In The Beginning...

According to Māori mythology the world began with a void, Te Kore, which contained nothing and yet had the potential for everything. Darkness or Chaos (Pō) followed Te Kore, then the sky (Rangi) and the earth (Papa).

Irish Workers In The 1500s Drank Ale Like Water

Beer was a staple of the Irish diet, as much as bread, according to new research. Masons hewing stone at a Dublin quarry in 1565 were allotted 12 to 14 pints of ale a day, when doing extreme labor. That's the highest amount. But the lowest daily amount is still pretty high: household staff at Dublin Castle, and Elizabethan soldiers stationed in Ireland, were drinking up to 8 pints of hopped ale a day.

In the 1500s, Irish beers had higher oat contents than English beers. Oat beer was reportedly thicker, and more bitter, than beer made predominantly with barley. They also have 400 to 500 calories a pint. You could drink nothing but beer, and get enough calories for your day!

Who Ran Korea During The Choson Period?

Scholar-Officials (sadaebu or sonbi) represent the highly educated ruling class that emerged during the Choson dynasty (1392-1910 CE) of Korea. The founder of the Choson dynasty, Yi Songgye adopted Neo-Confucianism - the modified teachings of the early Chinese philosopher Confucius to establish new principles for Korean governance. Implementing a competitive Confucian examination system to select civil servants, early Choson kings created a class of government officials who were familiar with Chinese and Korean historical and literary classics. Their new system was modeled on the older Chinese one. The new class of scholar-officials challenged aristocratic families that had monopolized power during the previous Koryo period (935 - 1392 CE).

Where Do Piggy Banks Come From?

Contrary to popular belief, the piggy bank is not a European invention. Many terracotta piggy banks have been found on Java. Most are in the form of a pig, as the fat animal evoked associations with wealth. The slot for coins is still visible on the back of this example, which was made sometime from 1300 to 1500 CE.

Courtesy of the Rijksmuseum

The Weird Family History of Iceland

Iceland has a population of 332,529 that for hundreds of years has been largely isolated from the rest of the world. Inbreeding is a constant concern due to the country’s small size, and the migration of most of the population into the capital city. Luckily, the country has been literate since its founding, and because of its small population and isolation, we have marriage and birth records pretty much since the founding of the island. Everyone's family tree is known. It is pretty neat -- every Icelander today can trace their heritage back to which founding settlers they come from.

And to help prevent inbreeding today, an app was developed: Islendiga-App (English: App of Icelanders). The whole giant Icelandic family tree is on the app, and people can check to see if they are related. Its slogan is “Bump the app before you bump in bed.”

Who Were The Zapotec And Why Should You Care About Them?

The Zapotec civilization (600 BCE - 800 CE) established great cities in the Valleys of Oaxaca, in southwestern Mexico. Although not as famous as their predecessors, the Olmec, they developed the first writing system in the Americas. It was logosyllabic -- like cuneiform and Han Chinese characters -- where a glyph represented spoken syllables.

The faded remnants of the once-great Zapotec civilization were conquered in 1502 by the Aztec Empire. When the Spanish defeated the Aztec, the Zapotec king  Cosijoeza ordered his people to not attack the Spanish, but survive. After Spanish take over of the area, uprisings against colonial authorities occurred in 1550, 1560 and 1715.

In the 1600s, Spanish poet Francisco de Quevedo bought rival poet Luis de Góngoras' house, just so de Quevedo could evict him. De Quevedo also wrote several sonnets insulting de Góngoras' large nose. Here is a portrait of Góngoras so you can check his nose for yourself -- it is definitely not short!     De Quevedo and de Góngoras are widely considered the most prominent Spanish poets of their era.

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    HISTORICAL NON-FICTION

    By Lillian Audette

    This blog is a collection of the interesting, the weird, and sometimes the need-to-know about history, culled from around the internet. It has pictures, it has quotes, it occasionally has my own opinions on things. If you want to know more about anything posted, follow the link at the "source" on the bottom of each post. And if you really like my work, buy me a coffee or become a patron!

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