Category Archives: Did You Know?

Did you Know? All the historical facts and bizarre things from history you probably never knew….

Edinburgh Castle sits on cone of extinct volcano

Edinburgh Castle is a historic fortress which dominates the skyline of the city of Edinburgh,Scotland from its position on the Castle Rock.  The castle stands upon the plug of an extinct volcano, which is…

Invention of the Seismoscope

In AD 132, Zhang Heng of China’s Han dynasty invented the first seismoscope (by the definition above), which was called Houfeng Didong Yi (literally, “instrument for measuring the seasonal winds and…

Santa Claus

Saint Nicholas (Greek: Ἅγιος Νικόλαος, Hagios Nikólaos, Latin: Sanctus Nicolaus, Bulgarian: Св. Николай); (15 March 270 – 6 December 343), also called Nikolaos of Myra, was a historic 4th-centurysaint and Greek Bishop of Myra (Demre, part of modern-day Turkey) in Lycia….

Basil the Bulgar Slayer

Basil II (Greek: Βασίλειος Β΄, Basileios II; 958 – 15 December 1025) was a Byzantine Emperor from theMacedonian dynasty who reigned from 10 January 976 to 15 December 1025. He was known in…

Mammoths still walked the earth when the Great Pyramid was being built

Wrangel Island is an island in the Arctic Ocean, between the Chukchi Sea and East Siberian Sea.

Woolly mammoths survived there until 2500–2000 BC, the most recent survival of all known mammoth populations. Isolated from the mainland for 6000 years, about 500 to 1000 mammoths lived on the island at a time.

Earliest known usage of soap

The earliest recorded evidence of the production of soap-like materials dates back to around 2800 BC in ancient Babylon. A formula for soap consisting of water, alkali, and cassia oil was written on a Babylonian clay tablet around 2200 BC.

Viking warriors were elite guard of Byzantine Empire

The Varangians or Varyags (Old Norse: Væringjar; Greek: Βάραγγοι, Βαριάγοι, Varangoi,Variagoi) was the name given by Greeks and East Slavs to Vikings, who between the 9th and 11th centuries ruled the medieval state of Rus’ and formed the Byzantine Varangian Guard.

Nazi station in Canada

Weather Station Kurt (Wetter-Funkgerät Land-26) was an automatic weather station, erected by aGerman U-boat crew in Northern Labrador, Newfoundland in October 1943. Installing the equipment for the station was the only known armed German military operation on land in North America during the Second World War.

Bouddica – Girl Power

Boudica (d. AD 60 or 61) was queen of the British Iceni tribe, a Celtic tribe who led an uprising against the occupying forces of the Roman Empire.

The Aztecs were actually called Mexica

The Mexica or Mexicas — called Aztecs in occidental historiography, although this term is not limited to the Mexica — were an indigenous people of the Valley of Mexico, known today as the rulers of the Aztec empire.

Sacred Band of Thebes, Elite Gay Soldiers

The Sacred Band of Thebes (Ancient Greek: Ἱερὸς Λόχος, Hieròs Lókhos) was a troop of picked soldiers, consisting of 150 pairs of male lovers which formed the elite force of the Theban army in the 4th century BC.

Antonine Wall

The Antonine Wall is a stone and turf fortification built by the Romans across what is now the Central Belt of Scotland, between the Firth of Forth and the Firth of Clyde. Representing the northernmost frontier barrier of the Roman Empire, it spanned approximately 63 kilometres (39 miles) and was about 3 metres (10 feet) high and 5 metres (16 feet) wide. Security was bolstered by a deep ditchon the northern side. The barrier was the second of two “great walls” created by the Romans in Northern Britain. Its ruins are less evident than the better known Hadrian’s Wall to the south.

Earliest use of toilet paper

Although paper had been known as a wrapping and padding material in China since the 2nd century BC, the first documented use of toilet paper in human history dates back to the 6th century AD, in early medieval China. In 589 AD the scholar-official Yan Zhitui (531–591) wrote about the use of toilet paper.

Lost temple of Isis in London

The evidence for a temple to the eastern goddess Isis is indicated by graffito on a 1st-century flagon found in Tooley Street, Southwark which reads LONDINI AD FANVM ISIDIS, or ‘To London at the temple of Isis’.

Cheesemaking from 8000 BCE

Cheese is an ancient food whose origins predate recorded history. There is no conclusive evidence indicating where cheesemaking originated, either in Europe, Central Asia or the Middle East, but the practice had spread within Europe prior to Roman times and, according to Pliny the Elder, had become a sophisticated enterprise by the time the Roman Empire came into being.

El Gigante, the giant Moais of Easter Island

Besides its remoteness, Easter Island is, of course, famous for its massive stone sculptures or “Moais.” The largest of these is “El Gigante,” located near the Rano Raraku Quarry, which stands some 72 feet tall (well, 71.93 to be exact).

Ancient antibiotics in beer

The ancient Nubians consumed large quantities of antibiotics that were produced in their beer almost 1,500 years ago, new research suggests.

Stonehenge make-over

Over the past 100 years, Stonehenge has gone through a series of restoration work and make-overs.