I have a crush on history and on Mental Floss. I may be a bit biased given the summer I spent interning for them, but I love how they make a subject that is reviled by so many approachable, exciting and fun. I just finished their History of the World by Erik Sass and Steve Wiegand and thought I would share some of the best bits with you. (Also, I do realize this has nothing to do with Russia but these were just too good to ignore!)
– Bantu words used in the English language include banjo, bongos, jumbo, mambo, marimba, safari, samba and zombie
– Zoroastrianism in general
– Between 1 CE and 500 CE the doors of the temple Janus were closed for only 7 years, a symbol that Rome was at peace
– The Ballet of the Chestnuts : a party thrown by the son of Pope Alexander VI which can only be described to readers 18 and above. Quite ribald.
– While living in Sweden, Peter the Great was known as a party animal. Often during parties, he and his friends would get drunk, sit in wheelbarrows and push each other into hedgerows. Some things never change.
– The pirate Black Bart captured the Portuguese treasure ship Sagrada Familia which contained over $1.6 BILLION dollars worth of treasure. All I want to know is who puts $1.6 BILLION worth of anything on one ship? Especially in 1719…
– In the 1720s, during Britain’s Gin Craze 1 out of 4 households were making their own gin.
-“Nothing important happened today.”- King George III , diary entry, July 4, 1776
– Canning was invented to allow Napoleon to keep his army fed while on the march far from home
– Queen Victoria made it socially acceptable to use anesthetic during childbirth
-Theodore Roosevelt is the only man to be awarded both the Nobel Prize and the Congressional Medal of Honor. Ironies abound!