Weirdest of the World

Posted: October 24, 2010 in Uncategorized

Some peculiar and interesting quirks I found out about in my World History AP class and by surfing the web on Google.

  • Ancient Greek society tolerated gays, but not lesbians (like the poet Sappho).
  • Speaking of homosexuality, the punishment for that if you were in the French army was execution (during WW I).
  • George Washington grew marijuana in his garden, though I doubt he used it in…that way. So much for the idolized example he set for Americans.
  • An Omaha Indian chief, Blackbird, was buried sitting on his favorite horse. Poor horse, I wonder if they just dug a hole a buried them upright?
  • “People in Siberia often buy milk frozen on a stick.” Haha…is that true?
  • Prince Vladimir of ancient Russia had a harem of 800 women and his reputation told of him being a drunkard.
  • Julius Caesar hid his balding head with a laurel wreath.
  • Men of ancient Greece often exercised in public naked. How awkward.
  • Indo-European Languages were very similar, for example, the word “father”… German: vater, Spanish: padre, Greek: pater, Latin: pater, Sanskrit: pitar
  • Excepting some small indigenous societies of Asia and Africa, there are no matriarchal societies today.
  • In ancient China, fortunetellers would use specially prepared broad bones, e.g. shoulderblades of sheep, turtle shells to tell the future. They would inscribe a question on the bone, subject it to heat by placing it in fire or scorching it with an extremely hot tool, and examine the splits and cracks that formed on the bone due to the heat. The fortune-teller studied the patterns and determined the answer to the question inscribed on the bone. Usually, they would record the answer on the bone, and scribes would sometimes add information about what actually happened.
  • When these bones were discovered by peasants, they were called “dragon bones” and sold to duggists who used them for potent medicine.
  • The Olmecs of Central America were known to transport huge bolders of basalt for their colossal head sculptures by having human laboreres drag them from quarries, float them on rafts, and drag them again to their intended sites. I wonder how many laborers died by getting flattened into a pancake.
  • Gunpowder was accidentally created when Daoists were trying to formulate an elixir of life. How ironic.
  • A hamburger stands where the Declaration of Independence was originally written.
  • Ancient Roman athletes had steroids as well. Charioteers would ingest a drink consisting of dried boar’s dung before races.
  • When Sparta was at its zenith of conquering other peoples, it had a ratio of 20 slaves/helots per Spartan citizen. No wonder why they needed to keep their army ready at hand.
  • Ancient Chinese doctors only got the money if they cured their patient. If not, they had to pay the patient[‘s family]. That makes sense to me, especially when a lot of “solutions” that doctors propose don’t actually work.
  • Many great conquerors died from relatively pathetic deaths when you’d think that they would die in some glorious battle. Genghis Khan died from an accident that involved him falling off his horse.
  • Attila the Hun died from a nosebleed on his wedding night.
  • Ketchup used to be a kind of medicine in the 1830s.
  • One staple food for soldiers was hardtack, which would attract weevils if not eaten for a while/stored safely. Soliders preferred to eat hardtack in the dark so that they “couldn’t see what was on it”.
  • Magellan’s crew, the first to circumnavigate (sail around the world), faced a tiring, devastating journey. During the period which they navigated the treacherous Strait of Magellan, the crew survived on worm-ridden biscits, leather that they had softened in the ocean, and foul water. Ship’s rats became the centerpiece of famished sailors’ meals, and a survivor reported that some crewmen even ate ox hides which they softed up by dragging them through the sea for four to five days and afterwards grilled on coals. Scurvy, a disease caused by lack of fruits and vegetables, killed 29 members of Magellan’s crew during the Pacific crossing.

Interesting things you can pick out of your American History/World History textbook. I wonder about people sometimes.


  1. Beverly Ge says:

    Actually, gunpowder was DISCOVERED while searching for the elixir of life, and I believe they tried to use it in the elixir…?
    Not sure (the above is a comment by my father, and knowing him, I’m not sure if it’s reliable or not.) Either way, I would love to be there at a scene like:
    Emperor: Do you have the elixir of life?
    Daoists: We believe so, your majesty. *hands over gunpowder mixture*.
    Emperor: This will do nicely. *begins to chug*
    Random court guy: *lights a mtch*
    Emperor: BOOM.

    • Nevermoraven says:

      Haha, yes, it’s odd that they concocted something involving sulfur in the elixir of life. According to my textbook, they decided that gunpowder wasn’t the elixir of life after burning down some buildings and singe-ing some beards -.-

  2. Artswebshow says:

    Excellent post. it got me thinking

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