Behold the fabulous creatures of myth and legend! The dragon, the phoenix, the basilisk, the roc, the unicorn… and the Vegetable Lamb of Tartary?
500 CE until 1500 CE
In 1981 Phillip Lewis released potato chips flavoured like roasted hedgehog. In 1982 the UK government prosecuted him for false advertising because the chips did not contain real hedgehog.
The solfège system teaches Western music scales: do re mi fa sol la ti do. But who is “do”?
In 9th century CE France, a monk went undercover in a rival monastery for ten years to steal a holy relic.
The Tiger Hill Pagoda in Suzhou, like the Leaning Tower of Pisa, leans to one side by several degrees.
Sepak takraw resembles volleyball, except you can only use your feet, knees, and head. The kicks are amazing, but you should not let the sons of sultans and prime ministers play.
Poisoned potions of immortality caused the death of up to seven Chinese emperors – the last less than three centuries ago.
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.