marycatelli (marycatelli) wrote,

tidbits cross time

In ancient Athens, one set of men were denounced in court as "wicked devils" for having held feasts on ill-omened days.

After Princess Dagmar was sent from Denmark to Russia to marry the crown prince but before they married -- he died.  At his deathbed, he took her hand and gave it to the next prince.  Those two did indeed marry.

Cutting wood for firewood produced critical shortages in colonial Massachusetts.

An ancient Greek mosaicist was particularly famous for one showing doves drinking from a birdbath.  You could even see their reflections.

In 19th century Denmark, princesses sewed and mended their own clothing.

When Robespierre and his lot were the targets of the Reign of Terror, it rained, which meant the mob did not gather to protest.  Tallyrand observed, "Rain is counterrevolutionary."

Herod's family had converted to Judaism, and he practiced it.  As witness the ancient observation that it was better to be Herod's swine than Herod's son.

In 1745, at Harvard, students were admonished not to wear silk nightshirts.

One Russian Grand Duke stole diamonds from his mother's icons in order to pay off debts incurred in a love-affair.  He was declared mad and exiled -- whereupon he crowned it by marrying a commoner, for which he lost his royal status.

Very few fish were suitable sacrifices in ancient Greece.  Tuna were acceptable -- to Poseidon.  One theory was that they were bloody, and so you could have a blood sacrifice; another that you could get enough tuna for the communal meal.

During the Battle of Concord, six soldiers surrendered to an old woman gathering weeds.  She told that if they ever got back, they could tell the king that an old woman had captured six grenadiers.

When Queen Victoria found that her daughter-in-law, a Russian princess, had lit a blazing fire in her fireplace, she ordered it quenched and the windows thrown wide open.

During the negotiations for Marie Antoinette's wedding, the French Ambassador in Ordinary left, only to return within hours as the Extraordinary Ambassador and be solemnly received again in the Austrian court.

When the tsar died from the injuries inflicted by a nihilist bomb, it was announced to the gathered crowds as "His Majesty wishes you all a long life."

Puritan New England founds itself countenancing Valentine's Day as impossible to eradicate.

In the Iliad, the heroes don't eat fish.  In the Odyssey, they eat them only when desperate for food and eating anything they can get.  Nevertheless, Plato argues that the Iliad shows that heroes should avoid luxury, so popular were fish in his own time.

After nihilists killed the tsar, the next tsar and his family lived in a castle where they were not allowed to lock the doors, so the secret police could check on them at any time.

In ancient Greece, being feminine and dressing up were considered marks of an invertebrate womanizer -- the sort of man who'd actually risk his life with adultery.
Tags: historical tidbits, politics, world-building: festivities, world-building: food, world-building: religion, world-building: royalty

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