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Misc Historical Trivia


May A.S. XIX

  • Armor usually weighed between fifty and fifty-five pounds. Swords were weighted for use with one hand and usually weighed about 4 to 6 pounds.
  • Arrows were carried at the side, not the back. The longbow is a Welsh invention, not an English one. It was first used as a weapon of war at Morlaix, not at Crecy. It was six feet in length and rested on the ground.
  • Cannons were first used in battle in Europe in the 14th century.
  • Bloody Mary Tudor only had 280 executions in her five-year reign.
  • Medieval churches were gaudily painted.
  • ‘Get thee to a nunnery’, that famous line from Hamlet, actually means, ‘Get thee to a whorehouse’.
  • Joan of Arc wasn’t French, wasn’t a peasant, and wasn’t poor; she was from Lorraine, she was nobility, and she lived in a chateau.
  • Lady Godiva never rode bareback. Her real name was Godgifu.
  • Richard the Lionheart spent exactly ten months of his ten-year reign in England, just long enough to be crowned. Richard also had a son, also named Richard.
  • Richard the Third of England was not a hunchback.
  • There never was a ‘droit de seigneur’ or night of the first right.
  • Royal purple is actually crimson.
  • King John of England never signed the Magna Carta.
  • Chasisty belts never existed, they were all fakes of the 19th century.
  • Majorettes first performed at the court of Catherine de Medici.
  • Marco Polo did not bring back pasta from China. It was around in Europe from at least the 4th century BC.
  • The Romans did not leave Britain until the 5th century.
  • In 1363 the King of England passed a law forbidding the playing of football and hockey.
  • King Arthur was a real person.
  • Chess was introduced to Europe by the Arabs in the 9th century and was originally played with real people. Clocks arrived in Europe at about the same time; the Arabs presented one to Charlemagne.
  • Eorforwic was the name of a city in the Kingdom of Deira in the Kingdom of Northumbria.
  • King Henry the Third of England was crowned with his mother’s bracelet.
  • Begging was outlawed in England in the year 1597.
  • Tomatoes were introduced to Europe in 1596.
  • High heels were invented in 1595.
  • Forks were common by 1463.
  • Sir Lancelot was not an original member of the Round Table.
  • Martin Luther did not nail his theses to the church door at Wittenberg; he sent a few copies to some friends.
  • Stonehenge is not a Druid temple; it was built during the Bronze Age
  • The Roman Emperor Constantine the Great was born in York.