Emperor Zeno Was Accidentally Buried Alive and His Wife Refused to Save Him

Flavius Zeno was a 5th century Roman Emperor, whose reign was plagued by domestic revolts and religious dissention, and it appears that he was just as unlucky in death as he was in life! According to Byzantine Greek historians, Zeno was accidentally buried alive after falling ill. However, when his cries were heard coming from […]

‘Meat Eater’ Sarcophagi in Turkey Turned Bodies to Skeletons in 40 Days

In the ancient city of Assos in Turkey there existed a bizarre phenomenon – the stone sarcophagi within the Assos necropolis could decompose bodies unusually fast. Instead of taking between 50 and 200 years for the bodies inside to disintegrate, they took just 40 days. Hence, they became known as σαρκο φαγοσ (‘sarko fagos’) in […]

16th Century Executioners Sold Human Fat for Medicinal Ointments

In 16th century Europe, anyone suffering from arthritis, bone pain, toothache or gout could trot down to their local pharmacy and pick themselves up a bottle of Axungia hominis (human fat ). Known colloquially as ‘poor sinners’ fat’, it was typically harvested from the bodies of executed prisoners. Since ancient times, human and animal fat […]

The Ancient Art of Honey Collecting on the Himalayan Cliffs of Nepal

The Gurung tribespeople of Nepal have been collecting honey from Himalayan cliffs for centuries, risking their lives in an ancient tradition that has been passed down over many generations. But now the three-day honey hunt, which occurs twice every year, is under threat from rapidly declining bee populations, commercialization of medicinal honey and tourism. The Honey […]

17th-Century Scandal! One-Eyed Man Hanged for Fathering an Ugly Pig

George Spencer has gone down in history for being the second person executed in Connecticut, USA. His crime? Allegedly fathering an ugly piglet.Records paint an unflattering image of George Spencer.  Records paint an unflattering image of George Spencer. He was described as an “ugly, balding servant with a glass eye” which apparently both disturbed and […]

Peter the Great Ordered a Beard Tax to Discourage Russian Facial Hair!

Peter the Great (1672 – 1725 AD), ruler of the Tsardom of Russia, was so hellbent on modernizing Russia according to European standards that he ordered all men to ditch their long overcoats and shave their beards. When his hard-line stance caused uproar, he softened the rules and introduced a beard tax instead so that […]

The University of Oxford is Older than the Aztec Civilization!

The University of Oxford is so old that its existence predates the Aztec civilization by more than 200 years! Here are the facts: People were learning at the University of Oxford by 1096 and the founding of Tenochtitlán, generally regarded as the start of the Aztec civilization, took place in 1325. The University of Oxford website […]

Naked Warriors: Celtic Mercenaries Went to War in the Buff

It would take a lot of confidence and courage to face up to a heavily-armored Roman army with neither armor nor clothing. But this is precisely what a band of Celtic mercenaries known as the Gaesatae did. These courageous naked warriors employed a tactic that allowed them to be highly mobile, demonstrate their bravery, and […]

The Anglo-Zanzibar War: The Shortest War in History Lasted Just 38 Minutes!

The shortest war in recorded history began at 9 am on August 27, 1896. It was over in less than three-quarters of an hour, with a shocking toll of 501 killed or wounded soldiers. This is the story of the little-known Anglo-Zanzibar War. The tale begins in 1890 with the signing of the Heligoland-Zanzibar treaty […]

Pope Pius II Wrote a Bestselling Erotic Novel Before Turning to the Cloth

Pope Pius II was an unconventional Pope. Before turning to priesthood, he bore children out of wedlock, enjoyed the flames of love, and wrote of adultery, scandal and fiery passion in his erotic story , The Tales of Two Lovers , which became a bestseller of its time. Pope Pius II, born Aeneas Silvius Bartholomeus […]