The Unlucky Once-Heir of Emperor Augustus

Emperor Augustus had one living child, a daughter, and she had one living son, Agrippa Postumus. (The name "postumus" means he was born after his father had died.) Agrippa was once considered a potential heir for Emperor Augustus. Historians believe that although Augustus adopted his grandson in 4 CE, Agrippa was supposed to only be his family heir, not his political heir. Tiberius, Emperor Augustus' second wife's son by her previous marriage, was intended to become the next emperor.

But something went wrong for Agrippa Postumus. The reason has not come down in history. But in 6 CE, Agrippa was banished from Rome and effectively un-adopted. On August 19th, 14 CE, Emperor Augustus died. On August 20th, 14 CE, Agrippa Postumus was killed by his own guards. Tiberius publicly disavowed the killing, saying it was Emperor Augustus' orders that Agrippa Postumus not survive. We do not know who actually ordered the assassination. But we do know that a living, male, blood descendent of the first emperor was a huge threat to the next emperor.

A Well-Described Mystery

Ball lightning is a well-known phenomenon. That is, it has been seen and described consistently by many people in many places, since the ancient Greeks. But after thousands of years, scientists still do not understand what causes ball lightning!

Ancient Egyptians Tortured Suspected Criminals To Get Confessions

And they thought this was the good way to get truthful confessions. So they were honest about the torture, and recorded exactly how officials tortured suspects when questioning them. For instance, during the 16th year of the rule of Ramses IX (~1100 BCE), a well-organized network of tomb thieves were uncovered in Thebes. The thefts were from prominent government officials and even royal tombs. During the resulting interrogations, the accused were beaten with a stick and their hands and feet were twisted.

According to the records, the torture worked! They confessed to breaking into tombs, including a royal burial, and stealing precious objects. When the tombs in question were examined, several had indeed been disturbed, confirming the confessions.

The First Artificial Sweetener Was Ancient

The Romans discovered that if they boiled grape juice in lead pots, it produced an even-sweeter drink. They did not know why it worked. But they knew they liked the result. Of course, today, we know that it was the lead in the pots that was getting into the juice and making that sweet taste. Delicious, but dangerous.

Did You Know Jews Thrived In Ming China?

During the Ming Dynasty (1368 - 1644) a population of Jews immigrated into the heart of China and lived as just another obscure, minor religion. There is poor documentation, but there what records exist show Jews worked as army officers, mandarin bureaucrats, tax inspectors, and school inspectors.

That is rare considering during this same period Jews were often persecuted as an unwanted group elsewhere: to name a few examples, Jews were expelled from France twice (1306 and 1394), forced to convert to Catholicism or leave Spain (1492), and heavily taxed and punished for inciting unrest in Egypt (1324).

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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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