It’s your favourite History fanatic, back to help you through holiday revision with another lot of amazing factoids. Enjoy having your world turned upside down….
- The story of the Pied Piper of Hamelin really happened. No one is sure what the piper is a symbol for, or why the children disappeared, but a stained glass window was made in the 14th century to tell the tale
- In 1922, the New York Times reported that Hitler was not serious about anti-Semitism, and only used it as a means to gain the vote of the right wing
- Ancient graffiti on the walls of Pompeii includes phrases such as ‘Restituta, take off your tunic, please, and show us your hairy privates,’ ‘Amplicatus, I know that Icarus is buggering you,’ and ‘Weep, you girls. My penis has given you up. Now it penetrates men’s behinds. Goodbye, wondrous femininity!’
- On December 1, 1952, the New York Daily News reported a story headlined ‘EX-GI BECOMES BLONDE BEAUTY: Operations Transform Bronx Youth’ about Christine Jorgensen, an ex-GI who had undergone gender reassignment surgery. She was a campaigner for trans rights, and it’s worth mentioning that the language used in the article is a lot more respectful than most articles I’ve seen about transgender people from this decade
- Somali people told Richard Burton as early as the 1850s that mosquitoes carry malaria, but he did not believe them
- “Skeleton Lake” in Indian Himalayas was discovered containing hundreds of skeletal remains. For decades, researchers could not discover what had killed them, until they paid attention to the local songs and legends, which said that they were killed by falling stones. This was consistent with huge contusions found on their necks and shoulders
- Emperor Hadrian essentially created a cult around his lover Antinous (‘the most beautiful young man in all the Roman Empire’) after he died, causing his to become one of the most well known faces throughout the Empire
- Memes have existed for ages, including taking pictures of as many people stuffed into a phone box as possible in 1959, and sitting on top of very tall poles in the 1920s
- During a ‘swim in’ protest during the Civil Rights Movement, black people swimming in a white only pool had acid poured on them by a motel manager
- Jesus’ disciples were not, contrary to how they were depicted, old men, but young men in their 20s who would go around rebelling in the pursuit of justice. Both Jesus and Peter are the only two old enough to have to pay the temple tax (Matthew 17:24-27)
Look out for more next week!
Plus, the fundamentals of working through the Christmas holidays apply to Easter as well, so check out this post to get you motivated to revise!