A one-armed soldier petitioned Louis XIV for a penison. when Louis answered, as usual, "I shall see," the soldier returned that if he had said that to the general who had ordered him to the place where he lost his arm, he would not have lost it and would not be petitioning for a penison. (He got it.)
Until the 1950s, prices in the United States were often advertised "slightly higher west of the Rockies" -- because they would be. No Interstates affected shipment.
In Hinduism, a man who becomes an ascetic can no longer serve as a witness to a contract or testify in court. He also is not liable for taxes or fines or other payments. All his contracts are voided as if by death.
Versailles was built with chambers for Louis the XIII and Anne of Austria, but the queen never spent a night in hers.
Chinese Communists told anti-folkloric stories -- for instance, a collection Stories of Not Being Afraid of Ghosts, where the wily peasant scared off the ghost -- to combat superstition.
A Cretan temple fell in an earthquake, catching a gristly tableau: a young man bound at an altar, with a bronze knife, and three other skeletons. One was a man with not only a seal (showing a man poling a boat) but an iron and silver ring -- in the Bronze Age, iron was a mark of high status.
When a sugar bowl was empty at Versailles, Louis XV cheerfully observed it had had sugar the day before. Something about quarterly rotation of servants, so they served only three months a year, did not help in training.
In the 19th century, parents of English heiresses wanted them married off young, to ensure they would escape the Court of Wards if orphaned. It was commonplace to marry them off to young men days before the husband embarked on the Grand Tour -- without bringing his bride.
A Commanche without kin sometimes got a champion who would help him demand recompense from the man his wife had run off with. The man could not ask for aid like that, because it would be to admit that he had run off with the wife of a man too powerful for him. The champion would get status from defending the husband and making a warrior back down.
Louis XIV choose to be the Sun King because the sun did good everywhere, it was fair and shone on everyone, it was authority and dominated all the other heavenly bodies, regulating day and night as the king regulated the realm.
One Chinese student during the Cultural Revolution targeted ghost superstitions, forcing other students into the morgue and graveyards. This led to problems when he went after the ghost money factory where the goods were made for export.
Jane Austen wrote advice to her niece Anna after reading her attempt at a novel. For instance, telling her that a country surgeon would certainly not be introduced to a lord and his brother.
Versailles had chronic problems with its fountains owing to lack of water. Its famous fountains were not turned on the 18th century except for special events, and sometimes, not even then.
When the Earl of Shrewsberry complained of his wife, the notoriously shrewish Bess of Hardwick, the bishop wrote back to him that if men were allowed to put aside their wives for their shrewish behavior, every marriage in England would be ended.
The Cheyenne exiled members who had killed a Cheyenne -- he smelled of death, and polluted the tribe. If he were ever readmitted, no one would eat from his bowl or smoke his pipe, because time only mitigated it, it did not remove it.
Foreign princes who visited Versailles were treated as French noblemen below the rank of duke.'
One Republican general in the Spanish Civil War was giving orders for the defense of the city and was asked where they could retreat, if necessary. He answered, "To the cemetary."
The last letter of marque issued by the United States was for the Goodyear blimp during World War II -- it was to patrol for U-boats, not fight them, but they wanted it all right and proper.
Once a duc's enemies conspired against him when he was in disgrace and exile, persuading Louis XIV to demand he resign his lucrative post as a colonel without recompense, which they figured would get him to do something that would get him thrown into the Bastille. He resigned it, by getting a friend to give the king his letter by using his study entree -- his right to go into the study uninvited. The enemies complained it was impossible to make this duc unhappy.
The decipherment of Linear B threw some old conclusions about Greek gods away. they didn't contain poetry or any such thing, but they did have shopping lists -- and sacrifice lists. Dionysus, unmentioned in Homer, was nevertheless well known, by the number of sacrifices, so he was not a late comer. The god that was unknown then was Apollo.
Chinese newspapers started using red ink during the Cultural Revolution. Soon there were demonstrations for days if they didn't use it when considered appropriate.
Once at Versailles, an usher mistakenly opened both doors for a duchesse, a royal bastard, when that was the perogative only of the legitimate children. Her own daughter, married to one of Louis XIV's grandsons, demanded, weeping, that the usher be sacked for showing her mother too much honor.