Mad, Bad, and Potentially Dangerous to Ancient Monuments

Inscribed on the Temple of Poseidon at Cape Sounion, southeast of Athens, is the name BYRON. It is possible that the English poet Lord Byron carved it during his first visit to Greece at age 22, before he became famous. He later wrote:

Place me on Sunium’s marbled steep, Where nothing, save the waves and I, May hear our mutual murmurs sweep …

But despite all that, there remains no definitive answer as to whether Byron carved it himself, or a fan of his poetry thought to add his name there.

The world's tallest... structure ... was the Washington Monument in Washington, DC for five years. It was completed in 1884, and was surpassed by the Eiffel Tower in 1889.

Podcast Episode Recommendation on the Industrial Revolution

Hey all! I recently listened to a great podcast episode and thought I would share it with you all. History Extra, run by the BBC History Magazine, is a long-standing podcast of excellent quality. With the pandemic they started an "Everything you ever wanted to know" series on topics ranging from the Aztec Empire to the Renaissance. While the whole series is worth a listen, this post will highlight just one, The Industrial Revolution: Everything you wanted to know. Check it out here.

By tracking since the early 1800s, you can tell that the single decade with the most assassinations of heads of state was 1970. The most popular month for assassinations is October.

A French Prisoner in Norman Cross Barracks, had recourse to the following stratagem to obtain his liberty:–He made himself a complete uniform of the Hertfordshire Militia, and a wooden gun, stained, surmounted by a tin bayonet. Thus equipped, he mixed with the guard, (consisting of men from the Hertford Regiment,) and when they were ordered to march out, having been relieved, Monsieur fell in and marched out too. Thus far he was fortunate, but when arrived at the guard-room, lo! what befel him. His new comrades ranged their muskets on the rack, and he endeavoured to follow their example; but as his wooden piece was unfortunately a few inches too long, he was unable to place it properly. This was observed, and the unfortunate captive obliged to forego the hopes of that liberty for which he had so anxiously and so ingeniously laboured.

The Soldier’s Companion; or, Martial Recorder, 1824. The Norman Cross Prison in England was the first-known prison built specifically for prisoners of war. It was built in 1796-97 to hold prisoners of war from France and its allies during the French Revolutionary Wars and the later Napoleonic Wars.

Russian nobleman Georgy Gruzinsky faked his death in 1798 after he fell afoul of Tzar Paul I. He even staged his own funeral by bribing local officials! Gruzinsky stayed out of sight until 1802 when Tzar Alexander took the throne,  and returned to government, even raising a militia to fight Napoleon during the invasion. Gruzinsky finally died (we think) at age 89 in 1852.

Cotard's Delusion is a rare delusion where a person believe they are dead, don't exist, are putrefying, or have lost their blood or internal organs. The delusion was first described in 1880 by French neurologist Jules Cotard (who humbly named it "The Delirium of Negation").

He described the case of “Mademoiselle X” who denied the existence of parts of her body and denied that she needed to eat. She said that she was condemned to eternal damnation, and therefore, could not die a natural death. As a result of her beliefs Mademoiselle X died of starvation.

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    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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