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Surprises in history?

(262 Posts)
NorthandSouth98374 Sat 16-Sep-17 15:16:21

Not a TAAT but related to her it - don't want to derail my previous one.

Yesterday I started a thread regarding whether people believe Jesus was a real historical figure. To my surprise a lot of people do. I had no idea his existence was considered so probable.

In direct contrast to a few years ago when to my huge surprise I discovered to my huge surprise that Helen of Troy and the Trojan Horse were not actually real blush. I'm not this ignorant about all of history, honestly grin

Anyone else got any stories about history that came as a shock? Not just about this existence of people but anything history related?

NorthandSouth98374 Sat 16-Sep-17 15:17:39

No idea where the her and second huge surprise came from!

KindergartenKop Sat 16-Sep-17 15:50:01

My students are surprised that, as a young man, Henry viii was considered to be a sexy beast.

Jumble27 Sat 16-Sep-17 15:55:43

Wow wow wait, Helen of Troy was not a real person?! And the Trojan Horse wasn't real?! But wasn't it Odysseus that thought of the Trojan horse idea??

I'm going to have to google this now shock

LurkingHusband Sat 16-Sep-17 16:06:14

In direct contrast to a few years ago when to my huge surprise I discovered to my huge surprise that Helen of Troy and the Trojan Horse were not actually real

er ... Trojan Horse was a ship ...

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trojan_Horse#Factual_explanations

Cite 19 ....

LurkingHusband Sat 16-Sep-17 16:06:41

Actually I remember now.

It was a giant wooden badger ....

StevesFlappyCap Sat 16-Sep-17 16:09:56

That there is no proof that Marie Antoinette declared "Let them eat cake". Probably bad PR from her haters.

LinoleumBlownapart Sat 16-Sep-17 16:14:52

That the early Christians were until about 80AD still Jewish and worshiped in the synagogues. They also had some revolutionary views about the role of women for the time and culture. Over time and as the religion spread across Europe the women were written out of the texts, degraded and put back in their "places".

kooshbin Sat 16-Sep-17 16:17:12

Years ago, I was watching an episode of Time Team, which talked about the myth of the Sword in the Stone. They showed two pieces of soapstone, a soft stone, had been hollowed out a bit on one side of each, then the two halves bound tightly together, and molten iron being poured into the long thin gap. If correctly done then, when the iron has cooled, the two halves are separated and the new sword is drawn out of the stone.

So, not a sign of a king, but of a skilled swordsmith who was probably of more use.

LurkingHusband Sat 16-Sep-17 16:22:53

That there is no proof that Marie Antoinette declared "Let them eat cake". Probably bad PR from her haters.

From memory (bearing in mind Marie Antoinette wasn't French) it was a misunderstanding over a substitute for bread ...

LinoleumBlownapart Sat 16-Sep-17 16:25:17

Also Columbus was Italian not Spanish, and the labeling of native Americans as "Indians" has nothing to do with India or any idea that explorers were trying to find another way to India, but probably comes from "of god" or "children of god" as god is Dio/Dios/Deus .

NorthandSouth98374 Sat 16-Sep-17 16:35:40

Lurking it may well have been. I thought the myth of a wooden horse left at the gates with men hidden inside was actually what happened.

Jumble I'm pleased I'm not the only one to have been shocked!

I think that that Marie Antoinette quote was first published when she was a child and the attribution to her was wholly propaganda.

NorthandSouth98374 Sat 16-Sep-17 16:36:39

Very interesting koosh!

SuperStormborn Sat 16-Sep-17 16:37:30

World war one was caused by a sandwich (to some degree anywaygrin)

MaroonPencil Sat 16-Sep-17 16:39:55

I think for me the fact that Helen of Troy hatched out of an egg gave me a bit of doubt about her actual existence. And the fact that Paris' obsession with her dated back to his encounter with three goddesses squabbling over a golden apple.

MaroonPencil Sat 16-Sep-17 16:43:16

I think the period of time between the Romans and the Normans always takes me by surprise. I live in a town where a Norman castle is built on the remains of a Roman temple, and it always surprises me when I look at the castle and think "when the Normans looked at the remains of the temple, it was as long ago for them as it is for me looking at the castle and imagining that being built."

StevesFlappyCap Sat 16-Sep-17 16:44:51

Yep lurking - I know she wasn't French. There was no evidence at all that she even mentioned "brioche" (which is more a type of bread) rather than cake but that's by the by as that quote had been around for a while - was probably attributed to her to by her haters, she wasn't exactly popular ;)

LurkingHusband Sat 16-Sep-17 16:45:03

TBH I'm much more up with Roman history ... and being fair, I only read that bit today (although I do recall reading about the German guy who discovered Troy).

Much more sensitive about Marie Antoinette, as being bilingual, I am very aware of the danger of mistranslation. I have no idea how good MAs French was (I would imagine as fluent as can be) but the fact she wasn't French often gets left out of the legend. You're spot on about the propaganda though ... she was really hated by the sans-culottes who blamed a lot of Frances woes on foreigners. Luckily that doesn't happen these days hmm

NorthandSouth98374 Sat 16-Sep-17 16:46:36

Maroon listening to a documentary about Greek myths and hearing Helen of Troy's name was what made the penny drop. Until then I'd had a vague notion of her as a Joan of Arc type character. I blame being taught about the Trojan War at school at an age where I still believed in Santa.

MarthaArthur Sat 16-Sep-17 16:48:01

Somewhere in the evolutionary chain Aboriginees from Australia habe completely different DNA to the rest of the worlds human population making them completely unique.

LurkingHusband Sat 16-Sep-17 16:49:39

I think the period of time between the Romans and the Normans always takes me by surprise

It's a shame we were bought up (well, I was) to think of them as "the Dark ages" (nothing to do with washing smile). As the Staffordshire Hoard shows, they were nothing of the sort.

(Big up for BMAG where you can see the hoard for FREE !!!!)

WingMirrorSpider Sat 16-Sep-17 16:49:56

One of my favourites (which is pretty well known now) is the fact that Cleopatra lived closer in time to the invention of the iPhone than to the building of the great pyramid.

StevesFlappyCap Sat 16-Sep-17 16:50:40

R.e. Rome, did Caligula really make his horse a consul? I hope it's true 🐴...

MarthaArthur Sat 16-Sep-17 16:52:34

Alexander Graham Bell created the telephone from an idea based on his deaf mother. He also worked as a teacher helping deaf people talk so they fitted into society but he also wanted to stop deaf people marrying and producing more deaf people despite his own wofe being deaf. He almost never finished the telephone because of it.

MarthaArthur Sat 16-Sep-17 16:53:49

Oh and Draco who inspired the term "Draconian" punishing small crimes with the deathsentance, was actually very popular with his people and was accidently killed in a show of appreciation

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