More than a thousand English soldiers were killed by hailstones during the Siege of Chartres in 1360.
500 CE until 1500 CE
Six dancers in costume caught on fire at a ball in 1393 Paris. Only two survived; one of them was King Charles VI.
Michelangelo’s statue of Moses has horns, thanks to a mistranslation in the Latin Vulgate Bible.
The Basilica Cistern in Istanbul is an underground underwater forest of 336 huge marble columns. It was built in the 6th century CE, but parts are much older – because they were scavenged from other buildings, sometimes with original sculptures intact.
The Vikings navigated by the position of the sun. But what did they do when it was cloudy?
Pangur Bán was an Irish monk’s cat in 9th century Germany; we know this cat’s name because the monk wrote a poem about him. Even though this poem was written more than a thousand years ago, Pangur Bán was not the first named cat in history.
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.
The 105th surah of the Quran relates a battle outside Mecca between Yemeni war elephants and a flock of birds.
The origins of the modern piggy bank are lost to history, but the oldest extant piggy bank comes from 12th century CE Java.
According to the Platform Sutra, the fifth patriarch of Chan Buddhism held a poetry contest to determine his successor. But it became a contest for the soul of Chan Buddhism itself.
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?
The Christmas carol Good King Wenceslas has a deceptive title. The real Wenceslas’ reputation for goodness was mainly posthumous, as was his rank and title. Also he may have been murdered by his brother after a drunken fight.
Benedict IX has to be one of history’s strangest popes. He was one of the youngest popes ever appointed, he was the pope on three non-consecutive occasions, and he’ll go down in history as the only pope to ever sell the papacy.
The Ethiopian and Coptic Orthodox Churches hold that Pontius Pilate, the governor who condemned Jesus Christ to death, later converted to Christianity himself, and they revere Pilate as a saint.
Wadi al-Salaam, the Valley of Peace, in Iraq is the largest cemetery in the world; more than five million people are buried there.
Was the word “orange” first applied to the colour or the fruit? Was “Turkey” first a bird or a country? Was “duck” first an action or an animal? “Organ” the instrument or “organ” the body part?