In 1680, Juan Carreño de Miranda—Charles II of Spain’s court painter—produced two portraits of Eugenia Martínez Vallejo, an extremely obese 6-year-old child. They earned her the moniker “la Monstrua,” the Monster. She was really just sick.
Originating in 15th-century Spain, limpieza de sangre was a racist legal concept and a complex caste system developed as a way to discriminate between the Old Catholics and the newer Christian converts of known or presumed Jewish or Muslim heritage (conversos and Moriscos).
Originally, handfasting was a humble engagement ritual. A few centuries—and scholarly misunderstandings—later, it became an elaborate Wiccan alternative to white Christian marriages.
Every great romantic comedy—from The Graduate to Shrek—features a melodramatic “I object” wedding scene. There’s a reason why real life rarely does. It’s got nothing to do with love—and everything to do with law.
A pagan wedding is commonly known as handfasting, but the handfasting is only a part of it. They also include circle closings and Claddagh rings, elemental invocations and off-the-wall vows. Oh, yes, broom-jumpings too!
Despite his footballing achievements, Alexandre Villaplane is best remembered for his traitorous behavior during World War II. This article tells the story of one of France’s most infamous athletes.
Elephant Rock in Iceland is one of the most unique rock formations on the planet. Learn about the unexpected way it got its shape and how you can visit.
The Habsburg jaw, well known, little understood—until a team of researchers detailed the inbreeding behind the royal smile.
A lack of pollinators in its natural environment means the Creeping Devil has to clone itself to survive. This distinctive cactus is so unusual that a black market specimen can fetch $4000.
Pankration was a physically exhausting, often deadly ancient sport. Lost for over a millennium it has come to the fore of martial arts once more.