marycatelli (marycatelli) wrote,
marycatelli
marycatelli

tidbits cross time

Romans had to bury their dead safely outside the city, to avoid the danger of pollution.

One Chinese emperor solved the issue of anonymous accusations by making it a criminal offense for any official to read one.

During the Black Death, wealthy individual charitably bought new land for burial sites in London.

In medieval Iceland, if you were poor and weak and could not prosecute the offense against you or your family -- such as your brother's murder when you were the only surviving member of the family and old yourself -- you still had a property right in your right to be compensated for the crime. You could sell it to your right to your rich and powerful neighbor.

Technically, spreading a handful of dirt over a corpse was a burial in Roman times -- that is, enough to appease the ghost.

Medieval Jewish authorities, arguing that they could regulate marriage law, cited the essential gift of a ring or other thing from the bridegroom to the bride as mammon, making it subject to such regulation. If the couple had contravened the community's marriage regulations, the ring was forfeit to the authorities. This meant the bridegroom had not, after all, given it to the bride, and so the marriage was void.

When Anne Boleyn was prisoner there, a sentry at the Tower of London was put on trial for being asleep on duty. His defense was that he had seen a figure come toward him, that had not answered his challenge, and so he had gone to stab it, and met no resistance, and had, at that, fainted. Two witnesses in fact testified to seeing the figure through their windows, and he was acquited.

There were burial societies in ancient Rome which you could join to ensure an adequate funeral. Even slaves joined.

A Caliph wanted to reward a poet. He offered him anything he liked. The poet asked that he be let off the punishment for being dead drunk in public. The Caliph said he could not change God's law, but the poet wanted nothing else. So the Caliph decreed that whoever brought in the poet for being dead drunk got twice as many lashes.

In Imperial China, if a son reported his father's crime to the imperial authorities, the authorities would punish the son.

Medieval English brides included grave clothes in their trousseau.

Among the Amish, congregations have different Ordnung. Some are very strict; this is called "low". Others are looser; this is called "high."

In medieval Ireland, you could clear yourself of charges by swearing an oath as long as someone with a higher honor price wasn't willing to overswear you.

To promote the wool industry, an English law required all shrouds be woolen, despite opposition from the populace, which preferred linen on the grounds that Jesus Christ's burial clothes had been linen. Nevertheless, they succeeded, which was good for the paper industry because of all the linen that did not become shrouds. (Once upon a time, newspapers really were rags.)

A Byzantine commenter observed that Rome was defended not by rivers, lagoons, or parapets, but by fear.

Under medieval Jewish law, if a man in debt sold land, the debtor could demand that land if he didn't have enough to repay; the land was encumbered and the debtor could not transfer title. The owner had a claim on the debtor for the purchase price, but then, he didn't have the money. Of course, if the "debtor" and "creditor" colluded claiming such a debt, they could cheat the purchaser -- courts didn't accept accounts of undocumented debts for that reason.

When the Amish are courting, the young man must refer to the young woman as "she" rather than by name; normally it does not become known who "she" is until they are about to marry.

In medieval Iceland, the distinction between murder and mere killing was that you had to make known that you had killed. Hiding the crime meant you could suffer outlawry even if the kin were willing to accept the weregeld.

Granite became popular for monuments and gravestones as the railway came in, making it possible to transport the stone that far.

In Athens, they got around the amnesty for crimes after they kicked out Sparta by charging murderers not with murder but with polluting a temple with their miasma. (You also could not go to court -- murder trials had to be conducted in the open air to avoid polluting all participants -- and one accused murderer said the charge was neither more nor less than a way of shutting him out a court case.)

In Victorian times, a man saw his erstwhile servant, widowed, attend her husband's funeral in a black gown with a black straw bonnet. He approved of the frugality and was shocked several days later to see her in the full widow's weeds, with all the expense entailed. The woman, crying, explained that her neighbors were gossiping that they weren't really married if she didn't do the full thing.

Alaric was burned in a river bed -- they divert the water, built the tomb, put back the river, and slaughtered all the prisoners to conceal the location.
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  • rewriting legends

    Was pondering Robin Hood and legends in general after re-reading Howard Pyle's Merry Adventures of Robin Hood. It did not hold up to childhood…

  • a sequel looms

    Haven't even finished the first sequel, and it's suggesting a third story in the sequence. Suggesting it very vaguely. If one witch is taken out,…

  • once upon a christening

    A fairy who had not been invited showed up to the christening. So she shows up and curses the princess to sleep for a century. Politics are behind…