marycatelli (marycatelli) wrote,

tidbits cross time

The Pope visited Venice once, while they were settling a dispute between him and others. Legends arose: that he had snuck in, and was found sleeping in the doorway of a church, and for their generous hospitality, he did many things, like inaugurate the tradition of Venice marrying the sea (which was, in fact, older).

After Arminius -- or Hermann -- stopped the Roman advance by slaughtering Varus and his legions, he was both assassinated for declaring himself king and made a great folk hero of the Germans.

When the French first arrived at Newport during the American Revolution, the British were out to evict them. Their forces were under way when they found plans for a major attack on New York. Call back the force, hunker down -- and after the French have entrenched, realize that you've been suckered.
Robbers who were bold enough to operate on moon-lit nights often did so on the dark sides of streets, or pulled their victims behind haystacks and the like. And they immediately extinguished all lights carried by their victims.

Some African cultures that believe in witches that operate by night also believe that some -- much less perilous -- operate by day.

After the outbreak of the Spanish Civil War there were three War Ministers within twenty-four hours.

Some medieval minstrels were literate. Indeed, we have the manuscripts of some medieval romances because we have the copies they had made suitable for lugging about the countryside.

The root of the word "rakshasa" -- the evil Indian tiger spirit -- is demonstrably the same as "ursus" -- bear. There being no formidible bears in India, it got transformed. Meanwhile, up north, where you really could encounter bears, they were refered to by a euphemism, "bear" being derived from "brown."

Early modern London required households to hang out a lantern in the evening, to illuminate the street, particularly on days where Parliament would sit late. At the householder's expense, of course.

During the siege of the Alcazar during the Spanish Civil War, they killed their horses and mules for food. On the first day of it, one was a mean-tempered mare that had kicked something like half the grooms in the stable. Several grooms showed up to watch her being shot.

The British government, at the outbreak of World War I, was tettering on the edge of dissolution because of it. Ministers were threatening to resign. They were looking at a pro-war Coalition government, but even that might have had a major impact on their ability to affect the war. The point at which Germany marched through all Belgium and endangered the French ports tipped it the other way.

In early modern Catholic countries the night was relieved by the habit of burning candles in shrines, which lent some light. In one city, the shrines were strategically located to illuminate useful locations.

Sheep-stealers in England frequently posed as ghosts.

Certain ancient Roman religious rites had to be performed by girls and boys whose parents were still living.

An American enterprenaur got a good business going exporting ice from Massachusetts as far away as Calcutta. Even Queen Victoria got her ice from Massachusetts.

Certain ancient Chinese writers held that only Han Chinese were really human; all other races were animals in disguise. This explained weretiger and other such shapeshifters -- naturally, they would occasionally reveal their true forms.

During the siege of the Alcazar during the Spanish Civil War, the beseiging forces threw some newspapers into the buildings. This was perhaps unwise; even moderate Socialist papers said that since they had defied the people, the Government could not spare them, and the militiamen would see to it that all, even the women and children, died.

In early modern Venice, a stranger could not stay in the city for more than a night without a magistrate's permission.

The Twelve Tablets forbade judges to operate their courts at night; all judgments must be rendered by the sunset.

Alexander the Great came to within an inch of losing his life at the battle of Granicus. His Persian opponent had landed a blow that dazed him and seriously damaged his helmet. If one of his bodyguards had not arrived to spear the opponent, that would have been the end of him.

Early modern Italian cities required those who carried swords to have them tied into their sheaths by day -- and confiscated them under any conditions at night.

Sparta used steel money. It was worthless outside Sparta, no other coinage was valid instead, and bribing a Spartan was rather difficult.

During the siege of the Alcazar during the Spanish Civil War, the besieged forces at one point got a radio going. The wildly inaccurate reports of their own situation helped give them hope.
Tags: historical tidbits

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