Category Archives: Ancient History

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15 Ridiculous Predictions Which Didn’t Come True!

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1.What could be more absurd than the prospect of locomotives traveling twice the speed of stagecoaches?(Quarterly Review, 1825)

2.Landing and moving about on the moon offers so many serious problems for humans, that it may take science another 200 years to even lick them.”(Science Digest, 1948)

3.Everything that could be invented has been already invented.” (Charles H.Duell, U.S. Office of Patents, 1899)

4.Inventions have already reached their limit long ago. I see no hope for improvements in the future(Julius Frontenus, 10 AD)

5.Drill for oil? Drill deep into the ground to find oil? You are insane.” (Drillers hired by Edwin Drake to drill for oil in Pennsylvania, 1859)

6.There is no reason anybody would want a computer in their home.”(Ken Olson, founder of Digital Equipment Corporation, 1977)

7.”Computers in the future might weigh no more than 1,5 tons.”(Popular Mechanics, 1949)

8.I must confess that my imagination refuses to see any sort of submarine doing anything but suffocating its crew and sinking to the bottom of the ocean.(H.G.Wells, 1901)

9.’I take it for granted that before year 1980, all ships, airplanes, trains and automobiles will be nuclearly fueled.(David Sarnoff, 1955)

10.We don’t like their sound, and guitar music is definitely on the way out.” (Decca Recording to the Beatles, 1962)

11.Stock prices have reached what looks like a permanently high plateau(Irving Fisher, October 1929, three days before the stock market crash)

12.Democracy will be dead by 1950(John Langdon-Davies, 1936)

13.It will be years – surely not in my time – before a woman becomes Prime Minister(Margaret Thatcher, 1969)

14.The coming of the wireless era will make war impossible. There will be no wars anymore.”(Guglielmo Marconi, 1912)

15.Rail travel at high speeds is not possible, because passengers, unable to breathe, would asphyxiate.”(Dyonisius Lardner, 1828)

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11 Historical Misconceptions!

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

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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?

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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?

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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