forces, and outright if covert violation, was thoroughlyunderway in the Weimar Republic.

One Soviet general was court-martialed for losing to Finnish forces. The actual charge was losing twelve battlefield kitchens.

Mice and bats are not closely related. Mice are more closely related to humans, and bats to horses, than each to each other.

A Qing emperor objected to having Manchu officers among the lower Green Standard army, which handled more routine matters than the exalted Eight Banners. This would make them servile. A banner man, even a lowly guard, would scarcely bend a knee to an exalted chamberlain, but make him a major in the Green Standard, and soon he would think nothing of going to both knees.
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