In a monumental archaeological revelation, the mummy of Lady Dai, Xin Zhui, offers an unparalled glimpse into China’s ancient Han Dynasty. Her impeccably preserved state continues to baffle scientists, while her affluent lifestyle, evident in her tomb’s artifacts, serves as a testament to the era’s cultural richness.
The Nazis detested drugs, as they believed they impaired the senses. However, Pervitin stood as an exception—a drug capable of enhancing a soldier’s acute reflexes and alertness.
Although rare in the Middle Ages, some women were conferred the prestigious title of Knight, transcending gender barriers and actively engaging in the traditionally male-dominated realm of warfare.
In the 17th century, the colony of New France in modern day Québec faced a dire population problem that required an inventive solution. Without suitable wives, most men weren’t interested in settling in the colony: until King Lous XIV sent the Filles du Roi, the King’s Daughters.
In the final days of World War II, an extraordinary battle unfolded in the heart of the Austrian Alps. French prisoners, American GIs, and German soldiers fought side by side against the SS in a desperate struggle to defend a medieval castle. This is the story of the Battle of Castle Itter.
Meraki has a rich and diverse history, from ancient Greek medicine to Ottoman Turkish dictionaries, and even in Slavic folk poetry. It is now commonly linked to finding pleasure in one’s work. Interestingly, it originally meant quite the opposite: ‘spleen.’
On September 7, 1978, Bulgarian dissident Georgi Markov was waiting at a bus stop in London’s Strand when he felt a sharp jab in his leg. Little did he know that he had just become the victim of a sophisticated assassination involving an iconic Cold War weapon: the umbrella gun.
In 1184, during the resolution of a land dispute in Erfurt, dozens of German nobles met a grisly end when the floor collapsed beneath them, plunging them into a lake of human excrement. More than 60 of them drowned in the latrine, and the future Holy Roman Emperor barely escaped with his life.
John Harvey Kellogg was a Seventh-Day Adventist who believed that self-gratification was the sin of all sins. But did he invent cornflakes as a sort of anti-masturbatory meal? A sticky question, for sure, and one we just have to flake…
On the face of it, Camp Siegfried seemed like your typical 1930s summer camp, offering a range of activities, including swimming, sports, and a variety of arts and crafts. However, it had a much more sinister purpose: it was a Nazi training camp designed to indoctrinate German-Americans into Nazi ideology.
Der Struwwelpeter, a 19th-century children’s book, enthralls with its captivating tales of mischievous children and their harrowing consequences. Though deemed inappropriate by today’s standards, these stories wielded immense influence, shaping modern children’s literature, comics, and popular culture.
On July 28, 1945, in response to the Potsdam Declaration demanding Japan’s unconditional surrender, Japanese prime minister Kantarō Suzuki uttered a now-famous phrase: mokusatsu-suru. The phrase can be translated to mean either “ignore” or “no comment.” The Allies heard the former. The atomic bombs were dropped several days later.
The story of how blow-up dolls came to be is a fascinating one. It is a story of cotton, straw, and rubber, a story of loneliness, pent-up sexual frustration, and unrequited incestual desires. It is also, perhaps, the only story that links 17th-century European sailors, fin de siècleAustrian bohemians, the Nazi Party—and Barbie!
For more than two centuries, young Italian boys were castrated to preserve their pre-pubescent singing voices. They became hotly sought-after in church choirs and operas around Europe. This is the story of the castrato singers.
Until just recently, there lay, inside the Enjuin Temple in Asakuchi, Japan, one of the most intriguing mummies in the world. It was not of an ancient human or an animal, but of something in between, something which should ostensibly exist only in legend: a mermaid.
Every English student knows The Rape of the Lock, Alexander Pope’s mock-heroic satire of the social mores of 18th-century British gentry. What fewer people know is the model Pope used: Alessandro Tassoni’s 1622 masterpiece, La secchia rapita. Its subject is quite an unusual historical event—a 14th-century war fought over a stolen bucket!
The Ancient Egyptians were the first to use perfumes, but it wasn’t until 1888 that the first commercial deodorant hit the shelves. For decades it was just a niche product until a genius ad campaign made it a necessity in the early 1920s. Now, it seems like we can’t go a day without wearing the stuff!