A Portuguese mercenary stole the largest working bell in history from Shwedagon Pagoda, and then lost it in the waters of the Yangon River.
In the Roman Empire someone who killed their parent would be sewn into a sack with a live rooster, dog, monkey, and snake, and then thrown into the water. In medieval Germany, they used a cat, a dog, and a picture of a snake.
In early Christian tradition, the power of saints’ relics could be transferred from object to object by a simple touch.
John I the Posthumous was the King of France for five days, from the time he was born until the time he died.
The oldest living rose bush has been growing on the side of Hildesheim Cathedral for several hundred years.
The earliest fully recorded game of modern chess – from the 15th century CE – is a poem about love.
In 1377 the Tunisian Arab historian Ibn Khaldun listed seven mistakes made by contemporary scholars, and then he made the same mistakes.
On June 25, 1900, tens of thousands of important historical manuscripts were found in a secret room within the Caves of the Thousand Buddhas in Dunhuang, China, where they had been hidden for nearly a millennium.
Masaccio’s Holy Trinity is possibly the earliest surviving work of art to use a single vanishing point. His work and that of Brunelleschi triggered a Renaissance explosion of mathematical perspective in art.
We know how Chinese was pronounced 1400 years ago thanks to the world’s oldest surviving rhyming dictionary.
Buddhism was made the state religion of Silla (a kingdom in early Korea) because a court official planned his own martyrdom.
Between 1200 and 1500 CE, the city of Nan Madol was built on a series of artificial islands and a coral reef in what is now eastern Micronesia.
In 1324, Pope John XXII issued a papal bull condemning the excesses of modern popular music.
In the 9th century CE, a town in what is now Nigeria produced the most masterful bronze artefacts in the world.
For more than 1700 years, mithridate and theriac were Europe’s ultimate medicines. A concoction of up to sixty-four ingredients – including cinnamon, turpentine, and poppy – they were supposed to neutralise any poison or plague.
The ruler of Medieval Venice was chosen by an exceptionally complex ten-step process of alternating random lots and elections.