marycatelli (marycatelli) wrote,

tidbits cross time

The Arabs said that the Mediterrean was cursed from the number of men who drowned in it, which was why it had so few fish.

A Newport society lady would call in her butler to make a fourth for bridge. He'd have to stand through the game, of course.

Alexander the Great did not want to export the walled -- and defensible -- cities of Greece because he wanted to rule as the previous Asian kings had. And the Hellenistic age was indeed characterized by sprawling cities.

When Edward VII had died, one grocer had filled his front window with the black -- and famous -- Bradenham hams.

The brownstones of New York were originally pink but the sandstone weathered to brown. Since while sandstone can last for decades if cut properly, on the grain, the builders had little incentive to do so, they were also swiftly dilapidated.

Saint Liudger's mother, Liafburga, was said to have escaped being drowned in a bucket as a baby -- born after several daughters and no sons -- when she grabbed the side of the bucket too strongly, which unnerved the servant, who then gave her some honey (and infanticide was not lawful after the child ate any earthly food).

Edwardians called thank-you notes "Collins" -- from the approved style to write them being reminiscent of Mr. Collins's, in Pride and Prejudice.

The early industrial revolution in New England meant lots of little hamlets springing up in the forest -- anywhere there was a waterfall to power the manufacturing.

The first Greeks to happen on sugarcane described it as bringing forth honey without the aid of bees.

In grand Victorian homes, at the servants' meal, the resident butler would take in the highest ranking lady's maid.

Once upon a time, in order to qualify as a celebrity, someone had to throw a celebration in your honor. Then you were celebrated, and in noun form, a celebrity.

It was very improper to reverse a waltz in the presence of royalty.

Plato, in laying out his plans for a perfect city, was wise enough to specify it was on a plain. Hillsides tend to argue with plans.

Victorian mothers urged their sons to make their evening calls on rainy days. This means they might catch the young ladies unprepared to receive visitors and see what they were really like.

In Japan, windbells were hung up to keep track of which way the wind blew from, in case of fire.

In Edwardian England, country folk often disapproved of city folks' ways. Like, say, having colored flowers at a funeral.

Rum is a product of industrial waste. Molasses was produced in abundance from refining sugar, and just thrown away until someone realized it had enough sugar left to ferment.
Tags: historical tidbits

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