marycatelli (marycatelli) wrote,

tidbits cross time

Galileo's discovery that Jupiter had moons produced deep debate on whether they should be included in horoscopes, but the conclusion was that since they were so close to Jupiter, the effect would work as a lump.

Julius Caesar banned the wearing of pearls by commoners.

In the 19th century Britain, adolescent working-class boys could often out-earn not only their mothers, but their fathers. And thus they started on the grueling life that would break them down until they were unable to out-earn their own sons.

In the 17th century, an occupying Swedish Army would seize tax rolls, or survey the area, and systemically set the level of pillage. In allied or possibly useful regions, the peasants were allowed enough to survive; other places, it was set to starve them out. In Bohemia, one winter of occupation reduced the population by a third, and parts of Germany were still uninhabited over two centuries later.

The duchies in Germany at the time the Carolingian dynasty went extinct became known as the "stem" duchies.

Manchet bread was the very best bread in Tudor England, and so expensive that even the highest families ate it only on special days.

Vestal Virgins fetched their water from a certain spring every day. Not the nearest spring to their residence. It's not sure why that spring was chosen, especially this brought them into the public view.

Korea and China both had printing presses, but they both used wood for making their forms. Gutenberg used a hard iron die to make them, thus making them vastly easier to make in mass.

London was the first place where people stopped using wood to warm their homes and cook their meals. They used coal instead. By the end of the reign of Elizabeth I, a Star Chamber proceeding could casually mentioned that everyone used "sea coal" as fuel (coal imported by sea). This did not affect the woodlands much except to change some of the woods for more useful for construction and furniture. Some other areas, growing fuels less useful for other things, were soon utterly altered.

Barnum never said the line about a sucker every minute. It came from a competitor who was annoyed that Barnum's fake Cardiff Giant drew more than his own fake.

Excavations of medieval leper colonies reveals that virtually everyone there did indeed have advanced Hansen’s Disease, despite theorizing that they could not tell it from other skin conditions.

Rosemary for remembrance -- it was not only borne before the bride on the bridal procession to church, and distributed at funerals and baptism, to remember the dead, or the promises they had made on behalf of the baby, but also planted outside studies to help the scholar's work.

Romans were fond of such expressions as "By Hercules!" or "By Pollux" or "By Castor!" according to the writings we have. There is some speculation that these, invoking demigods rather than, say, "By Jove!" are in fact minced oaths like "darn" or "heck."

In the Tudor era, two-thirds of all apprenticeships failed before their term was supposed to be up.

Once the grand duchy of Luxemburg was inherited by the seventeenth cousin of the previous grand duke. (In the male line, where they traced inheritance. He was also his third cousin.)

The German verb magdeburgisieren arose from the notoriously vicious sack of Magdeburg during the Thirty Years' War, after which the place was a ghost town; more than half had died, and few of the survivors could continue to live there.

Mathematician Andre Weil was imprisoned by the French as a deserter during WWII until the Germans released him, apparently not noticing that he was a Jew.

In Tudor England, women who wore buttons and hats were scandalously masculine in attire.

In ancient Athens, brides would be welcomed to their new household with fruits and nuts. So would newly bought slaves.

British folklore held that swallows fed their young on a diet of buttercup flowers, thus giving them prophetic abilities and clear sight.

One reason why artillery development really took off in Europe is that, unlike China and India, the fortresses were highly vulnerable to it. This led to its taking the lead in firearm development in general.

Manuel I Komnenos was praised for his dark skin, showing no effeminate pallor. 

The first really acceptable ready-made clothes in Britain were for boys. The general looseness of the attire could be regarded as not poor fit but giving him room to grow.

In Columbia, a live firefly in the house is a sign that someone in the family will die.

Petronius stated that Romans could pass themselves off as Jews but they would need a mask (white or black) to pass as a Gaul or an Ethiopian.

Lawyers studying at Lincoln Court had an annual ball with a fixed list of dances. Like most such matters, it started with slow and stately ones, and the grave and elderly retired, grew immensely lively. Many Tudor dances were seriously atheletic.

There is a Portuguese proverb about oranges: In the morning it's gold, in the afternoon it's silver, and at night it kills.

Plymouth is the capital of Montserrat, which is kinda remarkable given that it's a ghost town after volcanic eruptions.

In Victorian times, a chemise, though an undergarment, was perfectly acceptable attire and could appear in advertisements, for soap for instance, without the young woman wearing it leaving an impression of looseness.
Tags: historical tidbits

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