11 Historical Misconceptions!

1.Was the Red Square really named after the Red Army?


Red Square in Moscow

In contrast with the widely prevalent misconception, the Red Square(Krásnaya Plóshchad), was called Red Square long before the October Revolution(which actually happened in November) started in Moscow.

2.Was the Star of David really an ancient Jewish symbol?


Hexagram on the  gateway to Humayun’s Tomb in New Delhi, built in 16.th century

The Star of David, generally recognized symbol of Judaism, has become the symbol of Judaism as we know it only recently. Only after the end of 17.th century, the Jews started to use the hexagram as a symbol of their faith and identity. During much of the history, there was no special connection between the hexagram and Judaism, it was used all over the world as one of the many other magical symbols.

3.Did Einstein get his Nobel Prize for the Teory of Relativity?

Albert Einstein did not get his Nobel Prize in Physics of 1921 for his famous Theory of Relativity, first published in 1905, but especially for his works about the photoelectric effect.


Albert Einstein

By the way, he didn’t acquire his prize in 1921, but rather during the ceremony which took place one year later, together with Danish physicist Niels Bohr, winner of the Nobel Prize in Physics 1922.

4.Did Hitler really declare war to England and France?

When hitler attacked Poland on the 1.st of September, he hoped to the last moment that the Allies would tolerate his campaign in the same manner as they did after the remilitarization of the Rhineland(1936), the annexation of Austria(1938), and the annexation of Czechoslovakia(1939). Although the Nazis calculated with the possibility of war with England and France, they generally thought that the invasion of Poland would only lead to another diplomatic crisis.


German Invasion to Poland

After Hitler continued the military campaign on 3.rd of September 1939, England and France declared war on Germany. The other countries joined as follows: Australia and Morocco on 5.th of September, Iraq on 6.th of September, South Africa on 8.th of September and Canada on 10.th of September

5.Were the Bagpipes really invented in Scotland?

Bagpipes don’t orginally come from Scotland, they were already known in the ancient Greece. People also used musical instruments similar to bagpipe in ancient Persia, China and Rome(as ”Tibia Utricularis”). In the Middle Ages, they were known as ”Cornemuse” in France, ”Cornamusa” in Italy, and ”Sackpfeife” in Germany.


Man playing bagpipes(17.th century, Dutch Republic)

They are even mentioned in the Bible: “that when you hear the sound of the horn, pipe, lyre, trigon, harp, bagpipe, and all kinds of music, you fall down and worship the golden statue that King Nebuchadnezzar has set up.”(Daniel 3:5)

According to available evidence, bagpipes were brought to the island of Great Britain by ancient Romans, where they have become very popular musical instrument, used to the present day. But the Scots never invented them.

6.Did human ancestors really live in caves?

Because a lot of evidence about the human ancestors comes from caves, it often makes us think that majority of these so-called ”cavemen” actually lived in caves during much of their lifetime. In reality, caves served only as temporary habitats for prehistoric humans.


Artistic depiction of a prehistoric human camp.

First people lived, hunted, worked and slept mostly on open air, and inhabited caves only during the harshest of winters. Due to nomadic lifestyle of our ancestors, they couldn’t use the caves as permanent dwellings, but only as night shelters during their travels.

7.Were the Canary Islands really named after Canary Birds?


Map of the Spanish Canary Islands(Islas Canarias)

Name of the Canary Islands was doesn’t come from the Canary birds, in fact, opposite is true. The name ”Canary Islands” is derived from the Latin name ”Islas Canarias”, which means ”The Islands of Dogs”. According to Roman historians, the Canary Islands have been named that way because they contained ”vast amounts of dogs of large size”.

8.Did Romans really kill christians in the Coloseum?

Although many novels, theatrical plays and folktales (such as ”Androcles and the Lion”) suggest otherwise, Coloseum was never used for throwing the Christians to the lions or similar hungry beasts.


Christian martyrs in Collosseum(Jean-Léon Gérôme, 1883)

Christians, who died in ancient Rome as martyrs, were never executed by imperial authorities, but rather by authorities of local community on a sporadic basis. During Roman Imperial period, only dangerous criminals, murderers and bandits were regularly executed in the arena as part of a unforgettable public spectacle.

9.Was the sinking of Lusitania really an act of terrorism?

On 7.th of May 1915, RMS Lusitania, world’s largest ship at the time, was torpedoad by a German U-Boat. In following minutes, more than 1000 passengers drowned in the sea, including 128 citizens of the United States. The sinking, often interpreted as an act of terrorism, strongly influenced the decision by the US to declare war on Germany in April 1917.

File:Bundesarchiv DVM 10 Bild-23-61-17, Untergang der "Lusitania".jpg

Sinking of RMS Lusitania(1915 painting)

Contrary to American propaganda during the First World War, Lusitania was not completely a civil vessel. During its final trip, RMS Lusitania was allegedly loaded with large amount of military ammunition. Its unusually fast sinking was probably caused by violent explosions of dynamite, which was being transported by the ship at the time. For that, it should have been regarded as a military ship according to the international law.

10.Did Martin Luther really nail his 95 theses to church door?

‘Only few pillars of the Western education seem as solid as the nailing of Martin Luther’s 95 theses to the door of the All Saints’ Church in Wittenberg. However, it’s very possible that it didn’t happen the way we all have been taught it did.


Martin Luther(1526)

According to available evidence, this memorable event did never happen. There were no eyewitnesses, and even Martin Luther himself never said anything about him nailing his theses to the church door. Of course, Luther did publish his 95 theses in year 1517. However, they were not hung on the church door, but rather handed out straight to the bishop of Brandenburg.

11.Was the Pompeii really buried in lava?

Contrary to popular belief, ancient Roman cities of Pompeii and Herculaneum were never buried under the hot lava, but rather under the volcanic ash and pyroclastic material from the Mount Vesuvius.


79 explosion of Vesuvius(artistic depiction)

Inhabitants of the cities didn’t die from the direct volcanic explosion, but instead they suffocated from the sheer amounts of volcanic ash and toxic gases released before the pyroclastic eruption itself.



Top 5 People With the Longest Names

1.Hubert Blaine Wolfeschlegelsteinhausenbergerdorff

Full name: “Adolph Blaine Charles David Earl Frederick Gerald Hubert Irvim John Kenneth Loyd Martin Nero Oliver Paul Quincy Randolph Sherman Thomas Uncas Victor Willian Xerxes Yancy Zeus Wolfeschlegelsteinhausenbergerdorffvoralternwarengewissenhaftschafers wesenchafewarenwholgepflegeundsorgfaltigkeitbeschutzenvonangereifen duchihrraubgiriigfeindewelchevorralternzwolftausendjahresvorandieer scheinenbanderersteerdeemmeshedrraumschiffgebrauchlichtalsseinu rsprungvonkraftgestartseinlangefahrthinzwischensternartigraumaufde rsuchenachdiesternwelshegehabtbewohnbarplanetenkreisedrehensichund wohinderneurassevanverstandigmenshlichkeittkonntevortpflanzenundsiche rfreunanlebenslamdlichfreudeundruhemitnichteinfurchtvorangreifenvon andererintlligentgeschopfsvonhinzwischensternartigraum”


Wolfe+585 holding his namecard

Also known as Wolfe+585, this German-born Philadelphian typesetter(1904 – 1985) has held the record for the longest personal name in history, from year 1975 until his in death 1985, with whopping 746 letters. His first name was composed of 26 words, each beginning wih one letter of the English alphabet. English translation of his surname is as follows:

A descendant of one who prepared wool for manufacture on a stone, living in a house in the mountain village, who before ages was a conscientious shepherd whose sheep were well tended and diligently protected against attackers who by their rapacity were enemies who 12,000 years ago appeared from the stars to the humans by spaceships with light as an origin of power, started a long voyage within starlike space in search for the star which has habitable planets orbiting and on which the new race of reasonable humanity could thrive and enjoy lifelong happiness and tranquility without fear of attack from other intelligent creatures from within starlike space

2.Dawn McManus

Full name: “Red Wacky League Antlez Broke the Stereo Neon Tide Bring Back Honesty Coalition Feedback Hand of Aces Keep Going Captain Let’s Pretend Lost State of Dance Paper Taxis Lunar Road Up! Down! Strange! All and I Neon Sheep Eve Hornby Faye Bradley AJ Wilde Michael Rice Dion Watts Matthew Appleyard John Ashurst Lauren Swales Zoe Angus Jaspreet Singh Emma Matthews Nicola Brown Leanne Pickering Victoria Davies Rachel Burnside Gil Parker Freya Watson Alisha Watts James Pearson Jacob Sotheran-Darley Beth Lowery Jasmine Hewitt Chloe Gibson Molly Farquhar Lewis Murphy Abbie Coulson Nick Davies Harvey Parker Kyran Williamson Michael Anderson Bethany Murray Sophie Hamilton Amy Wilkins Emma Simpson Liam Wales Jacob Bartram Alex Hooks Rebecca Miller Caitlin Miller Sean McCloskey Dominic Parker Abbey Sharpe Elena Larkin Rebecca Simpson Nick Dixon Abbie Farrelly Liam Grieves Casey Smith Liam Downing Ben Wignall Elizabeth Hann Danielle Walker Lauren Glen James Johnson Ben Ervine Kate Burton James Hudson Daniel Mayes Matthew Kitching Josh Bennett Evolution Dreams”


Dawn McManus

Dawn McManus, a 41-year-old English woman from Hartlepool, has changed her name in April 2012, to encourage fundraising for her charity, Red Dreams. With more than 161 words and 898 letters, this is currently the longest name of a living person in the world, surpassing the previous record estabilished in 2012 by David Fearn, below.

3.David Fearn

Full name: “James Dr No From Russia with Love Goldfinger Thunderball You Only Live Twice On Her Majesty’s Secret Service Diamonds Are Forever Live and Let Die The Man with the Golden Gun The Spy Who Loved Me Moonraker For Your Eyes Only Octopussy A View to a Kill The Living Daylights Licence to Kill Golden Eye Tomorrow Never Dies The World Is Not Enough Die Another Day Casino Royale Bond”

In 2006, this council worker from Stafford, U.K, has changed his name to James Bond, and included all Bond movie titles as his middle names. The 69 word name was the longest name ever recorded on a UK Deed Poll until 2012.

4.Barnaby Usansky

Full name: “Barnaby Marmaduke Aloysius Benjy Cobweb Dartagnan Egbert Felix Gaspar Humbert Ignatius Jayden Kasper Leroy Maximilian Neddy Obiajulu Pepin Quilliam Rosencrantz Sexton Teddy Upwood Vivatma Wayland Xylon Yardley Zachary Usansky”


Barnaby Usansky holding his deed of name change

Previously known as Barnaby Usansky, this man from Edinburgh held the record for the second longest name of a living person in years 2011-2012, with his 197-letters-long name.  He once said: ”I don’t see a point in having a ridiculously long name, if it is not the longest name in the world”. We can definitely see some logic in that, however, Barnaby Usansky’s name was never even close to being world’s longest.

5.Pablo Picasso

Full name: ”Pablo Diego José Francisco de Paula Juan Nepomuceno María de los Remedios Cipriano de la Santísima Trinidad Ruiz y Picasso”


Pablo Picasso

Little known fact; Pablo Picasso, famous Spanish painter and sculptor, was also one of the people with incredibly long names. His full baptismal name was composed of a series of names honouring various saints and relatives. Added to these were then surnames Ruiz and Picasso, for his father and mother, as stated in Spanish law.