marycatelli (marycatelli) wrote,

tidbits cross time

Envoys bearing tribute to the Tang court were required to dress in their native costume, since the tribute from far off, strange lands was the point.

To cure a pallid complexion per medieval sources: use a thorn of Apocathery's rose to leave a drop of blood beneath the bush.

Byzantine emperors were required to be physically perfect. At first, one disposed of rivals by slitting their noses; but after Justinian II managed to make do with a prosthetic gold nose, gouging out eyes was used instead.

Chinese Buddhists prefered cotton to silk, since the latter killed the silkworms.

Elizabethean plays had acts that were the length of time that a candle burned. Then you had breaks to change the candles.

There is actually no proof that Blackbeard ever killed anyone until his final battle. Then, of course, it would be hard to prove he didn't, especially given that he himself worked hard on the reputation that if you fought back, he would slaughter everyone on board.

A writer between the Han and Tang dynasties noted the faults stemming from different kinds of preferences. For instance, those who favored the exceptional and talented would advance a concubine's talented child ahead of those of the primary wife.

Edwardian Englishwomen knew that a vase with mixed flowers was improper. A vase should have only a single type and color of blooms. You did, after all, have a garden and greenhouse to ensure you had enough.

During the Sengoku period, Japanese emperors sometimes sold their calligraphy because they needed money.

Robert Fortune, sent by the Horticultural Society of London to collect flowers in China, demanded a shotgun, pair of pistols, and blackjack as equipment.

Berengaria, wife of Richard the Lion-Hearted, hold the distinction of being the only Queen of England to never set foot on English soil.

Aztecs sometimes bet so much they ended up enslaving themselves.

The Chinese Cold-Food Festival was to honor the ancestors. It was named after the practice of not lighting a fire for several days.

Both sides of Lord Byron's family were heavily afflicted with mental problems such as his. And his children were as well (definitely Ada, and Allegra as far as we can judge, since she died young).

The Buriats of Siberia held that to harm a swan, or even mishandle swan feathers, could cause illness or death

The founder of the Song Dynasty forbade any colors except white and purple in the imperial palace.

Synesius, about the end of the fourth century, wrote to his brother that Athens no longer had anything to attract except its beekeepers.

The first plastic billiard balls would sometimes explode mildly on collision. One saloon owner complained to the inventor that this caused all the men in the saloon to pull their guns.

The Book of Rites lays down that proper Chinese men and women may never, except at sacrifices and funeral rites, hand vessels to each other. Outside these times, the vessels must be put in a basket, or if that is impossible, they must both sit down, so the vessel can be put down and then take up again.

In some Australian languages, nouns are masculine, feminine, neuter, or edible.

The Zapotec civilization disapproved of cremation. Death is the start of the properly slow process from a nayaa state (living, green, wet) to a nabidxi one (dead, brown, dry).

The Ming Dynasty registered the population in the Yellow Registers, which were not yellow in any form. They were so called because prior that time, officials had not bothered to register "yellow mouths" -- that is, children under three.
Tags: historical tidbits

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