marycatelli (marycatelli) wrote,

tidbits cross time

After Henry VIII died, Catherine Parr remarried -- rather quickly actually. The Regent's wife tried to claim precedence over her on account of it, a matter only settled by Henry's will

Spartan ephors could fine the king; they fined one because his wife was too short.

In the Ming dynasty, all descendents of the Great Ancestor were to be supported by the state, although rusticated in the provinces. Princes were granted estates, other stipends. At first this was for safety, to keep them numerous and let them oversee other nobles; later, after a revolt, they were limited to keep them harmless, princes being forbidden even to leave their estates. However, the mounting number -- into the thousands -- meant it grew too much, so that the stipends grew tiny. Eventually they yielded and first allowed the imperial clansmen to enter occupations, and then the civil service.

Ancient Egyptians thought that onions resembled the concentric circles of the universe and so had great medical powers.

Pantomime dances were very popular in the Roman Empire, where a dancer would go off to change masks, or if really skilled, wear a cloak that he could twist swiftly into new forms and give him the aspect of a new character. Both Christian and pagan moralists thundered against them.

The medieval biographer of Emma was bent on praising her, so he carefully omits -- without actually lying -- that her marriage to Canute was her second, and to Aethelred her first, and that she had agreed to give her son by Canute precedence in the royal succession. It implies that Aethelred's sons were from a second marriage and so naturally did not have a superior claim to the throne.

Mines for brine were dug very early in China, to get at the salt. They discovered that sometimes miners were overwhelmed within them and laid down to die. So officials came twice a year to offer the rite to propitiate these evil spirits.

Greek writers noted the Celtic people were fond of brightly colored clothes.

When Henry VIII was trying to repudiate Catherine of Aragon, the French Ambassador reported home that if the matter was settled by women, it would go against Henry.

After Roman laws against magic used to win love or harm people, or to influence elements, one other condition was added: to influence horse races.

The Yuan dynasty ended partly because of the natural catastrophes. To be sure the emperor issues proclamations about taking responsibility for drought and the like, but they still continued.

Athenian democracy had its elective offices dominated by aristocrats. The number of commoners rose -- but they never were squeezed out or even down to a small percentage.

Being a lady-in-waiting was a good economical measure in Tudor times. You got your room (if you did not share your husband's room at court), your food, your servant, your spaniel, and a salary on top of it. To be sure, you did have to clothe yourself out of that, but gifts from royalty were not unknown.

Garum, a fish paste popular in ancient Rome, was usually made from kosher fish. Nevertheless, even then you could charge a premium for certified kosher garum.

Whatever the form of kingship was in Homeric times in Ithaca, it clearly wasn't hereditary. Odysseus is king, but his father either never was or is so no longer, and Telemenchus makes it very clear that whether he ends up king or not, he is going to insist on his father's lands.

One of the oldest surviving pieces of textile in Europe was found on a very well-preserved body -- in a salt mine. You could even see the bright red.

The first emperor of the Ming dynasty issued a decree against taking Mongolian names.

A Roman tourist observed of Alexandria that they had only one god: Cash.

A bishop of Toulouse was on its walls when some heretics shouted up at him that he was the "devils' bishop". Quite true, he shouted back; they were devils, and he was their bishop.

The ephors of Sparta could, if they saw a shooting star on a certain night (set apart for star-watching each year), depose the king.

Neither of Jane Grey's sisters learned from her experience. Both married without Queen Elizabeth's permission, though they were in line for the throne. Katherine and her husband were imprisoned, and because their witness had died and the priest could not be produced, they were declared unmarried, so their sons were bastards. Mary's husband went to jail, and it broke his health, killing him within months. Then, not being in line for the throne was no particular aid. Ladies-in-waiting who married without her leave found themselves or their husbands in prison for a time, and one who approached for her leave found herself physically attacked, severely enough to break her finger. To be sure, with their parents absent, it was the queen's business to oversee them and ensure they did not make foolish matches, but she went into a rage for quite suitable matches, even approved by parents.

One reason for the medieval fondness for the rose -- the flat, single rose, brilliantly colored but with only five petals, unlike the mulitfolate ones we think of today -- was the numerological significance of five.

An early Greek wine cup was clearly a prize, because it borne the inscription directing it to be given whoever danced most beautifully.

Early in the Ming dynasty, an emperor issued a grave decree about how when punishment were issued in fit manner, people know what to do, and even nature is in harmony. However, they had faced disasters. On observation, punishments were being lessened, which is as much to say the law was being regarded as unfit. Obviously, this had caused the natural disasters.
Tags: historical tidbits

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