marycatelli (marycatelli) wrote,

tidbits cross time

In the Renaissance, there was a strong English group, calling themselves Trojans, who opposed teaching Greek in the universities -- only Latin. John Skelton, as one of them, offered the reason that Greek was a dead language, you couldn't tell the hostler to give your horse hay in it.

The Grapes of Wrath was banned in the Soviet Union. obvious capitalist propaganda, comrade! To claim that such poor people owned a car!

Operation Michael took a lot of territory in World War I, but it was demoralizing for the Germans to take Allied positions and realize how much better supplied they were.

While plane trees and rhododendrons were about the only thing that would grow in Victorian London -- all that pollution and gloom -- roses did very well in its environs, because the acid rain was hard on mildew.

Xerxes was annoyed by the failure of a bridge before a storm. He cursed the river, declaring it unfit to receive sacrifices, and then not only had the bridge-builders executed, but had the river flogged.

When a certain French cemetery was barred from public access because of the religious fervor whipped up about it, one wag added to the sign that "By order of the King, God is prohibited from performing miracles here."

Markets, being periodic, produced large spaces in English towns that could be put to other uses. Such as banquets when the royal heir was proclaimed, or elections.

Flats were considered new and modish in the Victorian time, naturally calling for the fashionable Queen Anne style.

Assemblies at Bath had to put their foot down -- although normally if you could pay to get in and dress and act appropriately, you would pass, they had trouble with people letting their servants attend when they could not.

During World War I, there were a lot of British stories from the trenches about the ghost of a dead officer appearing to help his men when they were in trouble.

It was once so cold at Versailles that the wine froze in the glasses at dinner.

Katherine of Aragon remembered all of her servants, by name, in her will.

Pirates would drag barrels behind their ships to slow them down and keep them from alerting prey ships of the danger by their speed.

Cod-liver oil got its start as a wide-spread food supplement when an experiment at the Zoo found that feeding lion cubs a more varied diet, including the oil, kept them from dying of rickets.

Jane Austen has about as many named male characters as female ones, but uses twice as many names for women as for men.

Medieval towns were governed by "corporations", the mayor and the other officials, and were notorious for wining and dining important guests on the slightest of provocations.

Ancient Greek and Latin had two terms for black, and for white, indicating a flat or matte color, and a glossy, luminous one.

One Renaissance work cited as an example of a fool those reckless and riotous patients who drank cold water after their doctors have sternly warned them to keep to ale and wine.

A Victorian writer objects to the "gardenesque" style because it was fake: the garden did not look artificial, as if it had been planted, which was the reality, instead posing as natural.
Tags: historical tidbits

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