marycatelli (marycatelli) wrote,

tidbits cross time

The City Hotel, in early 19th century New York, had a barman, Williard, who was legend for his memory of the guests -- and never leaving the hotel, which was proven by his not having a hat, an absolute necessity for going outside in those times.

Italian immigrants stuck stubbornly to Italian food in the United States.  Some employers had to provide separate locations to eat.  Then, it was a lot cheaper -- a little more than a third of the price of American diet -- even though they were eating better than ever before.  Meanwhile, they were producing a "fusion" cuisine:  Italian, by dint of neighborly exchange.  Spaghetti with meatballs combined two signs of luxury:  pasta and meat.

Prussian Junkers were not allow to go aboard -- even to study; their estates were forfeited if they did.

During the Middle Ages and Rennaissance, there was a persistent legend about a communication device involving needles -- you moved one to point at a letter, and miles away the matching needle would move likewise.  It is based, probably, about the way magnetized needles will move in synchroncity, though only in close quarters.

In the Epic of Gilgamesh, the other gods snub the sun god for the way he's willing to show himself to mortals every day.

Under Louis XIV, recruiting commoners to serve as officers did not produce much conflict, because the commoners would take on the task as aspiring noblemen.

In Nazi Germany it was forbidden to send Christmas cards.  It was also forbidden to play Christmas carols on the radio except for O Tannenbaum which did not actually refer to the holiday.

In medieval times, Bologna was known as the Fat.  For its prosperity -- though even it faced famine at times.  In the Rennaissance it was known for a sausage called mortadella.  The first reference to it is a cardinal issuing a decree against falsifying the recipe for which they had been known from ancient times, and so the first reference to fake age for it.

The very oldest perfumes use the same sorts of scents, such as musk and rose, that are used in perfumes to this day.

The Prussian officer class was rigidly noble.  Even middle-class officers were quickly granted titles.

It's just as well that many nineteenth century American ignored the nutritionists.  They not only urged more than twice the necessary amount of protein, but, knowing nothing about vitamins, thought fruit merely a carb source and urged its elimination.

Peter the Great required nobles to serve in the army for twenty-four years.  Some boyars enrolled their infant sons so they would be free before they were twenty-five.

The oldest stone tools are startlingly uniform throughout Europe, Asia, and Africa, and over thousands of years.  They may indicate, like a beaver's dam, an innate adaption to build a certain kind of tool.

The Grand Tour provided Englishmen a chance to look down on the Italians.  They admired the ruins but thought the natives had squandered their inheritance.  Even the agriculture was held against them:  such a rich land occupied by such a lazy race.

The Balinese water temple starts with a temple on top the volcano where the irrigation system starts with the rainfall, and then with a god at every split of the streams.  It works well to maintain an irrigation system over hundreds of miles, requiring vast cooperation.

The start of regular armies was regular mercenary troops.  The first place they were regularly raised was in Italy, and then in Germany, both places lacking a central power that could put down raising troops like that.

Tags: historical tidbits, world-building: deities, world-building: food, world-building: religion, world-building: social classes

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