marycatelli (marycatelli) wrote,

tidbits cross time

In Heian Japan, an emperor's consorts went home to their parents' houses to give birth.

Elizabethean advice-givers warned the governess against letting a girl consort with any males at all, or with prattling maid-servants, who would teach her to prattle like they did. One would allow her to play with girls her own age, if properly supervised by her mother or governness, but another insists that she must not associate with any other child, or receive any gifts, or kiss or embrace even her parents.

Two brides once showed up at a wedding in China. So the magistrate declared he would make a marriage bridge, the one who could cross it would marry, and the one who could not would not. He made one out of cloth. One bride wept and said she couldn't, the other did, and the magistrate used his seal of office to net her as a fox spirit. (Later, bandits tricked him into arresting two men, so they could massacre their families. He observed that fox spirits were less trouble than ruling men.)

In twelfth century Europe, the desire to not break up the family estates and yet have an heir led to a lot of marriages between an older man and a younger woman, reflected in all the literature.

Damiyos favored hot springs to recuperate. These locations were kept strict secrets; a wounded damiyo was in his most vulnerable situation.

Cannae was a disaster for the Romans, but one of the few survivors was Scipio Africius, who finally destroyed Carthage.

Once in the Ming dynasty, a rumor that the emperor was having a noon audience caused a disorderly stampede of officials toward the palace. The two officials in charge of ceremony were rebuked and docked pay for not calming them in face of this ridiculous rumor. When thorough investigation did not turn up the culprit who started the rumor, all the officials had their pay docked.

Victorian hostesses gave kettledrums, or drums, where the guests could come at any hour, and leave without taking leave of the hostess, and visit several a night, to be seen. Gate-crashing was not feasible, yet.

Medieval Greenland paid its tithes to Rome in walrus tusks and walrus hides.

A Chinese official, trying to deal with evil fox spirits, posted notices that included a warning that any god that accepted offerings without helping would be sued before the Supreme Emperor.

In Anglo-Saxon England, a man who crossed the sea three times was entitled to become a thane.

In Venice, slaves of any type were apt to be called "Tartars" regardless of whether that was true.

The Brehon laws provided blush fines for those who had been insulted. Ne'er-do-wells, and those known to be selfish and caring only about their own cows in the herd couldn't get them. Neither could buffoons. Neither could professional satirists and lawyers -- if you couldn't take it, you shouldn't dish it out.

During the Ming Dynasty, the emperor's uncles, brothers, and sons not the heir apparent were packed off to the countryside, never to be allowed back to the capital, and kept under watch, to prevent influence. For similar reasons, the empress had to be a woman of humble origins. Girls were regularly shipped off to the capital to be candidates, but considering their number and how few would find favor, families regularly married of young girls on hearing that a selection was about to be done.

One breakdown in the shogunate system happened when a shogun brought in supplemental warriors, on top of his housemen. The personal bond of loyalty between the shogun and the houseman was supposed to exclude anyone other than these loyal men from serving him in a military capacity.

Medieval royal gifts were often Byzantine silks, but falcons were not unknown -- and sometimes polar bears, as well.

Ming emperors, presented with prisoners of war and accounts of their crime, would pronounce the death sentence. The entire square could not hear them. But two soldiers would repeat it, then four, then eight, then sixteen -- until an entire battalion shouted the sentence.

Chicken was, until the mid-twentieth century, a rare delicacy. People who had pork and beef regularly had a chicken a special treat on important days.

In the twelfth century, feudalism hung on mostly in the marches -- the English lords on the Welsh border, the German lords on the eastern. Elsewhere, absentee landlords were growing commonplace.

A Chinese magistrate had a duty to openly proclaim the opening of fox hunting season, to give fair warning. One year, he accepted bribes, so that the hunters got at the foxes before they could hide and made a lot of money, but the patriach fox appeared to him in a dream and scolded him and informed him he would be punished. Whereupon his son died, and then his father died, which also lost him his post because he had to enter his three years of mourning.

A proper complexion in Elizabethean England was white and red, and often made so with cosmetics, of which the most common one was lead-based, though there were indeed notions that lead was bad for you. There were also accounts of women luring aside children with blond hair to have it cut for a wig.

Polygamy slowed the adoption of primogeniture for the Japanese imperial throne. Obviously, the second son by a concubine of higher birth was more suitable.

One Chinese emperor was assured, by officials trying to persuade him of another official's corruption, that this man had take nine pearls that glowed on their own in the dark.

Wool was the only article of trade that was traded everywhere in Europe in the 12th century.

A thane in Anglo-Saxon England might be referred to as a man of twelve hundred -- that is, a man whose werguild was 1200 shillings.

One region in China would paint a fox image for the child to worship when it was still an infant -- a male fox for a girl, a female for a boy. When the child married, a new image with both a male and a female together was made.
Tags: historical tidbits

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