marycatelli: (Architect's Dream)
One critic observed that in socialist realism, the only seasons allowed were spring and summer.

A 18th century Korean visitor to China observed that the only people who dressed in a civilized manner were stage actors and Koreans. Everyone else, barbarically, wore fur.

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marycatelli: (Architect's Dream)
At first the Soviet regime glorified the murders of the tsar and his family, but as time wound on, they down-played them and started to portray them as a panicked reaction of underlings.

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.

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marycatelli: (Architect's Dream)
The oldest known image of a swing is a pot from Minoan Crete, showing a girl swinging.

Victorian bobbies could expect to rise steadily except if they were sacked for being drunk on duty -- and many were.

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marycatelli: (Architect's Dream)
It was very foolish, and bad manners too, for a 19th century gentleman to give a lady a horse whose gentleness he was not sure of, whatever the stable owner said.

French noblemen would extort more grain from peasants by not only tampering with the size of the bushel, but by insisting on heaped bushels, which could add as much as 25% more grain. Among other things. A French peasant grievance was declaring they wanted one king, one law, one measure, and one weight.

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marycatelli: (Architect's Dream)
The first evidence we have of the existence of the wheel is a depiction of one on a pot from Poland.

The Assyrians moved around large populations of people to provide work forces for the monumental buildings that were required of kings. They also needed to keep on conquering because only loot, not taxation, provided enough funds to build them.
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marycatelli: (Architect's Dream)
Red kites were protected in early modern England and Wales on the grounds that they helped clear carrion from the city streets.

In 12th century Europe, a lot of lawsuits were brought by windmills charging other people with erecting windmills that blocked their wind.
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marycatelli: (Architect's Dream)
An ancient Egyptian stela contains a spell/prayer for healing a cat who has been stung by a scorpion. Beginning "O Ra, come to your daughter, whom the scorpion has stung on a lonely road. Her cries reach heaven; harken on your way ." -- the daughter being Bast
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marycatelli: (Architect's Dream)
In some regions of medieval France, the deceased's family would carefully cut the hair and nails, so as to keep the dead from carrying away the star, or luck, of the household.

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marycatelli: (Architect's Dream)
The Third Republic in a symbolic gesture auctioned off the French crown jewels, whether Bourbon or Bonaparte.  Tiffany's got a third of the lot, and solemnly announced that it could not of course break confidentiality -- then, given their distinctiveness, the first time the new owner wore them, all was revealed.
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marycatelli: (Architect's Dream)
For you to accompany Louis XV on a hunt, your family needed not only to be aristocratic, but have been so since 1400.
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marycatelli: (Architect's Dream)
The Prince Regent once had a banquet where a stream ran down the middle of the main table, with mossy banks, bridges, and live goldfish.

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marycatelli: (Architect's Dream)
Louis XIV, traveling on the "royal roads" of France, always brought his own road menders with him.

19th century writers would caution parents about the dangers of letting their children eat fruit or fresh baked goods.

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marycatelli: (Architect's Dream)
One locale in France had inhabitants known as "green-coats" because once a tailor had produced green jackets in a cloth that never wore out. (hmm. That's a lot more interesting if you take it literally.)

During the Shang dynasty, Chinese kings would sometimes personally carry out the task of divining (using bones and pressing a hot poker on them). This appeared to be related to royal births.

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marycatelli: (Architect's Dream)
Pliny thought ravens were not only good for reading portents from, they were wise enough to understand the significance of their portents.
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marycatelli: (Architect's Dream)
The sinking of troop transports during the evacuation of Dunkirk had one advantage for the Allies: it effectively sabotaged the port for German use.

The shrine at Ise is surrounded by white pebbles. Not the latter gravel that you raked into patterns; the pebbles are too heavy for that. It demarcates sacred space.

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marycatelli: (Architect's Dream)
In the Renaissance, there was a strong English group, calling themselves Trojans, who opposed teaching Greek in the universities -- only Latin. John Skelton, as one of them, offered the reason that Greek was a dead language, you couldn't tell the hostler to give your horse hay in it.

The Grapes of Wrath was banned in the Soviet Union. obvious capitalist propaganda, comrade! To claim that such poor people owned a car!

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marycatelli: (Architect's Dream)
Nearly half the ancient papyrus survivals that have an identifiable author are either Homer's work or commentaries on Homer.

One of the first botanical gardens, made in Padua during the Renaissance, was very strict about the points of the compass; the southern part of the garden had plants from the south, the northern, from the north.
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marycatelli: (Architect's Dream)
In the Soviet Union, enterprises often made their own specialized equipment, even while factories to make it worked under capacity. You just couldn't rely on them.

The number of horses in Great Britain increased through the 19th century. all those train meant a lot more commerce, and you needed the horses to lug things.
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marycatelli: (Architect's Dream)
Conductors on early trolleys worked such long shifts that they would court by having the young woman in question take the trip with them.

At times, the lower classes in England were forbidden to own sight hounds for coursing. That they worked very well for poachers helped induce evasion of the law.

Once during the Russian Revolution a gang of men broke into a Countess's dinner party. She and the guests fled. The men proceeded to sit down and demand the servants feed them the feast.
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marycatelli: (Architect's Dream)
In Versailles, the candles could not be relit after being snuffed out; royalty must be greeted with fresh, new candles. (There was a profitable sideline in reselling them.) Similarly, the dishes they ate from had to be untouched.

One Victorian duchess observed to her butler that it would really finish a scene to have sheep, and lambs gamboling about. They were there the next morning.

Proscriptions for brahmans' food included whom they could take it from. Among others who are proscribed are those in chains and under indictment, thieves, singers, carpenters, hunters -- hen-pecked husbands and cuckolds who tolerate that state -- also food that has been publicly advertised.
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