marycatelli (marycatelli) wrote,
marycatelli
marycatelli

tidbits cross time

In Turkey, insufficient coffee was regarded as legal reason sufficient for a woman to divorce her husband.

One medieval romance recounts how tales were told of heroes of old, such as Julius Caesar, who was so brave he once crossed the sea without invoking the name of Christ.

An attempt was made to deny Finnish immigrants to the United States naturalization on the grounds they did not qualify -- they needed to be white, not "Mongolian."

Ancient Egyptian records do not give us any information at all about when anyone was born. Not even a single pharaoh.

Newport started its role as a summer refuge for southerners escaping the heat and the malaria.

The medieval French makers of embroidered head-dresses had to be women, and since the work was so meticulous, statutes laid down that neither mistress nor apprentice could work by night, summer or winter, or even in the morning without enough daylight.

During Italy's invasion of Ethiopia, Italian-American wives as well as Italian ones remarried their husbands with new wedding rings -- the iron of empire -- and sent the gold rings to support the cause. One black remembered playing the battles against his Italian neighbor who always insisted on winning, because he knew which side had the tanks.

The Hellenistic Mediterranean was plagued with second marriages of kings. Given that they were alliances, attempting to make your second wife's son your heir might be as essential as it was difficult.

The trend to dress little boys in a more masculine manner sprung about a generation after the Little Lord Fauntleroy suit.  Apparently the boys had resolved that their sons would never suffer in that.

Louis IX of France, when ill, told his successor to make sure he was beloved of his people -- he would prefer that a Scot come from Scotland and rule them well rather than his heir rule them badly.

In colonial Newport, furniture was a big product. But after three years of British soldiers and one of French during the American Revolution, there were no trees left on the island, and the industry perished for the want of wood.

Ancient Athens adopted a law from Egypt: every man had to declare, every year, what his livelihood came from, or be taken on the grounds it must be criminal.

Girls' dresses in Victorian America had more tucks than boys' did, because the boys would be breeched -- put into trousers -- and transition out of them into a miniature version of men, often with a hair cut. (Generally when they hit a growth spurt.)

Rome's first naval battle ever with Carthage resulted in a stirring victory. They had equipped their ships with a device that let them board the Carthagian ships, and turn it into, effectively, a land battle. Nothing like playing to your strengths.

There were actual Thought Police in Japan before Orwell wrote 1984.

A hostess at her "cottage" in Newport had to take notes of who sat next to whom at every dinner party, so she could ensure that they all had new people every dinner. (Must have been more pleasant than in Great Britain, where everyone had to line up by precedence for every dinner.)

A good number of the oases in the Libyan Desert were positively dangerous in ancient times. Too much water meant the prevalence of malaria.

Plato deduced from the lack of mention of fish in the Iliad that Homer was careful to keep his warriors from luxury. Unfortunately for that theory, in the Odyssey, the warriors are described as being so desperate for food that they fish -- poor man's food, not the luxury of classical Athens.

Analysis of one American mining strike concluded that the miners had been sloppy, letting too many Greeks work on the job; the wise old practice of hiring many groups made striking so much harder.)

Proficiency with party games was important in Victorian England. After all, you couldn't just watch a DVD or something.

Ancient Roman dictators were forbidden to serve on horseback.

Once at the Breakers in Newport, a mischievous younger sister locked the dinner party in the breakfast room where they were eating. The butler had to confess to the hostess that the room was locked, and the party would have to -- gasp -- leave through the butler's pantry!

Alexander's only successor who rejected the notion of his divinity was the one who ended up the king of Macedonians.

Down to the time of Louis XIV, a handful of lords owned about half of Paris -- and on the land they owned, they had the right to private justice.

One American union organizer observed that a certain union obviously meant business since they were led by -- a white, a black, a Hungarian, a Slav, and a "Polander."

The temple of Bast has many mummified cats. Investigating the corpses concluded that they were, in fact, killed as sacrifices.

The Roman survivors of the battle of Cannae were banished to Sicily, joined only by the survivors of other disasters.

The early tournaments were in fact just plain battles with a time limit. Once, when they were looking for William Marshall to declare him the winner, they found him in a smithy with his head against the anvil as the smith tried to take his battered helmet off.

Accounts of the birth of Napoleon III and Empress Eugenie's son told how his layette was all white and blue, because he was dedicated to the Virgin and so would wear white and blue exclusively until seven.

Ancient Greek philosophers seldom if ever understood economic factors. One argued that a city with no great natural resources had the best house because of their virtue and moderation, not because of their thriving wool trade and their useful position as a port.

In 19th century America, both boys and girls were dressed in white, and it was considered rather humorous that you couldn't tell them apart.
Tags: historical tidbits
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  • a reflection

    On reading and dragons

  • so that's the problem

    figuring out the weakness of the opening: it's two scenes, and the first is mostly info-dumping. It should start in the forest, talking about…

  • weaving another thread

    Oh, my. This story bursts past in outlines in New and Unusual Ways. The entire -- long -- episode where she gets taken on a journey and shown a lot…