After Michelangelo’s death, his friend Daniele da Volterra was employed by the Vatican to paint over the genitalia of the Sistine Chapel’s Last Judgment.
1500 CE until 1800 CE
Habeas corpus formally entered English law because of a parliamentarian’s fat joke in 1679.
The calendar date February 30th has happened just once in history: in Sweden in 1712.
Michelangelo’s statue of Moses has horns, thanks to a mistranslation in the Latin Vulgate Bible.
If you happen to be living out in the wilderness, don’t rely on a diet of rabbit meat, and definitely don’t eat polar bear livers.
The arpicembalo (harp-harpsichord) of Bartolomeo Cristofori could play notes both loud and quiet, which the harpsichord could not. It was the first piano.
What do Marie Antoinette, Lorenzo the Magnificent, Charles I, and Napoleon have in common? All of them were not in the same location as their partner when they married.
In the 16th century Portugal claimed the Indian Ocean and Spain the Pacific Ocean as their unique domain, as “closed seas.” In 1609, a Dutch jurist presented a new alternative that has since entered international law: the freedom of the seas.
Steganographia is a late 15th / early 16th century German book of magic… but it’s not actually about magic.
From 1681 to 1838, performances of Shakespeare’s famous tragedy King Lear had a happy ending.
Going from house to house singing Christmas carols is a long-held tradition. But what if the wassailers turn up with a goat or a horse’s head? And what if they take you with them?
In the 18th century, a new pirate crew would come together to elect a captain and quartermaster, and agree on a shared code of conduct: what we today call the pirate code.
Around 1730 a German secret society recorded their initiation rituals in an encrypted manuscript. In 2011, that cipher was finally decoded.
Jean-François de Galaup, comte de Lapérouse led a French scientific expedition around the Pacific; in 1788 it disappeared without a trace. A young Napoléon Bonaparte almost went with him.
Neither Aladdin nor Ali Baba were in the original Thousand and One Nights (aka the Arabian Nights). The tales first appeared in the French translation, probably from a Syrian Christian storyteller named Hanna Diyab who lived in Paris from 1708 to 1710.
The famed Baroque artist Caravaggio painted his masterwork while on the run from Rome, as an accused murderer and a Knight of Malta. When the knights expelled him from the order, they did so beneath that same painting.