In the Lorcian code, the oldest Greek law we have, a free-born woman can not be accompanied by more than one slave woman, unless she was drunk.
Gustav I of Sweden, having borrowed an enormous sum from the Hansa to go to war, won the war and then used his armed forces to besiege their headquarter city, Lübeck, until they canceled the debt.
The shooting of Eisenstein's film about the storming of the Winter Palace did more damage to the palace than the actual storming.
In modern China, geomancers are not only called upon for feng shui but for exorcisms as well. (Once exclusively the province of priests.)
In places on the East Coast of the United States, it's said that eating dessert after a seafood meal will kill you -- except one special kind of lemon pie. (A lot of seafood places sell that pie.)
Stalin arranged Lenin's funeral, artfully putting himself into a prominent position in the filming of it. Trotsky missed it entirely because Stalin lied to him about the time and place.
The modern pentathlon is based on some events that might befall a cavalry officer behind enemy lines. Therefore, the horses for the equestrian part are assigned at random. For several decades, only officers could compete; enlisted soldiers were deemed professional athletes.
The lowest level of local Chinese gods, those most deeply involved in everyday life, are known in some regions as the Great-Aunts and the Great-Uncles
Tsarist Russia often had icons in railway stations.
Irish poitín makers held that the first glass out of still was the Sidhe's, and a mere human drinking it would suffer blindness and insanity. Since they used lead pipes, they were probably even right
Roman writers reported that Hannibal sacrificed oxen to Poseidon by drowning them.
Crossing the seas causes a loss of varna status in Hinduism.
Shostakovich's Fourteenth Symphony was about death. During its pre-preimier, a prominent critic, Pavel Apostolov, forced his way out of the concert hall; the artists assumed he had decided that it didn't pass political muster, and they faced punishment. In reality, he had fallen ill with a fatal heart-attack; there was an ambulance outside when they left. (For a time, they believe he had died just as the last notes were sounding.)
Chinese exorcisms made use of peach wood.
One candidate for a bride of Louis VI, the Princess of Hesse-Rhinevelt, was reported ruled out because her mother was in habit of giving birth, alternately, to daughters and hares.
During WWII, it became an arrestable offense in the Soviet Union to praise American technology.