marycatelli (marycatelli) wrote,

tidbits cross time

An early modern writer, in Russia, reported back that they considered fever to be an ugly old woman who would creep up to her victim. Sometimes she could be tricked into leaving by feigning that the victim was dead; sometimes, since she was a coward, she could be frightened off by firing a gun over the sickbed.

Henry VIII was considering divorcing Catherine Parr to remarry, to Katherine d'Eresby. Then he died.

German writers slowly turned the wildman of the woods into a gentle child of nature, therefore virtous; they had them herding beasts and even cultivating crops.

One test bees were used for was for women to draw their beloveds near a beehive. Getting away unstung was evidence of fidelity.

Early archeologists, desperate to find the Hanging Gardens of Babylon, tried to argue that a portion of the castle built of baked rather than sun-dried brick pointed to a roof top garden, even though every source agreed that the gardens grew beside a river.

Early modern Englishmen argued that foreign oak was unsuitable to building ships, too much sap. They needed to build them of good solid English oak. Not that that solved everything: the Royal George's bottom was so rotten that when they heeled it over to do repairs, it crashed and sank, killing most of the crew, including an admiral, and women and children visiting on board. It was one of the greatest maritime disasters in British history.

Early modern Polish nobles were proud that they hunted in an old, primitive style, with their old breeds of hunting dog. It showed they had not lost their original vigor and virture, especially when they hunted that monster, the bison.

In the 19th century, British lower classes believed in the powers claimed by "cunning folk," but these folk had to own books to convince, because they needed to be learned.

In Versailles, a man had to wear a sword to get in. As a consequence, there was a great business in renting potmeal swords to men who wanted in. (Imagine a head of state nowadays requiring those in his presence to be armed.)

There was a time in Japan when the only fish that could be sliced in the emperor's presence was the carp.

New England accounts of witchcraft often included houses and people being pelted with rocks -- even having them thrown down the chimney -- by no visible thrower.

Being cut off from gathering in the greenwood lead to riots in early modern England, because they had to have firewood, and now they had to buy it.

When the Nazis tried to create the Erbhof farms with laws to ensure they remained peasant farms, one Nazi warned those implementing them that their inflexible imposition of a single heir would only result in making the farm families one or two child, like those in the city -- when large families were a big selling point of country life for the Nazis.

English inditements always charge "breaking the King's/Queen's peace." That was the medieval legal fiction that let the king draw more and more issues into his jurisdiction.

In Byzantium, and even Imperial Rome, children born after their father became emperor were deemed to have superior rights to the throne than those born before.

In Japan, the waning winter moon was regarded as too depressing for anyone to go and view.

In 19th century Great Britain, the new use of heavy draft horses for agriculture led to the enormously large secret society, the Horseman's Word. With a large chunk of adoloscent diabolism -- telling the blindfolded initiates they were going to shake hands with the Devil and giving them an ox hoof to shake.

Beehives have long been used as a location for concealing valuables.

A Tudor sumptuary law decreed that a man with an annual income of four pounds could spend up to a third of it on a single garment.

In Japan, an imperial soldier once lost his post because when he went to deliver a message to the prime minister on the road, he dismounted. Imperial messages must be delivered while still mounted.

In 19th century Britain, charmers regarded their abilities as something to be done freely, but they would, usually, accept gifts after, such as food. One refused to accept even thanks, since he was just doing his duty with his God-given powers.
Tags: historical tidbits

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