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15 Historical Facts You Don’t Know

Jamie Frater . . . Comments

We all love facts – especially historical ones and ones that are new to us. This list looks at 15 facts that are, hopefully, unknown to most of us here. From the Ancient world to the early modern times, these are all entries that have not appeared before on Listverse. Be sure to add your own unusual or little-known facts to the comments.


Facts 1 – 5

Simeon Stylites Stepping Down

1. Saint Simeon Stylites (pictured) was a monk who gained fame in the 5th century for spending 37 years standing on a small platform on top of a tall pillar in Syria. He did it for ascetic reasons and his example was followed in later years by other well known stylite saints. His story is quite amazing and you can read more about it here.

2. In the First Dynasty of ancient Egypt, hoards of staff and family members were walled up with the body of the dead king. The humans and animals buried with the king were expected to help him in the afterlife.

3. In 1927 Otto Rohwedder invented sliced bread. He made the first machine to slice and wrap bread and won a patent for the process. After only six years from invention, more sliced bread was sold than unsliced.

4. In 1911, pigtails were banned in China because they were seen as a link with its feudal past.

5. To save the effort of sailing boats upstream, Mesopotamian traders built collapsable boats which they would sail downstream with a donkey on board. At the other end of their journey they would sell the frame and when they finished trading, they would use the donkey to return home.


Facts 6 – 10

Alexander The Great

6. In ancient Rome the punishment for killing one’s father was to be drowned in a sack along with a viper, a dog, and a rooster. The reason behind this? I have no idea.

7. Alexander the Great (pictured) invented a spying technique still used today: he had his soldiers write letters home, which he then intercepted and read to discover who was against him.

8. In Gubbio, Northern Italy, a race has been run every year since the 12th century – and the outcome is rigged. Villagers carry three statues in the race, Saints Ubaldo (for whom the race was started), Anthony and George. Every year Saint Ubaldo comes first, Saint George second, and Saint Anthony last.

9. When anaesthetic was used for the first time in childbirth in 1847, the mother was so amazed and relieved at how painless the birth was that she named her child Anaesthesia.

10. The last time a cavalry charge was used in war was in the Second World War. A mongolian cavalry division charged against a German infantry division – the result? Not one German was killed and 2,000 of the cavalry were.


Facts 11 – 15

1St Woman

11. The grid layout used in many cities around the world is not a new invention – it first appeared in the city of Mohenjo Daro, in India, 4,500 years ago. The houses to the side of the streets had bare walls facing the street to keep out the sun and dust from carts.

12. The first policewoman was Alice Stebbins Wells (pictured) who joined the LAPD in 1910. Because she was the first (and only) policewoman, she designed her own police uniform. Four years later, Britain had their first woman policeman.

13. In the 1700s in Paris, women wore hats with lightning rods attached when venturing outdoors during bad weather. Bad idea.

14. In circa 3100–3050 BC Egypt was ruled by its very first Pharaoh – King Menes. It was said that he was the first human ruler – inheriting the throne from the god Horus.

15. Gorgias of Epirus (3rd century BC), a Greek sophist, was born in his dead mother’s coffin! Pallbearers heard him crying out as they carried his mother’s coffin to the grave.

Jamie Frater

Jamie is the owner and chief-editor of Listverse. He spends his time working on the site, doing research for new lists, and collecting oddities. He is fascinated with all things historic, creepy, and bizarre.

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  • NiMur90

    lol…I can see whyh they were drowned with a viper and dog, but a rooster? Crazy Romans..

    • Hagar

      I think its: These Romans are crazy (tap tap tap)

      • Kuraivan

        Asterix reference, perfect.

      • rob

        You utter legend!

    • josh

      yea that what i said they need some phone or some wisky or some thing

  • Jonny

    As always. Great list.

  • Barry Wanksock

    Some fine Monday reading.

  • canacan

    fantastic list!! thank you

  • GagaMonstette

    love it . . . fact 2 . . . the one on the First Dynasty of ancient Egypt . . . scary

    • oculus18

      The practice would be cool if it were applied to today's corrupt politicians. When they die, their cronies would get buried along with them.

      • TEX

        permanent term limit

  • It would be cool if a woman gave birth to her baby while she was on mushrooms! Then she could name her baby Psilocybin! Ha

    • kelsey

      htat funny

  • astraya

    1) He was a pillar of the monastic community!
    2) Hordes, not hoards.
    3) What was sliced bread the best thing since?
    6) There is a reason, but I've forgotten it.

    • mom424

      in this instance either horde or hoard will work. Hoard is a cache, stockpile, or supply. Horde is a teeming crowd or throng. Take your pick. If you're the emperor I'm sure you had quite the hoard of servants and slaves. A plethora even. I do wonder if ever the horde of ordinary citizens banded together to stop the insane practice of live offerings in those tombs.

      • deanosantino

        i feel the need to thank you for that excellent explanation……. thank you. :]

        • mom424

          You're quite welcome. Any time. Talking is my only good thing. :)

  • dalinean

    According to wikipedia:

    # Eastern Front, World War II, (August 24, 1942): The last cavalry charge in Italian history is mounted against a Soviet artillery position along the River Don by 700 men of the Italian 3rd 'Savoia' Cavalry Regiment. This is often reported as "the last successful cavalry charge in history".[6]

    • This is different than the last charge. Your entry specifically says “Italian”‘ and “last successful”. The one in the list wasn’t very successful.

      • One

        However, the Mongol charge was not dated.

        From Wikipedia on the charge,

        The last substantive and successful classical cavalry charge of the war – and the final such confirmed charge in history – was probably that made in August 1942 near Isbushensky on the Don river by a cavalry unit of the Italian Expeditionary Corps in Russia (Corpo di Spedizione Italiano in Russia, or CSIR) on the Eastern Front. The 2nd squadron of the 3rd Dragoons Savoia Cavalleria Regiment of the Prince Amedeo Duke of Aosta Fast (Celere) Division, armed with sabres and hand grenades, outflanked an estimated 2,000 Soviet infantry while the remainder of the regiment took Isbushensky in a dismounted attack.

        It does claim to be the "final such" charge.

  • undaunted warrior 1

    The collapsable boat one is very clever – nice list.

    Thanks J.F.

    • TEX

      Exhausted man sitting on side of river with exhausted donkey after dragging boat upstream for ten miles – "man – there HAS to be a better way"
      donkey says, "ever think about a disposable boat?"

      • Maggot

        If I hadn't been previously enlightened by the recent "Talking Donkeys" list, I would've called your post here a fabrication, if not an outright lie!

  • bluesman87

    This list was ok , but too short also I dont believe no.1

  • cqsteve

    Interesting fact # 2 – I remember seeing some crappy 1950's movie where the Kings servants willing went into the pyramid and basically climbed into their own sarcophagus to await their own deaths. It scared the crap out of six year old me!
    Interesting fact # 9 – Good thing the kid wasn't named Episiotomy.
    Interesting fact # 10 – Brave, but the result? Duh!
    Good list Jamie, a nice light read….

  • Amrendra

    Mohenjo-daro was established around 4000 years ago and in 1922, it was rediscovered and excavated by an officer of India’s Archeological Society. The ancient city was then divided into two portions – the Citadel and the lower city. In the Citadel, there was a public bath with elaborate brickwork decorating it and an advanced drainage system. An imposing veranda used to surround this part of the city. The lower city, meanwhile hosted a granary, residences and assembly halls. The streets were planned in a precise manner, with straight orientation and connecting all parts of the city. The city suffered devastation when the Indus River changed its course. The whole civilization was submerged and lost in time until the ruins were discovered. Now a UNESCO world heritage site.

  • Calum

    Love these lists, great start to the week.

  • randomizer

    Thats simple a viper to punish you for your crime, a dog to bite and bark at you like a reprimand, and the rooster being the father figure among chickens would be put in the sack so you never feel the satisfaction of at least getting rid of the old man.

  • elise

    i wonder how long he was in his dead mothers womb? and how did he get out without any pushing?

    • oliveralbq

      i've read in about 3 different places, he "slipped out of the womb"

      there isnt one woman in my family that would prefer c-section to slippage.

      • Jay

        Like a little human avalanche from Mount Vagina…

        So if somebody gets born to a dead woman in a coffin, does he grow up to be weird, you think?

        • oliveralbq

          hopefully there isnt enough research on this to confirm/deny potential tendancies toward inherent weirdness.

          suppressed fear of the dark, boxes, cats, tampon sockets, beavers, tacos, peaches, and the bermuda triangle — yes, perhaps. but all around weird? probably depends on how long the kid is stuck in the damn coffin. this could easily go either way.

          • Jay

            Could go either way? So could the kid, I suspect…

    • Maggot

      Gasses caused by decomposition can push a fetus out eventually, but I have a hard time believing this would ever result in a live birth. I would think that a baby still in the womb of a dead mother would die pretty quickly (like minutes) from lack of oxygen. There have been modern cases of brain-dead mothers being kept on life support while the fetus develops enough to survive outside the womb, but of course that kind of medical technology would not have been available in the 3rd century BC. This alleged event happened so long ago, I really question its accuracy.

    • deeeziner

      Frankly, if I'm stuck in a dead vagina I'm using every last ounce to get the hell outa there!

      • oliveralbq

        if i ever manage to get stuck in a dead vagina, then i have levels and amounts of problems that simply being un-stuck probably won't fix.

  • Will Trame

    Number fifteen was the only one I have heard of. Good list; a great way to clear away the cobwebs at 4:30 am on a Monday morning.

  • El the erf


    • me not you


    • Barry Wanksock

      That resembles something else rather than a finger….

      • El the erf

        the finger implies that "something else"…. so, turns out appropriate after all. ;)

  • muscarius

    The last Cavalry charge in history took place on 23 August 1942, at Izbushensky on the River Don. The Italian Savoia Cavalry Regiment, and consisting of 600 mounted Italian troops, charged against 2,000 Soviet troops. The Italian Lancers destroyed a pair of Soviet Infantry armored vehicles before being forced to withdraw with thirty-two casualties.

  • FoxRain

    I think I read somewhere about #6. The reason they were drowned with those animals were that when the animals start to drown they will naturally scratch and bite to get free. So the victim would get seriously injured before death. Or something like that.
    Why it had to be those animals I've no idea.

    • me not you

      dog – teeth , rooster – spurs , viper – venom – instant mayhem in a bag . Romans always loved a good show adding a cat would've been inspired though .

  • Lubna

    Minor correction: Mohen jo Daro is in Pakistan, not India. In local language, the name means 'City of Dead'

    • Surya

      Mohen Jo Daro is in present day Pakistan, I agree. But historically the landmass east of the river Indus was known as India to traders and invaders who used to come from the west. So the present country of Pakistan itself was a part of India until 1947, when Pakistan was carved out of India.

      And Mohen Jo Daro means "pile (heap) of corpses", not "city of the dead".

      • oliveralbq

        @surya: " "pile (heap) of corpses", not "city of the dead". "

        —ok maggot — how many bodies are in a 'heap'?

        the last time i talked to you about this we were talking about grains of sand. so what exactly did we figure out? that if we have a heap of bodies, and a dingo snatches one off the top, we still have a heap. when do we no longer have a heap? or is this just the semantics of the undefinable.?

      • Sami

        Actually, pre-partition the area east of the Indus River was called the "Indian Subcontinant", not "India". India came about only after the Indian Subcontinant was split between Pakistan and India

  • El the erf

    The ancient Romans had another strange tradition… whenever one of their engineers constructed an arch, as the capstone was hoisted into place, the engineer had to assume accountability for his work in the most profound way possible: 'he had to stand under the arch'. If the work was performed properly, the engineer would live to work another day. If not… well, that's what early quality control was all about!!!
    Totally creeps me out to think what sadistic methods they might have used for architects !

    • mom424

      cool bit of trivia El. Something I didn't know. thanks.

    • deeeziner

      Our little El is all growed up and spouting real live knowledge!

      Nice bit of trivia. Gotta admit that the ancients sure did have some incentives for maintaining the integrity of their craftsmen.

  • Lifeschool

    hey, neat list!! Enjoyed all of these items, esp. 10 to 15 – great to know.

  • RenoDiscordia

    I've heard #6 before, I think it was supposed to be a symbolism thing: The viper's pretty pretty easy to figure out, it's poisonous and aggressive, the dog represents cowardice, the rooster was believed to kill its own kind. I also heard they threw a monkey in there, because monkeys were seen as a mockery of humankind. Not to mention being thrown in a sack with a bunch of scared drowning animals can't be a fun way to die.

    • samanthaf63

      You're right. I read this in "I, Claudius" (it was a book before it was a brilliant BBC miniseries). How hideous can you get (the poor dog!).

  • Top Kill

    Good list though not very interesting.

    • Marmon

      Isn't that a contradiction? A list's main purpose is to be 'interesting', is it not?

  • I love lists like this :D well done.

  • Chineapplepunk

    If anybody else can see the 'Sponsored by Sanyo Xacti' advert halfway down the page, how big is that womans mouth??!?!

    Nice list BTW, I like these lists where I ALWAYS learn something new! :-)

  • The Annoyed Elephant

    Plus, roosters aren't known for their gentle temperament or their lack of spurs.

    • Surya

      Roosters are perennial alarm clocks, they cackle exactly at daybreak. The job of the rooster was to keep the sentenced wide awake and tortured by depriving him of a peaceful sleep.

      • swapie

        They drowned the whole bunch. How were they suppose to sleep? Crazy.

        • Surya


          • TEX

            A cock you meam.

          • Skata

            Go look up the law of "Paterfamilias." Any upstart rooster can be "Cock of the Barnyard" if he is mean enough to beat up the old rooster (usually his father).

            It is indeed a symbolic commentary on filial respect.

          • april

            wow that is so mean but ture get a room for real

          • slackator

            okay makes more sense than what I was thinking in that they were all symbolic the Rooster the dad cock the dog the mom bitch I know its not well thought out dont yell at me :) and the snake was a representation of the sniveling snake of a child

  • psyk3d

    #11 thats the only time us indians were developed! when the world started going that way, we took a U turn. now, its embarrassing to even tell some one that i am an indian!

    • me not you

      Somebody's a gonna get a hurting!

    • Surya

      Don't get embarrassed that you are an Indian. I heard that even the Americans are proud of themselves!

  • Will

    Just something that should be noted (not that anybody is going to read this so far down in the comments): there is little evidence that Menes was the first pharaoh of Egypt and most evidence suggest the name was a title bestowed on either Narmer (the Pharaoh more accepted as unifying Egypt) or his successor Hor-Hah

    • I read this far :) And yes you are right – there is only scant evidence in favor of Menes but despite that he has been bestowed with the honor mention here for thousands of years. This could be a case of word of mouth transmitting more truth than the written record – or it could be an error :)

  • oouchan

    Liked the list. Couldn't help but laugh at the thought of a lightening rod on a hat….I mean really? They really thought that was a good idea? *snort*
    I will need to check up on number 4 some more. Wonder if it's still in use to today or does it only apply to men?

    Cool list!

    • Bill

      The reason pigtails were required before that is that in a mass-beheading, the heads were easier to dispose of, carried by one pigtail down the back

  • rain

    Poor Mongolians. . .

    • kelsey willeartr

      for real

  • @JFrater: fact#6: “punishment for killing one’s father…” —about 7 people have commented on this fact, and some of the justifications and/or guesses for the presence of each animal is interesting. but — the distinction was make about the father’s death. what animals were tossed into a death sack if someone killed their mother? or a statesman?

    • Surya

      Or an animal, for that matter? Do you think it is a lesser crime to kill an animal than to kill one's parent? PETA people are listening.

      • Of course it is a lesser crime to kill an animal – if it were a crime ever man working in an abattoir would be on death row.

        • Surya

          Farm animals are born to die young. They are made to be born so that they can be killed later. This gives a kind of legitimacy in killing them. (The life giver can be a life taker). But try to kill a pet. You will be booked.

          • That is untrue – certainly in my country it is not illegal to dispatch a pet as long as it not done cruelly. A family here recently killed their pet dog and cooked it on the BBQ for dinner – they were not prosecuted – source :)

          • Surya

            From your link: "He killed it by striking it to the head which is a lawful way, or a humane way, of stunning an animal in order to then slit its throat and then bleed it… that is within the law."

            Wow! How humane! How merciful!

          • Uh – it is – that is why it is not illegal. How do you think farm animals are killed? They are usually killed with a machine that strikes it on the head and many animals for eating are then hung and bled. Look beyond emotion and think about it rationally. There is no essential difference between a farm animal and an animal raised in a house.

          • With chickens, they put them into a machine that has some sort of prong. As the the chicken passes by on a conveyor belt, the prong snaps the chicken's head off. This way it is done quick and almost painlessly, as the chicken is caught off guard. The only difference between a farm animal and a pet is that people build an emotional bond with a pet.

          • Jay

            I remember the minor flap that ensued when Sarah Palin gave an interview at a turkey farm and there was a guy in the background stuffing turkeys into a machine that kills them.

          • Surya

            "How do you think farm animals are killed?"
            The whole objective of raising a farm is to kill animals and sell their meat, so how a farm animal is killed is not the issue here. But you don't obviously raise a pet in order to kill and eat it on a convenient date.

          • me not you

            yeah thats how all pigs have to be slaughtered , they tie the back legs , stun/smash the head HARD with a 4 pound hammer hoist up and slit the throat . Other wise the meat becomes tainted by all the adrenalin and stress hormones , making it tough and less tasty . Cattle is relatively similar except they use a bolt gun to pierce the forehead but all it does is stun and partially knock the animal out . They still have to cut the throat and hang to drain all the tainted blood . Not only legal its the standard practice .

          • In Texas, I believe it is legal to shoot a dog (usually it is done to put an injured dog out of its misery), as long as, like you said, it is not done cruelly.

          • oliveralbq

            @jfrater: '"certainly in my country it is not illegal to dispatch a pet as long as it not done cruelly.''

            it's certianly not as taboo in kiwiland as it is here in the states. (that comes partially from your source, and partially from my brother in law)

            it does happen near here, but without a big deal being made. they are small sects, but there is a large vietnamese contingancy who do not hide the fact that stray cats and dinner are synonymous. and on occasion, in the far south bayous in louisiana, you get pet alligator ke-bobs every now and then.
            theyre never prosecuted.

            like you said — if its done mercifully, youre good. if you do not –you get animal cruelty charges, not murder.

      • oliveralbq

        i didnt mention animals on purpose. i wanted the differentiation b/w father and mother.
        but — since jafe opened that can of worms, let me start here.

        @surya: "Do you think it is a lesser crime to kill an animal than to kill one's parent? "

        —–you're kidding right? animal cruelty laws arent even in the same ballpark as murder 1.
        that is so out there, that i'm ont even totally sure what youre getting at.

    • There doesn't seem to be much info on matricides around – but apparently Euripides wrote a play about one which involved a punishment – I just don't know what it was as I don't have a copy of the play. Knowing the Greek punishment might give some insight into what the Romans would do.

      • The Major

        Try looking under his full name. Euripdes Trousers You Mendathese Trousers.


      • oliveralbq


        they went against the teachings of dionysus

        the violence was to represent a justification for dealing with deviance. and it was allogorical. i really dont know enough about thiis play to even be making this comment…. but does this sound familiar in terms of which you were referring to?

        oh — and there are varying interpretations, probably due to the fact the manuscript was found after his death, and was never preformed for him to bear witness.

  • trituradora

    wow ! I really don't each of them !

  • bluesman87

    Dude, you dont even wanna hear the story about my friend "Enema-bag"

  • MommaDuck23

    Great list!

  • Stefan

    where did saint simeon take a shit?

    • cigarman

      Same place the pope does, in the woods.

    • deeeziner

      From what I have read– straight off the tower on which he stood. For 37 years.

      Yeah he might have been a saint, but I don't imagine there were that many people who came to visit him if they didn't have to.

  • cutnpastediogenes

    Bunuel's "Simon of the Desert"
    The full movie with english subtitles-

    "Simón, the son of Simeon Stylites, has lived for 6 years, 6 weeks and 6 days atop an eight-meter pillar in the middle of the desert, praying for spiritual purification. A congregation of priests and peasants salute him and offer him a brand new pillar to stand on and carry on his mission. He comes down the pillar and is offered priesthood, but refuses because he considers himself unworthy, and forsakes his aging mother for the love of God before climbing up his new pillar. He heals an amputee missing both hands, whose first use of them is to slap his child. But the congregation quickly departs unimpressed, leaving Simón alone.

    Time goes by and Simón meets a number of regular characters – a handsome priest whom he condemns on grounds of vanity, a dwarf herder and his mother, who comes to live close to him but remains neglected of attention. A woman (Silvia Pinal), Satan, visits him three times: first as an innocent girl chanting curses in Latin, second disguised as Jesus Christ. She constantly tries to make Simón give up his task and climb down the pillar, but he refuses every time. She even possesses one of the priests that visit him, who is consequently exorcised by the priests.

    The third time, a coffin trails across the desert and finally stops next to the pillar. It opens up to reveal Satan, clad in a toga, who at last climbs up the pillar and vanishes with Simón for good. In an anachronistic turn, the couple find themselves sitting inside a crowded, jumping 1960s nightclub with a live instrumental rock band on stage. Satan tells Simón that the song the '60s hipsters are dancing to is called "Radioactive Flesh." Simón protests about wanting to go home, but Satan says he cannot."

  • dublya push

    mistake in number 11.. Mohenjo daro is in Pakistan..

  • ian

    very interesting stuff

    • rfd

      no not rally

  • NonyMouse

    Love this list! How cool is that to design your own police uniform? I'd certainly have fun with that, hehe. Being born in a coffin though.. that's not gonna leave any emotional scars or anything.

  • Jay

    Regarding Numer 9:

    "What's your name?"

    • Fish


  • weidermeijer

    Stupid Mongol Hordes.

  • duder

    i'm having a case of deja vu, isn't this list a repeat, i'm sure I've read it before

    • Well unless I completely forgot that I wrote it once before, it is definitely no repeat :)

      • bucslim

        I'm having veja du. That's where I forgot if I've done something before, but remembered my pants.

        • Jay

          And don't think we aren't grateful.

    • fdyhjfj

      hay what would a black guy look like with blond hair

  • SwampGuy

    Regarding post #8, the race with the predetermined outcome: I'd like to paraphrase Mongo from Futurama: "This concept confuses and annoys me!"

  • FakePlasticPhil

    #12 – New evidence indicates that the first female cop was in Chicago, and not LA.

  • Ackmed teh idiot

    Love this list! xD The french were so stupid!!!

  • undaunted warrior 1

    Great list, I learned some history today – Thanks.

  • neesha

    LaaaaAme list

  • John M

    #15 has a plural on rulers that shouldn't be.

  • Big_Mo

    Are you sure that cavalry charge was made by "mongols" and not Cossacks? Just wondering what Mongols would be doing fighting the Germans.

    • The Mongols were fighting with the Soviets.

      • Were the Mongols fighting alongside the Soviets or fighting against the Soviets?

        • Skata

          Mongols have admired Russian's fighting spirit since the days of Prince Alexander of Novgorod. They allied themselves with the Soviet Union in 1922.

  • Amelia

    Mohenjo Daro is in Pakistan, not India. Harappa is in Pakistan too.

  • Skoalman

    I knew every single one of these 15 Historical Facts. Shitty list JFrater try again next time..

    • Wow, you're really smart! Too bad you can't invest some of those brains into writing a comment with good grammar. Use a comma next time, kiddo.

  • La Boulengerie.

    Side burns are so named because in the 18th and 19th centuries soldiers would grow hair on the sides of their faces to prevent their skin being burned by the explosion in the pan of the flintlock musket of the man standing next to them.

    And Skoalman….shut up and do better.

    • Skata

      Named for Gen. Ambrose Burnside.

    • fendabenda

      That can't be true… or if they did grow sideburns to protect themselves, they were sadly mistaken. Hair (beard, sideburns, etc) catches fire very easily. The only reason for a soldier to wear facial hair would be if they had to fight in freezing temperatures, then it might keep them warm.

  • Alex

    Best interpretation ever!

  • I had heard of #15 and #14. Just another little historical fact: When the Kremlin was completed, Ivan the Terrible had the architect who built the palace blinded so that he could never create a building that was as beautiful as it. Good list.

    • Skata

      Heard that story about the Hagia Sophia also. (Gibbon?)

  • jumblegirl

    Great list JFrater, the only ones I knew were number 2 & 6, the rest was all new to me. You learn something new every day and I've learnt 13 today!

  • Jay

    I thought sideburns were named after General Burnsides. And whitewall tires were named after Wally White.

    • fakebrock

      Who was banana hammock named after?

  • Jay

    My friend, Trojan, found this hilarious. Incidentally, is it wierd that there's a condom named Ramses? Didn't he have several wives and,like, a bunch of children?

    • fendabenda

      Well, then, Ramses had an active sexual life. Would you rather buy a condom named Eunuch or Impotent? :D

      • oliveralbq

        hahaha … like having sunglasses, and trying to debate which of your friends need them more, the blind guy or the eyeless girl.

  • Jay

    Actually, Moonbeam, it's the same concept that drives all religions and most Walk-a-Thons. The basic message of the religious is, "I love God and I'm going to prove it by sacrificing; by taking a vow of poverty, by eating fish every Friday, by only having sex in allowed positions and with the partners my priest says are fair game."

    It actually makes more sense to prove your devotion to God by saying, "Because I love God I am going to throw away my secular life by standing on this pillar for 37 years."

    By throwing away your concern for the things of this world, you prove you are IN the world but not OF the world. The lesson is that this life is meaningless; only the devotion to God that saves our souls has meaning. It's the exact opposite of the approach taken by Mother Teresa who sought to comfort and help people in THIS life. And I suspect there are people who understand that the example set by Simeon is
    worth an infinity of the examples set by the Mother Teresas of the world.

    This leads us to the question of whether a priest should reveal that he was told IN THE CONFESSIONAL that the Sacramental wine is poisoned.

    Limit your answer to two Blue Books and pick up your pencils now.

    • Moonbeam

      Interesting reply, and I appreciate your humor. And I get the Mother Teresa bit. After all, how much of a kindness is it to tell a woman not to use birth control because,, "God will provide" when of course the reality is that a life of abject poverty is a more likely outcome? And sure sacrificing material goods is a noble undertaking. Do we really need the most expensive cars, the absolute latest tech devices, or the biggest yacht in the world? But is it saintly, while standing on that pillar for those 37 years, to require that someone else provide him with food? Water? Clothing? Who got to carry away his poo? He only proves that the only way to give up everything of this world would be to lay down and die of starvation. Even then someone else would be stuck carrying away his corpse and disposing of it. I would say that neither Simeon nor Mom T set a worthy example of the message Jesus appears to have sent. (Not that I have either, but I don't profess to be a saint or to be Christ-like.) After all, isn't Jesus the one who they claimed to be attempting to pattern their lives after? I'm no longer Catholic but sadly, I went to Parochial school as a child. As I recall Jesus healed the sick, supported himself as a carpenter, bathed, ate food, drank wine and interacted socially with friends and family. Pretty much "in the world." Simeon's life seems to be saying that to live and work and have friends and a family is wrong. For that matter doing anything is wrong. I suppose there's a possibility that he could have been right, but it certainly doesn't follow any Christ-like teachings that I recall learning. And wasn't that his point?

      As to your question, after being told that the Sacramental wine was poisoned, the priest should make the noble sacrifice and drink it first, being sure not to leave any for anyone else. Of course his death would reveal that the wine was tainted, but he would not violate his vows because the confessor would still remain anonymous. Or he could just spill it "accidentally on purpose."

      • Jay

        Moonbeam, that's an excellent answer to the Sacramental wine question. But we can easily create a situation where that's not possible and the basic question remains: Do we save the temporal life of the people but destroy their faith in the Confessional and, by extension, God? It gets thorny.

        No, Simeon wasn't attempting to emulate Jesus. It was just a sacrifice to show his belief. And by helping Simeon, other people could become a part of that noble act. It's like going to watch your local high school basketball team. When we sit in the bleachers and cheer, we partake of the glory or their success. Afterwards we say, "WE won." Those who carried away Simeon's waste had something to brag about. "Simeon did an amazing thing, and I HELPED."

        • Moonbeam

          I can't see it as a noble act. Life is a gift. A life well spent is noble. A life wasted is just bizzare. He seems like he must have had a mentall illness. Sometimes I think because something ocured in ancient times we give it aura of nobility when it's really just strange.

  • Carra 23

    Again – – -I DID know all of these – – – Change your titles!

    Also Menes was legendary; not real. In fact It is believed that the first king of a UNITED Egypt the ruler Narmer inspired the Menes legend; or was also called 'Menes'.
    Preceding Narmer were Iri-Hor and Ka: These three kings formed "Dynasty 0"
    These 3 were preceded by 'King Scorpion' – the only nominative ever found for him from the Nagada III diggings: he is shown on a mace head wearing the hedjet crown of upper Egypt and named on pottery labels torn from grave goods.
    Scorpion was preceded by kings called the "Followers of Horus" – the divine kingship precede\s THEM:
    The Palermo Stone, and the Chronicles of Manetho; historian to Ptolemy II both go back beyond Narmer-Menes while the Turin Canon lists the Gods, Spirits and then begins with Menes-Narmer.

    • nicoleredz3

      Did you know: There are many people like myself who had no knowledge of anything, here? This list was for us. But honestly, it should've been called "15 Historical Facts You May Not Have Known"…

      • Carra 23

        ? IntenseDebate Notification <DIV>Hi Nicole (nicoleredz3)</DIV> <DIV></DIV> <DIV>I do understand your comment and I absolutely agree: I guess I'm just sick of Jamie's headings: 15 things you don't know; 10 things you've never heard etc: It just annoys me that people – especially people who are supposed to know better; haven't the wherewithall to entitle something more correctly: Those of us who are widely read DO know many of these things and feel insulted.</DIV> <DIV></DIV> <DIV>Otherwise; I really enjoy the content and even though I know most (if not all) of the things his lists contain; occasionally there is something new or something I had misplaced in my cerebral 'filing cabinet'.</DIV> <DIV></DIV> <DIV>Please don't be offended; the comment WAS for Jamie, not for the general populace of the list.</DIV> <DIV></DIV> <DIV>Thank you for the comment – at least you were polite.</DIV> <DIV></DIV> <DIV>Carra</DIV> <DIV style=”FONT: 10pt arial”>


    To mr.Embarassed_indian_buddy ‘PSYCH3D’ (SEE COMMENT 7.)..
    YOU seriously need an overdose of confidence pal… And instead of blabbering loudly bout how not-so-indian you r,cum out and do sum gud to ur society in any lil way u can..b useful,b proud u do have a magnificient country to cal ur own… n to those who think bout having a holiday to see ‘poor India’,giv it a break,we do hav great places to visit.. Google it out…
    From my own side,i think the reasons why india is stil not a successful developed country are :
    1. Curroupt politicians
    2. Uneducated politicians
    3. Curroupt and uneducated politicians earning more than 10 million rupees annually IN LEGAL amounts… And still demanding a 200 percent hike in their paychecks…
    4. About 100 BILLION DOLLARS (500 trillion rupees) in black money rolling amongst them
    5. The same nerds wanting our ceo’s and white collars(who r highly educated and strive hard for atleast 15 yrs to get to the top positions ) to cut off their own paycheck ‘so that they can be used effectively for social purposes’
    6. The same guys indulging in criminalistic activities(everything u can imagine of) or helping out the criminal buddys or family members …and getting away wid it without facing lawsuits…
    7. People who having a long list of lawsuits against them given permission to stand for elections… And the worse part…they win it.. And that While the media is publishing their records as hot new… And in 1 case.. A guy was standing for elections WHILE STILL IN JAIL…!!
    8. Politicians this…
    9. Politicians that…
    10.More politicians…
    11. And for a change… Another reasons include Idiots who keep breeding until they come across a boy child(reason for population),embarassed indians like the one above(people who stand aside doing nothing and wondering why this country isnt improving..)etc..
    P.s. Sorry psch3d u askd for it..

  • hunter

    I've dedicated my life to Christianity by lying on my couch for nearly 23 years now. I'll be a saint someday.

    • Jay

      Then you'll be Saint Hunter of the Couch. And people will think you were made a Saint for hunting couches. And they'll say,"Why did he hunt couches?" And someone will answer, "The thrill of the chase…"

  • General Tits Von Chodehoffen

    Nice list

  • Rich Purtle

    One correction–Portland Oregon had a female police officer 2 years earlier, one Lola Baldwin.

  • charlimara

    "the first woman policeman" reset my brain
    maybe its better to call her the first female police officer?
    anyway, other than that i did enjoy the list very much, thank you :)

    • Jay

      I once had a woman mailman.

      • charlimara


        • fendabenda

          The words "policeman" and "mailman" and others like that don't refer to the sex of the person. The suffix "-man" simply means the "(hu)man" who catches the bad guys or delivers the letters, respectively. The word "man" doesn't always mean just male people, it often means all people. Mankind (not the wrestler, lol) or something like that. :) In English language, the words have no gender as such (which is a bit unusual, as most languages do), unlike French, Spanish, Italian, German, etc. In those languages there's no problem like this: you just change the article if you want to highlight the gender of the police "officer", for example.

          • charlimara

            ah, fendabenda, thank you. english is my second language, main one being spanish, so i guess yes, im usually unconsciously attaching an article to any profession. as you mentioned in spanish for instance if i want to refer to someone else i would use "el" or "la" police officer. but if i want to say i am a police officer i would say "soy policia", in this case policia has no gender but of course, if its you who is saying that, people wont need the word man or woman to know which one you are. i think thats why i was more tempted to use police officer than policeman or policewoman :)
            also, mankind was awesome!

      • oliveralbq

        i currently have a male mailwoman

      • Maggot

        The mail never came that day…

        • Jay

          She was named Melanie. We called her… Mel.

          • Jay

            We lived up a dirt road so she'd park, then put our letters in a bucket and run up the hill. Mel, the un-male mailman ran pell mell with mail in a mail pail.

          • Jay

            Sometimes frozen rain would fall from the sky. But Mel would sail through the hail with her mail pail protecting her frail tail.

          • Jay

            Sleep beckons so it's time to bail on the tale of Mel. But just so you know, I COULD go on like this all day. Aren't you glad I decided not to?

          • charlimara


            i want more mel adventures! and i want them in 3D!

          • Jay

            3-D?!?!?! I'm not Saint Simeon!

          • oliveralbq

            jay —
            who was responsible for this ?
            johnny walker, jack daniels, jose cuervo, jim beam, robert mondavi, or aurthur guinness?

          • Jay

            This is just me. I've been like this my whole life. Ever since since they dragged me out of that coffin…

  • jayantraj7

    wow..nice post..i just knew 2 of them..;)

  • Smatterknack

    I have issue with number 10. The last calvary charge was at least in about 2001, performed by US spec ops in Afghanistan. Among other things, they performed a Calvary charge on dilapidated Afghan tanks and won a devastating victory. It was so effective that it was heralded as a great military innovation.

  • H. Shah.

    Slight correction: Mohenjo-daro is a Pakistani city, not Indian.

    • SJD

      It was in erstwhile India.If the British had not come along,we would have been unified much more developed and without any bitterness or disputes over Kashmir between us.

  • striker300southpaw

    I like fact #11. I guess Thomas Jefferson stole the idea from them then. One of my personal favorite facts is that the U.S. is undefeated in wars and battles when they use donkeys.

    • Jay

      Or mules. Especially talking mules. There was a documentary on this: Francis Joins the Navy.

  • bar

    hay snickersman ur sped or some thing

    • snickersman

      What's that?

  • Is this site for contestants on Jeopardy? I do think the criminal activities if 43 and cheney et al would serve us most efficiently instead of facts that ate a gazillion years old and quite unnecessary considering the state of affairs worldwide in the year 2010.

    • Jay

      "I'll take MISCONCEPTIONS for $600, Alex."

      The criminal activities of the Bushies would only serve US if we weren't the ones being criminalized.

  • combatsmurf

    informative and a good read.

  • Pumpkinhead

    Lol, number 13. I wonder how many people regretted that trend now. :-)

  • nicoleredz3

    Omg, very good list, JFrater! Number 15 is creepy… And fascinating! I have not heard of anything on this list before… Which is a plus for me. :-)

  • Joe R. S

    I suppose we could debate the specific definition of "cavalry charge," but I'm certain that US Special Forces joined in a horseback charge against the Taliban in Afghanistan in 2001 during the initial invasion.
    There's plenty more if you search.

  • I just wanted to drop a comment and let you know that I really like your site. Keep up the good work

  • SWendell

    Hm. I knew all but a few of those already.


  • Turk

    fact #1 Saint Simon's Pillar is actually in modern day Turkey. The pillar and the monastery built around it are atop a mountain and are open to the public. Most of the structure is visible, but not excavated. The structures collapsed during an Earthquake hundreds of years ago and Turkish teenagers have spray painted some of the pillars and stones

  • Demo

    The last cavalry charge in history was in 2001, in Afghanistan, a US special forces unit, on horseback, charged head on into a Taliban held town, after a fierce and quick fight, they took the town, routing the Taliban.


    "11. The grid layout used in many cities around the world is not a new invention – it first appeared in the city of Mohenjo Daro, in India, 4,500 years ago. The houses to the side of the streets had bare walls facing the street to keep out the sun and dust from carts."

  • Naheed

    In fact No. 11 it is mentioned that Mohenjo daro is in India. Though in the past the whole region was one but now It is not the same. Right now the area where Monhenjo Daro is located, is in Pakistan. Anyways, the list is good one.

  • atti

    About the 11th fact, the city of "Mohenjo Daro" is in Pakistan not in india.

  • Janisary

    about 2.10… its the Polish army Cavaliers that charged the German Army not the Mongols… The German army never invaded Mongolia.

  • Nauman

    Mohenjo Daro is in Pakistan

  • Mohsin

    Mohenjo Daro is in Pakistan not in India.
    The only reason I mentioned this is because people seem to believe that all that is relevant in the region is in India and all that is wrong with it is in Pakistan.

  • rida

    MOEN JO DARO was a part of india before partition but now is in Pakistan (sindh province) please correct dis mistake

  • Miher

    “Mohenjo Daro” is not in india, its in Pakistan

  • Ghafoor

    correction fact 11:
    U dumb ass , moen jo daro is in pakistan in stat of sindh near larkana city

  • bije mujiatma


  • Mazgirl

    Mohenjo Daro is in Pakistan, not India.

  • ihatechosingusernames

    Mohenjo Daro (#11) is in Pakistan, actually.

  • janoopk


  • janoopk

    greate photos collections

  • asad

    11 th fact is wrong. mojedaro is not in India its in Pakistan is Sindh province.

  • Basit

    Mohen jo Daro is in Sind (Pakistan) and not India :)

  • salik

    point 11. there is an error.. Mohenjo Daro is not located in India,its located in Pakistan.

  • nyoongah

    Enter your comment here.

  • company logo design

    Amazing and interesting list.

  • Sohoo

    plz correct your “historical facts you dont know ” that Mohenjo Daro is not belonging in India but it is in Sindh province of Pakistan .

  • kd


  • jawad

    Mohenjo Daro in not in india its in Pakistan

  • Saud Ahmed

    Fact #11 needs correction. Mohenjo Daro is in Pakistan, not in India.

  • ?


  • Scr

    Mehenjo Daro isnt in India it’s in Pakistan

  • Abdullah H naqvi

    in fact 11 , Mohenjododro is not in India its in Pakistan

  • Taj Muhammad Samo

    Mohen Jo Daro(city of dead) is in Pakistan, not India.

  • Asad

    well moenjodharo is in Pakistan not IndiaB-)

  • R. Simon

    Interesting, very interesting!!!

  • Get ’em

    10. Incorrect – Nov 2001: successful US/Afghanistan Northern Alliance force of 400+ calvary charge against fortified positions.

  • Tamisha Backous

    I conceive you have remarked some very interesting points , thankyou for the post.

  • Shannon Talib

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  • Carmina Laremont

    OMG!!!! They look so cute together…But All I got to say is Edward Cullen is mine…So don’t touch… I can’t wait for Eclispe to come out…

  • Khurram Mansoor

    Correction for your point number 11. Mohenjo Daro is in Pakistan not in India.

    11. The grid layout used in many cities around the world is not a new invention – it first appeared in the city of Mohenjo Daro, in India*, 4,500 years ago. The houses to the side of the streets had bare walls facing the street to keep out the sun and dust from carts.

  • Brittani Bicklein

    This site stands out among the rest, especially for this genre, please keep us updated with your fantastic writing style. Have you considered getting a facebook so we can keep up better?

  • Brickwork liverpool

    When it comes to the method that you stay inside archery, the ultimate way to accomplish is to place on your own part to the focus on, your feet getting the actual width of one’s neck and aiming … Pointing

  • Ronk

    Come on, everybody knows #2. Every film and TV show about ancient Egypt shows people being shuit up in pyramids. If anything, the general belief is exaggerated over what really happened. i.e. not that many people were immured, and rarely if ever were they immured alive, they were killed (or suicided) first.

    #3 is missing the words IN THE USA from the last sentence. I have no doubt that even today worldwide, more unsliced bread is sold than sliced.

    re #4 it was only pigtails ON MEN that were banned (and not very successfully). Not so much to repudiate feudalism but to present China as a modern european style democracy. Its leaders also wore european style clothes and tried to get all chinese to do the same.

  • Faraz

    Mohenjo Daro in fact 11 is not located in India, it’s in Pakistan.

  • Okay, I have to comment on #6 since the act is what I have named my black metal project after.

    First of all, that wasn’t the Roman punishment for killing one’s father or mother. This punishment was doled out as retribution for parricide, the murder of a close family member that wasn’t necessarily a brother, sister, mother, father, etc. – think uncle or cousin. The punishment was to be sewn into a leather bag called a culleus with an ape, dog, snake and rooster and pushed into the nearest deep body of water. There were a few variations on this, including just setting the thing on fire in the town square if there wasn’t a large body of water nearby, but the one described is the basic punishment. So yeah, it’s brutal as hell and totally befitting the Romans.

  • Jamie

    “The grid layout used in many cities around the world is not a new invention – it first appeared in the city of Mohenjo Daro, in India, 4,500 years ago.”

    Mohenjadaro is pakistan not india.

  • manno

    mohen jo daro is in pakistan not india.

  • NK

    Fact 11. Mohenjo Daro is in Pakistan. Even in history, it was part of Persian Empire

  • FreddieC

    The only reason I ever read these is to see if I already know any of the facts.

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